Officer Installations Bring New Faces, Ideas to NC Lodges


By Beth Grace

Mason Editor

All officer installations within the Craft are special. A brother never forgets that moment when he is invested with the implement of his office.

This winter, as always, lodges from Murphy to Manteo, from Charlotte to Chapel Hill, from Wilmington to Wilkesboro, installed their officers with fanfare, brotherly love and, in most cases, a hearty meal afterward.

Some lodges took the ceremony a bit farther. They made a statement, beyond the routine ascension of the line.

At Charles M. Setzer #693 in Charlotte, brothers added some new elements to create what they called an “Installation and Celebration of the Universality of Masonry.”

The installation was scheduled for Jan. 18, the eve of World Religion Day, an international interfaith celebration that calls for members of all religions in the world to recognize that all religions have common spiritual goals.

“We wanted to recognize and celebrate diversity in religion, race and thought,” says newly installed Master Kenneth Lambert. “We included various religious text on the altar, in addition to the Christian Bible, and we invited representatives of other religions and races to join us.” Other books included the Bhagavad Gita, The Quran and the written Torah.

Grand Steward Mike Register, the installing master, welcomed the crowd and explained how things work. For those who have never attended an installation, he explained, things can be a little confusing. For example – the knocking. One knock of the gavel means come to order. Three knocks is the signal to stand. He told those gathered to keep an eye on the hats. Whoever wears the hat in lodge is in charge.

Brother Mike Trest of James K. Polk #759 opened the ceremony with a Hebrew blessing.

May Adonai bless you and guard you

May Adonai make his face shine unto you

and be gracious to you

May Adonai lift up his face to you and give to you peace.

He also explained that while he is not Jewish, he is a member of “the global family of Masons, a believer in one God … creator of the universe.” He added that he is comfortable speaking in Hebrew, English, German and a few other languages.

“The point is that all who honor a supreme being are welcome here,” he said.

Brothers also invited the National Sojourners to deliver a “Toast to the Flag,” and Prince Hall Brother Jake Drisker served as installing chaplain.

Officers installed for 2020 are:

Master: Kenneth Lambert
Senior Warden: Dennis Hutchinson
Junior Warden: Hanns Braun
Treasurer: Alan Simpson
Secretary: Ian Bittenbender
Senior Deacon: Jeff McEwen
Junior Deacon: Joe Merritt
Senior Steward: Jose Suquinahua
Junior Steward: Christopher Stephen
Chaplain: John Ferrannini
Tyler: Mark Joyce

Historian Stephen Campbell of Blackmer #127 addressed the gathering, reminding brothers of the words of great Masons of the past. Several members of DeMolay International assisted in the ceremony, escorting brothers into lodge. Their own installation was held right after the end of the Setzer lodge event.

Many installations were special, but among those that stood out was the installation of officers at Sophia #767. Clad in black tie and kilts with the family tartan, brothers were installed by Installing Master Senior Grand Warden Larry Thompson. Brothers celebrated in style that evening at their second annual Burns Night dinner, complete with haggis and bagpipes.

In other formal events and rituals of the season, one lodge made history.

Kernersville 669 organized a First Degree for three young petitioners and invited Shaun Bradshaw, Grand Master of Masons in North Carolina, and Daniel L. “DT” Thompson, Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge.

Together, both grand masters welcomed the young men and spent some time with brothers in what is believed to be a first – a degree attended by the two sitting Grand Masters in North Carolina.

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