Sunday, March 29, 2009

Log of the Week of March 23

This has been another busy week and I am looking forward to next Wednesday, when Beth and I fly to Kona, HI. We will be taking a two week break before attending the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Hawaii in Honolulu on April 17. We are also hoping that Mt. Redoubt (our errant volcano) behaves and our flight departs without incident.

On Monday and Tuesday of this past week (March 23 & 24) I traveled to Eagle River Lodge No. 13 and Aurora Lodge No. 15 respectively to witness the raising to two brothers to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason. A third Master Mason Degree was conferred at Anchorage Lodge No. 17 on Wednesday the 25th, however I stayed home and entertained our Senior Grand Warden, RW Ron Ackerman, who traveled from Skagway, AK to attend the Grand Master’s reception in Soldotna, AK.

On Thursday, March 26, Beth and I joined a caravan traveling to the Kenai Peninsula for the joint Grand Master’s reception with Seward Lodge No. 6 and Kenai Lodge No. 11. Those traveling with us included: VW James R. Herrington (DDGM District No. 5), W Frank G. Weiss, III (Grand Sword Bearer), W John K. Bishop (Grand Lecturer), RW Jerry Wasson (Grand Secretary), RW Jerry Pinion (JGW), RW Ron Ackerman (SGW), and RW Johnnie Wallace (DGM). Mt. Redoubt had erupted sometime before we left and we were anxious that we might encounter some ash fall on our three hour driving trip. The highway was a bit slushy and we did experience some “white-out” snow conditions as we entered Turnagain Pass, but we never saw any ash fall.

Squires of the Roundtable.
The skies were clear when we arrived in Soldotna and the temperature was warming. Our reception by the brethren of Seward and Kenai Lodges was warmer still. Prior to our program of speakers from Grand Lodge, we were delighted by a performance by the Kenai Squires of the Roundtable. The Squires is a program sponsored by DeMolay International for boys ages 9 to 11. It shares many qualities with DeMolay (which is for young men ages 12 – 21). It has a focus on fun, through activities, ceremony, and service. The Squires develops leadership skills in these young men through youth planned and led activities and meetings. The core values of the Squires of the Roundtable are respect for others, fidelity, loyalty, integrity, patriotism, and belief in God.

After the presentation of the Grand Lodge Program, we retired to the dining room for a wonderful dinner prepared by the wife and friends Bro. V.J. (Nik) Nikalos (Junior Warden, Kenai No. 11). We also enjoyed great fellowship with the Seward and Kenai brethren. A special thanks to WB Don Merry (Seward No. 6) and WB Glen Faulkner (Kenai No. 11) for a great evening.

Early Friday morning, March 27, after a late night drive back from the Kenai Peninsula the evening before, WB John Bishop (Grand Lecturer) and I left Palmer for the more than six hour drive north to Fairbanks, AK. After arriving, we visited Tanana Lodge No. 3, where I opened a special session of the Grand Lodge of Alaska. In addition to WB John and myself, those present included: MW Gene Freeman (PGM), VW John Johnson (DDGM District No. 1), W Vern Carlson, W David Worel, and W Kevin Tennant. The purpose of this special session was the installation of WB Tennant to the office of Grand Marshall for the Grand Lodge of Alaska. After this special session of Grand Lodge, I met with members of the Grand Lodge committee on Wills and Endowments to discuss their plans for the preparation of a “Guide for Giving”.

On Saturday morning, WB John and I returned to Tanana Lodge to participate in the District No. 1 presentation of the Lodge Officers Training Workshop. The training was led by VW John Johnson who was ably assisted by MW Samuel Medsker (PGM), VW Monte Ervin (PDDGM), and W David Worel. There were about a dozen participants in this training which was enthusiastically received. While the training proceeded, I met briefly with MW Lloyd Triggs (PGM), who is a member of the Grand Master’s special committee on ritual consolidation.

At about 4:00 pm, WB John and I got back on the road for the six hour plus drive back south. Although, there was some packed snow and ice on the roadway and an occasional snow flurry, our trip was uneventful. During the drive, we entertained ourselves by listening to previous segments of the Masonic Central Podcast, which I had downloaded to my iPhone. As we neared the end of our trip, we started getting reports that Mt. Redoubt had again erupted and parts of Anchorage were experiencing light ash fall. We continued on cautiously, but saw no evidence of ash along our route. WB John dropped me off in Palmer at around 10:00 pm and continued on back to Anchorage.

Overall, this was a long but enjoyable week. Many thanks to the Grand Lecturer for his company and excellent driving to and from Fairbanks.

Tomorrow begins another week with the conferral of a Master Mason degree at Eagle River Lodge No. 13. The candidate will be Brother Jeffrey Wasson, the son of Eagle River’s Secretary and our Grand Secretary, RW Jerry Wasson. I look forward to participating in this special event.


The following message was delivered during the joint Reception of the Grand Master at Seware Lodge No. 6 and Kenai Lodge No. 11 on March 26, 2009.

We, as Freemasons, are taught to believe in love for each other and for all mankind. What is it though that binds us together so strongly that we “regard the whole human race as one family – the high and the low, the rich and the poor”? What is it that induces us to give of ourselves and our possessions to those in need or to even jeopardize our lives to help those facing mortal threats? If we were a religion, our motivation to do good might be to please God and gain an entrance into heaven. From a civil standpoint, we might be trying to avoid the penalty of law. If we were involved in a commercial enterprise, our benevolence might be driven by financial gain. If we were tied by blood, we would have familial obligations to each other. We are, however, a fraternity, and the ties that bind us together are stronger than religious, civil, commercial, or familial bonds. We freely associate as equals for the mutually beneficial purpose of making each and everyone of us better citizens, better neighbors, better fathers, and better husbands.

In his book, “Freemasons for Dummies, Christopher Hodapp tells us that the philosophy of Freemasonry is “the love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline, and a system of values by which one lives . . . Masons are taught to be lovers of wisdom, to pursue and value knowledge, and to live by a moral code of self-discipline.” In our first degree we are informed that Freemasonry consists of a course of symbolic and moral instruction, that “Freemasonry is a system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.” Through the succeeding degrees, we are introduced to characters and events which are understood to symbolically express deeper and often spiritual and moral meanings. Through initiation into Masonry, each Mason here has shared in the common experience through a fundamental process of change, a change from one who is profane to one that is a lover of wisdom, truth, and his fellowmen. It is that shared experience that unites us into a brotherhood. It is that common experience that, also, instills in us a desire to use our God given talents to their fullest energy to “do good unto all”.

The obligations we take as Masons impose a duty upon each and every one of us. We are enjoined to use our gifts to the best of our abilities. The important thing, however, is how we use our gifts, how we share, how we give, how we love one another.

Freemasons are pursuers of truth and knowledge. We gain insight into the nature of the world and our fellowman through the study of the history and philosophies of the past. We learn how to apply the lessons we learn to our own self improvement and thereby become better men. However, the process of becoming a Mason is not a solitary pursuit, but one that is accomplished in the presence of brethren with whom we share a sacred bond. We are enjoined, therefore, to continue our pursuit of Masonic Light, to continue a lifelong journey of self discovery, of spiritual and intellectual growth within the confines of our lodges.

Within our brotherhood we grow and prosper as Masons and our brotherhood is strengthened by our presence. Lets us pledge, therefore, to become better men, better Masons, and by all means better Brothers.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Log of the Week of March 16

Although I had the pleasure of sleeping in my own bed this past week, my visits have not appreciably diminished. On Monday, March 16, I traveled to Anchorage to participate in the Grand Lecturer, W John Bishop's workshop in District 3. The workshop was well attended by brethren from Glacier Lodge No. 10, Aurora Lodge No. 15, and Anchorage Lodge No. 17. The Grand Lecturer led off with a discussion on the floor work for various lodge officers during opening and closing of the lodge and during the degree conferrals. Additionally, proper ballot box procedures were discussed as well as the performance of the drama of 3rd degree. Overall, it was a very enlightening evening and I encourage brethren throughout this jurisdiction to take the opportunity to attend one of these workshops when the Grand Lecturer comes to visit your district.

On Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, I enjoyed a sumptuous corned beef and cabbage dinner prepared by W Rodney Young. This dinner was a prelude to Aurora Lodge No. 15’s celebration honoring their Past Masters. The Past Masters in attendance were RW Steve Lee, W Lennie Bibler, W Rodney Young, W Al Schuerger, and W John Bishop.

Wednesday, March 18, found Beth and me traveling to Sterling, Alaska for the Grand Master’s Reception at Sterling Lodge No. 22. We were accompanied on our drive east by RW Jerry Wasson (Grand Secretary) and VW Jim Herrington (DDGM Dist #5). The weather was glorious and we had a wonderful drive along Alaska’s beautiful Turnagin Arm. A special thanks to W Carl Lindstrom and the members of Sterling Lodge for a delicious dinner and a very enjoyable evening.

On Thursday, March 19, I was back in the Matanuska Valley, where I visited with my brethren at the Iditarod Lodge No. 20 stated meeting.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

AMFC Receives Charitable Status

I just learned that the Alaska Masonic Foundation for Children (AMFC) was recently granted 501(c)3 charitable status from the Internal Revenue Service. This is a huge accomplishment and something that has been a long time coming. But what is AMFC and why is this event so important?

The AMFC was established in 2001 under the name the Alaska Masonic Charities Foundation by Most Worshipful Charles Corbin. This foundation was intended to be an umbrella organization providing support to various charities sponsored by the Grand Lodge of Alaska. The charities specifically supported by the foundation included:

> The Alaska Children's Welfare Organization presently known as The Dorothy Saxton Center for homeless and/or displaced children

> The present Alaska Grand Lodge Scholarship Fund to be renamed "The Ed Weiser Scholarship for the Arts fund"

> The Alaska Grand Lodge Educational Program for the prevention of Drug and Alcohol abuse by Children

The Dorothy Saxton Youth Shelter was operated by the non-profit Kids are People, Inc until being taken over by the Alaska Family Services (AFS) due to financial irregularities. AFS was established in 1979 as a 501(c)3 corporation to respond to the needs of women and children in the Mat-Su Borough of Alaska.

In 2008, the Grand Lodge of Alaska modified the mission of the Charities Foundation and changed its name to the Alaska Masonic Foundation for Children to more clearly define its role in supporting the needs of Alaska’s children. The charities specifically supported by the foundation now include:

> The Ed Weisser Scholarship for the Arts fund

> The Alaska Masonic Model Student Assistance Program for the prevention of Drug and Alcohol abuse by Children

Also, in 2008, the Grand Lodge of Alaska worked aggressively to secure 501(c)3 status for the AMFC.

This year I have established a special Scholarship Committee whose responsibilities are:

> To provide a clear definition of the Grand Lodge of Alaska’s Arts & Music Scholarship as proposed by RW Edward O. Weisser (PGM Grand Lodge Pennsylvania)

>To establish the applicant eligibility

> To establish award levels

> To establish a selection criteria for awarding scholarships

Pending the availability of funding, the committee is also asked:

> To promote the Scholarship to the target group of applicants

> To make an award(s) to coincide with the 2010 Annual Communication

Additionally, the Grand Lodge of Alaska has been working with National Masonic Foundation for Children to adopt the Masonic Model Student Assistance Program (MMSAP) as our program for the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse by children. MMSAP serves our communities in the belief that prevention is the most effective tool for combating the scourge of addiction. Prevention stops use and abuse of drugs and alcohol before they take root.

Securing 501(c)3 status for AMFC is a big deal, because it allows the Grand Lodge of Alaska to begin soliciting funding to support these important community programs outside of our Masonic family. Although, there are many philanthropies sponsored and supported by the Masonic Fraternity, they are generally national in scope. The AMFC is our own Grand Lodge charity which provides direct support for the health and welfare of Alaska’s Children.

For more information about AMFC or to volunteer to help advance this worthwhile program, please e-mail the Grand Lodge of Alaska at Additionally, you may leave a comment to this post with your contact information, and I will get a hold of you directly.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Three Legged Stool

The following message was delivered at Sterling Lodge No. 22 in Sterling, AK on March 18, 2009.

Masonry is full of symbolism, much of which is separated into groups of threes. For example:

The three degrees of Masonry
The Three Great Lights
The Three Lesser Lights
The Three Precious Jewels
Three knocks
Three steps to the Masters station

You get the idea, and I’m sure you can think of many more examples.

I have long had a fascination with the number three and its simplicity in explaining relationships within organizations. In a different life, I was involved as a volunteer in the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America. I was a District Chairman and provided guidance and leadership to unit leaders and district board members. I often found myself at odds with those at the Council level. I recognized that there were three distinct aspects to the Boy Scouts, which can be described as membership, finance, and program. I also realized that each of these aspects was dependent upon the other two. My frustration was that I thought the Council placed too much emphasis on membership and finance and left the program aspect of Scouting to the volunteers. I felt that, if the promise of Scouting, which was to deliver the outdoor and leadership program to the Scouts, was ignored that membership and finances would also suffer. In essence, I looked as Scouting as a “Three Legged Stool”.

I like to use the analogy of the three legged stool when describing organizations or systems which rely on three attributes, and, if any one of the three is missing, the system or organization will fail. It’s easy to visualize how a stool with only two legs will not stand and if any one leg is substantially shorter than the other two the stool will fall.

Freemasonry is like a three legged stool, in that there are three attributes which so define us that they are the basis of Masonry. We learn in the first degree lecture that, “The three great tenets of a Mason’s profession are: Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.” It’s hard to imagine that Freemasonry could survive if one of these attributes were missing, and as the first degree charge teaches us, we should be especially careful to maintain them in their fullest splendor. But what are these three attributes and how do they relate to the functioning of our Masonic lodges?

Brotherly Love is that attribute that unites all men in every country. It is the glue that binds us together “into one sacred band or society of friends and brothers.” It is the fellowship which keeps us coming back to lodge to be with brethren with whom we share a common experience. But with fraternalism and fellowship alone we cannot stand as Masons. We might be a club and have a good time in each others company. But we would not be Masons.

Relief is that attribute of charity to those in need. It is the duty incumbent upon us as men and Masons to be compassionate and soothe the afflictions of those less fortunate. It is the duty to give of ourselves and our possessions, without being a burden to our family, to help restore peace to the troubled mind of the afflicted. But with charity and fraternalism together we cannot stand as Masons. We might be a club that is recognized for its philanthropy within the community. But we would not be Masons.

Truth, within the context of Freemasonry, is that attribute of self discovery. It is the casting off of that which diminishes us and endeavoring to improve ourselves through contemplation and intellectual pursuits. It is the study of the symbolism and history of Freemasonry and the application of the moral truths discovered there upon our character development. By fraternalism, charity, and Masonic enlightenment we are Freemasons. And like the three legged stool, if one of these attributes is missing, we cannot stand as Freemasons.

Masonic lodges should practice all three of these tenets equally. They should be havens of fraternity and fellowship where brotherly love prevails, where the brethren are regaled with good food and good friends. They should be involved in their local communities and recognized for their philanthropy and good works. And they should be sanctuaries where good ritual is the order of the day and where the presentation of Masonic education is the rule rather than the exception.

Failure to practice all three tenets constitutes a failure of the lodge and ultimately a failure of Freemasonry.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Log of the Week of March 9

This past week, I visited four of our five Southeast Alaska Lodges. I was accompanied on my visits by RW Johnnie Wallace, DGM; RW Ron Ackerman, SGW; and VW Jerry Hughes, DDGM District #4. Additionally, we were joined by VW Roger Hansen, PDDGM in Ketchikan and Petersburg. Despite the cool S.E. weather, we received a very warm and cheery reception. Following is a Log of those visits:

Tuesday, March 10 – Mt. Juneau-Gastineaux Lodge No. 21
The activities at Mt. Juneau-Gastineaux Lodge began in the early afternoon with an Al Aska Shrine ceremonial, where four Master Masons were made Shriners. The ceremonial was officiated by Illustrious Potentate Ken Krasselt, Past Potentate Tim Jellison, Assistant Rabban Nick Nikolas, and High Priest and Prophet Bruce Kling. After the Shrine ceremonial, Brother Mike Race suffered through the falling snow to prepare a delicious barbeque dinner for the members and guests.

We next proceeded to the Lodge room, where Lodge was opened by W Jeff Defreest, Worshipful Master of Mt. Juneau-Gastineaux Lodge No. 21. During this my first official visitation, I assumed the ‘East’ and performed the installation ceremony for W Tom Cochran, White Pass Lodge No. 1, who was installed as Grand Tyler of the Grand Lodge of Alaska for 2009. We had a very enjoyable evening and were blessed by the presence of four elder statesmen of the Juneau Lodge, vis. W John Sandor, VW Walter Soboleff, VW Jim Devon, and VW Harley Clough. These brethren have 212 years of Masonry between them, and Dr. Soboleff, who gave the benediction at the close of the meeting, will be celebrating his 101st birthday on November 14.

Wednesday, March 11 – Mt. Verstovia Lodge No. 18
We traveled from Juneau to Sitka for the Grand Master’s Reception at Mt. Verstovia Lodge No. 18. At 2:00 pm, prior to our visit to the Lodge, we participated in a bicycle give away to a third grade student at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School. This was the 12th presentation of a bicycle that Mt. Verstovia Lodge has made in the past three years. We donned our Grand Lodge regalia in support of this media event. A special thanks to Brother Carroll Fader, the founder of this event, for arranging our participation.

A delicious dinner, made from fresh local shrimp, was prepared by W John Bahrt, after which we all proceeded into the Lodge room for introductions and messages from Grand Lodge.

Thursday, March 12 – Ketchikan Lodge No. 19
After a short weather delay, we made our way from Sitka to Ketchikan, where we were met at the airport by MW John Grainger, PGM. We had to wait half an hour to take the five minute ferry ride from the Airport on Gravina Island into the town of Ketchikan. Ketchikan is the site of the so called “bridge to no-where”, which is proposed to connect a major transportation hub with the community. A special thank you to the brethren of Ketchikan, most especially Worshipful Master Jesse Kvale for wonderful dinner and great fellowship at Annabelle's Restaurant and Chowder House. Following dinner, we strolled from the restaurant to Ketchikan’s historic Lodge building for introductions and messages.

Friday, March 13 – Petersburg Lodge No. 23
Petersburg is located on Mitkof Island in the beautiful Inside Passage of Alaska. In 2002, Petersburg Lodge No. 23 became the last of the Alaska Lodges that remained under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Washington to join the Grand Lodge of Alaska. This Lodge has remained in a fragile state and has struggled to keep a foothold in the community. I left our visit to this beautiful area with optimism that we may be witnessing a resurgence of Masonry there. After a wonderful prime rib dinner, we settled down to view the Lee Sherman Dreyfus video, “Freemasonry and the Fabric of America”. The Lodge had invited members of the community who had expressed an interest in Freemasonry to participate in this event and the video was a precursor to a question and answer period about Masonry. There were many challenging questions asked and the members and guests alike left with a greater appreciation of our gentle craft. A special thank you to Worshipful Brother Dale Bosworth for all of the courtesies extended to us during our visit.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Unlocking the Secrets of Freemasonry

The following message was delivered at Mt. Verstovia Lodge No. 18 in Sitka, AK on March 11, 2009.

Freemasonry has been described as a "Secret Society", and depending on who is describing us, the definitions range from calling us a group that is inanely silly to one which is excessively powerful. Some conspiracy theorists believe we are focused on world domination, while others believe that we worship Lucifer. The plain truth is that Freemasonry is a fraternity or brotherhood of men who associate for a mutually beneficial purpose and that purpose is for the moral development of each individual member. Character development begins through a series of ritual lessons or degrees. While we consider these ritual degrees private, they are not very secret, and are readily available to anyone with access to the internet or who may have a library card.

What Masons refer to as their true secrets are the signs, grips, and words they learn during the progression through the degrees and that they use to identify each other as Masons. I would submit, however, that the signs, grips, and words are not the secrets at all, but are the keys to unlock the true secrets of Freemasonry.

In the First Degree lecture, Masons learn that “Freemasonry is a System of morality, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols.” Within the Lodge, the candidates progress through a course of symbolic and moral instruction through the ritual presentation of the degrees. Additionally, as a minimum requirement, each candidate has to demonstrate proficiency in the lessons of the degrees by parroting back some of those lessons through a process of rote memorization and recitation. I say “as a minimum” because the lessons of Freemasonry do not end with the completion of the 3rd degree. That is only beginning. Freemasonry is a life-long journey of self discovery, a journey of spiritual and intellectual growth. And, along the way the inquisitive Mason makes new and exciting discoveries about his relationship with God, his fellow man, and himself.

The signs, grips, and words grant a Mason access to the Lodge, where he can begin to discover that there are many aspects to the organization of Freemasonry. These aspects can be divided into three main categories—philosophical, historical, and organizational. The philosophical aspect of Freemasonry introduces the student to the profound subjects of initiation, symbolism and tradition, and their potential to impact his life for the better. The historical aspect teaches the student how the traditions and teachings that make up Masonry came to be, their central role in the spiritual search of mankind and the way Masonry has affected the world since its emergence. The organizational aspect helps the student understand how the organization is governed and perpetuated, and provides many opportunities for the development of leadership skills and personal responsibility.[1]

This process of spiritual and intellectual growth is called “Masonic Formation” and refers to the overall intellectual and moral development of the Freemason. The goal is to be able to translate the lessons and experiences that one gains from Masonry into one’s daily actions. Freemasonry, if approached with humility, an open heart and an open mind will make one a gentleman, a better family man, and a better citizen.[2]

By learning the signs, grips, and words, the door to the world of Freemasonry is opened to the student. An opportunity to begin a process of self development now lies before him. But he cannot learn the secrets of Freemasonry by remaining in the doorway. The good student must step through that door and enter into the world of Masonic Formation.
[1] Masonic Restoration Foundation. (2008) Masonic Formation. Found at:
[2] ibid

Monday, March 9, 2009

Call me Pooh-Bah

A family friend recently sent me the following from the Merriam Webster's Word of the Day for March 9, 2009



1 : a person holding many public or private offices
2 : a person in high position or of great influence

Example Sentence
"Have you seen news reports on the gatherings of international pooh-bahs who are trying to figure out some workable methods to restore the public's confidence in the markets?" (Ron Smith, The Baltimore Sun, October 15, 2008)

Did you know?
The original Pooh-Bah was an arrogant, buffoonish bureaucrat introduced in the 1885 Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Mikado. In that show, the character Pooh-Bah, whose title is "Lord High Everything Else," very "humbly" agrees to accept several important government offices (and their salaries) after a series of officials resign. He'll do anything if the bribe is big enough, and he loves to strut and show off to anyone who might be impressed by his grandeur. It didn't take English speakers long to adopt "pooh-bah" as a term for someone who holds either many offices or a high position, and the word still often carries a suggestion of pompousness.

Log of the Week of March 2

The beginning of this week was also the beginning of a new month with promises of spring right around the corner. It was not to be and early spring though, and this past week we gained another six or so more inches of snow. This made driving to and from the Valley less than favorable and there were more bad drivers on the road than usual. On one return home form Anchorage, I actually counted two dozen cars off the highway and about one fourth of them were on their roofs.

Despite the winter driving conditions, I was able to get out and visit a couple of our Lodges. On Monday, I attended the stated meeting of Eagle River Lodge No. 13 and was very impressed by their very capable young Worshipful Master. At 24 years old, I believe WB Nick Choromanski is the youngest Worshipful Master in the history of the Grand Lodge of Alaska. Nick is full of energy and has his lodge involved in several community projects including scholarships, helping hands committees, school sponsorship, highway clean-up, and community parades and festivals. He is certainly carrying the light of Masonry out into his community.

Tuesday evening found me attending the stated meeting of my mother lodge, Matanuska Lodge No. 7 in Palmer. It was great to be at home with my brethren and enjoy good food and good fellowship.

On Friday and Saturday I attended the annual sessions of the Grand York Rite Masons of Alaska at the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel. I truly enjoyed the ceremonies and all of the courtesies extended to me. On Friday afternoon however, I was found to be improperly clothed and made to participate in a “Suspension” Ceremony with several other Companions present. This was a very special event and something I will long remember. See separate posting for more on the annual sessions of the Alaska Grand York Rite.

On Saturday, Beth and I also attended the 42nd Installation of Officers of Waheed Court No. 81, Ladies Oriental Shrine. Lady Robin Hasty was installed as High Priestess by Lady Clementine Witsoe, Past Grand High Priestess of Ladies Oriental Shrine. This was my first opportunity to witness a LOS installation and I learned what “Inviting” Ladies they are.

Grand York Rite of Alaska

March 5th, 6th, and 7th marked the 57th Annual Convocation of the Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons of Alaska, the 27th Annual Assembly of the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Alaska, and the 6th Annual Conclave of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Alaska. In attendance were many impressive guests with equally impressive titles. These guests included:
Michael Patrone – Key West Florida.
L. Alvin Hill – Regent and Member of the Board of Trustees of Sovereign York Right College of North America.
Norman Lane – Most Ill. Gr. Master of the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Colorado.
Larry Tucker – Right Eminent Grand Recorder of the Grand Encampment Knights Templar of the United States.
James Herndon – Most Ill. Gr. Master of the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Idaho & Right Eminent Department Commander of the NW Department Grand Encampment Knights Templar of the United States.
Stanley McErvin – Right Eminent Past Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Wyoming, Governor General of the Covent General KYCH in the United States, and Most Ill. Past Gr. Master of the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons in Alaska.
Michael Pursey – Right Eminent Past Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery Knight Templar in Washington State and Grand King of the Grand Chapter RAM in the State of Alaska.
Bryan Bechler – Most Ill Grand Master Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Washington State.
Warren Lee – Grand Generalissimo of the Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Washington State.
Sid Roberts – Grand Generalissimo of the Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Oregon State.
Karl Forch – Grand King of the Grand Chapter RAM of Washington State.
Anthony Schawb – Grand Scribe of the Grand Chapter RAM of Washington State.
Jay Leonard – Right Excellent Deputy General Grand High Priest of the General Grand Chapter RAM International.
Larry Weaver – Right Puissant General Principal Conductor of the Work of the General Grand Council Cryptic Masons International.

On Friday, Johnnie L. Wallace was elected and installed Most Excellent Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Alaska. Leonard C. Bibler was elected and installed Most Illustrious Grand Master of the Grand Council Cryptic Masons of Alaska. On Saturday, Littleton F. (Buck) Buxton was elected and installed Right Eminent Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Alaska.

At the banquet following the recess of the Annual Conclave of the Grand Commandery of Alaska members of the Alaska Grand York Rite Masons were recognized for their contributions to the Bodies. Companion Dennis Oakland was awarded the Bronze Medal from the Grand Chapter RAM of Alaska for outstanding service to Royal Arch Masonry, Companion Thomas Schram was awarded the Bronze medal from the Grand Council of Cryptic Mason of Alaska for outstanding service to Cryptic Masonry, Companion Charles O. Ashcraft was awarded the Cryptic Mason Youth Award for his work with and service to the Boy Scouts of America in Alaska, and Sir Knight Dale Cain was awarded the Knights Templar Court of Honor (KTCH) from the Grand Encampment Knights Templar of the United States for service to the Knights Templar.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Comments Please

I was wondering why there were no comments to the postings on the “Grand Master’s Musings”, especially on the one post where I actually asked for comments (One-Day Ritual Class, 2/23/09). I assumed that maybe no one had anything to say or possibly no one was even reading the articles. The simple truth, however, was that I forgot to enable the comment section of this Blog. It is now enabled. Anyone who desires to may leave a comment.

In order to post a comment, simply click on the hypertext word ‘comment’ at the end of an article. After you have typed in your comment, you will have to select a profile from the drop down menu before it can be posted. If none of the profiles listed apply to you, you can select the generic ‘Name/URL’ profile, type in your name and an appropriate URL, and select ‘Post Comment’. Or you may simply select the anonymous profile. Once you select post comment, you will have to complete a word verification step to finish the process. I will moderate the comments and they will not appear until I have had the opportunity to review them. Comments which are inappropriate or offensive will not be approved.

Thanks for your interest in my journal and I look forward to your comments.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Masonic Central

Tune in to On Sunday, March 8 to the Masonic Central Podcast to hear a conversation between hosts Greg Stewart and Dean Kennedy and their guest, Br. Kirk MacNulty. Br. MacNulty is the author of several Masonic books including Freemasonry: Symbols, Secrets, Significance , Freemasonry: A Journey Through Ritual and Symbol , and The Way of the Craftsman. Masonic Central Podcasts occur every Sunday at 6:00 pm (PST).

On Sunday, March 15, the Masonic Central guest will be Henry Wilson Coil Lecturer Dr. Margaret C. Jacob, Masonic scholar and Professor of History at UCLA, whose research of Freemasonry during the Enlightenment links Masonic principles to the founding of democratic society. Dr. Jacob is the author of many books, including The Origins of Freemasonry: Facts and Fictions and Strangers Nowhere in the World: The Rise of Cosmopolitanism in Early Modern Europe, as well as The Enlightenment: A Brief History with Selected Texts and Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West.

Note: the Grand Lodge of California recently entered into a partnership with the University of California, Los Angeles to create a department of Masonic Studies, with Dr. Jacob as the Dean.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Officers of the Grand the Grand Lodge of Alaska for 2009

Grand Lodge of Alaska
Elected and Appointed Officers
Grand Master
M.W. Bo Cline
Deputy Grand Master
R.W. Johnnie L. Wallace
Senior Grand Warden
R.W Ronald L. Ackerman
Junior Grand Warden
R.W. Jerry W. Pinion
Grand Treasurer
R.W. James D. Grubbs
Grand Secretary
R.W. Jerome P. (Jerry) Wasson
Grand Chaplain
W. Van O. Chaney
Grand Lecturer
W. John K. Bishop
Grand Orator
W. Clarence E. Keto
Grand Historian
W. Roger A. Barnstead
Grand Marshall
W. Kevin W. Tennant
Senior Grand Deacon
W Dale Gillilan
Junior Grand Deacon
W. Carl J. Lindstrom
Grand Standard Bearer
W. Ronald K. Bowen
Grand Sword Bearer
W Frank G. Weiss, III
Grand Bible Bearer
W John Paul Jones
Senior Grand Steward
VW Darrell E. Windsor
Junior Grand Steward
W. James Peasley
Grand Organist
W. Dwight E. Morris
Grand Tyler
W Thomas D. Cochran

Log of the Week of February 23

Beth and I returned to Alaska late Wednesday the 24 of February, after a very enjoyable visit with family in California.

On Thursday, we traveled to Anchorage to pay our respects to MW Raymond Beaver’s family and participate in is Masonic memorial service. The service was officiated by MW Henry Dunbar, who always does a very nice job. MW Brothers Harry Koenen, Marvin Fitzpatrick, and Charles Corbin, as well as RW Johnnie Wallace, RW Jerry Pinion, and WB John Bishop took part in the service. Sister Alice Chaney was the musician. MW Brother Ray’s son John Beaver gave the eulogy. There was a large crowd of brethren present to help send MW Brother Ray on his final journey.

Friday found me resurrecting my computer, which had crashed just before we left for the Western Conference of Grand Lodges. Fortunately, all of my files had been backed up. I just had to suffer through the tedium of reinstalling all of my applications. I still suffer through a few glitches, but the worst is over for now.

Yesterday, I again traveled to Anchorage to provide moral support to VW Thomas Schram, District Deputy for District No. 3. Tom conducted a session of ‘Lodge Officer Training’ for the brethren in his district. Thirteen members of Glacier Lodge No. 10, Aurora Lodge No. 15, and Anchorage Lodge No. 17 took part in this training. RW Brothers Wallace and Pinion, and W Brother Bishop were also there to provide assistance. This training was well received by those who participated and even Tom actually enjoyed facilitating the discussions. Potentially, there will be another training session for District 3 this coming fall.

Yesterday evening after the Lodge Officer Training session, I visited WB Glen Josey at Providence Hospital. WB Glen went through triple heart by-pass surgery on Thursday and was still in the Critical Care Unit recovering. Glen’s wife Elaine was with him during my visit. Glen appeared tired, so after a brief conversation, I left him in the capable hands of the hospital staff. We are all hoping that Glen has a speedy recovery.