World Life Institute plans to turn Masonic Hall into new international headquarters

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 December 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – The Masonic Hall on West Center Street in Medina, a former church, will become the international headquarters for the World Life Institute, which runs several programs in Orleans County and beyond.

MEDINA – The World Life Institute is buying the Masonic Hall in Medina on West Center Street, with plans to make the site the international headquarters for WLI.

“It’s a beautiful historic building,” said Chris Wilson, a member of WLI. “We’re trying to be a force for good in the community and in our own small way internationally.”

The World Life Institute is mostly volunteer run. It built an education center on Stillwater Road in the mid-1990s. That school is used for ESL and other adult educational programs, mainly for farmworkers.

World Life Institute also has been hosting war orphans the past two decades through Project LIFE. WLI has hosted about 110 children from war-torn Bosnia, Afghanistan and Russia. Some children also came one summer from Sri Lanka following a devastating tsunami. All of the children have lost at least one parent to war or tragedy.

Wilson is international director for Project LIFE, making the contacts in the foreign countries for the children to come to Orleans County each summer.

The children are treated to peace in the countryside of Orleans County, good nutrition, art and music therapy, and English as a second language. They receive medical and dental care, and then return home after about two or three months.

Wilson said WLI plans to use the Masonic Hall for offices, educational programs and a lecture hall for community programs. WLI would like to host “TED talks” and engage the community in discussion of ideas and current events. WLI and the Masonic Lodge will close on the sale on Monday, Wilson said.

WLI will have a community reception beginning at 3 p.m. on Sunday at the Masonic Hall, 223 West Center St. Dinner will follow at 4 p.m. The event is a fund-raiser for WLI and will feature awards to local supporters, a silent auction of art and jewelry, and entertainment by a surprise local celebrity.

“This exciting event is our way to say thanks to the local community while we raise funds to support our charitable work here and around the world,” said WLI Vice President Jacob Zimmerman. “Strong local support has been the key to our success over the years, so we want to celebrate that.”

Most of WLI’s work is done by dedicated volunteers, Wilson said, with support from local congregations, businesses and individuals.

“Our work has benefitted greatly from support in the community,” Wilson said.

In Orleans County, WLI provides language training through its Medina Language Center and adult education, medical services and food programs to local people in need. WLI also operates a publishing house and provides advanced educational programs internationally through its online division, World Life College.

Tickets for the event on Sunday cost $25 for adults and $15 for children. They are available for purchase online at For questions, call (585) 205-4545.

WLI is also happy to receive donations and sponsorships. For more information, please contact World Life Institute by email at or phone at (585) 205-4545.