The North Carolina Mason

March/April 2020

North Carolina Mason

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Page 2 The North Carolina Mason March/April 2020 SLOW LANE, from page 1 widows and to their communities. GM Bradshaw reminded brothers in his order that this was the perfect time to reach out. "I would encourage you to take this opportunity to remain in contact with your brothers and widows. We will be in touch with updates, plans, and notifications as the situation further develops." At Grassy Knob #471, brethren took that advice to heart. ey called all 16 of their widows to check to see if anyone needed anything, said Junior Warden Neil Hayes. "ey were all good. While on the phone with them, I shared the MESH Outreach program. Most said they do not need anything at this time but two were needing some help. … I hope MESH can help these ladies." At least two entities offered opportunities for virtual education during the virus isolation period. On March 24, the NC Masonic Research Society offered a virtual presentation from Worshipful Brother Jason Richards, co-host of the Masonic Roundtable podcast. Mosaic #762 went virtual almost immediately, offering a livestreamed Zoom event on March 17 featuring Worshipful Grand Steward Michael Register for his presentation, "e Power of Freemasonry." Fifty-two brothers participated. Grand Master Bradshaw has called for a joint effort between the Grand Lodge ad-hoc IT Committee, the Grand Secretary's office and the Virtual Lodge Exploration Team to create virtual meeting opportunities that will be private and protected. A plan for a virtual Annual Communication also will be on the drawing board – just in case. Meanwhile, unprecedented precautions were in place at our two charitable homes. At MHCO, the campus was to remain closed and events cancelled through the month of April, Administrator Kevin Otis said. e closure order exempted residents, essential employees, mail/delivery people, emergency personnel and counselors and DSS workers as necessary and if not able to see residents via telehealth. Employees off campus were encouraged to support operations from home as much as possible and movement between buildings was limited to necessary functions. Child care workers on campus were required to meet with the campus nurse, take their tempera- ture, and self-report any exposure or symptoms. e School of Graphic Arts, which prints the NC Mason, continued its work with self- distancing and hand-washing proto- cols in place. At WhiteStone, the health, safety, and well-being of residents and employees is the top priority, said Executive Director Mark Lewis. WhiteStone early on established a Coronavirus Task Force to address the numerous issues created by this fast-spreading illness. e task force is comprised of resident and staff leaders, which has provided great dialogue and input on pressing issues. As a result, WhiteStone has implemented a number of measures to improve infection control and preventative prac- tices. Guidance also is coming from state and federal officials and the task force. It's a truly collaborative approach, he said. In addition to social distancing and handwashing, residents at presstime were asked to stay on campus, refrain from having visi- tors, and avoid large groups and personal contact. e campus was generally closed to visitors but exceptions included end-of-life and other emergent situations determined by the executive director or health care administrator. All on-campus activities and outside entertainers were cancelled indefinitely, as were off-site trips. But the community life services team was working on alternate in-home activities for residents. e main dining room and bistro were closed, although both venues were open for pickup meals or deliv- eries. Shopping services were made available for essential groceries and supplies and the resident SARA alert system remained operating with prompt response. Elsewhere across the Craft, brethren shared news via Facebook, Instagram and email. e North Carolina Masonic Foundation released a statement assuring all, including lodges that invest through NCMF and all of those whose gifts fund scholarships and other funds, that their money was in good hands and weathering Editor's Note: All of these orders and rules were in effect at presstime; changes are inevitable – and expected – as the world and national situations change. Watch these sites for updates: On Facebook, regularly check the Masonic Home for Children, WhiteStone, Grand Lodge, NCMF and NC Mason pages. March 16, 2020 An important message from the Grand Master: Brethren, I hope this message finds you happy and healthy. In light of recent events, the spread of COVID-19, and upon the recommendations of our local, state, and federal governments, 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 meetings and Masonic gatherings cease at high twelve on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 until further notice. I would encourage you to take this opportunity to remain in contact with your brothers and widows. We will be in touch with updates, plans, and notifications as the situation further develops. Though the business of the Grand Lodge will continue, the Grand Lodge Office has been closed to non-fraternally related visitors and tourists. Stay safe, keep healthy, remember each other, and keep the light! Sincerely and fraternally, Shaun Bradshaw Grand Master ■ see COVID-19 next page

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