The North Carolina Mason

November/December 2021

North Carolina Mason

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Page 4 The North Carolina Mason November/December 2021 T h e m i s s i o n o f f r e e m a s o n r y i n n o r T h C a r o l i n a i s T o r a i s e T h e m o r a l , s o C i a l , i n T e l l e C T u a l , a n d s p i r i T u a l C o n s C i e n C e o f s o C i e T y b y T e a C h i n g T h e a n C i e n T a n d e n d u r i n g p h i l o s o p h i C a l TeneTs of broTherly love, relief, and TruTh, whiCh are expressed ouTwardly Through serviCe To god, family, CounTry, and self under The faTherhood of god wiThin The broTherhood of man. (USPS 598-260) is published bimonthly by e Grand Lodge of AF & AM of North Carolina, 2921 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27608. ird class postage paid at Oxford, NC 27565. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to e North Carolina Mason, School Of Graphic Arts, Masonic Home for Children, Oxford, NC 27565. Grand Master Larry B. ompson Jr. Board Of Publication omas Pope Tony Rathbone Alvin Billings Mike Register Philip Miller Editor Beth Grace Good quality pictures are essential for suitable reproduction. e right to reject any submission is reserved. Pictures will be returned to the sender only if accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Email submissions are preferred: high resolution, unaltered JPGs and Rich Text Format documents only. Submissions and other correspondence should be sent to the editor at 2921 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh, NC 27608 or Each North Carolina Mason is a subscriber to The North Carolina Mason. If you know a member who is not receiving the paper, please send us his full name, complete address, and the name and number of his lodge. Masonic widows receive The Mason free upon request. Subscriptions are available to others at a rate of $5 per year. Subscription inquiries and address changes only should be sent to: e School of Graphic Arts, Masonic Home for Children, 600 College Street, Oxford, North Carolina 27565. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The North Carolina Mason, the Grand Lodge, or Board of Publications. Grand Master Larry B. ompson Jr. Deputy Grand Master Kevan D. Frazier Senior Grand Warden Donald E. Kehler Junior Grand Warden Robert W. Rideout ................. Grand Treasurer Lewis R. Ledford (PGM) ............... Grand Secretary Jonathan Allen Underwood .... Senior Grand Deacon Steve M. Norris ....................... Junior Grand Deacon Gilbert D. Bailey Grand Marshal Michael A. Register Grand Steward Philip R. Johnson ............................ Junior Grand Steward Clyde Alvin Billings Jr. Judge Advocate T. Marcus Browne III Grand Tyler Joel M. Howard Grand Chaplain James G. Jones Jr. Grand Historian Steven A. Campbell Grand Lecturer Randy Browning Grand Orator Worth Leon Rippy NORTH CAROLINA The Mason From the editor's desk You only get one shot at making a last impression D ear 2021: Get out. Go. Don't let the door hit ya on the way out. I don't know how you feel, but I'll be glad to see the tail end of this hard year, this second year of what feels like an endless pandemic, the social distancing, the masks in decorator colors over (and under) noses of all sizes, the videos of random angry people screaming at clerks, flight crews and fellow shoppers over some slight – real or imagined. I feel like we all need a year off. Somewhere warm, with sand between the toes and a palm tree swaying. Perhaps a libation with an umbrella nearby. e year has been hard on everyone. Some brethren lost jobs, lost their health, lost loved ones. But even in that loss, I am finding a light, a hope for the new year. I give credit for that to my friend, Worshipful Brother omas Pope of Stedman #730. He and I have bonded over the years over our past as ink-stained newspaper reporters and in our work together on the Board of Publications. He called me recently to tell me that his beloved father had passed. He was feeling the pain, of course, but told me that he had found a way forward by performing his Masonic rites. I did what writers do: I asked him to write about why such rites are important, and why he did what he did. He did more than that. He wrote from the heart, and shared a video his daughter shot as he performed the rites, by heart, in the family's church. Here's what omas says: I've been performing Masonic funeral rites for 16 years. To be able to serve a brother who wanted a Masonic farewell is a blessing, and to not have that opportunity is heartbreaking. Worse, though, is this: Prominent members of lodges in my district opted against Masonic rites because "if enough guys don't show up," it would embarrass the fraternity. My motivation for learning the ceremony was to ensure I would be able to honor my father's request for such when he was called home. His grandfathers and father were Masons, and their influences, combined with spiritual faith, helped make my dad the exemplary man he was. It would literally be the last thing I could do for him, no matter the emotional hurdle to overcome. Dad was 89 when he died Sept. 30. He was a Master Mason for 67 years, and his was the most Masonic funeral I've ever witnessed. Two of the three speakers Dad chose, including a minister who had been a student of his at Meth- odist University, are Master Masons. As the service drew to a close, a heavy rainstorm arrived. I saw it as a blessing from above. e deluge allowed me to deliver a powerful message to a church whose pews were filled when only a handful would 've endured the down- pour at the cemetery. omas offered one last thought: You only get one chance to make a first impression. By the same token, you get one chance to make a last impression, too. What message about your Masonic experience will you convey when you're gone? Do you want the world to know you believed Masonry made you a better man? Without Masonic rites, you are, in essence, implying it didn't. Sending wishes to all for a brighter, lighter 2022, filled with hope, fellowship and love. By Beth Grace Editor Take a look at Brother Thomas' video here:

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