ORATION: CONSECRATION AND DEDICATION OF THE AUBREY SHERVINGTON JACOBS LODGE
Updated: Apr 25
CONSECRATION AND DEDICATION OF THE AUBREYSHERVINGTON JACOBS LODGE
No. 9977 EC
November 26, 2022
by Veront M. Satchell, PAGDC,District Grand Chaplain.
“Let us now sing the praises of famous men, our ancestors in their generations. their glory will never be blotted out. 14Their bodies are buried in peace, but their names live on generation after generation. 15 The assembly declares their wisdom, and the congregation proclaims their praise”. [Ecclesiasticus, 33:14-15]
Introduction Brethren, this morning we are gathered to consecrate and dedicate the Aubrey Shervington Jacobs Lodge No. 9977,a memorial to Past District Grand Master of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, the Right Worshipful Brother, Doctor Aubrey Shervington Jacobs, DDS, CD. Brethren, buildings bearing the names of individuals are common. However the naming of an individual as patron of an institution or organisation such as a church, a school and indeed a Masonic Lodge however, are less common. Such an honour it would appear, is reserved for saints, martyrs, holy persons, and other persons whose lives were distinguished by self-sacrifice and exceptional achievements, demonstrated in their living out and espousing the tenets and principles of such an institution. To enshrine Aubrey Shervington Jacobs patron of this lodge is a testimony of his meritorious and most exceptional service to Freemasonry in Jamaica and demonstrates the high esteem and adoration in which he is held in this district. Family and Work life Aubrey Jacobs was born in Port Antonio, Portland on May 14, 1917 to Antiguan born Allan and Ina Jacobs, Salvation Army Officers. They soon became members of the ReligiousSociety of Friends(Quakers), Allan Jacobs becoming ministerof the Port Antonio meeting.1 The Quakers are well known as the earliest, and most persistent religious movements to condemn black enslavement. They are characterized by their life of humility and modesty and are avowed pacifists, strong advocates for peace, human rights, equality and freedom of conscience. Undoubtedly the teaching of Quakerism, coupled with the continued instilling of Christian, ethical and moral virtues by Rev. Allan Jacobs, at the breakfast table each morning, strongly influenced Aubrey and his siblings, five brothers and four sisters through life. recalls his father saying to him, 2 Indeed Aubrey
` “Your mother and I have very little of the material things to pass on to you. But we will endeavour to instil in all of you loving kindness, good behaviour, honesty, sincerity and the like. These virtues will constitute the basis of a good life. The worst thing that can happen to any of you is to encourage and develop poverty of spirit”. 3 There is no doubt that Aubrey’s family and religious values were to hone him into that warm, approachable, calm, and affable brother he was to become. From his earliest years in school Aubrey began distinguishing himself as a brilliant and ambitious scholar, who took great interest in the literary arts, he himself becoming an accomplished poet. On completing elementary school, well aware that his parents could not afford to send them to High School, Aubrey took the initiative and negotiated a work-study scholarship at the Quaker run Happy Grove high school in Portland. His daily tasks were menial but being taught that no work was demeaning, he worked zealously and diligently as groundsman, electrician, and school barber through high school. 4 Such work-scholarships and waiting tables during summer vacations, supplemented by the benevolence of several Quakers, were the means by which he financed his dental studies in the US at the Quaker affiliated Fisks University in Nashville, Tennessee and Howard University in Washington DC. 5
In the US he had to cope with Jim Crowism and the dark reality of white racism and even being spat upon. 6 On the brighter side he met two ladies who were to impact his life greatly. Eleanor Roosevelt, Humanitarian and social justice advocate with whom he worked on pressing civil rights issues and Pearl Soonak Kim, a Hawaiian dental student at Howard. The latter was to become his wife in 1945. The couple had one child, Nancy. 7 Back in Jamaica after graduating with the DDS from Howard in 1944, he worked his profession in schools and public clinics in St. Thomas, Portland, St Mary and St Catherine. Later he went into private practice. Before dentistry however, he worked as a teacher at his alma Mater, Happy Grove. 8 His earliest desire, however was to be a lawyer but soon decided on dentistry, despite his referring to it as a ‘hand to mouth profession. 9 Life in Freemasonry In September 1947 he was initiated into Freemasonry in the St Thomas Lodge No. 4338 but he was no stranger to fraternities, he was an active member of Court Manning Forester Lodge in Port Antonio. Quite fittingly his initiation ceremony took place in the Forrester Hall in Morant Bay since the StThomas Lodge Temple was under construction and there was none in Port Antonio. He remarked that the ceremony moved him so deeply as to inspire in him a life-long love affair with Masonry. 10 From a very early he began visiting and doing ritual work, two ingredients necessary for Masonic growth and development. He remembered that shortly after being Raised he did his first piece of ritual work, ‘the Charity Charge,’ which gained him high commendations. At the next Installation he was invested Junior Deacon, thus began his meteoric rise in
Freemasonry. In the following year he was made Junior Warden. On that night, a senior brother said to him, ‘Bro. Jacobs you are on your way.’ To which he replied with all humility, ‘No! I would have to first serve as Senior warden before I could be elected Master’ To which the brother replied, ‘I mean District Grand Master. You are DistrictGrand Master material”. 11 Aubrey responded with a hearty laugh. In December1951, four years after his initiation, he was elected and installed Worshipful Master of the St Thomas Lodge. He recalled that during his tenure he did all three degrees by himself, ‘not allowing anyone to share the work’. This he said gave him confidence. 12 His progress was indeed rapid. In late 1970, then District Grand Master Right Worshipful Brother Francis Haddon-Bowen nominated him Deputy District Grand Master. Aubrey tells us that when he was informed by Haddon-Bowen of his intention, he ‘thanked him for the offer but told him that there were at least five brethren whom I thought were more worthy of the position’. He stopped me immediately with these words, ‘Don’t call a single name, they have probably all been here to see me.’ I accepted and said, ‘I would like you to know that should you think of anyone else feel free to call me and tell me so… I will understand.’ ‘I am not going to think of anyone else’ was his reply.” . In January 1971 he was installed Deputy District Grand Master.13 After a year in the position, in 1972 with the passing of Haddon-Bowen, he was installed and invested District Grand Master of Jamaica, now District Grand Master of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, in fulfilment of the prediction made over two decades prior. After 21 years as District Grand Master he retired from that post. But by then he had co-founded several Lodges and chapters, passed through the chairs of Lodges, and most, if not all, chapters and orders in the fraternity, and senior-most member (joining or honorary) of most if not all, lodges in all three
constitutions: English, Irish and Scottish. He indeed was the first Freemason in Jamaica to earn Grand Rank from all three Constitutions, an astonishing achievement. At the time of his retirement he was Past Junior Grand Deacon, United Grand Lodge of England. He was indeed the highest ranking Mason in Jamaica at that time. W. Bro. Major General Green remarked that he (Aubrey Jacobs), led Freemasonry in Jamaica although he was only the leader of English Freemasons.14 His stellar achievement as District Grand Master was undoubtedly the Completion, Opening and Dedication of this Masonic Temple here at 45-47 Barbados Avenue in 1982.
He also completed a History of the Jamaica Masonic Benevolence Association 1882-1982. To this must be added,a steady hand in leading the district during changing times. He is howeverbest remembered for his eloquenceand oratorical skills, which were indeed legendary. It was W. Bro. James Moss-Solomon,
who commented that, to hear his brilliant recollection and recitation of all manner of poetry gives credence to assumption of including him with those traditionally educated at Eaton.15 Those brethren who knew him speak passionately of his deliveries, most often without a guiding script at Lodge installation ceremonies. His mastery of the english language, deep knowledge of the works of acclaimed poets and authors, coupled with his wit, they noted, made his addresses precious gems. Aubrey was not only an eloquent speaker but also an excellent vocalist, singing with renown choirs and chorales locally and college groups in the USA. What more can we say about this most talented man and illustrious brother who today we enshrine as patron of this new Lodge but, His life was gentle, His conduct exemplary, His mannerism courteous, His Professional competence ethical and humane, His personality approachable, and His vision clear 16 May TGAOTU aid the brethren of this Lodge by their words and actions, to exemplify the life and character of their patron,Aubrey Shervington Jacobs. 1 Aubrey S, Jacobs, A Journeyto Remember, Kingston: 2017, 14 2 Journey, 29; CitaAon in honour of R. W. Bro. Dr. Aubrey Shervington Jacobs DDS. PDGM; University Lodge of the West Indies no.7128, Third Commemora Ave Banquet, 28 November 1992; Jacob’s ladder, , 139 3 Journey, 29 4 Journey, 17, 19. 5 It was his iniAaldesire however to study Law. However he failed, the London MatriculaAon ExaminaAon, as the ‘Calculusin Higher Math’s paper proved too much for me.” Some blame for which he placed on the teacher, “as she herself was not competent enough to teach Calculus .” Journey, 20. 6 Journey, 58. 7 “Aubrey Jacobs,Years of Servicecomes to an end ”, The Daily Gleaner,Tuesday March 13, 2007 , 63,
8 Daily Gleaner, (2007), 63
9 “Mr A. Jacobs & Mss W. Jacobs Given Send Oﬀ,” The Daily Gleaner.Kingston. Jamaica August30, 1937, 23,
10 Aubrey Shervington Jacobs, Jacobs’ Ladder, One Man’sClimb in Freemasonry. Kingston Stephenson’s Litho Press, 1996; 1,2.
11Jacobs Ladder, 2,3.
12 Jacobs Ladder, 3,
13 Jacob’s Ladder, 19
14 “Preface,” Jacob’s Ladder, n.p.
15 ‘IntroducAon; Journey, 1.
16 “Aubrey Jacobs Years of Service, The Daily Gleaner, KingstonJamaica, Tuesday March 13, 2007. 63