General Grand Master
Welcome to 2019. Happy New Year!!!
I hope everyone had a good Holiday Season!!
The last three months were quite busy. Besides the scheduled York Rite Grand Sessions and York Rite Conferences, we attended the first meeting of a Membership Council formed by the Shrine International in Tampa the beginning of October. The General Grand Council, the General Grand Chapter, the Grand Encampment, both Jurisdictions of the Scottish Rite, and several Grand Lodges were represented and held the first of what will hopefully be many meetings that encourage and plan for Masonic Family unity and support.
While we were at the Grand York Rite Sessions of Maryland, I was introduced to an idea of advertising the York Rite to the Blue Lodges. The Grand Chapter of Maryland presents a lapel pin (see the figure) to each newly installed Worshipful Master in Maryland. The lapel pin may be a design to include emblems of the York Rite.
In November, we recognized the General Conference of Grand Councils of Royal and Select Maters of the USA and Bahamas, Prince Hall Affiliated, Incorporated. We also traveled to Peru to Constitute four Councils and since they then have five Chartered Councils, they petitioned for a Grand Council. On the same trip, we Instituted a Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Peru. We attended the Grand Assembly of the Grand Council Cryptic American of France and installed the new officers for the new Triennium of their Grand Council.
In December, we traveled to Texas to attend the Grand Assembly of the Grand Council of Texas which was presided over by Most Illustrious Companion Reese L. Harrison. We bestowed the Order of the Secret Vault on Companion Harrison, installed him as the General Grand Barrister (Honorary), and presented him with the Apron, Collar, and Jewel of the office. This was a total surprise to our friend and Companion, and he was very appreciative.
The General Grand Council Officers have had a tumultuous three months.
The General Grand Recorder spent most of the last two months cleaning up diagrams/figures for the Ritual which has now gone to the printer and we expect to start shipping orders by January 25th. He has also had a full schedule of Installations during the month of December for Blue Lodges and York Rite Bodies since he is also the Grand Master of the Grand Council of New Mexico. He has again had some family situations and moves as well as caring for his own health.
The General Grand Principal Conductor of the Work has been busy with his legal consulting in the Independence and Kansas City area of Missouri. He has still made time to travel to Texas and various other Conferences and Assemblies.
The Deputy General Grand Master sold his house in Hawai’i and traveled to Georgia to purchase a home. While he was looking for a home, he and his wife were staying in Niceville, Florida, living out of suitcases and no computers. They finally closed on a new home after Christmas and before the New Year. Their pod with the Hawai’i goods was just delivered and they are setting up their home.
And as for me, in the midst of all of the travel, I prepared for radiation treatments for a recurrence of my prostate cancer which showed itself in May of 2017. I started the procedures on November 27th with a simulation and CAT scan to allow the Radiation Oncologist to make the calculations for the treatments. On December 3rd, I had the actual treatment simulation, VSTEM, and began treatment on December 4th. I go everyday at 1 to 2 PM for 15 minute treatments except for my trip to Texas and the Holidays for a total of 38 treatments. Currently, I am half way through and 19 straight weekdays of treatments ahead finishing on January 31st.
In addition to everything else, we have managed to hold two Trustees meetings via teleconference, one scheduled and one called. This has been very successful and helps to provide the continued activities regardless of our current circumstances. This next Wednesday marks our third month of regular - agenda based - communication, which is keeping us all in the loop and allowing the work of the Cryptic Rite to prosper – even if it’s not as quickly as we all want it to be.
We must remember the priorities that we teach in Masonry:
General Grand Master
- First, is your spiritual health. You must be in the right place with your Supreme Being before anything else.
- Second, is your personal health. If you are not well and satisfied with any procedures you are going through, you cannot be effective in anything else you attempt.
- Third, is your family health. Remember our adage “Happy Wife, Happy Life”. We just have gone through the Holiday Season. In Okinawa, the military had a name for this season: “40 Proof”. There are about 40 days from Thanksgiving through the New Year. They looked at this as a time to protect the service members from Alcohol related problems, but we can use that as being a very busy time of life in the year. I know that I traveled to Montana from December 23rd through 26th and had to leave early on the 26th to make my radiation treatment. Then over the weekend before the New Year, my son and his fiancé came North from Mountain Home, Idaho, to spend time with Karen and me. Nothing much Masonic was accomplished during this time.
- Fourth, is your daily vocation. For some of us that are retired, this can be our Masonic responsibilities. For others, it is the job that allows you to pay your bills and to participate in other activities.
- Fifth, is your social activities. This includes the rest of your Masonic activities: meetings, installations, and conferences. Then there are the ones that keep you in good with family: Date Night; movies; visiting with friends and family; skiing; relaxing travel; etc.
I not only encourage this order of priorities, I believe it to be necessary for the continued health of each individual and, by extension, Masonry.
We are looking to a very productive 2019 and increasing our service to the world-wide Companions of the Cryptic Rite. We are excited to say “stay tuned”, there are some really special things coming on the horizon.