PILOT MOUNTAIN — The Pilot Lodge 493 offered the public a unique look into the Masonic fraternal order by inviting them into the lodge to attend a centuries old ritual.
The new officer induction ceremony, full of symbolism and formality, was held on Jan. 9 to officially appoint the chapter’s new leaders.
According to people with the group, Freemasonry is the world’s oldest fraternal order and is an international organization with a spiritual foundation devoted to service, brotherhood, and personal growth.
Pilot Mountain has one of the oldest continuously active lodges in the state, with 71 members. “Pilot Lodge has been continuously chartered since 1898, and has been located in its present building since 1973,” said Secretary Homer Dearmin. The building is also home to the Order of the Eastern Star, a partner organization for both men and women.
The several hundred Lodges across North Carolina focus their service efforts on children and elderly. Statewide, the lodges collectively support two non profits, the Oxford Home for Children and White Stone assisted living.
Originally an orphanage, the Oxford Home for Children has been in existence since around the Civil War. Adapting to the needs of the time, the home is no longer only for children with no parents, but for children from broken homes and children who are having some sort of conflict in their life.
White Stone is a community for people age 60 and older with on-site assisted living and skilled nursing care. Located in Greensboro, the home is funded in part by the Masons. Started as a home for Masons and their families, in recent years White Stone has opened its doors to anyone, according to Dearmin.
Past Grand Master of the North Carolina Grand Lodge, William Dill, served as the presiding installing officer for the induction ceremony. “Anytime you install the new leadership of a lodge, it’s a very exciting, wonderful, and important time in the life of a lodge,” said Dill. Other installing officers were Paul Shelton as marshal, Gerald Plaster as secretary, Sam Carson as junior deacon, Oliver Hudson as chaplain, and Jim McHone as tyler.
As Michael Register stepped forward to accept the role of Master for the Lodge, Dill explained the symbolism behind each of the tools of the office. “You will now receive the furniture and various implements used in your lodge; they are emblematic of our conduct in life,” said Dill. The Bible, square, compass, rule, line, hat, gavel, charter, and book of constitutions and bylaws serve to assist the master in guiding the members of the lodge in their endeavors.
Each new officer was brought forward in turn to accept his position. Pilot Lodge’s new officers are: Michael Register as master, Samuel Carson II as senior warden, Dean Gordon as junior warden, Dickie Crump as treasurer, Homer Dearmin as secretary, Tyler Cook as senior deacon, Danny Martin as junior deacon, Lawrence Clark as senior steward, Jonathan White as junior steward, Rick Smith as chaplain, and Ted Johnson as tyler.
The ceremony was followed by a reception for members, family, and friends. Crump shared that for him one of the most valuable parts of the Masons is the sense of family among the membership. “We all come from diverse backgrounds, but we come together to help each other,” said Crump.
Dearmin explained that the order does not actively recruit new members, but they welcome interested members of the community to inquire, quoting the bible verse Matthew 7:7. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
Diane Blakemore may be reached at 336-368-2222 or on twitter @PilotReporter.