The North Carolina Mason

September/October 2021

North Carolina Mason

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September/October 2021 The North Carolina Mason Page 5 From the Grand master Time passes; gratitude will last By R. David Wicker Jr. Grand Master I t was just a year ago that I sat down at the computer to write my first article for the NC Mason. I had not been installed as Grand Master and my year had not officially begun. It seemed as though it would be such a long time before my last article would be due. And yet, to my surprise, in the short space of an hour, the time is all exhausted. During my term as Grand Master, I have stressed that as a fraternity, we need to focus on marketing. Marketing is not the solicitation of new members. Marketing is how we present ourselves. My brothers, each of you is someone's example of a Freemason. You are someone's role model. As such, everything you do and say markets our fraternity. How you speak to others, how you act in public, how you treat others is a reflection of what our Fraternity stands for, what we teach, and what you have learned. You can either be a good marketer or a bad marketer. But you are always a marketer. My focus on marketing addressed three areas: community involvement; lodge stability; and re-establishing fraternalism. When our lodges are engaged in their communities in a positive way, they demonstrate why Freema- sonry is important in today's society. Our Masonic ritual is intended to teach lessons that make us better men. But it is not intended to do so in a vacuum. e lessons learned in Freemasonry are intended to make you a better man so that you can make the community, the state and even the nation a better place for all. Not everyone should be a Freemason, but Freemasonry, its principles, its philosophies, its values are for everyone. Community involvement is marketing. ere are endless ideas and opportunities to help. Sponsor a child's athletic team, a Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop. Your lodge can adopt a highway, sponsor a blood drive, volunteer at a soup kitchen or Meal on Wheels or Habitat for Humanity. But fulfill a need in your commu- nity. Let your community know that you are there to make a difference. It is through your actions that you will attract the good men you want to join your lodge. But, if you are known only as the old men in the building with no windows, you are marketing yourself out of business. We must provide for lodge stability, making certain your lodge is financially secure. Your lodge should have sufficient funds on hand to pay for the replacement of the roof and the HVAC system. If not, plan a fundraiser for the lodge. Financial security will not happen overnight. But you must make plans and move forward to provide that security. Otherwise, you are destined to lose your building. We must also be good stewards of our homes. Fifty years ago, every important businessman in town was a Freemason. Ask yourself if your lodge looks like a place where an important businessman in my community would go. If you are not doing regular maintenance to maintain the building, the good men you seek to attract will never knock at the door. Most importantly, we must re-establish fraternalism within Freemasonry. You must keep up with your members. You have to contact them when you are not asking for money. You have to let them know they are impor- tant. Let them know that you would like to have them back in the lodge. Update your contact information. Get a good phone number, address and email address. You cannot contact a member if you don't have their information. Also update the spouse's information. Let her know she is important as well. Remember, she is the one who will ask for funeral rites. Often, she is the one who pays the bills. Keep in contact with your widows. We took an obligation to aid and assist our widows and orphans. See that she is well. She shared her husband with the lodge for years; do not forget her now that he is gone. When you contact your members, their spouses or their widows, you are marketing that we are a caring fraternity. But when you fail to do this, you are also marketing. You are sending a message that we care for nothing but the payment of dues. You are saying that we are here only to initiate, pass and raise someone to send us a check. If you fail at fraternalism, you are again marketing yourself out of business. But remember, we must also guard the West Gate. We do not need members, we need Masons. For too long, just to add anyone to our rolls, we have lowered our standards and allowed ourselves to defend the indefensible, to accept the unacceptable and tolerate the intolerable. Freemasonry is better than this. We must attract those who truly want to be transformed by our Fraternity. I want to thank Amran, Oasis and Sudan Shriners for their support this year. I want to thank the York and Scottish Rites for the support as well. Remember, this is not a competition. We all do well when we work together and support each other. I offer a special thanks to the Master, Wardens, Officers and Masons of my home lodge, Oak Grove #750. ere are too many names to mention individually. eir efforts were a key factor in making my year as Grand Master a success. Words cannot adequately express what your friendship means to me. Anticipating that my schedule will not be as hectic as this year, I look forward to being in lodge on a more regular basis. I would like to thank my Grand Lodge Officers for their continued support of my year. You each bring a special talent to the officer line. ose combined talents make our officer line one of the strongest in the country. I also want to thank the Past Grand Masters and their families for your support. We stand upon the shoulders of great leaders like you. It would be impossible for our Grand Lodge to have the respect it does and a reputation for leadership in Freemasonry across the nation without the work of our office staff. I would like to thank Right Worshipful Brother Walt Clapp, Past Grand Secretary; Right Worshipful Brother Jonathan Underwood, Grand Secre- tary; and the staff: Vicki Lam; Hayley Moll; and Matthew Robbins for the support each has given me this year. Each does so much for our fraternity and I cannot thank them enough. None of this would be possible if were not for Most Worshipful Brother Dalton W. Mayo. A very special thank you to my Masonic Father for appointing me to this line. I hope that my travel through the Grand Lodge Officer Line ■ see WICKER, page 7 You can either be a good marketer or a bad marketer. But you are always a marketer.

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