Masons in Medina looking for new home with imminent sale of building

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 January 2016 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – The Masonic Temple on West Center Street will be sold to the World Life Institute which will turn it into a headquarters with educational and humanitarian programming, including the possibility of a college.

MEDINA – Alan Kozody has visited many Masonic temples in Orleans and Niagara counties, and Kozody doesn’t think any are more beautiful than the lodge for the Medina Masons on West Center Street.

The site is a former church, used by the Mormons before the Masons bought the building about a dozen years ago.

Kozody said the building was ideal for giving a sense of reverence and respect as a meeting place for the rituals for the Masons. However, the building’s steep stairs and limited parking are a challenge for the Masons’ older members.

The lodge in Medina dates back to 1854. Kozody is the lodge’s master, functioning as president. He said there are about 60 to 70 members, but only eight to 14 make the regular meetings and consistently volunteer with activities. The diminishing number prompted the group to cease its week-long sausage booth during the Orleans County 4-H Fair last summer. Kozody said the Masons did that for many, many years.

The group also didn’t have its booth during the Parade of Lights in November.

“Our membership is declining,” Kozody said.

That is why the lodge is selling the Masonic Temple at 229 West Center St. to the World Life Institute, a non-profit organization that runs many humanitarian programs in the community, from educational efforts to a program during the summers for war orphans. Word Life Institute plans to make the Masonic Temple into the international headquarters for World Life Institute.

WLI also wants to use the site to host lectures and other events for the community.

The sale was scheduled to close today but was pushed back. Kozody said he expects it will close soon once all of the paperwork is in order for the lawyers. The Medina Masonic Lodge will have use of the building for three months after the sale.

That will give the group time to remove its possessions and find a temporary meeting place. Kozody said the Masons in Middleport have welcomed the Medina Masons to the lodge on Main Street in Midelport. Kozody said he expects the Medina group will meet there for six months until deciding it’s future home.

The stained-glass windows in the lodge will be removed, but Kozody said the windows will stay in Medina.

The stained-glass windows inside the lodge will find another home in Medina, Kozody said. He isn’t sure where yet. Masons toured the Bent’s Opera House recently and the windows could eventually be displayed there, he said.

“We will store them and get them back out in time,” Kozody said. “They are beautiful and we want them to stay in the village.”

One of the World Life leaders, Dr. Asaf Durakovic, is a member of the Medina Masonic Lodge. He sees the building as an opportunity for World Life to expand its humanitarian work in the community and in the world.

He approached the Masons about the sale. Kozody said he is pleased the building will be put to good use by World Life Institute. The organization is developing a college, language school and other educational programs.

“I wish them the best,” Kozody said. “I think it’s a wonderful thing. The more I hear about their mission, I think it’s a good thing.”

Kozody said the Medina Masons may look to partner with other lodges to continue the organization’s traditions, while welcoming new members.

“Our motto is we take good men and make them better,” Kozody said.