Ten Lodges, One Installation02.01.2019
By Beth Grace
“I promise on the honor of a master mason that I will, to the best of my ability, conform to and abide by the ancient landmarks, regulations, and usages of Masonry, the Constitution and laws of the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina and the laws of this lodge, and that I will faithfully perform the duties of the office to which I have been selected.”
It happens every year. But it’s not routine.
It has been done thousands of times. But it’s never dull.
The words are always the same, the ritual never changes.
And that’s a wonderful thing.
It’s officer installation season. From Murphy to Manteo and all around the Tar Heel state, lodges install new masters and line officers in December and January.
For every last officer, even those who have served for decades or are making their third or fourth trip up the line, it’s a special night.
For their families, it’s a rare chance to peek past the Tyler and head through the lodge door to see what it is that prompts such devotion among their husbands, sons, fathers and brothers.
It’s also an opportunity to hear Masonic prose at its finest, in the form of the charge to each officer: Master, Senior and Junior Wardens, Senior and Junior Deacons, Senior and Junior Stewards, and the Tyler.
Generally, lodges hold their own ceremonies at home and in most cases, only one lodge is installing officers.
But every now and again, lodges hold joint events. This year, one of the largest such installations was held Jan. 3 at the Greenville Masonic Temple and hosted by Bethel #589. All 10 6thDistrict lodges installed officers. It’s not the first time such a large group of officers has been installed, but such events are anything but routine.
Brothers who attended declared the evening a success. The event began with a dinner of pork barbecue, cole slaw, beans, potatoes and rolls. Desserts included a homemade cake honoring the Temple’s 150thanniversary.
The crowd, full and happy, moved into the lodge room for the installation. Brother, relatives and other friends of the officers watched from the seats as the officers positioned themselves on row after row of chairs that filled the center of the lodge.
In the East, Grand Master Dwight “Mack” Sigmon presided, flawlessly reciting from memory the full charge for each office and all other parts of the installation ceremony.
Chief Marshal WB W. Dennis Campbell, a past master and past district deputy grand master, and marshals selected by each lodge made sure that one by one, row by row, each officer was presented before the Grand Master, before reciting the pledge and being invested with the jewel of office.
Installing Chaplain was WB Ted Douglas Sauls Jr. and Installing Secretary was WB Greg Giles, who also was Master of Ceremonies for the evening.
Lodges that participated included Bethel #589, Jerusalem #95, Radiance #132, Grifton #243, Greenville $284, Grimesland #475, Ayden #498, Farmville #517, Crown Point #708, William Pitt #734.
This isn’t the first time the 6thDistrict has held a joint installation. Last year, eight lodges gathered. But this was the first time all 10 lodges in the districts were able to participate.