Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Kappa Sigma Bio: Edmund Law Rogers

Next on the list of Kappa Sigma biographies is Edmund Law Rogers, one of the Five Friends and Brothers of Kappa Sigma. He was born on July 1, 1850, in Baltimore, MD. The Rogers family was a prominent family in Maryland and the family estate, known as Druid Hill, is one of the largest city parks in North America. He attended school at James Kinner Academy in Baltimore with another founder of Kappa Sigma, Frank Courtney Nicodemus.

He began his collegiate career at the University of Virginia in 1869 and on December 10th assisted in the founding of Kappa Sigma in America. He was known for his love of the arts as an artist and an actor. He left an indelible mark upon the fraternity by designing the Star & Crescent, the badge of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

Within the Zeta Chapter, the chapter at the University of Virginia, he would become the 2nd Grand Master (the President) of the Chapter, succeeding George Miles Arnold.



He would start a career in acting, going under the pseudonym, Leslie Edmunds. He was very popular actor and starred in such productions like "The Octoroon," a play inspired by the book "The Quadroon" and which focused on the denial of liberty, identity, and dignity of the slave.

Edmund Law Rogers died on December 19, 1893, at the age of 43, and was buried on Druid Hill in the Buchanan and Rogers burial ground.


References

1. 5 Friends and Brothers. n.d. http://www.umich.edu/~kappasig/5Brothers.htm.

2. Edmund Law Rogers, Jr. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Law_Rogers,_Jr. 

3. History. n.d. http://kappasigma.org/about/history/.

4. The Five Founders. n.d. https://quizlet.com/54353742/the-five-founders-flash-cards/.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

St. John the Baptist’s Day

By John Kebles


Twice in her season of decay 
The fallen Church hath felt Elijah’s eye 
Dart from the wild its piercing ray: 
Not keener burns, in the chill morning sky, 
The herald star, 
Whose torch afar 
Shadows and boding night-birds fly. 

Methinks we need him once again, 
That favour’d seer—but where shall he be found? 
By Cherith’s side we seek in vain, 
In vain on Carmel’s green and lonely mound: 
Angels no more 
From Sinai soar, 
On his celestial errands bound. 

But wafted to her glorious place 
By harmless fire, among the ethereal thrones, 
His spirit with a dear embrace 
Thee the loved harbinger of Jesus owns, 
Well pleased to view 
Her likeness true, 
And trace, in thine, her own deep tones. 

Deathless himself, he joys with thee 
To commune how a faithful martyr dies, 
And in the blest could envy be, 
He would behold thy wounds with envious eyes, 
Star of our morn, 
Who yet unborn 
Didst guide our hope where Christ should rise. 

Now resting from your jealous care 
For sinners, such as Eden cannot know, 
Ye pour for us your mingled prayer, 
No anxious fear to damp Affection’s glow. 
Love draws a cloud 
From you to shroud 
Rebellion’s mystery here below. 

And since we see, and not afar, 
The twilight of the great and dreadful day, 
Why linger, till Elijah’s car pray, 
Stoop from the clouds? Why sleep ye? rise and 
Ye heralds seal’d 
In camp or field 
Your Saviour’s banner to display. 

Where is the lore the Baptist taught, 
The soul unswerving and the fearless tongue? 
The much-enduring wisdom, sought 
By lonely prayer the haunted rocks among? 
Who counts it gain 
His light should wane, 
So the whole world to Jesus throng? 

Thou Spirit who the Church didst lend 
Her eagle wings, to shelter in the wild, 
We pray thee, ere the Judge descend, 
With flames like these, all bright and undefiled, 
Her watchfires light, 
To guide aright 
Our weary souls, by earth beguiled. 

So glorious let Thy Pastors shine, 
That by their speaking lives the world may learn 
First filial duty, then divine, 
That sons to parents, all to Thee may turn ; 
And ready prove 
In fires of love, 
At sight of Thee, for aye to burn.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

9-years later...

Well another year has come by and today marks the 9th year since I was Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in Oriental Lodge #60, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Idaho. It's been an amazing journey through Freemasonry and I've enjoyed every minute of it.

It has been a good year of Masonry for me. I finished off the rest of my term as Master of my Lodge on a high note and handed the reigns over to my Senior Warden who has done a good job as Worshipful Master so far. 2015 has been quiet in regards to Freemasonry for me as I was in DC for 4-months working for the US Senate although I did play the part of sojourner once in a while and visited my East Coast Brothers, and I am grateful for their hospitality. I also advanced in the officer line of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho, Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Idaho, Idaho Priory #13 of the Knights of the York Cross of Honor, and Tri-Valley #178 of the York Rite College. I was also appointed as the Grand Representative to Delaware for the Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star in Idaho I look forward to the next year and some of the upcoming masonic events.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Traditional Observance Lodges and Best Practices

While working in the DC I lived with the Senior Warden of a Traditional Observance Lodge. Traditional Observance Lodges can be a controversial issue for some and many have written in defense of and opposition to their concepts. While most Masons are neutral to the subject, there seem to be some who vehemently oppose it for poor and/or false reasons. I am here to defend the concept against ignorance, but at the same time my goal is to point out that best practices is not inherent to any style of Lodge, Traditional Observance or other. I'd also like to make it clear that these are my views, not the views of any Masonic body that I am a member or officer of.

In reading some of the writings of those who oppose Traditional Observance Lodges one would think that those style Lodges have thrown aside the ritual of Craft Masonry as well as the Ancient Landmarks, and have adopted some clandestine policies in an attempt to be a pseudo-religion. Within a week of living on the East Coast I had the pleasure of attending a Traditional Observance Lodge, and most of the arguments against Traditional Observance Lodges were proven as false. Looking back on my experiences and seeing this opposition, I've seen some demonizing Traditional Observance Lodges using propaganda and illogical arguments reminiscent of anti-Masons and conspiracy theorists that claim Freemasonry is evil, corrupt, elitist, and a religion.

When I attended the Traditional Observance Lodge they were initiating a new member as an Entered Apprentice. Like visiting any Lodge it was interesting to see some of the differences from Idaho work. The ritual work was done very well; the officers knew their parts and the side-liners kept silent in respect to the ritual work being done. Once finished they closed the Lodge and we adjourned to the dining room where they held a Festive Board. The food and brotherhood was great: general chit-chat among the Brothers, several toasts, and singing some songs from Anderson's Constitution. In weeks to come, my roommate hosted an educational night for the Lodge where Entered Apprentices came and learned more about the first degree of Freemasonry, not just the catechism required by their Grand Lodge; nothing outlandish, but looking back at lectures written by William Preston and other celebrated Brothers as well as going over the Tracing Board for that degree. In talking with the Junior Warden, I learned quite a bit about what actually goes on in Traditional Observance Lodges versus what others say it is. The goal is simply to return to the practices of early Freemasonry that made Freemasonry great. They are trying to improve the initiatic experience for the candidate by looking back on the history of Freemasonry and using the practices and traditions that are successful.

In "Masonic Reformation" I discuss the "Factory Era" of Freemasonry where Lodges were far more interested in initiating for the sake of initiating, often to get to some of the concordant or appendant orders, while education and understanding of the symbolism fell by the way side. Dues didn't increase with time (and inflation) and for some Freemasonry became nothing more than a fork and knife club. As the years have gone by Freemasonry has decreased and many have speculated on what to do, but few Lodges were doing anything about it. From my observation Traditional Observance Lodges did what many talked about doing. They found something that worked for them. In talking with my roommate and the Junior Warden as well as attending Lodge I saw nothing that contradicted our ritual or the Ancient Landmarks of the Craft. If anything they've attempted to ensure that they make a good first impression on the candidate while ensuring the solemnity of the ritual is upheld. Now, this is not to say some Lodges may exaggerate the adoption of elements that some see as clandestine (even though some of the same elements can be found in groups like the York Rite), but Traditional Observance Lodge is not a unified Lodge system, the Masonic Restoration Foundation isn't the centralized authority over Traditional Observance Lodges; each Tradtional Observance Lodge still reports and is beholden to their Grand Lodge. Each Traditional Observance Lodge finds elements that works for them and adopts them.

I think some of the opinions held against Traditional Observance is held simply because of pride. Some believe that Traditional Observance Lodges are not operating within what they see as acceptable while not realizing most Traditional Observance Lodges are adopting practices used in the early days by our forefathers and which were erroneously thrown away during the Factory Era. The phrase "that's how we've always done it" is a phrase often mocked by many Masons, particularly younger ones, today and for good reason. For too long many Masons have attempted to label recent "customs" of the Lodge as "tradition" or permanent policy. One need only look at Lodge records and see that that isn't "how we've always done it.". These same Brothers would rather keep the current course and further steer the ship of Masonry through superfluous icebergs. Now having said all this, I will agree with one thing said by one anti-Traditional Observance individual: we don't need Traditional Observance Lodges or the MRF to improve Freemasonry. These emerged though out of a need and due to failing policies. Had more Lodges not adopted failing policies and kept actual traditions therefore keeping Freemasonry from straying from its path, the "Traditional Observance Lodge" wouldn't need to exist. Instead of condemning the Traditional Observance movement for attempting to improve Freemasonry, for both for the Lodge and the member, we should be looking at our own Lodges and analyzing the practices. Are the practices of your Lodge allowing for growth, for education, for mentoring, and for self-improvement? We say that Freemasonry is the greatest Fraternity in all the world, but yet so many treat it like it was nothing more than a chapter of Kiwanis or Rotary; I'm not saying anything is wrong with either group, but they are not Freemasonry and vice versa.

I'm not saying that Lodges need to mirror exactly what Traditional Observance Lodges do, but rather should look at practices that reform Freemasonry and go back to time that made Freemasonry famous and immortalized. There are some practices that are symptoms of a healthy Lodge such as:
Quality over Quantity: So many "stay the course" Masons are proud that their Lodge has a large number of members, but when asked how many attend meetings it usually very minimal. What good is having a large membership number if none of them come to meetings? Dues and money can't confer the degree in place of a person. During the "Factory Era" we gloried in our large numbers because it allowed dues to be kept at an unreasonably low level and now with declining membership so many still refuse to raise dues for a variety of excuses. In my opinion, it is better to have a Lodge of 20 Masons who were all active than a Lodge of hundreds where no one attends Lodge.
Communication: A Lodge who keeps in close contact with a Mason is one who will see that Mason more likely to attend Lodge. If a Mason doesn't know what events are coming up they won't attend. Communication is a source of information, promotes motivation, helps in socializing, and assists in the governance, planning, and implementation of Lodge operations, goals, and plans. This isn't just the job for the Master or Wardens, but should be a job delegated to several Brothers to ensure Brothers are called, and should include a newsletter or email from the Lodge's Secretary.
Understanding not Just Memorization: Too many think that just because a Mason can repeat the words of the ritual that they have an understanding. Such thought is false. Education needs to be a focus for the Lodge, whether during a formal meeting, hosting a visiting lecturer, or having education nights at someone's house. If we cannot understand our history, the ritual, and the symbols we will continue to fail our members. Simply hoping a new Master Mason tossed aside to learn and study on his own while focusing on speedily initiating the next new candidate is bad practice and led to what Freemasonry is now, a shadow of what it once was. Without such focus, we would fail to have a proper education and so much would fall into the fog of history and obscurity.
Proper AttireNothing bugs me more than when members, and even officers, show up looking like it's just another day sitting around the house. The attire of the Brethren should never detract from the dignity and decorum of the institution. Some Lodges may feel the need to wear tuxedos to show respect to the solemnity and reverence to the ceremonies, rituals, customs, and traditions of Freemasonry. A tuxedo isn't going to work with every Lodge, but as Masons we should attempt have a standard for dress attire and wear at least our "Sunday Best."
Slow Down: Don't be in such a hurry to rush a candidate through the degrees. This isn't just a result of the Factory Era, but also from some events like the Morgan Affair. Lodges should allow candidates to take their time progressing from degree to the next. We need to ensure that a newly initiated Brother sets a proper base to his education and knowledge of the mysteries of Freemasonry; every good structure needs a strong foundation.
Be Active: This means not just in the Lodge. One characteristic seen with all healthy Lodges is that they are active, both in and out of Lodge. This could take the form of community events, brotherhood nights, trips, tours, and so on, and which includes involving the family not just Masons.
Every Lodge is unique, it has its own personality and characteristics. This is why I say that each Lodge needs to find the best practices that works for them. It's very apparent the "way we've always done it" isn't working as demonstrated by so many Lodges showing poor results in attendance and retention. Staying the course with a cheapened and rushed version of Freemasonry does not and will not work. Change is needed because if we keep with the same poor policies then we'll just get the same poor results we've been seeing in the last several decades and to think otherwise is the very definition of insanity.

To call Brothers "clandestine" or "elitist" simply because what their Lodge is different from yours is illogical and not very Brotherly; no one should hasten to label someone simply because someone took pride in their experience and sought to share it. Instead of infighting and petty politics about who is right or who is wrong, we should be united and celebrating as Brothers, we should be finding what works and what is sustainable.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The 143rd Annual Assembly of the United Grand Imperial Council

For the last couple of days I've been at the 143rd Annual Assembly of the United Grand Imperial Council of the Red Cross of Constantine and Appendant Orders for the United States of America, Mexico and the Philippines. Officially known as the Masonic and Military Order of the Red Cross of Constantine and the Orders of the Holy Sepulchre and St. John the Evangelist, this order's purpose is to commemorate the first elevation of Christianity from the position of a despised and proscribed heresy to that of a legally recognized and honored religion, to cultivate the social virtues, appeal to the intellectual and moral qualities, preserve as far as possible the customs of the fraternity and bring about good fellowship and understanding between all branches of Masonry.

I'd like to thank William Miller, the 2014-2015 Most Illustrious Grand Sovereign who along with the Grand Assembly Chairman appointed me as one of the member of the Hospitality Committee for this Annual Assembly. I had an amazing time seeing many old friends and meeting new ones from all over the world who came to this meeting. This meeting included tours into Seattle and out to Blake Island (see pictures below).

I'd like to also congratulate Bill on a great meeting and year. Congratulations to Robert S. Finley who was elected and installed to serve as the Most Illustrious Grand Sovereign for the next year.

Now it's time to hit the road for an 8-hour trip back home.











Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Kappa Sigma Bio: William Grigsby McCormick

Born on this date in 1851, William Grigsby McCormick would grow up to be an American businessman, one of the 5 Friends and Brothers (co-founders) of and the only Most Worthy Grand Master to the Kappa Sigma fraternity.

Born in Chicago, IL, and son of William Sanderson and Mary Ann McCormick. After the death of his father, his mother moved the family to Baltimore, MD, near her families estates. He came from a prominent family: his grandfather was a famous inventor, his uncle invented the McCormick reaper (a type of harvester), his mother's cousin was President of the College of William and Mary, and William's own brother was an Ambassador to Austria, to Russia, and to France. He attended the University of Virginia starting in 1868 and a year later assisted in the founding of the Kappa Sigma fraternity which met in his room at 46 East Lawn. A plaque is affixed to his room which states:

HERE ON DECEMBER THE TENTH
MDCCCLXIX THE KAPPA SIGMA
FRATERNITY WAS FOUNDED BY
WILLIAM GRIGSBY McCORMICK -
GEORGE MILES ARNOLD - JOHN
COVERT BOYD - EDMUND LAW
ROGERS - FRANK COURTNEY
NICODEMUS manet mansura est.

After college, he traveled with his brother Robert to Europe (including a trip to Bologna) then returned to Baltimore where he worked as a banker for two years before marrying Eleanor Brooks, daughter of former railroad executive Walter Booth Brooks, on October 23, 1873. He would move back with his wife to Chicago where he worked for McCormick Brothers & Findlay then started his own insurance and real estate business with offices in Chicago and New York. In 1880, he was elected for one term as an alderman for the Chicago City Council. Him and his wife would go on to have 7 children; one of his three sons would go on to be initiated into Kappa Sigma fraternity at the celebration of the 50th year since the founding of Kappa Sigma.

In 1884 he helped form Smith, McCormick & Company to trade commodities on the Chicago Board of Trade and the next year became a member of the New York Stock Exchange. His trading firm became a part of the Schwartz, Dupee & Company stock trading firm until the 1893 panic, but William McCormick would work with Theodore Price to form Price, McCormick & Company in 1895. After his firm failed in a takeover, McCormick would retire on May 24, 1900.

At the 28th Biennial Grand Conclave held in Los Angeles, CA, in 1929, William Grigsby McCormick was the only of the 5 Friends and Brothers still alive and was elected to the position of "Most Worthy Grand Master". He is the only Brother to have held that title; the current presiding officer is referred to as "Worthy Grand Master".

William Grigsby McCormick died on November 29, 1941 at the family estate known as St. James Farm near Wheaton, Illinois. His death marked the end of the "Era of the Founders".

References

1. 5 Friends and Brothers. n.d. http://www.umich.edu/~kappasig/5Brothers.htm. 

2. History. n.d. http://kappasigma.org/about/history/. 

3. History of the Chapter. n.d. http://aig.alumni.virginia.edu/kappasigma/about/history-of-the-zeta-chapter/. 

4. Kappa Sigma. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kappa_Sigma. 

5. William Grigsby McCormick. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Grigsby_McCormick.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Graduate School

Today marks the start of my Master of Arts in Political Science at Boise State University. While officially my program doesn't start until the fall, today I start taking the first Graduate course which is in State and Local Government Policy and Administration; at the end of the month I start a second course on Policy Analysis. I am one of seven who were accepted into the Accelerated program which puts me on course to graduate next year.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Knights Templar Cross of Honor

Today my Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine met. It was a standard meeting and we didn't have much to do except ballot on a candidate. Towards the end of the meeting the acting-Recorder and Junior Past Grand Commander of Idaho asked me to meet him at the altar. There he invested me with the Knights Templar Cross of Honor.

I am very humbled and grateful to my Commander and Sir Knights of Idaho Commandery #1 who nominated me, the Grand Commander who approved of the nomination, and the Most Eminent Grand Master of Knights Templar of the USA for awarding it to me. This award was announced at the Grand Banquet of the Grand York Rite of Idaho this past April, but as I was in Washington D.C. working they waited until I was home to bestow it upon me; today's Red Cross of Constantine meeting was the first time Jay and I were both available for the investiture to happen.

The Knights Templar Cross of Honor (KTCH) is awarded by the Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States to Sir Knights for "exceptional and meritorious service rendered to the Order, far beyond the call of duty, and beyond the service usually expected of an officer or member." Each Grand Commandery may nominate one Sir Knight, but with a Grand Commandery over 5,000-members may receive an additional nomination for each additional 5,000-members. The KTCH is not available posthumously nor to past or present Grand Commandery officers.

Recipients of the Knights Templar Cross of Honor are presented with a golden circular medal which contains a purple Patriarchal Cross in the center and bearing the words “KNIGHTS TEMPLAR CROSS OF HONOR” on the outside. This medal is suspended from a red neck ribbon. They also receive a lapel pin and a certificate signed by the Grand Master and Grand Recorder of the Grand Encampment. This award may be worn with the Commandery uniform during all occasions.







Sunday, May 24, 2015

Introduction to Kappa Sigma

"Not for a day or an hour or a college term only- but for life."

During my Freshman and Sophomore years of College I was involved in the Kappa Rho Chapter of Kappa Sigma where I served in that time as Grand Treasurer and House Manager. Military duty took me away from college, but upon my return I stepped up and took over as Grand Procurator of my Chapter, which is the officer second only to the Grand Master of the Chapter and who acts as the judicial officer of the Chapter. By the time I had taken up this position the Chapter was in poor decline due to poor decisions made by the members of the Chapter, and by September 2012 the Chapter was closed down. While in DC I was informed that some of the Alumni of my Chapter are working with some undergraduates at restarting the Chapter. I plan on giving assistance where I can. Of all of my posts on this site, I have only talked about Kappa Sigma a couple times.


The Kappa Sigma fraternity was founded in America on December 10th, 1869, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville at 46 East Lawn in the room William Grigsby McCormick, one of the five founders commonly called "The Five Friends and Brothers". Membership is open to all collegiate males who profess a belief in God, though adherence to a specific religion is not required. The mission of the fraternity is to enhance the educational experience of the student and education mission of that insitution, to promote Brotherhood, to contribute to personal development, to promote ethical behavior and proper decision-making, and to encourage service to our fellow man and community. Our membership rosters have included Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, Presidential canddiates, Governors, Judges and Justices, entertainers, actors, businessman, journalists, academics, athletes, and members of the Armed Services

While the seeds and bonds of the fraternity were established by the Five Friends and Brothers (William Grigsby McCormick, George Miles Arnold, Frank Courtney Nicodemus, John Covert Boyd, and Edmund Law Rogers), the ritual was solidified by the Golden Hearted Virginian, Stephen Alonzo Jackson. He was also instrumental in nationalizing the order, writing the first Constitution, and becoming the first Worthy Grand Master. During the 2nd Grand Conclave he gave a speech on the expansion of the order, an excerpt of which has been immortalized by the Brothers of this fraternity:
“Why not, my Brothers, since we of today live and cherish the principles of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, throw such a halo around those principles that they may be handed down as a precious heirloom to ages yet unborn? Why not put our apples of gold in pictures of silver? May we not rest contentedly until the Star and Crescent is the pride of every college and university in the land!”
The legendary founding of Kappa Sigma traces back to Bologna, Italy, the famous City of Letters, in the year 1400 where Kappa Sigma was said to be founded at the University of Bologna by Manuel Chrysoloras, a Greek scholar. The order was founded to protect students from assaults by the men following the corrupt governor, Baldassare Cossa, who would become John XXIII during the Great Schism of the Catholic Church. The ritual of Kappa Sigma surrounds this central myth. Kappa Sigma was said to exist in Europe for the next several centuries, but dwindled into almost non-existence until Americans in Europe met with some nobles who said, "My colors fade...for want of wearers." To ensure that Chrysoloras' legacy would never fade, the Five Friends and Brothers established in North America.

The badge of a Kappa Sigma is the Star and Crescent which is composed of an inverted pentagram overlaid on top of crescent moon laid sideways. Four of the points of the pentagram divide the crescent into three sections in which are found the following symbols: two crossed keys, a skull and crossbones, and two crossed swords. In the center of the pentagram there is a golden ring with 12 gems going around and alternating between green and red. At the dead center of the golden ring are the Greek letters ΚΣ. As a Pledge you learn and commit to memory many things including the "Star and Crescent":

The Star and Crescent shall not be worn by every man, 
but only by him who is worthy to wear it. 
He must be a gentleman... a man of honor and courage... 
a man of zeal, yet humble... an intelligent man... a man of truth... 
one who tempers action with wisdom and, above all else, 
one who walks in the light of God.

Brothers of the Kappa Sigma fraternity follow the Four Pillars: Fellowship, Leadership, Scholarship, and Service. By Fellowship, it alludes to the unmatched experience and involvement in the Brotherhood that is Kappa Sigma. By Leadership, the fraternity expects its members to get involved in their communities and take the role of leader. By Scholarship, a member of Kappa Sigma is expected to excel in his academic career, remembering that while at school, his education should be his primary concern as a preparation for their futureBy Service, a Brother is reminded that helping and supporting others should always be his primary duty.

The basic organizational structure is the undergraduate Chapter. Each Chapter is led by an "Executive Committee" consisting of a Grand Master (GM), Grand Procurator (GP), Grand Master of Ceremonies (GMC), Grand Scribe (GS), and Grand Treasurer (GT). The Grand Master is the presiding officer of the Chapter. The Grand Procurator is the second-in-command, but in reality is one of two Vice Presidents in charge of judicial matters. The Grand Master of Ceremonies sits as the second Vice President and is in charge of the various ceremonies used in Kappa Sigma as well as the education programs. The Grand Scribe is likened unto the Secretary and holds similar administrative duties, just as the Grand Treasurer is the financial officer of the Chapter. These officers are elected by the Brothers on an annual basis. Beneath the Executive Committee there are a number of committees who assist the officers in the dispatch of their duties and the operations of the Chapter.

At the international level stands the Supreme Executive Council, or SEC, who sets the policies for the entire fraternity, disciplines chapters when needed, and approves the formation of chapters/colonies. The officers of the SEC are like those at the undergraduate level with the appellation of "Worthy" attached to it. They are: Worthy Grand Master (WGM), Worthy Grand Procurator (WGP), Worthy Grand Master of Ceremonies (WGMC), Worthy Grand Scribe (WGS), and Worthy Grand Treasurer (WGT). The first three officers serve for 2-year terms while the Worthy Grand Scribe and Worthy Grand Treasurer serve for 4-years terms, and all are elected at the biennial Grand Conclave. The SEC has divided North America into 5-areas or regions and those into districts, 60 in total. Each district is overseen by a District Grand Masters (DGM) and a number of Assistant District Grand Masters (ADGM) who serve as liaisons between the undergraduate chapter and the SEC. An Alumnus Adviser (AA) and a number of Assistant Alumnus Advisers (AAA) who provide advice and guidance to the Chapter; typically there are AAA's to advise the GP, GMC, GT, and GS. These positions are primarily all volutneer, but there is a professional staff who works at the headquarters in Charlottesville, VA. These staff members include an Executive Director, program directors, administrative assistants, and area recruitment managers.

Some of the programs ran by Kappa Sigma are "A Greater Cause" which is designed to promote community service, the Champion Quest program which is a recruitment initiative which pursues "Jackson's Dream", Brothers in Action program which is a membership development program by emphasizing the Four Pillars, the Military Heroes Campaign which focuses on service and donations towards disabled soldiers and veterans, and the Kappa Sigma Endowment Fund which was established "to support the charitable and beneficent purposes of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity".

Today, Kappa Sigma sits as one of the large international fraternites with currently 316 active chapters and colonies in North America. I am proud to be a member of such a venerable institution and my involvement only enhanced my experience as an undergraduate at Boise State University.

References

1. History. n.d. http://kappasigma.org/about/history/. 

2. Kappa Sigma. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kappa_Sigma. 

3. Kappa Sigma History. n.d. http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/rbethea/kappasigmahistory.htm.

4. Who We Are. n.d. http://kappasigma.org/who-we-are/.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Officers of the College of the SRICF

The officers of a College of Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (SRICF) are Chief Adept, Celebrant, Suffragan, Treasurer, Secretary, First Ancient, Second Ancient, Third Ancient, Fourth Ancient, Conductor of Novices, First Herald, Second Herald, Torch Bearer, Guardian of the Caverns, Prelate, Medalist, and Acolyte. These titles demonstrate the influence of the history of Rosicrucianism and how Masons incorporated them into the hierarchy of this order.

The basic organization of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis is known as the College and, within the United States, there is one per State (exceptions being New York and California). This body is presided over by the Chief Adept who, along with the Secretary and Treasurer, is appointed by the Supreme Magus, the head of the national organization. The Celebrant, Suffragan, and the four Ancients are elected annually by the members of that particular College. The other officers of the College are appointed by the Chief Adept.

The Chief Adept is the presiding officer of the convocations of a College of the SRICF in the First Order (I° - IV°) and Second Order (V° - VII°); the Third Order (VIII° & IX°) is under the charge of the Supreme Magus and the High Council of the SRICF. The use of "chief" has traditionally been used to mark a leader such as the chief of a clan or tribe, or, in America, the "Commander-in-Chief" or "Chief of Staff." Chief comes to us from the French language meaning "highest in rank, most important or prominent, or supreme" which itself derives from the Latin word 'caput' meaning "head or leader." An adept is a skilled individual or one who has gained a level of knowledge or skill to be considered an expert. This word comes to us from the Latin word 'adeptus' meaning "to attain or acquire." Traditionally this title was reserved for those not just masters of skills relevant in the material world, but also spiritually.

The top elected officer of the College is the Celebrant is to preside over the First Order, if not done by the Chief Adept, and in the absence of the Chief, the Celebrant shall become the presiding officer of the College. A Celebrant can literally mean anyone who takes part in a celebratory rite, but it is also used to indicate an officiating priest or clergyman who specializes in certain rites. This word is rooted in the French word 'célébrant' which means "officiating clergyman."

The next elected officer is the Suffragan, like the Celebrant, has duties and responsibilities to discharge during the rituals, and, in the absence of the Chief Adept and Celebrant, is to preside over the convocations of the College. A Suffragan is a bishop who is often an assistant a diocesan bishop, which makes this title appropriate to this officer as he is subordinate to and assists the Celebrant. The etymology of this word is 'suffraganeus,' a Medieval Latin word, meaning "an assistant."

The Treasurer and Secretary have duties similar to those found in other Masonic and non-Masonic organizations as the financial and administrative officers respectively.

The four Ancients are the last of the elected officers. These four officers have administrative and ritualistic duties, particularly giving instruction of Rosicrucian principles and philosophy to the members and aspirants of the College. Etymologically there are two ways to looks at these officers: ancient as an adjective comes to us from the Latin word 'anteanus' meaning "from before" while ancient as a noun refers to a "standard bearer" as a bastardization of the word 'ensign' from the Latin word 'insignia' and which is used by the military often as a designation of the junior most commissioned officer. These four are the collective junior elected officers of the College who are indeed ancient being the keepers of ancient wisdom held by the order.

The Conductor of Novices has duties similar to the Stewards and Senior Deacon of the Blue Lodge as he is the one who ensures the preparation of and guides the candidates, or aspirants. A conductor is a director or guide, and comes to us from Latin via Middle French from the word 'conductus' meaning "a carrier". A novice is a beginner or inexperienced in a skill or knowledge, and which derives from the Latin word 'novicius' meaning "inexperienced."

The First Herald and Second Herald assist the Conductor of Novices; have charge of the ballot, and other duties as defined in the ritual. A Herald was traditionally an officer who conveyed messages or proclamations as well as acted as diplomats or ambassadors for monarchs. This word derives from the old French word 'heraut' meaning "messenger or envoy."

The Torch Bearer assists the Conductor of Novices and has duties during the opening of a College; this officer has duties that correspond with the Senior Deacon and Marshal in the Blue Lodge. While this title has a literal meaning it is also used to indicate someone who leads others, frequently in a campaign or movement. The etymology of torch has to do with the traditional composition of a torch more than what it does as it derive from the old French word 'torche' meaning "handful of straw." Bearer is derived from the 'beran,' an old English word meaning "to bear or bring."

The Guardian of the Caverns corresponds with the Junior Deacon of the Blue Lodge and holds the corresponding duty of protecting the entrances of the College from the unworthy. The word Guardian stems from the old French word 'gardien' meaning "keeper or custodian." Cavern has its roots from the Late Latin word 'caverna' meaning "cave" which comes originates from the Latin 'cavus' meaning "hollow."

Like the Chaplain found in the Lodge, the Prelate has the duty of offering prayers to God. A Prelate is traditionally a high ranking member of the clergy and the word is derived from the Latin word 'prelatus' referring to a clergyman of "high rank or of preference over others."

Like the other names used for the title of officers, the Medalist denotes "one who is skilled in metals" or "medal maker".

Traditionally an Acolyte was a junior officer in the church who assists the clergy, but in the College acts as the outer guard which corresponds to the Tiler of the Blue Lodge. This word has come to its current use traveling from French by Latin, but originating from the Greek word 'akolouthos' meaning "following, attending on."

Throughout Freemasonry we use certain appellations or honorary titles to show respect for certain stations or offices in a given body. It is no different in the SRICF. For the Supreme Magus, the title of "Most Worthy" is attached while members of the Third Order are denominated as "Right Worthy". Celebrants and Suffragans who have not yet attainted the Third Order are regarded as "Very Worthy" and members of the First and Second Orders are called "Worthy"; worthy as meaning "having merit".

References

1. Acolyte. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=acolyte&allowed_in_frame=0.

2. Acolyte. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acolyte.

3. Adept. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=adept&allowed_in_frame=0.

4. Adept. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adept.

5. Ancient. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=ancient&allowed_in_frame=0.

6. Bear. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=bear&allowed_in_frame=0.

7. Cavern. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=cavern&allowed_in_frame=0.

8. Cavern. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cavern.

9. Celebrant. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=Celebrant.

10. Celebrant. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/celebrant.

11. Chief. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=chief&allowed_in_frame=0.

12. Chief. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chief.

13. Conductor. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=conductor&allowed_in_frame=0.

14. Conductor. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conductor.

15. Ensign. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=ensign&allowed_in_frame=0.

16. Guardian. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=guardian&allowed_in_frame=0.

17. Guardian. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/guardian.

18. Herald. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=herald.

19. Herald. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/herald.

20. Medalist. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=medalist&searchmode=none.

21. Medalist. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/medalist.

22. Novice. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=novice&allowed_in_frame=0.

23. Novice. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/novice.

24. Ordinances and Regulations. n.d. http://iasricf.org/ordinances/.

25. Prelate. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=prelate&allowed_in_frame=0.

26. Prelate. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prelate.

27. Suffragan. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=suffragan&allowed_in_frame=0.

28. Suffragan. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/suffragan.

29. Torch. n.d. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=torch&allowed_in_frame=0.

30. Torchbearer. n.d. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/torchbearer.

31. Adept. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adept.

32. Celebrants. n.d. http://lifethreads.ca/about/what-is-a-celebrant/.

33. Ensign (rank). n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ensign_(rank).

34. Acolyte. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acolyte.

35. Celebrant. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celebrant.

36. Herald. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herald.

37. Medalist. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medalist.