Annual Communication 2018: Getting Work Done with Fellowship, Brotherhood

08.07.2018

It happens once a year. Call it Annual Communication or call it Grand Lodge, the purpose remains the same: keeping Freemasonry in North Carolina strong through fellowship, brotherhood …. and lots and lots of discussion.

On Sept. 28, the gavel will fall, opening the 231st official Masonic meetup. Annual Communication will again be held at the Twin City Quarter in Winston-Salem and will open after a day of on-site committee meetings scheduled to discuss last-minute issues and conduct regular business.

“Masons sometimes talk about Grand Lodge in us-versus-them terms,” Grand Master Speed Hallman said. “The fact is, we are ALL the Grand Lodge, and we gather for a day and a half every year to transact our business.”

Grand Master Hallman said Annual Communication is a time “to truly come together. We have fellowship and we see folks we haven’t seen in a long time – and that’s wonderful and fun,” he said. “But we also have important business before us and decisions to make that could

impact the Craft for years to come. It’s a true combination of education and deliberation.”

Expect to hear some good news – this year’s Lion & Pillar Lodge of Excellence honorees will be announced. Also the Grand Master will update brothers on the blood drive under way in partnership with the Prince Hall Grand Lodge and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of mutual recognition between NC’s Grand Lodge and Prince Hall’s Grand Lodge.

Grand Orator and Past Grand Master Dan Rice will speak this year about our Masonic charities, reflecting on his years growing up at the Masonic Home for Children and his family’s experiences with WhiteStone: A Masonic and Eastern Star Community.

Also on the schedule is a presentation by Oscar Alleyne, junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of New York and a public health expert, speaking about clandestine lodges – who they are and how to recognize them.

Book lovers will have a treat on Friday afternoon. Ric Berman, author of From Roanoke to Raleigh: Freemasonry in North Carolina, 1730-1800will give a reading and sign books after the day’s session adjourns.

Voting begins Friday and will continue Saturday. Grand Master Hallman has said at district meetings this year that while most voting usually takes place on Saturday, some may be moved up if the schedule gets too tight and more voting time is needed.

Code amendments – 10 of them at press time – will be the focus of discussion and discernment. As proposed, the amendments are:

1. To create a new type of current Endowed Membership program.

2. To allow a lodge to hold a stated communication at a later date in the event their regular stated communication was cancelled due to inclement weather or hazardous conditions.

3. Restores qualifications inadvertently removed from The Code: Members appointed to the Code Commission must be a past master or lodge secretary.

4. Would allow a lodge master to order a petition or application withdrawn and returned if he discovers, after it has been received, that the petitioner or applicant falsely answered any question in the petition or application. 5. Would automatically suspend a Mason criminally charged with a felony in any state court, U.S. District Court, or under U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice.

6. Would increase the per capita to $25.

7. Requires a lodge master to make certain the Treasurer makes a full and complete report at least quarterly to the lodge of its receipts, disbursements, account balances, and financial condition.

8. Allows the Grand Master, in cases of inclement weather, to permit a lodge to hold its annual election at a time other than a stated communication.

9. Gives a lodge the option to open lodge on the First Degree and conduct business.

10. Further defines obstructive motions.

During the breaks, take some time to learn about our three charities. Drop by for a visit with representatives of MHCO, WhiteStone and the North Carolina Masonic Foundation. Each table will have information and goodies to give away.

And keep the holidays in mind. MHCO will offer T-shirts, hats and other logo gear for sale, while you can buy your favorite brother or family member a copy of the original “G” poster – featuring the lodge G from more than 70 lodges that contributed – at the NCMF table. Plans also tentatively call for the debut of a new coffee table book called Sacred Retreats, produced by NCMF and featuring gorgeous photos of some of North Carolina’s most historic and beloved lodges. Watch for price and ordering information on the North Carolina Mason and North Caro- lina Masonic Foundation Facebook pages. Proceeds from all sales in the charity area go to our charities and their important work.

And while we’re talking about charity … Don’t forget to bring 10 cans of food or $10 to participate for a third year in the annual Masons Can food drive. Last year, brothers donated more than 2,200 cans of food and gave about $3,000 in cash.

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