The North Carolina Mason

September/October 2011

North Carolina Mason

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 0 of 7

NORTH CAROLINA Volume 136 Number 5 Grand Lodge holds 224th The Mason Annual Communication Official Publication of The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina Oxford, North Carolina September/October 2011 By Ric Carter of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina held their 224th WINSTON-SALEM — The Grand Lodge Annual Communi- cation here September 23–24. Grand Master Lewis R. Ledford presided before nearly 1,100 voting delegates from 320 lodges. Deputy Grand Master Robert E. Gresham Jr. was elected to be- come our next grand master. The biggest surprise of the communication was the announcement by Past Grand Master Clifton W. Everett Jr. that he would not serve again as grand treasurer. Current Grand Master Ledford was elected to become grand treasurer at the conclusion of his term. There were no oth- er startling developments or votes. Some Grand Lodge officials arrived at the headquarters hotels on Wednesday, September Left, Grand Master Ledford is received at the opening of Annual Communica- tion. Below, the Grass Cats entertain at Friday night's charity barbecue. 21 to be present and ready for the board and committee meetings that were to begin early Thursday morning when even more officials were on hand. The Committee on Finance and Board of General Purposes had their final meet- ings prior to bringing business before the mem- bership. The Board of General Purposes voted on various nominations and appointments of Deputy Grand Master Robert Gresham pend- ing his election. It was BGP's next to last meet- ing with Grand Master Ledford, the last being just before Grand Lodge officer installation in December. Jurisprudence had their last confer- ence before bringing amendments to the dele- gates. The Committee on Appeals met to review all actions and trials by the judge advocate in the last year and held hearings for men asking for permission to return to the fraternity after los- ing their membership. The Board of Custodians and Committee on Miscellaneous Publications, Board of Publications, and other committees met before the general session. There were two continuing education courses for lodge secretar- ies on Thursday. Thursday night, Grand Master Ledford hosted a banquet for his guests at Annual Communication. The formal opening began at 10:00 a.m. on Friday morning when Kevin Combs, past mas- ter of Statesville 27 called the hall to order. The opening procession was led by the United States and North Carolina flags and the banner of the Grand Lodge carried to their places by members of the National Sojourners Spirit of '76ers. The officers of the Grand Lodge entered, and in a return to tradition years ago, the officers opened Grand Lodge with Deputy Grand Master Gresham presiding. They then received Grand Master Ledford. District deputy grand masters and grand lecturers were seated on either side of the cer- emonial lodge floor. Grand Lodge officers from the grand lodges of Prince Hall North Carolina, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jer- sey, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia, and sitting officers from state appendant bodies were see ANNUAL, page 4 Masons dedicate Smithfield church cornerstone SMITHFIELD — Any good hymn deserves another verse. On July 10, 2011, Masons repeated a tune they first played at First Presbyterian Church here in 1893. That's the year they set the original cornerstone for the church here on Third Street. They sang the refrain in 1950 when the church's new santuary was be- gun. Another growth period for the congregation is now progress- ing with the acknowledgement of Masons of the local lodges as well as the Grand Lodge. In keeping with tradition, the Grand Lodge is called to emer- gent communication for cornerstone ceremonies. Frequently, as was the case here, they empower local Masons to serve as pro tempore officers of the Grand Lodge to conduct the ceremony of dedication of the cornerstone. Most of the Masons participating in the ceremony were members of Fellowship 84 in Smithfield. First Presbyterian minister Joe Hester is a 15-year member of Neill S. Stewart 556 in Erwin. At the July ceremony, there were about 30 Masons among the 180 in attendance. According to a local report, "The event was very well received, and after the ceremony, many of those in attendance commented on how impressive the Masonic ritual was and how see CHURCH, page 5 THE BOTTOM LINE Sharing thoughts and appreciations By Lewis R. Ledford Grand Master The management of large Masonic temple boards In recent years, the Grand Lodge has been pulled into situations at several temple associations. One temple board, which was not responsive to the members of their lodge, caused a lengthy and costly legal action when the Grand Lodge acted to force the board to answer to its lodge membership. More recently, several of our larger temple associations have found themselves at loggerheads over their operations. In certain cases, action by the Grand Lodge and grand master have been necessary to get these associations back on track. The scenario seems to repeat itself. Several Masonic organiza- tions decide to cast their lot together and build a shared home. Over time, personality conflicts develop. These conflicts are po- liticized and wedged into member organizations. The conflicts be- come entrenched. Unable to reach accord, building use becomes directionless, and routine maintenance is left undone. As the fa- cilities deteriorate, the conflicting sides argue over leaving a home they are not maintaining. They become paralyzed by the conflict — unwilling to reach accord on either maintaining or leaving their property. This is a death spiral in which they decimate the value of the property at the same time they destroy its usability by shirking maintenance. At these temples, younger Masons seem to be interested in keeping the buildings that they see as their heritage. Entrenched pessimistic temple boards that cling to their old arguments in- stead of seeking solutions undercut these optimistic Masons. One such association seems to have broken out of the dol- drums by having each side go its own way. Those uninterested in the property have divested themselves of the responsibility and moved on. Those who wanted to save their building seem to have developed a plan that is working and increasing the value and use of their facility. The building is now becoming a showplace. In another, a declaration from leaders that the several bodies would make every effort to stay in their location and make it work seems to be moving member institutions toward compromise and success. While all questions are yet to be answered, the member organizations are now moving in the same direction with great promise of success, and restoring a beautiful landmark. A third association is just now, at the direction of the Grand Master, replacing its board with members who can better work and better agree. We have hope that they will find a path that suits all those bodies. Since this is clearly a long-term and common difficulty, we are hoping to help alleviate future problems. The Grand Lodge has long prescribed the form and content of lodge bylaws. It has been an effective way of sharing long-term wisdom of what works in the governance of successful lodges. We asked the Lodge Service Commission to design simi- lar prescriptions for Masonic temple associations. It is a set of good practices in governance that we hope will alleviate most of the potential problems in the future. The Commission has done an admirable job of blending Masonic fraternalism with legal safeguards. I want to salute the members of the Lodge Service Commission, Chris Burti, David Stapleton, Robert Peeler, Kirby Matthews, and Herbert Mullen, for the outstanding work they have done for us all. Our Masonic forefathers have provided this generation some resplendent and majestic edifices. With these gifts come the chal- lenge to properly care and maintain them for use by the Craft and even the community – and conceivably expand their usability. Conversations with the Masonic leadership from other states ver- ify the challenges are not unique to North Carolina. It is my hope that these bylaws and more careful encouragement and direction by state and local Masonic leadership will allow us to save these jewels of Masonry. To be effective and efficient will require har- monious local relationships and working together cooperatively for a common goal – remember that age-old Masonic admonition of who can best work and best agree. Grand Lodge Annual Communication I want to send special thanks to those who attended the 224th Annual Communication in Winston-Salem. The Committee on see BOTTOM LINE, page 2 Ric Car ter photo

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The North Carolina Mason - September/October 2011