In 1955/56 a few brethren of the Lodge "zur Hoffnung" met to study and consider the problem of forming a new Lodge in Berne. It was intended that this Lodge would not work with the familiar Schröder ritual used by most Swiss Lodges, but with the ancient English Emulation ritual. The brethren in question had lived abroad, mainly in Britain and the Far East, for many years, and were well acquainted with the Emulation ritual through their masonic activities in those countries.
This fact was a good basis for introducing to Berne a ritual which was previously unknown there. Thanks to goodwill, a readiness to reach agreement and masonic tolerance on both sides, it was possible to create the necessary conditions for forming the new Lodge "Bon Accord". There were many reasons for taking this new step, some of which are briefly outlined below:
- The membership of Lodge "zur Hoffnung" at that time was about 190, too large to permit contact with all members.
- From the standpoint of Masonic development, it was desired to offer younger brethren as well better opportunities of holding office or even eventually becoming Master of their Lodge.
- Under the English Emulation system, progress through the offices is structured on a strict hierarchical basis which makes this possible. By giving every Brother a chance to begin at the lowest rung of the ladder and progress through the offices up to Master of the Lodge, passivity within the Lodge is also reduced.
- It was felt that here the formal legal aspects of an association could be minimised, the Emulation system giving absolute priority to the essence of Freemasonry, namely ritual and symbolic instruction and development in the Temple.
Finally, on 18th May, 1956, Lodge "Bon Accord", working in the Emulation system, was formed by 25 brethren, of whom 21 came from Lodge "zur Hoffnung". To mark our respect and admiration for these brethren, who as founder members showed much courage, diplomacy, optimism, confidence, but also an iron determination, a list of their names is attached in due form to the foundation deed.
The formation of the new Masonic lodge was officially made known on 26th June, 1956. Then it was a question of securing its material requirements. Funds were needed to purchase temple furnishings, regalia and other Masonic equipment. Bye-laws had to be drawn up and rituals translated from English into German.
At the Assembly of Deputies of the Swiss Grand Lodge "ALPINA" on 11th/12th May, 1957, the new Lodge was recognized and accepted as a member of the Grand Lodge with the official number 41.
The consecration of Lodge "Bon Accord" took place on
26th October, 1957
and was attended not only by 214 brethren from all over Switzerland, but by the entire college of Grand Officers of the SGLA led by the Most Wor. Grand Master. For all Freemasons present, this climax was a unique, moving and uplifting experience, and is still today regarded as a binding legacy on future generations.
The name and jewel of Lodge "Bon Accord" originates from the city coat of arms of Aberdeen, the home town one of the founder members. This consists of three white towers on a blue background with the motto "Bon Accord". The square and compasses were added to the crest and the motto adopted as the name of the new Lodge. The meaning of "Bon Accord" is concord or harmony.
II. Consolidation and Development of Lodge "Bon Accord"
As recorded in the Anniversary publication commemorating 25 years of the Lodge's existence, after several moves we were finally able to find a home in the same premises as our mother Lodge, at first in Bogenschützenstrasse and >from 1966 in Brunngasse, Berne, where we now hold our meetings. This helped considerably to extend and strengthen our old and much-valued relationships with our brethren of Lodge "zur Hoffnung".
The Landmarks and regularity of the various Lodges, and even of the Grand Lodge "ALPINA" itself, were at that time not so firmly established as they are today, so that a little more time was needed to attain recognition and respect in the Masonic world. Moreover the spirit then prevalent in Freemasonry was different from now, and there was little understanding for changes of direction and determined progress. Nevertheless, Lodge "Bon Accord" developed strongly and its numbers increased continually until by 1982 there were 54 members. During its growth it was confronted with many external tasks and tests, and emerged from them matured, strengthened and firmly established.
The Emulation ritual, the serious, purposeful work, the undeviating attitude towards the principles of Freemasonry, and not least the strict observance of the Constitution of the SGLA, soon bore fruit: the young Lodge became a strong, faithful and reliable member of the Craft in Switzerland. In 1999, at the end of the millenium, the Lodge has about 44 members.
As today proves, the name "Bon Accord", with its connotation of future promise, has been confirmed and lived up to. In addition, the hierarchical structure of the Emulation system has been an important contributory factor. Many brethren, through being entrusted at an early stage with tasks and duties, have grown and matured, emerging as conscientious, responsible and self-assured personalities.