The North Carolina Mason

November/December 2020

North Carolina Mason

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Page 2 The North Carolina Mason November/December 2020 INSTALLATION, from page 1 Photos by Michael Harding He wore a brand new, specially designed Grand Master's apron. e North Carolina-themed apron features a silhouette of the state, the southeastern NC-native Venus Flytrap, dogwoods, and a pinecone – a reference to the state tree, the Longleaf Pine. He worked on the design with Jonathan Underwood, assistant to the Grand Secretary. As he stepped to the podium to deliver his address, he smiled and said, "It sets differently from this side." e Grand Master stated that, like every other Mason who comes into the Fraternity, he was told that "even the purple of the Fraternity may rest upon your honored shoul- ders." At the time, he did not under- stand what that meant. He went on to say that once he understood the meaning, as with the other Grand Masters who have preceded him, he never envisioned himself becoming Grand Master. He took a moment to thank outgoing Grand Master Shaun Bradshaw for leading the Craft through this pandemic year. MW Bradshaw got all of the hard tasks and "none of the benefits," GM Wicker said. "You have been rolling the ball uphill all year. I hope I can live up to what you have done." GM Wicker thanked those who helped make the day run well, including a host of Past Grand Masters, the leadership of the Amran, Sudan and Oasis Shrine, and many others. He gaveled the meeting to an end with two gavels, both of which his wife Susan had fashioned by an Oxford cabinetmaker from pieces of a pecan tree that fell at MHCO some years ago. By Rev. Mark M. Vickers Past Grand Chaplain Here we go again! A start to a new year and the hope that Masonic work and interaction will regain its composure and slowly return to what it will be. As I finished up last year as the Grand Chaplain, I figured out that my "go to" verse in the Holy Writings came from Isaiah 9:10, "The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with smooth stones, the Sycamores have been cut down, but we will replace them with Cedars." As I reflected upon 2020, the pandemic, the social injustice, the radical weather occurrences, and the like, I was filled with a notion of hope and anticipation that something greater will come. The prophet Isaiah is recorded to have written these words in the midst of great despair in a time of, what was then, worldly destruction. But in the midst of this destruction and calamity came the hope that new things would appear. They would not be the same old stones nor the same old trees, but new smooth stones, stronger than the ones that had been used. They would be new tall Cedars that would tower over the people and provide them shade and cover. I, too, find this hope as I reflect upon what 2021 will bring to us as Masons, or better yet, based on our obligations, what we will bring to the world. It will be hard pressed to live through another year like 2020, but as Masons we must be prepared and excited to bring Masonry into 2021. We must show the world what it means to be "smooth" in ashlar style, we must show the world what it means to be towering, protective, and life giving in Cedar style. We have our work cut out for us as Masons. But I, as I hope you are, hopeful that we can achieve just that! That we can show the world, through our daily lives, our commu- nity and charitable involvement, and through our personal devotions that we are smooth and tall. That we have something worth giving to a broken world. That we have something to share with men who seek "more light" in their lives and need a place to turn. May we be that beacon of hope and that provider that we have taken on ourselves and share it with a world that so desperately needs light! I am grateful to have been asked to continue my thoughts and musings as we continue in 2021 and I am grateful to be a Mason in North Carolina. PRAYER: Grand Architect of the Universe, may we approach the newness of a new year with hope, anticipation, and excitement to share with the world, the smoothness, the tall and strong attributes, and the light that we bring. May 2021 be a year of hope and completion in all that we seek and all that we sow. SO MOTE IT BE! AMEN. DEVOTIONAL CORNER Installing Grand Officer Past Grand Master Gene Jernigan is escorted by new Grand Master R. David Wicker Jr.'s sons, Colby and Lance. LEFT: Grand Line Officers prepare for installa- tion. ABOVE: Due to attendance restrictions, the service was also livestreamed this year.

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