Sigmon Installed as 166th Grand Master of NC Masons10.03.2018
‘I am glad our paths crossed’
Sigmon Installed as 166thGrand Master of NC Masons
By Beth Grace
At precisely 10 a.m. on Dec. 1, a state worker scrambled to the top of the state capital in Raleigh and hoisted a state flag. If you were watching, it would probably have looked like any other day. You couldn’t have known that it was a special moment for North Carolina’s 36,000-plus Freemasons.
The flag was raised that rainy Saturday in honor of a man who at that exact moment, some 170 miles to the west, was being installed as North Carolina’s 166thGrand Master of Masons. Before a capacity crowd that filled the Old Post Office Playhouse in the heart of Newton, NC, Dwight MacLauchlin “Mack” Sigmon placed his right hand over his heart and promised to faithfully, honestly, and impartially perform the duties of Grand Master of Masons.
“You have been selected by your brethren to occupy the highest and most exalted position in Freemasonry, an office which carries with it all the power and authority to rule and govern the Craft without dictation or pressure from any source,” said Installing Grand Officer Gresham. “By immemorial usage and the irrevocable landmarks of Masonry, you are invested, as Grand Master of Masons, with powers and prerogatives which are well-nigh absolute, but this office also carries with it tremendous responsibilities.
“You will not only rule and govern, but you must also be the servant of all. Upon your shoulders will rest the grave responsibility of seeing that peace and harmony prevail at all times; that the ancient landmarks, customs, and usages of the Craft are carefully preserved; that no innovations are allowed to interrupt the peace and good fellowship which must prevail in the Fraternity if it is to continue to command the trust and respect of all men everywhere.”
The installation ceremony carried many special symbols and memories for the new Grand Master.
Brothers of his lodge, Catawba #248, served as pro tempore Grand Lodge officers, and the lodge provided the Bibleon the altar, square, compasses and staffs. Sophia #767, the first traditional observance lodge chartered in North Carolina and where the new Grand Master is a charter member, served as ushers.
At stage left, a candle burned in memory of brothers and mentors now gone, but who played a special role in the new Grand Master’s Masonic journey, which began in 1975.
“There are many more Masons in my life not mentioned here, no longer with us, that I am glad our paths crossed. I thank each of them for the positive influence they had on my life during our time together.
He also gathered an historic assemblage of past Grand Masters – every Grand Master under whom he has served -- as installing officers: PGMs Bob Gresham (who appointed him to the Grand Line), Leonard Y. Safrit, Douglas Caudle, Dewey R. Preslar Jr., Bryant D. Webster and Gene T. Jernigan.
He said he is energized and excited about the year ahead.
“As I begin this special journey, I look forward to traveling across our state serving the Masons of our grand jurisdiction and encouraging each of us to reaffirm the many ritual lessons taught to us during our own Masonic journey,” he said in remarks after the installation. “I truly believe that Freemasons can lead the way in teaching others how to live, act and treat each other with kindness and respect.
“Each of us have obligated ourselves to a higher standard and to walk and act as such in everything we do and say. We live in divided times. I challenge each of us to be the example, to be part of the solution in making this world a better place to live and avoid being part of the problem.”
He encouraged all in attendance to think about the friendships that have formed for all brothers – and their families – because they are Freemasons. He said he thinks often about how he may never have met the brother so important to him had he not become involved in Masonry.
“So, before you leave today, I would encourage each of you to go up to anyone you don’t know, introduce yourselves and let them know that you are glad your paths crossed,” he said.