The North Carolina Mason

May/June 2021

North Carolina Mason

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Page 8 The North Carolina Mason May/June 2021 GM's pin focuses on charity as central to Masonry When you give to others, you can change the world. That's the essential message of the pin Grand Master R. David Wicker Jr. has designed to give away during his year in the East. Grand Masters have for some years now presented a pin with a design representing a key theme for his year to brethren and friends he encounters from District Meetings to lodge meet- ings to raisings to the Annual Communication in Winston-Salem in September. Many brethren collect such pins from year to year. He says he wanted his pin to serve as a reminder of the central role charity plays in the Masonic journey. The center design combines the logos of our charitable homes. It shows the square and compasses and the Eastern star surrounded by the iconic oak trees of the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford. On the back of the pin is RDW, our Grand Master's initials. As he writes in his column in this issue, GM Wicker has given much thought to what charity truly means to every brother. "I am compelled to consider the tenants of Masons' profession, brotherly love, relief and truth. We are taught that truth is a divine attribute and the foundation of every virtue. To be good and true is the first lesson we are taught in Masonry. By brotherly love, we learn to regard the entire human species, without exception, as one family. Through relief, Masons are to sympa- thize with all who are suffering and to assist in restoring to them the peace of God," he writes. "Applying these tenants, we learn that it is our duty to be charitable to all mankind. Through our charity, we can make a difference in the world; not only today, but into the future as well," he says. "You see, charity extends beyond the grave through the boundless realms of eternity." Get your running (or walking) shoes ready for the second annual Grand Master's Run, set for this fall. is statewide virtual event – with some cool new rewards for your participation this year! – honors our outgoing Grand Master and welcomes the new. e run begins Sept. 24 with the opening of Annual Commu- nication and runs through Dec. 4, the date of installation of our next Grand Master. Cost to register will be $20 per person, with proceeds going to support our charitable homes: the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford, and WhiteStone (both the home and the Fraternal Friendship outreach program for brothers and sisters in need in their own homes). Participants can choose their event: l 1K walk/run-0.62 miles l 5k run-3.1 miles l 10K run-6.2 miles. You can walk, run or even hop … just submit photos or some other way to show you completed your pledged activity (like a stopwatch with your total run time, etc.). Or you can show some love by participating as a "ghost runner," meaning you get to register to support the run … without actually running. Support our homes and our Grand Masters from the comfort of your favorite chair at home! e event was created during the pandemic to keep brothers active and to just help folks get outside. is year, with restrictions easing, the sky's the limit on how you can fulfill your pledge. Participants will be announced and honored in the January-February Mason and we'll run some of the best pictures submitted by participants. Be creative and wear your Masonic gear – spread the good word that Masons care about kids and seniors! Watch the Mason, as well as the web and Face- book pages of the Grand Lodge, the NC Mason and the NC Masonic Foundation for details over the next few months! Ready, set, go! Virtual run dates announced Edging ever closer to normal By Beth Grace Mason Editor Long time, no see. Slowly, but surely, lives are returning to normal, doors are opening and masks are growing scarce as the world – including our Masonic world – returns to normal. Or at least, a bit more normal. Barring unhealthy trends in the nation or local positivity rates, vaccinated adults got the go-ahead to move about without masks if they choose, meeting restrictions have eased, and events – long postponed by the pandemic – have been resched- uled. e Grand Master's District Meetings are on again (look for a list in this issue), lodge meetings are resuming and brethren can see each other face to face again. Take a look at the Grand Lodge Facebook page to get a look at how things are going. (I scrolled through recent weeks and found post after post to illustrate the change. anks to all those who posted without having any idea I would take a photo from their pages to share the smiles.) You will see a lot of smiles there. But nowhere are the smiles wider than at our two Masonic homes. For a year, access to the campuses of the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford and at White- Stone: A Masonic and Eastern Star Community in Greensboro has been closed to all but residents and designated officials and staff. But with the easing of mask and meeting restric- tions, each campus can now welcome more folks. On April 5, MHCO made a real event. Kids and staff conducted a ceremony to officially remove the "STOP: Campus Closed" signs. Following a prayer by House Parent Andy Newton, the announcement was made official that the signs were coming down and some of the guidelines were being relaxed. Children's families could now visit on campus, (except inside the cottages). And, adding another smile all around, the requirement of wearing masks while outside was removed. Groups are now allowed to return and hold events, but safety guidelines for events involving the children – who are not yet all vaccinated – remained in place as of presstime. At the ceremony, each cottage had the oppor- tunity to cut a tie on a sign. en everybody took a turn stomping on the signs before they were discarded. A few weeks later, some 80 miles away, White- Stone announced that pending ongoing good numbers in the county positivity rate, the dining room would reopen to full capacity on June 1 and guests will be allowed. Visitors – masked – were welcomed back to campus in April. ■ see CLOSER, page 9

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