Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving

To my family, friends, and fellow American Masons, have a Happy Thanksgiving. 



Sunday, November 14, 2021

RIP Harry Black

The Masons of Idaho and Freemasonry, in general, lost a great man today. Harry C. Black was born on July 24, 1931, in Northampton, MA, where he lived until August 1, 1951, when he enlisted in the United States Air Force (during the Korean War). He served until July 31, 1954, where he was honorably discharged while stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base. It was while stationed in Idaho that he met his first wife Frances Jean Diehl with whom he had 3 kids. Frances passed away on March 17, 1981, and Harry married a second time, but it didn't last long. In 1991, he would marry an exceptional woman named Ava Mansell with whom he was still married at his passing.

Harry was initiated (April 19, 1963), passed (November 22, 1963), and raised (March 26, 1964) in Oriental Lodge No.60 in Boise, ID. He would serve that Lodge as its Worshipful Master in 1970. He also had the honor of serving as the Lodge's Tyler from 1976 to 2003 (with exception of one year). Harry was also a member of Silver City Lodge No.13 where he served as Worshipful Master numerous times. He served the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Idaho as District Deputy Grand Master in 1992 and 1993. Bro. Harry then served as the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Idaho for the 2004-2005 Masonic Year.

Harry was also a member of the Boise Valley of the Scottish Rite, the Boise York Rite, Royal Order of Scotland, El Korah Shriners, Order of the Eastern Star. Harry also worked with the Order of the DeMolay and Job's Daughters International.

Harry was one of the first Masons I ever met and was of the signers of my petition. I have so many fond memories of Harry. I remember back in 2007 and I was Senior Warden of the Lodge, he wondered if he would make it to his 50-Year Anniversary in Freemasonry as that was 7-years away at that time. I looked at him straight in the eyes and said "Harry, you're not allowed to die on me while I'm Master next year." He just laughed and said he'd try. When I came home from my second deployment to Iraq, I hadn't taken two steps into the Lodge room when Harry shot up to me, grabbed me by my shoulders, looked me up and down, and said, "Good! You're in one piece!" Then shook my hand and said, "Welcome home, Brother."

Harry was a fine ritualist, although, he did sometimes like to adlib and add in his own words, especially with the Master Mason Lecture. Harry, though, was a fountain of knowledge and if I needed a prompting, Harry was who I'd look to for a word. He served Freemasonry tirelessly and I'm going to miss him greatly.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

A Day of Templary

Today has been a long day as Sir Knights from all over Idaho came together to confer the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, Order of Malta, and Order of the Temple upon several candidates.

I served as Warder for the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, Eminent Prior for the Order of Malta, and Eminent Commander for the Order of the Temple.

With today's conferral, there have been 13 new Sir Knights created this year and we have more candidates in waiting that couldn't make it today.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Happy Veteran's Day

To all of my Brothers and Sisters of the Armed Forces, past and present, I wish you all a Happy Veteran's Day. God bless all of you and God bless the United States.



A Day of Prayer

 From the Right Eminent Grand Prelate of the Grand Encampment:

We are taught never to undertake any great or important task without prayer. Life itself is important, and needs prayer. Our lives together are complicated and need constant prayer. Prayer has been a central theme in the United States since before its founding. In 1775, the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a new nation. In 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer.” In 1952, President and MW Brother Harry S. Truman signed a joint resolution by Congress declaring an annual National Day of Prayer. In 1988, the law was amended to set the day as the first Thursday of every May and signed by President Reagan. Each year, the President signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.

The Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, being a Christian organization, has always reinforced the centrality of prayer in our lives. We recognize the essential nature of prayer in the governance of our own lives and our interactions with the world. At a time where political divisions, natural disasters, war, famine, and pestilence are tearing away at the very fabric of society globally, it comes to people of faith to pray ever more earnestly for aid from our Sovereign God. To this end, the Grand Master has authorized us as your Grand Prelates to call for a Grand Encampment Day of Prayer to be held on November 11th, 2021. This date was chosen for two reasons. First, it is the Feast of St. Martin, the patron Saint of Chaplains. Second, it is Veteran’s Day, a day where we thank all of those who have served to defend their country. This confluence of two important remembrances on one day helps us focus our reasons for prayer even more.

We ask that all Sir Knights, wheresoever dispersed throughout the world, join us in prayer on this Day. Pray often. Pray Fervently. Pray with your hearts and minds and voices. Pray with your actions and your attitudes. Pray together and pray alone. Share this date with all of our Masonic Brethren and ask them to pray. Share the date with those not involved in Masonry and ask them to pray. Share the date with those who may not know Christ, but see the power of prayer in whatever their relationship with God might be.

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Almighty God, architect of the universe who has loved us and guided us, fed us, humbled us, and healed us: We ask your blessings on our Grand Encampment, and on all organizations and groups dedicated to serving you. Bless our Grand Master, Grand Commanders, officers, and every Sir Knight and their families. Give us the strength and bravery to follow you as our forebearers did into any battle, knowing that our arms are not strong enough, but that you can strengthen our hearts sufficiently to follow you and defend the Christian faith. Make us glad to serve you in reality and truth and forgive us when we stray from you and your Word. Make us mindful of you and your authority, taking away all arrogance and hatred that infect our hearts and minds. Bless our land with justice in all its varieties. Watch over the leaders of our country and communities, and those of nations and places throughout the earth, that peace, prosperity, and freedom are seen everywhere, and your name may be glorified without fear. Inspire us to walk uprightly and with mercy in our hearts. Help us to work with integrity and show mercy to those less fortunate. Provide our families with loving hearts and open ears to hear and heal each other’s pain and fear. Let us as parents, children, siblings, friends, and neighbors be examples of your loving-kindness and mercy. Bless our teachers that they might instruct and guide our young, remembering that all knowledge comes from you. Bless all who serve you through helping others, whether in healing the mind, body, or spirit, protecting our land, feeding the hungry, communicating with one another, building the environment that keeps us safe, or any other way. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil. Fill our hearts with thankfulness, kindness, and generosity. Protect us from all forms of evil and temptation, from all types of greed and lust that destroy our hearts, relationships, and lives, and from the carelessness and negligence that hurt us and others. Please, O God our Father, strengthen our trust in you. Never let that trust fail; all which we ask in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


Sunday, November 7, 2021

SRICF High Council 2021

Well, another SRICF High Council is in the books. My College's Secretary and I toured distilleries on Thursday then met up with the Suffragan and had dinner at Repeal Steakhouse

Friday morning started with the procession and opening of the High Council by Most Worthy Frater, Jeffrey Nelson, IX°, KGC. After his allocution, he installed several new Chief Adepts. After lunch, the educational presentations for the day started:

Esoteric Aspects of the Cornerstone Ceremony by Right Worthy Frater Ben Williams, IX°, Chief Adept of Colorado College

Alchemy and Freemasonry by Very Worthy Frater William Schuck, VII°, Ohio College

Following a quick break, the Fratres were led in a Practicum Exercise. 

Once the day's agenda was completed for the day, the Fratres wandered between three hospitality suites hosted by California College, Indiana College, and Alabama College. The Indiana College went and decorated their room with a Harry Potter theme.

Before long, it was time for the Royal Society of Knights Occidental dinner, followed by the conferring of the VIII° and IX°. Congratulations to the newly elevated Right Worthy Fratres including Frater Rick Rowe who serves as Third Ancient of Idaho College. The VIII° was conferred by the Chief Adepts of Nebraska, Alabama, and Texas while the IX° was conferred by the Most Worthy Supreme Magus. The rest of the night was spent socializing with my fellow Fratres.

Saturday started with a quick bit of business, including installing a new Secretary-General and chartering new Colleges in Brazil. Once completed, the Supreme Magus turned the gavel over to the Junior Deputy Supreme Magus who is in charge of the educational presentations. Today there were four presentations for the High Council:

The Six Days of Creation by Right Worthy Frater Tuoc Pham, VIII°, California College 

Esotericism in the Native American Tradition by Worthy Frater Taylor Keene, IV°, Nebraska College 

An Introduction to Acoustic Alchemy by Right Worthy Frater  Myron Deputat, VIII°, Secretary of New York College 

Esoteric Meaning of the Widow’s Son by Right Worthy Frater  Phillip R. Houtz, IX°, Chief Adept New Mexico College

The Supreme Magus then had pre-recorded messages from the Supreme Magi of Scotland, England, and Portugal. It was mentioned in the messages that Frater Joaquim Pinto Coelho, the Supreme Magus in Portugal, is retiring after 20-years. Next year is also the Sesquicentennial of the High Council in Scotland.

One last bit of business before we closed is that the Supreme Magus had to install a new Secretary-General who also received the Knight Grand Cross at the banquet later that night.

Once the festivities were done, I got a bit of sleep before I flew back home through Atlanta airport. I even got home in time to watch the last few Pledges of the Kappa Rho Chapter get initiated and become Brothers of that fraternity!


Sunday, October 31, 2021

2021 Northwest York Rite Festival

Two weeks ago, I attended the Northwest York Rite Conference in Boise, ID, and this weekend I attended the Northwest York Rite Festival in Wenatchee, WA. Masons from Oregon, Idaho, and Washington came together to confer the degrees and orders of the York Rite on 38 candidates (6 from Idaho) to include the current Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons of Washington. The Right Eminent Deputy Grand Master, Sir Knight Jeff Bolstad, conferred the Order of the Temple.

It was worth the 800-mile roundtrip to see my Brothers from Washington, Oregon, Northern Idaho, and Montana. Now I'm back home and getting ready for the SRICF High Council meeting this next weekend.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

2021 Northwest York Rite Conference

Today completed another Northwest York Rite Conference. Yesterday was dedicated to Royal Arch Masonry and Cryptic Masonry while today was for the Knights Templar. I had the pleasure of presiding over the Royal Arch Masons portion. I'd like to thank the Executive Director of the Royal Arch Research Assistance, the General Grand Scribe of the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International, and the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Idaho for attending. The afternoon was dedicated to the Cryptic Masons and the General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International.

Today was taken up by the Knights Templar and the Grand Encampment. After welcoming everyone, the Most Eminent Grand Master addressed the Sir Knights present concerning his actions and decisions since taking office. The rest of the morning was dedicated to the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, a Legislative update from the 68th Triennial, and the introduction of the candidates who are running for Right Eminent Grand Captain General at the 69th Triennial. The afternoon was spent with a workshop with the Membership Committee.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

A Busy Month

I apologize that I've slowed down on publishing new articles. Since my trips to Colorado and Wyoming, I've had several busy weekends. The last weekend of September, I had meetings for the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, Allied Masonic Degrees, Knight Masons, and the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon. 

The first weekend of October, I had a work trip in southern Idaho.

This weekend was busy as I presided over, on Saturday, the conferral of the two degrees of Cryptic Masonry (Royal Master and Select Master) in southern Idaho then drove back to Boise where, today, I served as Preceptor for the 32° (Master of the Royal Secret) of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite.

This next weekend is the Northwest York Rite Conference. Once that is finished I'm hoping to finish the updates to the site and get some new content out.


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Colorado and Wyoming

This weekend and last weekend I spent traveling to the Grand York Rite of Colorado and Grand York Rite of Wyoming. The Grand York Rite of Colorado chose to hold their business meetings virtually and then they held a one-day session where they conferred the Order of High Priesthood and the Knights of the York Cross of Honor afterward they installed the officers for each of the three bodies. It was a pleasure to attend and they did one of the best jobs at conferring the Order of High Priesthood that I've ever seen. I had the pleasure of assisting the outgoing Grand High Priest in presenting awards as well as presenting him with his lifetime membership in the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International.

This weekend was spent in Cheyenne with the Grand York Rite of Wyoming. Wyoming is like a second home and I enjoyed the hospitality. The Most Excellent Grand High Priest (who is also the Imperial Outer Guard for Shriners International) ran a very efficient meeting. During my comments, I called upon another Companion and we invested a very worthy Past Grand High Priest with the Ephraim A. Kirby Award. At the end of the first day, I helped cook dinner for the Pancake and Steak Dinner and was made a member of the Black Horse Troop. During the second day, I also attended the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Wyoming and the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Wyoming. At the Wyoming Banquet, I presented several awards to include presenting the outgoing Grand High Priest with his lifetime membership in the General Grand Chapter.

On both weekends, I traveled with my best friend and who is also the Northwest Department Commander (my counterpart in the Grand Encampment). He and I have a 2-year overlap in our duties as regional deputies for our respective body of the York Rite. Now to get home and get ready for next weekend's Masonic activities.