About Our Lodge and Wilkerson College
Wilkerson College Lodge No. 760 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons is a subordinate lodge of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina. We are a traveling lodge that meets bimonthly (February, April, June, August, October and December) at various locations throughout the state.
The primary focus of our lodge is on Masonic education and supporting Wilkerson College, North Carolina’s College of Freemasonry, through scholarships. Our business meetings are followed by a catered lunch and educational program that is open to everyone to enjoy (Masons and non-Masons alike); with the exception of the months of June and December when the lodge holds its semiannual “dining out” following our regular business meetings.
Membership to Wilkerson College Lodge is offered through affiliation to all Master Masons in good standing with lodges in amity with the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina.
The Lodge itself is an outgrowth of Wilkerson College. Wilkerson College held its inaugural session on March 1, 2002, at a rustic camp deep in the backwoods of Granville County, just north of The Masonic Home for Children at Oxford. Sponsored jointly by the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Orient of North Carolina and the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina, the College began with a unified mission: to provide Freemasonry with the best trained Masonic leaders possible. The goal was to invite deacons from across the state to come together, network, and learn from others about the experience, challenges and opportunities that lodge leadership has to offer.
The College was structured in three sessions over three consecutive months. The inaugural session took place at The Masonic Home for Children. The second session was held in April at the Grand Lodge offices in Raleigh. The third and final session was held in May at The Masonic and Eastern Star Home (now known as WhiteStone – A Masonic and Eastern Star Community) in Greensboro. Classroom sessions and homework assignments generated numerous impromptu discussions that often ran well into the wee hours of the morning. Participants communicated via e-mail and telephone frequently between sessions discussing ideas and sharing information. Several were able to meet and work on planning projects between sessions as well.
Over the three sessions it became evident to the participants that they wanted a means of continuing their camaraderie and associations long after their college lives had ended. The beginnings of long-term friendships and the thirst for knowledge made it obvious that a vehicle for continued Masonic education needed to be organized. The idea circulated of forming a new lodge, the first to be formed in North Carolina in excess of nineteen years. Organizers sought support and guidance not only from faculty members, but also from individuals across the state and Grand Lodge officers. At the final session of the College, participants met formally to discuss the new lodge and how it should be organized. A suggestion was made to ask H. Lloyd Wilkerson, PM, PSGIG (Biography of Maj. Gen. H. Lloyd Wilkerson, USMC ret.) and namesake of the College to be the Charter Master of the lodge. Furthermore it was decided that the new lodge, if chartered, would be a traveling lodge (the first such lodge in the state) and would call The Masonic and Eastern Star Home in Greensboro “home”. The goal of the lodge would be to hold meetings across North Carolina, offering programs that focused on Masonic education while providing a forum for like-minded Freemasons to interact. The participating alumni of Wilkerson College agreed to hold an organizational meeting at the Grand Lodge office in Raleigh in June.
On Sunday afternoon, June 2nd, approximately ten Wilkerson College graduates met with Grand Secretary T. Walton Clapp to begin formal organizational proceedings for the new lodge. At the prompting of the graduates, H. Lloyd Wilkerson, PM, PSGIG agreed to serve as the lodge’s inaugural master. Perspective members drafted the required By-Laws and structure of the lodge. Ray Hall, DDGM of the 23rd Masonic District, performed the required examination of the officers and determined that they meet the required proficiencies to operate a lodge under dispensation. The following Saturday, several perspective members met with Edd Little, DDGL of the 23rd Masonic District at Millbrook Lodge No. 97 in Raleigh. In a setting similar to a school of instruction, the members demonstrated their proficiency in conferring the three degrees of Freemasonry.
A formal request was made of Grand Master Jerry Tillett to issue a Petition for Dispensation to the lodge on June 15, 2002. After reviewing the petition and seeking counsel from the Board of General Purposes, Grand Master Tillett signed the Petition for Dispensation on Friday, June 28, 2002.
A ceremony instituting a new lodge under dispensation was held at the Cary Masonic Temple in Cary, North Carolina, on Friday evening, July 12, 2002. In excess of one hundred people attended the ceremony which was open to the public. Deputy Grand Master Charles A. Lewis, Jr., on behalf of the Grand Master, presented the lodge with its dispensation and appointed H. Lloyd Wilkerson, PM, PSGIG, a member of Semper Fidelis Lodge No. 680 as its Master. Other officers appointed were Joseph M. “Morty” Jayson of Cary Lodge No. 198, Senior Warden, and Brandon E. Scott of Kenly Lodge No. 257, Junior Warden. The Master of the lodge then appointed the following officers:
The membership roster at the time of the dispensation consisted of thirty-nine members, nineteen more than mandated by the Code to seek formation.
The first stated communication was held at the lodge’s home location, The Masonic and Eastern Star Home in Greensboro, on Saturday, August 3, 2002. There were forty members and guests present. By now word had spread across the state of the new Lodge and its mission and the first order of business was to read twenty Applications for Affiliation – an event thought to be historical in itself!
To meet the requirements for obtaining an official lodge charter before the upcoming Grand Lodge Annual Communication in September, the lodge planned three emergent communications to be held in August for the purpose of conferring the Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason degrees as courtesies to local lodges. This completed the prerequisites for the lodge to seek a charter from the Grand Lodge.
A second Stated Communication of the lodge was held on September 7, 2002 at Millbrook Lodge No. 97 in Raleigh with William L. Mills III, PDGM, providing our first Masonic education presentation. Brother Mills’ presentation was entitled, “The Power to Destroy: A Call to Restore the Masonic Model for Social Welfare.” The lodge consisted of fifty nine members on this date.
Code requirements stipulate that all lodges under dispensation must cease work twenty days prior to the convening of the Grand Lodge Annual Communication and that all property of the lodge must be turned over to the Grand Secretary pending review of the charter request. This was performed on September 11, 2002, at which time the formal Petition for Charter was presented to Grand Master Tillett for consideration. On September 27, 2002, the lodge went before the Committee on Charters and Dispensations who, upon reviewing the request, voted to recommend to the Grand Master and voting delegates attending the Annual Communication approve the petition and that the charter be granted along with the number designation of “760”.
On September 28, 2002, the recommendation of the committee was read to the voting delegates and an overwhelming majority approved the recommendation. Wilkerson College Lodge No. 760 was granted its charter.
Wilkerson College Lodge held its first meeting as an officially chartered lodge on October 5, 2002 at Blackmer Lodge No. 127 in Mount Gilead, North Carolina and W.M. H. Lloyd Wilkerson presented a program entitled “The History of Military Lodges in Freemasonry”.
The lodge requested and received a special dispensation from the Grand Lodge to meet at Orient Lodge No. 395 in Wilmington on December 4, 2002. At this meeting, Oscar Bass, Jr., DDGL of the 31st District and a Past Master of Westgate Lodge No. 738 in Charlotte, presented the lodge with a set of hand carved warden’s pedestals. Rick Moore, PGM introduced W.B. Bass to the lodge members and assisted in the presentation. Following the meeting, the members traveled to the Wilmington Scottish Rite Temple where W.M. H. Lloyd Wilkerson served as the Installing Officer of the 2003 Grand Lodge officers. This was another historic event for Wilkerson College Lodge No. 760 in that several of its members were installed as Grand Lodge Officers:
In addition, several lodge members were appointed to various Grand Lodge committees.
The January 2003 meeting was held at the Greensboro Masonic Temple in Greensboro, NC. Charles A. Lewis, Jr., Grand Master of Masons in North Carolina, presented the lodge with its charter and officiated over the ceremony of constituting and consecrating a new lodge. At the same meeting, the following lodge officers were installed with over one hundred members and guests in attendance:
Wilkerson College Lodge No. 760 began 2003 with a list of members whose credentials would be the envy of any lodge. In addition to the seventeen Wilkerson College graduates who first began discussing the idea of forming a new lodge, other members included a sitting Grand Master; five Past Grand Masters; one Deputy Grand Master; one Past Deputy Grand Master; one Grand Steward; one Grand Tyler; one Grand Orator; four District Deputy Grand Masters; two District Deputy Grand Lecturers; one Master; sixteen Past Masters, and six certified lecturers. In 2004, two graduates of the first class of Wilkerson College became Masters: Larry B. Thompson, Jr., Master of Blackmer Lodge No. 127 and Joseph M. "Morty" Jayson, Master of Wilkerson College Lodge No. 760.
The lodge continues to thrive as participants in the Wikerson College curriculum seek to affiliate with us. Other members, who come to us from outside of the college, often cite the opportunity to fellowship with like-minded Freemasons or a desire to support the college as their reasons for affiliating with us. Regardless of the reason, all of our members are part of and continue to define the “Wilkerson College Experience”. If you are interested in becoming part of this experience, please contact us for more information!
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