From the Desk of the General Grand Recorder
Stephen A. Balke
General Grand Recorder, Cryptic Masons International

Stephen A. Balke
Stephen A. Balke
General Grand Recorder, Cryptic Masons International

Greetings Companions,

As we begin February, the items that are pressing include the Annual Returns for our Constituent (read Subordinate for those who are used to the other term) Councils, gearing up for the regular Grand Assemblies (Sessions) for our Grand Councils, and continuing our work in the office to update processes and increase information flow. Since moving the office, we have hit a “reset” and are checking every aspect of each process to ensure it is inclusive and recorded properly while continuing to keep the day-to-day events addressed to our best ability. We are also continuing to implement the communication tools that have been planned and are being rolled out.

Process & Information Updates

To more readily make information available, we have been working in both “high-touch” and “high-tech” areas. We are hosting quarterly Grand Recorder Conference Calls for each Region to encourage conversational updates. We are ramping up our participation and advertisement for Companions to contribute to the Decryption. And, we are putting online tools in place for better availability of records, forms, and reports.

Feedback on the conference calls has been positive thus far, and we are making the notes available through articles to allow for dissemination of the events notifications and news for each jurisdiction. In addition to putting out much of the similar information available in these articles, it is also a way to ensure that the calendar is updated with events within your jurisdictions – in addition to the Grand Sessions, we are highlighting Grand Lodge Annual Communications and Festival work especially. This has assisted us in keeping up with those changes that sometimes happen on dates, locations, and venues.

This newsletter has benefitted from both our conference calls and some recent meetings. In addition to reporting the body of the call, there have been some Companions who have stepped up and will be providing articles in the near future to share ideas and news from their successes and lessons learned. In addition, some have taken something that “should be known” and will provide some more information to you.

As is seen in the previous “Grand Councils and Grand Assemblies” section, we are putting our processes in place and trying to make those available to everyone, but especially to those who have a part in making them successful. We are working to be inclusive and succinct in our forms and storage of data but also to make data available when it is needed. As previously published, we are working to have the online database accessible for our Grand Recorders by February 15, 2020.

Further, as we implement these, our forms are being updated. We are standardizing the look of the General Grand Council across all of our materials to make them easily recognizable and expose our brand. In addition, we are being more inclusive of the information requested on our forms so that we can more easily track and identify (and therefore so can those that need the information in Councils and Grand Councils) our data.

Veterans Medals

This week, we have finally been able to get the orders for Veterans Medals out. If you have ordered one previously and have not received it, PLEASE CONTACT US! Now that we have an answer to having them engraved, we are starting a reconciliation of the orders for the past year and are trying to ensure that all who have ordered also received.

Constituent (Subordinate) Councils

The Councils of the General Grand Council run on a calendar year, so for January, this was our highest priority. By Tuesday, each of the Recorders of record will have received their Annual Return forms. Please get them returned to this office no later than February 29, 2020 with your annual per-capita and fees. If you have not received the form, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

Download the form (click here)

Grand Councils and Grand Assemblies

As we start the season, Grand Recorders are gearing up for their Grand Assemblies across the world! We are working on a system that will keep us on a schedule for successful fulfillment of the usual items. At this point, we are just implementing the system, so we are NOT in line with the dates described but will be using February to catch up. All of the “Days” below are calculated based upon the start date of the Grand Sessions/Assembly for preparation items and the end date of the Grand Sessions/Assembly for the follow up items. For Foreign jurisdictions, any items requiring fulfillment (awards, etc.), please add 30 days advance notice.

Download the backdated schedule (click here)

We have split the form for the Cryptic Mason of the Year and Adult Youth Leadership Awards. This is so that the leadership of each jurisdiction may choose to present the Adult Youth Leadership Award in an alternate venue, such as the Grand Assembly of their Rainbow for Girls, Grand Bethel for Jobs Daughters or Annual Convention/Conclave for DeMolay. Our Trustees are encouraging such activities so that our support of the Masonic Youth Groups is shown while also celebrating those awarded in front of their peers.

Thank you to all of those who are working with us to get these objectives in place!

Decryption - All Articles

  • Deputy General Grand Master: Our Awards
  • CMMRF: Milestone Achieved in 2019
  • Northeast North Region Happenings
  • From the General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International Education Committee
  • Columbian Award Nominations Now Due!
  • From the General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International Education Committee
  • South Central Region Happenings
  • An Overview of the York Rite Leadership Program
  • Spreading the word of York Rite
  • CMMRF Seminar in Review
  • Northeast South Region Happenings
  • Contentment with God's Provision
  • From the Desk of the General Grand Recorder
  • North Central Region Happenings
  • Meranda Hillock: New CMMRF Office Manager
  • General Grand Recorder's Update January 2020
  • From the Cryptic Masons International Education Committee
  • Donald S. Thoen, PMIGM Idaho, 1939-2019
  • 2019 Southwest Regional Conference Recap
  • King Solomon and Wisdom
  • General Grand Master's Update: November 2019
  • G. Thomas Taylor, Candidate for General Grand Principal Conductor of the Work
  • 2019 Northeast Conference Recap
  • Passing of MI Silas Wilson, PMIGM of Arkansas and Ambassador to Arkansas
  • Some Aspects of the Theories in the Development of the Cryptic Degrees
  • Ebenezer: Stone of Help
  • Velox Annos (Fast Year) – GGR September 2019
  • South Central Conference Recap
  • The Mercy Seat
  • The First First Responder's Award Presentation
  • What are your regular hours?
  • Aaron's Rod and It's Message
  • Grand Cryptic Council of DC Centenary: November 8-9, 2019
  • Manna: What is it?
  • The Importance of Improvising
  • Guardians of the Sacred Treasures
  • Consejo Internacional 2019
  • Passing of MI Don Himes, PMIGM of Michigan
  • South Central Regional Conference: September 20-21, 2019
  • The 200th Anniversary of the Grand Council of Connecticut
  • Jurisdiction Jewels: Arizona Ish Sodi
  • General Grand Recorder's Update: August 2019
  • Passing of MI Bill Price, PMIGM of California and Ambassador to California-North
  • Arizona, the 48th State, the Wild West
  • I find our number to be 3 times 9 plus 1: The 25th GP Rendezvous
  • The Significance of the Silver Trumpet
  • Introducing the First Responders Award
  • Cryptic Masons International: Enhancing Our Awards Presentation
  • Summary Assembly 2019: Reaffirmation of Your Masonic Lessons
  • The Revitalization of Rathdrum Lodge #41
  • Discharge Your Duty to the Craft
  • General Grand Master's Update: Happy Cryptic New Year!
  • Portugal's Upcoming 22nd Annual Assembly
  • A Challenge to Become an Individual Giver
  • A Review, A Call, and A Need for the General Grand Council's History
  • General Grand Recorder's Update: July 2019
  • Snyder's Synopsis of three of the Thirteen Degrees in the American York Rite
  • A Message from the Decryption Staff
  • The Beginnings of the Thrice Illustrious Master's Degree
  • Arizona: Order of Ish Sodi and Super Excellent Master Degree
  • Passing of Betty J. VanEtten, Widow of Charles VanEtten GGM 2002-2005
  • Deputy General Grand Master: Travels in April (Austria, GEKT Easter Observance, Maine, GGC-PHA,...
  • Educational Article: The Regular Alarm of the Mysterious Nine
  • General Grand Master: More on types of Masonic Members and recent activities
  • General Grand Chaplain's Message: Our Family, Gifts from God, and Masonry's Place in Life
  • Right Puissant Companion Gerald L. "Jerry" Ogle, PGM, has been called to work on the second temple...
  • Right Puissant Companion Carle L. Jackson has been called to work on the second temple above.
  • Update on the Recorders office - a lot done, A LOT left to do!
  • Ritual demand and some changes that will ensure continued availability.
  • The General Grand Master's announcement regarding the next Triennial.
  • ADVANCE AND BE RECOGNIZED! - Being A Cryptic Freemason in an Ever-Changing World.
  • The key to Freemasonry; that each of us – and the Fraternity – grows by mutual admiration and...
  • Technology Update as We Approach the Mid-term of the Triennium.
  • 2018 Provisional Royal & Select Master Ritual - Printed and Available
  • Strategically Approaching the New Year and Beyond
  • From One Member of a GREAT Team
  • Some very significant Grand Council activities in Maryland over the past six months
  • Progress is being made in regards to Cryptic Masonry in the Hawaiian Archipelago
  • Happy New Year, Companions! It's been quite the start.
  • Looking to the future, our faith being in God, we will surely prevail!
  • 2018 European Cryptic Masonry - A year filled with travel for the Cryptic Rite
  • Daniel's Gloves - 'If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?'
  • From the Editor - TWO IN TWO DAYS!! THAT’S TOO MUCH… Or is it enough?
  • 70 Companions gather in France to create 25 new Super Excellent Masters in 2018
  • 2018 Provisional Royal & Select Master Ritual - Announcing the availability of the provisional...
  • General Grand Council Service - Monty Glover and continued service.
  • The General Grand Treasurer, duties and great experiences!
  • GG Chaplain - Christmas at the Gas Station - Carry this warm story through the New Year!
  • From the Editor - Projects, processes and fruition - Catching up with communication.
  • Cooperative work within the Ninth Arch recently resulted in an historic moment for our Craft.
  • Here is an outline of the living plan for a path forward for the General Grand Council.
  • Let’s give you an update on some of the opportunities that I have been given to promote the cause...
  • The Board of Trustees met October 12, 2018 with Dr. Michael Murphy
  • Preserving Traditions, Enabling Masonic Unity, and Creating Conduits for Effective Masonic...
  • We as Masons are generally becoming busier because we are picking up the work that we have laid...
  • Does Character reflect your true self and your true relationship with your God?
  • York Rite Masonry is beginning to spread its wings here in the Mid-Atlantic region
  • Grand Orient of Brazil – about Freemasonry today and the perspectives to it in the rest of the...
  • Such an honor being included on one of the most effective and communicative leadership teams!
  • We in the Southwest still have two major events coming up - Colorado River Fall Festival and the...
  • Nuggets from the North Central Region
  • This is one of the smallest but one of the most important and certainly one of the most curious of...
  • Please anticipate much more on ritualistic teachings like this in future issues.
  • The General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International has made a major commitment to Masonic...
  • There are (at least) two reasons for having this conference every year...
  • The 2018 Colorado River Fall Festival is being held on October 21st, 22nd, and 23rd.
  • Just a few examples of how the Brothers, Companions, Sir Knights, and Families can be involved in...
  • Freemasonry is 300 years of tradition, unimpeded by progress.
  • Strategic Planning consists of a systematic process that the organization agrees on...
  • Out of the mouth of babes, so they say, comes a saying we can all learn from.
  • Please consider this your invitation to join us at the 61st Annual South-Central Regional York...
  • General Grand Recorder Reassigned, Stephen Balke, GGR and Bryan Bechler, RDGGM for Canada - both...
  • Regional York Rite Conferences: Traditions and the Way Forward as True Partners
  • Kentucky is close to wrapping up Cryptic year 2017-2018, but we’re not done yet!
  • You are cordially invited to the South Dakota Grand York Rite Sessions will occur on September...
  • August, Arizona and Ascending the Cliffs Together
  • Introducing the Cryptic Mason Service Medal
  • You are cordially invited to attend our Grand session in Casper Wyoming in September!
  • The Grand York Rite Session of Colorado for 2018 will be in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
  • This month sees the General Grand Officers becoming very busy after a short lull...
  • Results of the survey on GGCCMI Objectives and Improvements.
  • New York State is proud to have one of the founding Grand Councils.
  • First Year Triennium Reflections
  • Ego autem in nobis Nobis
  • I keep finding evidence of great cooperation between the York Rite bodies from Grand Lodge to...
  • Busy of late, visiting Asia, and Hawaii updates.
  • We just finished our Florida Grand York Rite and all went well with Peace & Harmony Prevailing.
  • A Seat of Power or a Place at the Father's Table?
  • Your General Grand Council officers continue to represent you and share information across several...
  • So, what does this phrase in our ritual signify or reference?
  • Learning to allow the Craft to grow will have its own reward.
  • Regalia, Symbols, and keeping our history alive for future generations.
  • Share your Masonic experience and become a part of others' journey!
  • Masons Operative Masonry English Freemasonry
  • The study of the Evolution of the Three Great Lights
  • When you first joined your Craft Lodge
  • With this issue of the Weekly Decryption, I wanted to briefly report to you about the emerging and...
  • The Education Manual Course that was discussed at our 193rd NY Grand Assembly when I was GPCW and...
  • Last week, MP Grindle mentioned that the General Grand Council is investigating the concept of...
  • The East Central Region consists of the states of Michigan, Indiana and the Commonwealth of...
  • In Delaware, we are proud of the fact that we are the first state. We are also the second...
  • Update including the progress on our Weekly Decryption newsletter, traveling officers, and...
  • Something I've seen over the past few months is how the General Grand Council team is working...
  • It has been truthfully proclaimed that to preserve and transmit our principles to those who...
  • Greetings to my Royal and Select Companions throughout worldwide Cryptic Freemasonry!
  • The Ritual Committee this Triennium is making a concerted effort to correct the many mistakes that...
  • The Cryptic Degrees are a set of three degrees controlled by the Council of Cryptic Masons: Royal...
  • Welcome to a New Year with new beginnings. It’s an exciting time with exciting challenges ahead of...
  • Welcome to the new technology applications of the General Grand Council - We Want YOU! Help us...
  • Greetings from the Southwestern States of the US!
  • Life Membership Listings for the Each of the Grand Councils.
  • Happy New Year, Companions, and welcome to the first issue of our on-line and email newsletter.
  • Despite its antiquity, the York Rite still has a lot of untold histories, unclear symbols and...