The second weekend we spent in Oxford, NC at the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford. It is one of only 5 Masonic homes left in operation. That is a wonderful facility and each mason in NC should be very proud of the work they do there. We continued the lessons started at the first session and were taught by some of the most respected men in NC masonry.
We followed up the Oxford session a few weeks later with a full weekend in Raleigh, NC. Friday night we were able to visit the Grand Lodge facility and see the renovation work that has been going on this past year. Our Grand Lodge building is administrative offices only and does not have a lodge room. There are many great artifacts important to NC masonry on display. One of the most interesting items was a warrant from the Grand Lodge of England in 1771 proclaiming Joseph Montfort Provincial Grand Master of America. He was the only man in history to hold that title.
After a great night of relaxing with the brothers and their wives we had another full day of classes. We ended up that afternoon about 5 and had a graduation banquet that was open to our wives. We had a great meal and heard from Dr. Bill Brunk, SGIG of the Orient of NC, AASR and Robert Gresham Jr, Grand Master of Masons in NC. We had a great time and fellowshipped with many great brothers from across the state.
Some have said that $600 was to much to spend on an education program. Some of us had our lodges to pay for it. Some paid for it themselves. Some even received scholarship money to attend. Considering that we got 4 nights lodging (2 nights at the last session in a single room for us and our wives), all meals paid for, and materials provided, I would consider it a bargain. The courses were great and we learned a lot of valuable information. One of the most important things though was developing relationships with brothers from across the state that should be master at the same time that you are. We are able to bounce ideas off each other and can stay in contact with them. There are some situations that can come up within a lodge where you want to be able to talk to someone outside of your district. This gives us the opportunity for that. We also were able to develop relationships with quite a few past grand masters, PDDGM’s, PDDGL’s, and PM’s that we are able to contact as well for any reason. It was well worth the time and money. I will honor the experience and friends that I made through it. I thank each and every brother that had something to do to put this event on. I am very honored to be included in the 320 Wilkerson College graduates. I hope that I can take what I learned and help my lodge, district, and fraternity as best as I can.