Meeting on the Level: Taking Grand Lodge to Our Members05.04.2017
Meeting on the Level
Taking Grand Lodge to our Members
By Beth Grace
From Lumberton to Lenoir, from Deep Gap to Dunn, Masons have been gathering since January at district meetings – often in record numbers – to meet and hear from their Grand Master, and to catch up with their brothers from miles around.
Every Grand Master makes the rounds of lodges statewide for these meetings, of course, but even for those who attend regularly, this year offers something a little different.
Take, for instance, the egg timer.
Mindful of busy schedules for the brothers, Most Worshipful Grand Master Gene Cobb is keeping things moving by assigning someone to ensure that each speaker gets only as much time as there is sand in the timer – about three minutes’ worth. Speak longer than your time, and the “timer” gives the Grand Master a meaningful look, which prompts the Grand Master to stand up and give the speaker an even more meaningful look that says, “Time’s up.”
Time is of the essence this year because the Grand Master has invited a number of speakers to every meeting since January to share the latest news from Masonic education, from WhiteStone and the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford, from the NC Masonic Foundation, from the NC Mason and the Board of Publications.
Sometimes, guests from other states attend. At the meeting in Mount Airy, John Cozzie, grand representative of the Grand Lodge of Illinois, attended and presented a snow globe of major Masonic buildings in the Chicagoland area. All guests are made welcome at the meeting, and at the meals each lodge hosts (often with the help of the Order of the Eastern Star) before each meeting.
The meetings are informative and fun, but make no mistake. There’s real business being done.
The Grand Master has outlined the Lion and Pillar Lodge of Excellence program in detail at every session and invited all lodges to participate. He has added a bit of fundraising to the mix, taking us a collection at each meeting to collect funds for our three charities. “I’m a Methodist minister,” he says with a smile. “I am going to take up a collection.” As of presstime at the end of March, about $3,000 had been collected.
He reminded brothers that more than 31,000 people were fed from the canned food drive at the last Annual Communication.
“What if 370 lodges were to take a weekend and do something like that? Can you imagine the roar?”
He speaks of family, brotherhood and charity in his message of unity and friendship, and urges lodges to spread the word of the good works Masons do by sharing that news with the NC Mason and their communities.
“Why do we light our light and then hide it? We do not want people to not know who we are,” he said. “We need to protect our degree work, of course, but we need the world to know who we are and what we do. Let’s make the family of Masonry in North Carolina better than it has ever been.”
If you haven’t been to a district meeting, or if you haven’t been to one in years, now’s the time.