The North Carolina Mason

January/February 2022

North Carolina Mason

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 7 of 11

Page 8 The North Carolina Mason January/February 2022 ■ see HISTORIAN, page 9 Change is here; are you ready for the revival? N o one can argue that things do not change. Sometimes the process is welcomed, sometimes it's dreaded. e mere thought of change is sometimes more difficult to comprehend than the actual change itself. It takes a certain amount of courage to embrace a new way of doing something. I recall as a child sitting on the third pew, right-hand side of the church during a congregational meeting—probably one of the first I ever attended. e church was in need of sprucing up inside and out. e HVAC system was shot. e windows needed caulking. e carpet was looking shabby. And the cemetery was overrun with gnarled tree roots and runaway ground cover. As the elders and deacons discussed — and debated — these upgrades, the tone of their voices changed, growing louder at times, more harsh at others. "My grandmother made those cushions," came one reply. "Granddad planted those trees!" came another. A cadre of elderly ladies objected to the repainting of the sanctuary, claiming, "Our fathers painted the walls this color when we were children, you can't change that!" Our minister's weary eyebrow remained raised as he worked to moderate the chatter, but by the end of the session little was set for change or alteration. As the talk subsided a gentleman looked about the room. He was relatively new to the church. His face was flustered, but he raised his hand to speak — one of the few following the rules of the meeting. e minister recognized him, and he stood and eloquently (but briefly) explained to the congregation that change was necessary and the improvements presented would benefit each of them. When murmurs and some louder voices chided him for being a newcomer and ignorant of our tradi- tions, he raised his hands and looked over the congregation. "Friends!" he said, "All I can say is that thank God I joined this church AFTER you all decided to use toilet paper!" As we move into 2022, everyone is looking forward to a new beginning. e past two years of pandemic, social unrest, and economic shifts have forced us to rethink all aspects of our lives — and Freemasonry is no different. But change, by and large, has proved beneficial. More than ever, our brethren made efforts to reach out to each other to stay in contact. Younger generations taught older generations to use technology to stay in touch and even meet virtually online. Because of social distancing, lodges became creative and moved outdoors (as we once met anciently) and conducted degree work and even business. Districts became "smaller" and lodges banded together to host fundraisers for local members and our charities. Educational programs hosted online united men across conti- nents and time zones. Our Annual Communication moved into new, larger quarters and mastered its technological hurdles to provide a remarkable meeting. We are still realizing other changes and making sense of them. We know membership is declining and some lodges are closing, but declining membership and lodge closures are not indicative of poor institutional health. Demographics change. Popula- tions shift. We have opportunities before us to plant new lodges in growing cities geared toward giving back. We're definitely within a para- digm shift and our ability to pivot and address issues as they arise will serve us better than clinging to "the way we've always done it." To quote Grand Master ompson, we're ready for a revival — for new growth, new direction, and new opportunities. Our brotherhood — our friend- ship — is the constant in our lives. Our ritual unites us on our path as brethren. e rest is just details. Are you ready for change? Are you ready for the revival? By Jonathan Underwood Grand Secretary Do not despair for united we are one By Steven Campbell Grand Historian rough morality, spirituality, ethics, integrity, comradeship and honor, Freemasonry offers good men the opportunity to become better men and to make the world a better place – no matter their creed, nationality or race. We historians seek facts, and the fact is that when I look about a Lodge room, I see a vestige of Masonic experience and a most promising future for our nation and our fraternity. For you see, those men who came before us, many of them Freemasons, created the blueprint for our republic through their deeds and actions. We should strive to maintain those values we know to be right, endeavoring to pass them along to future generations. And though we live in the present, there was a past from which we can learn, and there shall be a future for which we can prepare using the blueprint provided us. Perhaps echoes from the past will prepare us for difficult times and the future, so let me share with you some of those words. From perhaps our most esteemed American, Brother George Wash- ington: "Let prejudices and local interest yield to reason. Let us look to our national character and to things beyond our present period." From an immigrant who in essence created the United States Navy, Brother John Paul Jones: "If fear is cultivated it will become stronger; if faith is cultivated it will achieve mastery." From a man who, through leader- ship and vision, ushered the United States onto the modern world stage in the early 20th century, both in war and peace, Brother eodore Roosevelt, speaking of the Rough Riders: "I am proud of this regi- ment beyond measure. It is primarily an American regiment and it is American because it is composed of all races which have made America their country." And though rising to the highest elected office in the land, he would state: "I enjoy going to some little lodge where I meet plain hard- working people on the basis of genuine equality. It is the equality of moral men." And then the farewell words spoken by Jack Benny in 1965 over the final resting place of an interna- tionally famous musician, singer, and Master Mason, Brother Nat King Cole: "He had success as an enter- tainer. But he was an even greater success as a man, as a husband, as a Grand Historian's Courier Case

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The North Carolina Mason - January/February 2022