Of Biblical proportions…

By on May 15, 2019

What’s it like to hold a Bible that’s been used by our nation’s first president?

Just ask Bill Oehme of Lititz.

Oehme, who’s a member of several Scottish and York Rite bodies as well as a Past Master of Manheim Lodge No. 587, had the honor when the book made a stop at the Ephrata Lodge #665 recently.

The Bible was first used by George Washington when he was initiated into Freemasonry in Virginia’s Lodge #4 in November 1752. Back then, the future president was only 20 years of age when he took the oath to become a Brother in the Fredericksburg lodge. He would pass to the second degree on March 3, 1753, and later became a Master Mason on Aug. 4, 1753.

“Two friends of mine who are members of Ephrata Lodge No. 665 told me about the Washington Obligation Bible coming to Ephrata Lodge for their April Stated Meeting,” Oehme said. “Knowing my interest in history, they thought I would be interested in attending.”

Bill Oehme with the Washington Bible.

But due to limited seating, only a fixed number of tickets were available. Oehme was fortunate enough to obtain one.

“Naturally I was very inspired to be holding a 350 year-old Bible, especially one that a young twenty-year old George Washington placed his hands on while taking his Masonic oaths in 1762,”

Oehme added. “During the meeting, I would often look toward the altar and visualize a young George Washington kneeling there with his hands on the Bible.”

The Bible, which for years has been under the care of the Fredericksburg, Virginia Lodge No. 4, makes only seldom appearances in the public.

Oehme would like to thank Todd Hoak, Worshipful Master of Ephrata Lodge No. 665, for his efforts in bringing the bible to the area.

Cory Van Brookhoven is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your comments at cvanbrookhoven@lnpnews.com or 717-721-4423.

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