Archive Photo of Rebekah Lodge and IOOF Members
By Craig Baird
January 28, 2014, is a very special day in Gull Lake. It is an anniversary one century in the making, of one of the most important organizations in the town’s history.
It was on Jan. 28, 1914, with the Degree Team from the Olive Branch Rebekah Lodge in attendance from Moose Jaw, that six women from Gull Lake banded together to create the Maple Leaf Rebekah Lodge #28 in Gull Lake.
Comprised of three sisters (Lillian Sinclair, Elizabeth Morrison and Kay Hutton) and three brothers (G.R. Hutton, J.E. Martins and G. Patridge), these charter members formed into the organization that has lasted 100 years in town.
Lillian Sinclair would be the very first Noble Grand for the Lodge, and only five short years later she would reach the post of President of the Rebekah Assembly of Saskatchewan. In June of 1919, when she was elected president, she was given the Decoration of Chivalry. She would be the first-degree captain from the Gull Lake Lodge, and the district would be named after her. She would also receive the very first Veterans Jewel ever presented by a Rebekah Lodge in Saskatchewan.
Beginning in 1914, meetings were held every first and third Thursday night. In 1917, the meetings would be changed to the second and fourth Mondays, starting at 8 p.m. For the next 90 years, meetings would be held on that schedule before moving to the fourth Monday at 2 p.m. in 2008.
Dues were $2 per year at the first meeting, a cost that only rose to $27 per year by 2010.
The organization quickly grew from its beginnings in 1914.
Within the first year, 36 members joined the Lodge; a rate of roughly two to three new people initiated at every meeting through the year.
The Degree Staff of the Maple Leaf Rebekah Lodge #28 has also helped with the institution of the Patricia Rebekah Lodge in Maple Creek and the Rebekah Lodge in Shaunavon.
The Rebekah Lodge has supported many projects in town over the years, including operating an Education Foundation to help further the education of the young people of Gull Lake through scholarships, bursaries, and more. There was also the SOS Village funded in Cambodia, and donations to the United Nations Pilgrimage for Youth, Arthritis Society, and the World Hunger and Disaster Fund.
In 1984, they helped purchase an Octopus 2000 R. Eye machine for the Opthalmology Department at the University Hospital in Saskatoon.
Within Gull Lake, they also support the Senior Taxi, Meals on Wheels, Donor’s Choice Canvas, the library, museum, Special Care Home, Autumn House, and the Gull Lake Ambulance.
The club has had the honour of having three Presidents of the Rebekah Assembly of Saskatchewan, including the already-mentioned Sinclair in 1919, Gertie Hutchings in 1935, and Sandra Benallack in 2002.