The Most Worshipful St. James Grand Lodge
Ancient Free & Accepted Masons
State of Illinois
The M.W. St. James Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M., (after the death of the Ill. John G. Jones, many fractions sprung up as John G. Jones Affiliates) reorganized on September 30, 1936 under the leadership of Walter Shaffner, as Grand Master, at 10 West 4th Street in Chicago, IL. In 1937, Brother William Moody was elected Grand Master and served until November 1948, upon his death. Brother Moody was responsible for the acquisition of the property at 5444 South Wentworth. Rev., Bro. Charles I. Miller was elected in December 1948 and fulfilled the dream of Grand Master Moody, by paying off the mortgage of the property at 5444 South Wentworth. Grand Master P.M. Carter, who served one term, succeeded Grand Master Miller. In December 1953, Grand Master C.H Cole succeeded Grand Master Carter in office. He was attributed with purchasing the property at 6902 South Normal and remained in office until 1963. Brother Evin Dials was then elected Grand Master in December 1963 and served well for two terms. Later, in December 1965, Brother Clarence Redfield was elected Grand Master and also served two terms.
In December 1967, Brother John D. Means was elected Grand Master and served until December 1980. During his leadership, he purchased the present realty property at 8220 South Western Avenue. In December 1981, Brother Barnett McWhorter was elected Grand Master and served one term. In December 1982, Brother John D. Means was reelected becoming the first Past Grand Master to do so. He served until December 1983, when he went on to become elected President of the General Grand Masonic Congress of America.
Brother James Foster was elected in December 1983 and served one term. In December 1984, Brother Barnett McWhorter became the 2nd Past Grand Master to be reelected. He served three terms. In December 1987, Brother George P. Henry was elected Grand Master and served until 1994. Brother Henry was noted for many events, which enhanced the organization’s recognition and status in the community, including cotillions that provided college scholarships to participants. It was also during his leadership that St. James extended the hand of fellowship to King David Grand Lodge and Queen Naomi Grand Chapter who later merged into the jurisdiction.
In December 1994, Brother Raymond Pryor was elected Grand Master and served until his death in August 1996.
In December, 1997, Brother Larry Spires was elected Grand Master. Under his leadership knowledge, charity, and community involvement have been emphasized. He introduced the executive cabinet retreat, the “Bowling for Widows & Orphans” fundraiser, reinstated the “Family & Friends Day”, and organized the “Gospel Extravaganza”. With major gospel recording artists, the latter event brought significant recognition to the Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter as a viable charitable organization in the Chicago land area.
Since 1936, the Most Worshipful St. James Grand Lodge has contributed much to the poor and distressed and much more could be enumerated. All of this success was done through the splendid cooperation that has existed between the craftsmen and leadership.