Sunday, April 24, 2022

Grand York Rite of Idaho

It's been a busy 3-days with the annual sessions of the Grand York Rite of Idaho and several appendant bodies.

Thursday morning started with the Order of the Silver Trowel. For this chair degree, I did my normal part of the degree as Adonijah, one of the antagonists in the ritual. Syringa Order No.121 of the Order of the Sword of Bunker Hill. It's always fun to put this degree on and I was appointed Chaplain for the ensuing year. After lunch, the Order of High Priesthood met and this was one of the few years where I've not had to take part in the degree so I was able to just be an observer. Later that afternoon, Idaho Priory No.13 of the Knights of the York Cross of Honor initiated two new Knights. Even though I'm a Past Prior I still contribute to the Priory as I give the Chapter lecture. In Idaho, our College of Honors throws a Dinner for those holding the Knight Commander of the Temple. It was announced at the Dinner that we have a new Co-Dean of the College of Honors for Idaho. Sir Knight Vaughn, current Northwest Department Commander, has been named as Co-Dean as Sir Knight Ernie Teter, Past Department Commander, passed away last August.

With Friday morning came the Public Opening and Joint Session where the Grand Commander presided. I was in charge of the introductions of all distinguished guests and visitors, but I had plenty of help from my fellow Companions and Sir Knights. After the Joint Session adjourned, the Idaho Chapter of Knights Preceptors met and conferred the order on six new Preceptors. I was later elected Seneschal for Idaho Chapter. After lunch, the 119th Annual Conclave of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Idaho convened. I stood before the Conclave and moved to formally endorse Sir Knight Jim McGee of Alabama for Right Eminent Grand Captain General of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the USA in 2024. I also had the distinct honor to be elected Grand Generalissimo for the ensuing year. After the installation of officers, I walked over to the Scottish Rite building where the Divine Services and Holy Land Pilgrimage Dinner were held. Once the dinner was completed, the Companion Knights of Tri-Valley College No.178 of the York Rite Sovereign College of North America held its annual meeting where we elected and installed a new set of officers for the ensuing year.

Saturday morning brought the 89th Annual Assembly of the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Idaho. I also did the Introduction of Distinguished Guests and presented the Budget for the Grand Council for 2022-2023. After lunch, it was a pleasure to attend the 114th Annual Convocation of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho to watch my best friend preside. This is also the third and final Grand York Rite body for him to preside over. He did 3-years back-to-back: Most Illustrious Grand Master (2019-2020), Right Eminent Grand Commander (2020-2021), and Most Excellent Grand High Priest (2021-2022). I was also honored to help bestow the Ephraim A. Kirby Award on him during the banquet that evening. I also had the pleasure of assisting the installation of officers for the ensuing year as Installing Grand Chaplain. The new Grand High Priest and I have known each other since I was first initiated into Freemasonry and he has had a profound impact on my Masonic career. On Friday evening came the Banquet of the Grand Sessions where I served as Master of Ceremonies. In my capacity as Regional Deputy in the Royal Arch, I helped award a Distinguished Service Medal in Bronze, two Chapter Sweetheart Awards, an Ephraim A. Kirby Award, and a Grand Lady of York medal.

If all of that wasn't enough, Intermountain Chapel No.27 of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon met Sunday morning where we initiated a new member and I was appointed as Eminent Prior for the ensuing year.

Now it's time to get home and relax for a few days. With Freemasonry and Easter, I've been able to be home for a few days without traveling on the road for work, but now my busy travel season is approaching.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Easter Sunday

I hope everyone has a blessed and happy Easter Sunday.

An Easter Blessing from the Patriarch of my Church:

Companions of the Sacred Flame,

This night we gather in vigil, to commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ, recalling with it, the history of our spiritual path, seeing in it, our own journeys from life to death, and experiencing through it, the initiation from death to life.

Divine Beloved, out of the tomb of separation you have called us, to rise into the Kingdom of God. The ancient mysteries of sacrifice speak to our journey.

Incarnate in each one of us, the Sacred Flame is transfixed upon the cross of space and time, May we never fear to descend into our lowest reaches, like the Logos and the harrowing of hell, to reconcile the lower with the higher- that we may rise transformed in this very life, and in the fullness of time ascend into perfect union.

– Easter Vigil of the Apostolic Johannite Church

These are the opening words of the Easter Vigil which the Apostolic Johannite Church celebrates at this most solemn time in journey of the liturgical year.

There is a reason why the Liturgical journey of the year is an annual one, and why we measure out our spiritual time in seasons and themes that repeat. The seasons and the themes do not change, we change, and in that change we acquire new perspectives and a lived meaning of the story of our own journeys – not merely in its journaling of hardship, but also in its foreshadowing of transformation. We may not know the details of our path, but the story foretells its arc provided we stay on it. 

The liturgy and words are a reflection that can give perspective on the many moments of difficulty we have seen in the past year – loss, uncertainty, exhaustion, and fear of the unknown, all of which we have experienced in abundance, but also whose substance, like a spiritual alchemy, can become for us the reagents of transformation under the heat of the Sacred Flame. A transformation whose movements we can now begin to perceive by the illumination of the Easter light. 

In our Johannite community, these transformations have taken the shape of new members, new ministers, new opportunities for service, new communities forming and established communities exploring their spiritual life as a community in greater depth, to name a few. There is much here to celebrate and look forward to as we kneel in vigil for the return of the Light. It is not just the Christ which comes forth from the tomb, nor is the weight of the stone in front of it, the only one that will in time be rolled away.

My prayer for you is that you may rise from difficulty, pain and sorrow and that any stone that remains within your heart, roll back like banished darkness before the light of the Easter sun.

My blessings, good wishes and prayers for all the Johannite Parishes, Narthexes, Missions, Oratories and Chapels, our solitary sisters and brothers who keep the flame burning in distant places, and all those who call the Apostolic Johannite Church home, deepening and sharing their journey here.

My thanks and gratitude on behalf of the Apostolic Johannite Church to the Johannite Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Subdeacons, Seminarians and Narthex Leaders, the Grand Master and Initiates of the Friary, the Prior, Oblates and Knights of the Order of the Temple and Saint John, and the Gnostic Wisdom Network team, for all their hard work and dedication- not only to the people we work on behalf of, but also in their own spiritual paths and in their service to each other. 

Blessings and good wishes also from the Apostolic Johannite Church to the many Churches and spiritual communities of good will, especially the for Ecclesia Gnostica Mysteriorum in their time of mourning and memory, the Ecclesia Gnostica, Ekklesia Neoplatonismos Theourgia, l’Eglise Gnostique Apostolique (New York), and the Ancient Apostolic Church of Alexandria as well as the many Martinist Orders and Lodges, Ordre Martiniste, Ordre Martiniste Souverains, Ordre Martiniste of North America, and our Masonic sisters and brothers, and also the many individual friends, family, laity and clergy of good will.

May the coming year find your work and paths rich and rewarding with fruitful challenge and blessing, and balanced with rest and reflection. May your work be noble, your spirits be humble, and your hearts always full. Most of all, may you each continue to come through this time with happiness and health.

Sovereign Pontiff and Patriarch
The Apostolic Johannite Church

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

A Springtime Prayer

Sometimes when I can't sleep at night, I read through the archives of the Knights Templar magazine and the other night I found a poem from the May 1979 edition that I'd like to share:


Dr. Howard W. Towne, Grand Prelate, 

Grand Commandery of Michigan

ETERNAL GOD, our Father, who dost cover the dark arms of the trees with living green leaves each year, we thank Thee for Thy lifegiving power. Every springtime Though dost fill the air with the scent of flowers and bring back the songbirds with their carols. We praise Thee for Thy gift of springtime. Somehow on these beautiful spring days, when everywhere there is the evidence of new life springing from the dead of winter, it is easy for us to believe in the resurrection of Christ. May the seeds of immortality planted in our souls in this season burst forth into blood, in lives more devoted to things of the spirit, in a warfare more dedicated to service in Thy name.

Come into our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit and give our souls their spring house cleaning. The basements of our lives are often cluttered with petty and evil thoughts; clean them with Thy gospel and let the pure wind of Thy truth come in to air them out.

At this season we would also remember all that great cloud of witnesses who have been the soldiers of Thy kingdom since the days when our Great Captain walked the earth. Many there are who have "climbed the steep ascent of heaven through peril, toil, and pain." Raise up in this difficult and challenging day, we pray, stalwart soldiers of the Cross whose stature is equal to its need.

Grant us spiritual resources equal to our task, and let us never cease to grow spiritually until we have attained the fullness of the measure of Him, in who name we pray, Thy Son, our Risen Lord. AMEN.

I encourage all Sir Knights to dig through the archives

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Grand York Rite of Oregon

Well, I spent the last 3-days attending the Grand York Rite of Oregon in Coos Bay (SW Oregon) along with the Northwest Department Commander (who is also the Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho).

On Thursday, the 159th Annual Convocation of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons was held. I attended along with Most Excellent Companion Chadwick Burks, General Grand Scribe of the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International. The Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Oregon had not met since 2019 due to the COVID19 pandemic. The Most Excellent Grand High Priest of Oregon, D. Homer Hickson died in February 2020 and due to the restrictions that were in place, the Grand King served as acting Grand High Priest until this weekend when he was officially elected and installed as Most Excellent Grand High Priest of Oregon; when he leaves office next year he will have served for 3-years. Thursday evening I had dinner at a German restaurant with several distinguished Companions and Sir Knights.

On Friday, the 134th Annual Assembly of the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Oregon was held. The Deputy General Grand Master for the Northwest couldn't make it in due to limited flights into Coos Bay; it took me over 11-hours to drive here and he lives another 10-hours East of me so driving was out of the question for him. Friday evening was the Grand Banquet of the sessions and I had the honor of awarding two Ephraim A. Kirby Awards to two deserving Companions.

On Saturday, the 135th Annual Conclave of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Oregon was held. Aside from the legislation passed, the Northwest Department Commander and a Past Grand Master of the Grand Encampment addressed the Sir Knights, the latter who gave a moving eulogy of Sir Knight Willimon Jackson Jones, GCT, who served as Most Eminent Grand Master from 2000 to 2003. After the installation of officers, Jeremy and I attended the dinner for the newly installed officers of the Grand Chapter, Grand Council, and Grand Commandery.

Now it's time to get some sleep and get ready for the 532.5-mile trip back to my house.