The North Carolina Mason

March/April 2020

North Carolina Mason

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The Mason Official Publication of e Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina Volume 145 Number 2 Oxford, North Carolina March/April 2020 NORTH CAROLINA ■ see SLOW LANE page 2 LIFE in the lane SLOW By Beth Grace Mason Editor Nobody wanted to make history this way. But history was made in March when the novel coronavirus made landing in the United States and sent all of us indoors for an indefinite hibernation. Grand Master Shaun Bradshaw, after a week of Craft-wide alerts asking brethren to be careful, be aware and exercise an abundance of caution, made the hard call on March 16. "In light of recent events, the spread of COVID-19, and upon the recommenda- tions of our local, state, and federal govern- ments, it is my Order that all Freemasons and lodges in this Grand Jurisdiction conform to the recommendations and civil law of the land, and that all lodge meet- ings and Masonic gatherings cease at high twelve on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, until further notice," he wrote. Lodges statewide complied and even the Grand Lodge in Raleigh locked its doors – while staff continue to work inside, maintaining proper distances. e GL cut staffing to two people at a time on March 20. e other two staff worked from home using remote access. Both the Masonic Home for Children and WhiteStone: A Masonic and Eastern Star Community had to make the call to restrict visitors. Business continued at the School of Graphic Arts on the MHCO campus, but access to the building was restricted. Davie Academy and Wilk- erson College sessions were postponed as were education meetings to help lodges applying for Lion & Pillar honors. is is the first time a sitting Grand Master in North Carolina has issued a statewide order closing lodges and cancel- ling meetings, says Jonathan Underwood, assistant Grand Secretary. Individual districts called for their lodges to close at times during the 1918 flu pandemic that infected about a third of the world's popu- lation. ere's no evidence in proceedings from that year that the Grand Master issued a blanket closure order. At presstime in late March, while Masons self-isolated, many still offered a helping hand to their lodge brethren, COVID-19 virus shuts down lodges, but not Freemasonry Sign posted on the road into the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford with notice that the campus is closed to visitors.

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