Sudan Shrine Center received its dispensation on July 13, 1916. On June 26, 1917, the charter for Sudan was issued at a meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They conducted their first Stated meeting under the charter on September 26, 1917 and at that time had 607 nobles as members.
Over the years, the membership grew rapidly and for several years, Sudan has ranked in the top five of all Shrine Centers within Shriner's International. Their initial home in New Bern was set up in a home and in 1951 the current facility located at 403 East Front Street was opened with a membership 0f 5117. The building was expanded with a new office suite complex and dormitory added and dedicated in 1956. In 1983, membership had climbed to an astounding 11,161, the most in Sudan history.
Sudan over the years had suffered damages from the many hurricanes that ravaged the east cost almost on a yearly basis. In September 2019, Hurricane Florence caused havoc and unbelievable damage to an already older facility. The storm left four feet of water in the 44,000 square foot structure for several days destroying all the original utilities in the building with the entire bottom floor contents being destroyed. The Shrine Center at this time is vacant as the Divan and membership are faced with decisions on how to recover and maintain a bright future for Sudan Shriners. Without a doubt, this facility has been a landmark for the City of New Bern and a home to thousands of Sudan Shriner's and their families in many ways.
Annual ceremonials with elections of officers, initiation of new nobles and countless festive ceremonials from 1951-2019 were conducted every year in this historic masonic facility. Many a high school prom, wedding reception, miniature train displays, and other civic events have shared their moments within. Some members reminisce about spending nights in the dormitory areas during the annual ceremonial events.
All in all, the memories are all good in that we completed our goals for our mission – caring for that special child who needed us! One of Sudan’s legacies as well as other Shrine Center’s in North Carolina is the extremely noteworthy close working relationship with the Grand Lodge of North Carolina and the other Masonic bodies within the state. As earlier stated, our current Sudan endeavor is to establish a home for our Noble’s that will be stable and long-lasting!
Sudan Shriners currently has 36 individual clubs and 44 Units. Some clubs have as few as 8 members and some with over 170 members. Unit sizes have varied numbers based on their locations in conjunction with the club numbers.