The North Carolina Mason

May/June 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 3 Oxford, North Carolina May/June 2020 NORTH CAROLINA ■ see REALITY, page 2 VIRTUAL REALITY NC FREEMASON STYLE By Beth Grace Mason Editor Keep calm and carry on used to be just a fun slogan on posters and T-shirts. ese days, it's a marching order for the whole world. Since mid-March, the world has grown smaller, measured in square feet – from the home office to the kitchen to the living room and back. Lodges have gone dark, meetings were cancelled, and annual fundraisers (and the fun that goes with them) postponed or called off altogether. e Masonic community has taken a hit, along with the rest of the world. But it stands strong. e future is uncertain in many ways, but in the ways that count, says Grand Master Shaun Brad- shaw – it's not so different. "Our Craft has been around a very long time. It has weathered all types of concerns and issues and problems," he says. "ese are not the final days, just echoes of a pandemic. "We have a strong brotherhood and we will continue. In some ways, we'll be stronger for it." GM Bradshaw and the Grand Line officers have faced a reality no one has faced since 1918, when the Spanish Flu shut the world down. Unprecedented issues have put Grand Lodge leadership in a hard position: trying to predict an uncertain future with little historic precedent on which to rely. e average age of today's brother is in his early 60s, so the Craft is potentially more vulnerable to the virus. "e decisions I've made, I've made not for today but for the future," GM Bradshaw says. In March, he ordered lodges closed in accordance with the state of North Carolina's self-isolation policies "I'm trying to strike a careful balance, and frankly, I can't predict the future and the potential need for a lodge to meet, so I felt like I had to give them the ability to meet if they needed to, to conclude it's a possibility with some restric- tions." On March 16, GM Bradshaw alerted lodges that the state had issued guidelines covering face-to- face meetings, and he reminded lodges that under the Code, they could not meet without a quorum. He asked brothers to check on each other and determine if anyone within the Craft needed help. A few days later, as the spread of the virus rose and the state increased its guidelines for closures, he cancelled the remainder of his District Meet- ings. On April 29, he released a deeply researched, four-part

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