This past week was almost a duplicate of the week before, with Grand Master receptions, Grand Lecturer's Workshop, and Lodge Officer Training.
On Monday, April 28, I was received by the brethren of Eagle River Lodge No. 13. I was joined by many of the Grand Lodge officers and committeemen. What a great evening. We all shared in a wonderful potluck dinner prepared by the members of Eagle River Lodge after which we enjoyed an evening of presentations and speeches. With so many guests there and with so many wanting to share in the excitement surrounding Grand Lodge this year, the speeches went on quite a while and it was late when Beth and I finally got home. A special thanks to WB Nick Choromaski, who at 25 is the youngest Worshipful Master in the history of the Grand Lodge of Alaska. I would also like to thank the brethren of Eagle River Lodge for their gift of a ceremonial sword to Grand Lodge. In my copious free time, I may even find a moment to craft a stand for it.
I traveled into Anchorage on Tuesday to meet with the elected Grand Lodge officers to review the status of the initiatives we have set out for Grand Lodge this year and also to review the performance of the Grand Lodge committees. At that meeting, I announced the formation of two special committees, the Prince Hall Recognition and the Ritual Performance Recognition committees. The Prince Hall Recognition committee is chaired by the DGM and is charged with preparing letters to all North American Prince Hall Jurisdictions that been constituted longer than the Grand Lodge of Alaska and share their jurisdictions with their mainstream Grand Lodge. The letters will request mutual understanding, peaceful relationship, and amity between the Prince Hall Grand Lodges and the Grand Lodge of Alaska. The Ritual Performance Recognition committee is chaired by the Grand Secretary and is charged with developing criteria for recognizing superior ritual performance among our membership. The expected outcome is higher quality ritual performance among the officers of our lodges.
At noon, the DGM, SGW, and I met with WB Tad Dean (web master for the Grand Lodge web site) and Brother Dave Oaks for lunch and to explore ways of creating a “shopping cart” on the Grand Lodge web site.
On Wednesday, Beth and I again traveled to Anchorage for the District No. 3 reception of the Grand Master. This was a first, where all three Anchorage Lodges joined together in receiving me and the Grand Lodge officers. WB Monty Schefers (Glacier No. 10) sat in the East, WB Paul Gabbert (Aurora No. 15) sat in the West, and WB Raldo Estridge (Anchorage No. 17) sat in the South for this event. There was some lighthearted grumbling about combining the visits into one, mainly since there was only one festive meal provided instead of three. However, the Prime Rib dinner prepared by WB Clarence Keto (Grand Orator) was top rate and any other meal would pale by comparison. As with the Eagle River reception on Monday, the excitement and enthusiasm for the work of Grand Lodge this year was shared by the guests and speakers alike.
Thursday morning, I was joined by the DGM and SGW at the Finance Committee meeting. The meeting was conducted by MW Harry Koenen (committee chair) and Brother Dan O’Connell (advisor to the committee) gave a very informative overview of the current economy and the status of the Grand Lodge investments. Although, Grand Lodge (like the rest of the world) has taken some hits in our investments the future looks bright.
After the Finance Committee meeting, the DGM and I visited with Brother Dave Oaks and his wife Kim at there business, “Top of the World Graphics”. The purpose of our visit was to discuss the purchase of a line of distinctly Alaskan Masonic promotional products that we could sell on the Grand Lodge web site, as well as making the products available during our visits throughout the jurisdiction.
Finally, on Friday I traveled to Soldotna with WB John Bishop (Grand Lecturer). That evening, WB John conducted his Grand Lecturer’s Workshop with the brethren from District No. 2 at the Kenai Masonic Temple. On Saturday, we participated in the Lodge Officer Training event conducted by VWB Michael Eady (District Deputy for District No. 2). For our stay in Soldotna, WB Bishop and I were hosted by VWB Eady and his wife Pam. We had a very enjoyable visit and Pam outdid herself preparing delicious meals for us. Thanks Pam.
I returned home late Saturday night to prepare for another busy week.