The North Carolina Mason

July/August 2020

North Carolina Mason

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By Beth Grace Mason Editor "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." Under a canopy of mature oaks on the east side of the Capitol in downtown Raleigh, some 200 North Carolina Freemasons gathered on June 13, 2020, to make history – and a stirring, public statement of brotherly love. at Saturday dawned a bit cooler than normal, with a slight breeze. Perfect weather for an historic gathering of brethren, white and Black, all clad in dark suits, white gloves and protective masks, to talk about fellowship, fairness, race and brotherhood. Only once before had these men met and made history in this place. On Nov. 21, 2008, they signed a "Compact of Mutual Recogni- tion." Both Grand Lodges on that day agreed to end generations of separation, recognizing each other and opening lodge meetings to each other. ey remain the only two Grand Lodges in the South to sign such a compact. Just like back then, not every brother was in favor of this gath- ering. Some feared it would appear that Masons were stepping into politics; others worried that any media coverage would misrepresent reality; some still object to the idea of mutual recognition. And, just like back then, all hoped the day would play out peacefully, even as merchants just down the street from the Capitol were still cleaning up glass and scrub- bing graffiti left behind from several nights of violent protest downtown. e protests in Raleigh and around the nation followed the death of George Floyd in Minnesota and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. But the gathering went off without a hitch. Even passersby who knew nothing about the event – a couple thought it might be a protest rally but were educated by brothers standing near the back – paused to listen to each Grand Master speak from the heart about the power of living according to Masonic teachings inside and outside of the lodge, and why it matters to the rest of the world. "We are here today, not because we all agree on the solutions to the injustices and divisions in our country, but because we understand the meaning, the hope, of brotherly love," said Most Worshipful Shaun Bradshaw, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, A.F. & A.M. "is tenet pushes us to see beyond those divisions, and as such, helps bring us together despite — and sometimes, because of — our differences. It unites us. … By coming together this afternoon we hope to show the citizens of our communities, our state, and our country, that it is better to be united against hate, intolerance, injustice, and violence. at our fraternity is stronger when we work together, that society is better when we work together, that we should build and unite, not destroy and divide. To embody the ideals of Brotherly Love so that our conversations and debates start from a place of respect and tolerance rather than fear and hatred. The Mason Official Publication of e Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina Volume 145 Number 4 Oxford, North Carolina July/August 2020 NORTH CAROLINA SPEECHES Read what the two Grand Masters had to say UNITY Joint statement issued by the Grand Lodges MORE INSIDE ■ see STAND, page 8 North Carolina Freemasonry Grand Lodges share historic moment at the Capitol The state's two Grand Masters, Daniel L. Thompson and Shaun Bradshaw, in a display of the unity found in Freemasonry.

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