Saturday, October 29, 2022

Commissioned Templar Chaplain Program

While Freemasonry is not a religion nor a substitute for one, our members are religious and we are charged to pay that respect and reverence to the Great Architect of the Universe as due from creature to its Creator. In nearly every Masonic body, there is an officer known as the Chaplain, Prelate, or Primate who has the duty to preside over the prayers and other important duties delegated to them by law, ritual, or dictates of the presiding officer. The Chaplain (or by whatever name they are known) is, in my opinion, an underutilized officer and there is so much potential for that officer's involvement in the affairs of the Lodge and not just during the meetings. Having served in the U.S. Army, I learned that while our Chaplains Corps provided spiritual support to the soldiers, they also provided counseling to those in need, and were often the morale officer of their unit. Chaplains in Masonry can serve a similar mission, but this also requires training and study.

During the Northwest Department Conference, the Grand Encampment announced the creation of the Commissioned Templar Chaplain Program to train Chaplains and Prelates for leadership and service within their respective Masonic bodies. In their own words, "A chaplain who is secure in his or her own faith, and who has the skills to listen and comfort, is the person who will help lead us to greater glory in service and humility." 

The program is composed of 12 units that are all online and self-paced. The course will include reading, video lectures, quizzes, and projects that will help develop your skills and assess your strengths and weaknesses as a Chaplain. The course is open to all Sir Knights as well as to all members of the Masonic family (including Masonic youth groups). The cost of enrollment is $75 plus the cost of the book "On Being a Masonic Chaplain" by Sir Knight Robert Elsner, Associate Grand Prelate of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar USA. It is important to note that this program is not a substitution for ordination nor a course in evangelism. As the Knights Templar is a military order, this program is a commission by the Grand Encampment only; ordination falls under the authority of a church. This program can be found at the Templar Education Portal. NOTE: Enrollment will not be open until December 1, 2022.

Upon completion of the 12-courses, a certificate and a breast jewel are issued.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

2022 Northwest York Rite Conference

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

This was a great weekend for York Rite Masonry. As Deputy General Grand High Priest for the Northwest, I, along with the Deputy General Grand Master for the Northwest and the Northwest Department Commander coordinate and run the Northwest York Rite Conference which is composed of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. 

I kicked off the conference with the Royal Arch Masons session on Friday morning. I gave some presentations on the Royal Arch Research Assistance, the primary charity of the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International. I then allowed the Grand Chapters to talk about their plans, struggles, and activities going on over the next year. While I think there is merit in more lecture-driven presentations, I prefer group discussions to foster an environment of learning and cooperation (we're all in this together). The General Grand Scribe gave a great presentation on Irregular and Clandestine Freemasonry. The General Grand King gave some remarks to the Companions and I think it was all well received.

I had to miss the afternoon session with the Cryptic Masons, but one's cable tow is only so long. I had to run to work and then spent most of the late afternoon talking with officers of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar USA.

Saturday was occupied by the Knights Templar, led by the Grand Encampment. The day was filled with presentations/discussions with the Membership Committee, Social Order of the Beauceant, Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Office of the Grand Recorder, Knights Templar Education Foundation, Holy Land Pilgrimage, and Templar Protocol. They also announced a new program called the Commissioned Templar Chaplain Program which will provide training that I will talk more about later when more information is given. For clarification, I will say that this program is not an ordination. Saturday ended with dinner, drinks, and dessert with friends and my fellow Sir Knights.

Sunday morning, Intermountain Chapel No.27 of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon met and initiated two new Knights. After the Chapel closed, the Northwest Province convened. It was a short, but productive meeting and we had the pleasure of hosting the Most Eminent Grand Prior of the Order. He talked about the new Chapels being consecrated: one in Arizona was consecrated yesterday and one will be done next month in Texas.

I do want to apologize for the lack of articles this last month, but my obligations have been keeping me busy. I promise some good ones are on the way.