Friday, February 20, 2009

Conference of Grand Masters in North America

Beth and I are currently traveling up the Central Valley of California, after spending last weekend at the Conference of Grand Masters in North America in Anaheim. Our visit to California began last Friday, when I attended the Western Conference of Grand Lodges. It was great to greet old friends from the Grand Lodges comprising the Western Conference (Alaska, Washington, Oregon , Hawaii, and California) and meet our newest member (Arizona). Topics discussed at the conference included Sustaining Grand Lodge Charities, A History of Masonry and the Hawaiian Monarchy, Fellow of The Craft Training Program. I gave the Grand Lodge of Alaska’s presentation on Traditional Observance Masonry.

Sunday was the opening of the Conference of Grand Masters in North America, whose theme this year was ”Freemasonry Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”. The Conference of Grand Masters is the première conference on Freemasonry and delegates came from almost all of the recognized jurisdictions in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. In addition, there were visiting delegations from the Grand Lodges of England, France, Russia, Uruguay, Paraguay, the Philippines, and others. It was great to renew old acquaintances and to make new ones. The Grand Lodge of Alaska’s delegation included me (Grand Master), RW Johnnie L. Wallace (Deputy Grand Master), RW Ronald Ackerman (Senior Grand Warden), and RW Jerry Wasson (Grand Secretary). RW Jerry spent his time attending the Conference of Grand Secretaries in North America, which took place at the same time as the Conference of Grand Masters.

During the conferences, Alaska’s delegation attended several breakout sessions and gathered a lot of information to bring back to our jurisdictions. Topics covered in the breakout sessions included “The Image of Freemasonry”, “Membership Retention vs. Restoration”, “Moving from Leader to Mentor”, and “Connecting with Non-Participants”. Overall, this was an excellent conference, and the information and ideas shared during the sessions and between the participants stirred a lot of thought to ways Masonry may be progressed in all of its jurisdictions.

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