The North Carolina Mason

November/December 2021

North Carolina Mason

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November/December 2021 The North Carolina Mason Page 5 From the Grand master Freemasonry ʼ s future is up to us By Larry B. ompson, Jr. Grand Master F or the past 20 months, we have been reeling from the punches of a global pandemic and we may not fully know the true impact for years to come. Some of our members have become indif- ferent and have gotten out of the habit of attending lodge meetings, while others are truly concerned about potential exposure and have chosen to limit their activities. Many of our brothers have worked tirelessly to ensure that our communities and our lodges maintained some semblance of order in the face of ongoing challenges; to those men, we shall be forever grateful. We are beginning to see a new horizon in a world that is not quite post-COVID, but that is getting ever closer. It is up to us, now, to decide what this world will look like. It is up to us to decide what Freemasonry will look like. We have a wonderful opportunity before us to re-engage our members, strengthen our fraternal ties, grow our membership, and become relevant once again in our communities. is will not happen without focused efforts. It is up to each of us to help revitalize our lodges and gain a renewed sense of purpose and relevancy in 2022. It is my desire to see our lodges imple- ment a planned approach to re-engaging the craft, creating a quality lodge experience, and enjoying the growth that they deserve. I would suggest concentrating on five action items that have proven to generate success for our lodges in the past: Personal Contact, Quality Lodge Experience, Membership Selec- tion, Mentoring, and Community Involvement. Each of these action items work together and should be implemented simultaneously. Personal Contact Are your lodge officers making phone calls to your members and the widows of our deceased brothers? If not, why not? As a Craft, we have talked about the importance of this for years. Don't make our cherished brothers and widows wait a moment longer to hear from us. Create a calling committee today! It is imperative that we contact our members and widows on a regular basis. ese have been challenging times and there may be needs that we could help with. If you have members who have not attended a meeting recently, ask them to commit to attending a minimum of four meetings next year. If you ask, they will come. ality Lodge Experience is is not difficult and there are so many opportunities. We need to provide our members with a reason to come to lodge other than simply paying our bills. If your lodge does not provide a program of interest at each meeting, start there. Our Grand Lodge website has a plethora of educa- tional resources that can be used and there are brothers on our Speakers Bureau who are willing to come to you. Take advantage of those resources. When it comes to our degree work, have you considered altering the lighting (candlelight) or adding music? A candlelight degree with music is impressive and leaves a lasting impression upon the candidate. Does your building look uninviting or, worse yet, run down? Create a lodge improvement project. Nothing generates interest and excite- ment like a lodge project where the appearance of your property is improved or drastically altered. is is an opportunity that also qualifies you for the Grand Masters Lodge of Excellence level within the Lion and Pillar program. Need help? Matthew Robbins, NC Grand Lodge Outreach Coordinator, will help you create a vision and plan that will improve your lodge aesthetics on a budget. Membership Selection One of the byproducts of an active lodge with members who become excited about the direction that they are headed is new member petitions. Enthusiasm is contagious. Our biggest responsibility during the process is selecting those men who will be a good fit for our lodges. Unfortunately, not every man is a good candidate for Freemasonry, and it is our job to thoroughly vet every man who knocks on our door. As you have heard before, we can take good men and make them better, but we cannot make good men – especially those who are not prepared for the transformative process that our system of degrees offers. Guard the West Gate. Mentoring I recently received a two-page email from a brother who was raised in 2020. He was intrigued by an article Beth Grace published in the last issue of the NC Mason. Sadly, this brother had more questions than answers and it was apparent that he did not have a good mentor during his advancement through the degrees. Once you have new members coming in it is imperative that we take the time to assign them a good mentor. is can be someone in addition to their coach. e Lodge System of Masonic Education is a valuable tool in this process. It is available on the NC Grand Lodge website for download and printing, or you can connect the candidate to the podcasts which are available through the same web page. is system had all of the answers to the questions I was asked by this brother! Community Involvement Sadly, we are not as relevant in our commu- nities as we used to be. I often ask where the local Masonic lodge is located when I visit towns in my travels. Most people do not know what I am referring to. We need to be involved in our communi- ties. Your lodge should be participating in every community event that is open to you. In ■ see THOMPSON, page 7 re·viv·al /rəˈvīvəl/ noun 1. an improvement in the condition or strength of something. ❍ an instance of something becoming popular, active, or important again. ❍ a new production of an old play or similar work.

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