The Tradition Continues: Temple holds annual Potentate Ball
Members of Sethos Temple No. 170 dined, danced and celebrated the accomplishments of the past year last Friday night at the Potentate Ball at Hawthorne Inn and Conference Center.
We’re trying to make better men out of good men,” said Bruinton “We like to be challenged to make a difference in our community, as well as the nation.”
Bruinton, who’s been potentate since January, said that the Temple’s most recent community service projects included a voter registration drive conducted at its Old Greensboro Road headquarters, the donation of Thanksgiving meals to local families and the distribution of school supplies to students at Ashley Elementary School. Temple members also serve as mentors to young people who utilize the Carl Russell Sr. Recreation Center. In the near future, the Temple will expand its mentoring initiative, start a youth group and increase its contribution to a national shriner campaign for diabetes research, Bruinton said.
[pullquote]“We’re trying to make better men out of good men,” said Bruinton “We like to be challenged to make a difference in our community, as well as the nation.”[/pullquote]“Friday’s ball also served as a fundraiser for Sethos Temple’s charity work. Men dressed in black suits and wore their signature red hats, called fezzes, decorated with their temple’s name. Bruinton and the other officers wore “jewels” around their necks, denoting their past and present positions in the group. Women – part of the Daughters of Isis Sethos Court No. 105 affiliate, which helps the Temple in its endeavors – wore white dresses, gloves and hats.
Members of other temples took part in the celebration. Men from Rameses Temple No. 51 of Charlotte and Kuwat Temple No. 126 of Martinsville, Va. were on hand, as were women from Khalif Court No. 90 of Greensboro and Golconda Court No. 16 in Newark, N.J.
After they feasted, a Grand March was held to recognize all the shriners. The crowd spent much of the remainder of the night on the dance floor.
The history of Sethos Temple No. 170 goes back more than six decades. In 1944, a group of Masons from Winston-Salem traveled to Charlotte to join the Rameses Temple. After they returned, they began the Red Fez Club under the Rameses’ Charter since rules forbad temples to be within 28 miles from one another and Greensboro already had the Khalif Temple. After a request from North Carolina leadership at a National Imperial Session, the rules where changed to allow temples to be within 10 miles of one another. Sethos Temple was then founded in 1946, taking its name from the son of Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses II.
Among the group’s founding members were Russell Funeral Home founder Carl Russell and fellow funeral home founder Clark S. Brown, who hosted the first Sethos Temple meeting in the Patterson Avenue funeral home that bears his name.
Carl Russell’s son, Edward, was among those at the celebration. A Sethos Temple member since 1981, he’s a past potentate and current captain of guard, leading the temple’s drill team in performances. He said he still fondly remembers the nervousness he felt performing with the drill team for the first time in front of 10,000 people during the 1981 National Imperial Session in New York City. He has performed at the national convention many times since.
Edward Russell said shriners exemplify manly leadership and are good role models for today’s youth.
“We’re an order of sophisticated men trying to do the works that other people don’t have the time to do like helping with voter registration and inspiring our young black men to try to better themselves and enhance their mannerisms,” said Edward Russell. “We try to set an example of mannerisms in the way you dress and the way you carry yourselves.”
Bruinton, who joined the Temple in the mid-1990s, said he got into Masonry because he was looking for positive influences.
“It was a way for me to grow, it was a way for me to meet some people who were positive, and give back a little to the community and just be a part of something a little bigger,” he said.
Sethos Temple has about 100 members. Membership is open to members of masonic organizations. It’s an affiliate of the Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order, Nobles Mystic Shrine, Inc., which is composed of 224 Temples and more than 25,000 members worldwide.
For more information about Sethos Temple, visit www.sethos170.org.