The North Carolina Mason

November/December 2021

North Carolina Mason

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November/December 2021 The North Carolina Mason Page 3 By Beth Grace Mason Editor For the newest member of the Grand Line, it's all about passion. Passion to serve. Passion to work. Passion for Masonry. Clyde Alvin Billings Jr. – better known to brethren simply as Alvin – came to Masonry a bit later than others, but he has been around and influenced by the Craft all his life. His grandfa- ther and father were Masons. And of course … there was the ashtray. "I would go to see my grandfather – he died when I was 24 – and he would pull out his Masonic ashtray. I still have it. He would bring it out only for me. I never asked why he did that. I learned later, after he died, was that he pulled it out so that I would ask. In the old days, to become a Mason, you had to ask the question three times. He wanted me to ask. "Now, my dad was big in the Shrine and at the time, I felt Masonry was his generation's game. "I never felt part of his crowd, so I never asked the question. Fast forward to 2008 and we're eating Christmas Eve dinner. My dad tells me that he had a great time at a Shrine event … then says you have to be a Mason first. I asked him: 'How do you become a Mason?' "'What are you asking me?' He made me ask two more times. "He says, 'It's about time.' He called his friend Don Kehler and says, 'Well, I finally got him.' Billings, now a past master of Bula #409, past District Deputy Grand Master and Illustrious Potentate, filled out his petition in January 2009. He was raised the following May. at same year, he joined the Shrine and Scottish Rite. He later joined York Rite. He began to work at his Craft, and he worked hard. He moved through the chairs in his lodge, took on some Grand Lodge assignments and rose through Amran Shriners. "e passion factor was always there. I wasn't thinking about legacy. I wanted to serve." As he served, he found a special connection with both of our Masonic homes. He had no connection to WhiteStone: A Masonic and Eastern Star Community until his father moved in late in life. e kindness of the staff and managers there, and the friendships his father formed while living there, filled Brother Alvin's heart. His connection to the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford was immediate. e annual MHCO Homecoming Parade and the Christmas festivities that included visits with the kids in their cottages drew him in immedi- ately. His appointment to the Grand Line came as a surprise. He says he and new Grand Master Larry B. ompson have been friends for years. "I knew Larry before he had a beard," he says with a smile. He says the Grand Master asked him during dinner at the summer Board of General Purposes meeting in June. "I was in shock. My wife Fran and I talked it over for a full day before I called Larry that Sunday night." Brother Alvin has been married to Fran for 39 years. ey have two daughters and are expecting their first grandchild in May 2022. His goals during the next years as he moves up the line: "Be active, be passionate, be seen. I've visited about 70 lodges – I've got about 300 to go. I'll hit every lodge in North Carolina before I'm done." Goal for new Steward: Be active, passionate Alvin Billings Jr. speaking at the Annual Communication By Steven A. Campbell Grand Historian Our fraternity is centuries old and time tested. We should never question the intentions of any man who makes the sincere commitment of becoming a Freemason. e tenets of brotherly love, truth and relief are well known to all. Perhaps, however, one important facet we tend to overlook is one of the cornerstones of Freemasonry: that of developing leaders. For whilst equality is a virtue of our Fraternity, a lodge needs to be led or it will flounder. A lodge is a forum for the development of leadership. roughout the world's history, Freemasons have led the way when called upon by mankind and have done their duty. e officers of each lodge are that lodge's leaders and it is they who, along with contributing members, must fulfill their duties so that a lodge may flourish and not wilt away. As a man decides to assume an officer's chair in a lodge his responsibilities increase, and as it is the duty of each member to be a positive, supportive, and productive Freemason, so it is also the duty of each officer to fulfill their responsi- bilities to the Fraternity, the lodge and its members. Going "through the chairs" is not something to be taken lightly. e men who are elected by their fellow brethren to serve as lodge officers take on the mantle of leadership and responsibility to perform those duties prescribed. Each one of us in each lodge look to our officers to "do the right thing" – to faithfully perform those duties as a good leader, making our lodges better, and to properly prepare the men who are to follow them to be good leaders. For if they fail to do so, here is dwindling hope for the continued success of our Fraternity. Hence as a member or as a serving officer, always endeavor to do your duty. *NOTE: If your lodge would like to schedule a Masonic-related program from the Grand Historian, please contact me either through the Grand Lodge Speakers Bureau site at https:// or by email at From the Grand Historian Masons always endeavor to do our duty

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