The Twenty Ninth Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge ended Friday afternoon, February 5th, with the installation of officers for 2010. All of the officers in the progressive line moved up one chair. MW Johnnie L. Wallace was installed as Grand Master, RW Ronald L. Ackerman as Deputy Grand Master, RW Jerry W. Pinion as Senior Grand Warden, RW James Grubbs as Grand Treasurer, and RW Jerry Wasson as Grand Secretary. RW James R. Herrington is the new kid on the block, having been elected and installed as Junior Grand Warden.
The festivities, however, began on Wednesday evening with the Grand Master’s Banquet. Dignitaries from all of the concordant bodies as well as distinguished guests form the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Alaska and the Grand Lodges of Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wyoming, and British Columbia and Yukon were introduced. It was a very enjoyable evening, which concluded with a wonderful choral presentation by Cantora Arctica, a group of mostly Mat-Su Valley women of all ages and backgrounds -- joining energies once a week to sing! Other special guests included my parents (WB John Kelly Cline and Marge Cline), Beth’s Parents (Brother Donald S. Dodds and Leeann Dodds), Beth’s Uncle and Aunt (Brother Brian Winsor and Jill Winsor), Beth’s brother and his wife (David S. Dodds and Michele Dodds), our son, his wife, and our new grandson (Joshua Cline, Kenyatta Cline, and Zachary Cline), and our daughter (Megan Cline).
Grand Lodge officially opened on Thursday morning with a welcome to the city of Anchorage by Mr. Larry Baker, Senior Policy Advisor for the Municipality of Anchorage, representing Mayor Dan Sullivan. Additional features of the Public Opening included the presentation of the Flags of the United States by the Heroes of ’76, welcome by various members of the Alaska Masonic Youth Groups, and the first ever presentation of the Alaska Masonic Visual Arts and Music Scholarship. Following the public opening, Grand Lodge was opened in ritual form for its regular business.
The Fellowship Banquet was held on Thursday evening with most of the same guests as Wednesday evening’s Grand Master’s Banquet. In addition to the friendship, fellowship, and good food, presentations of various Masonic awards were made, and a very enjoyable talk was given by Mark A. Tabbert, Director of Collections for the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria Virginia. Awards presented included the Grand Master’s Award of Excellence, the James A. Williams perpetual award, the Buckley C. Hazen perpetual award, and Military recognition presentations. The Grand Lodge of California made a presentation of a crystal gavel to RW Johnnie L. Wallace and the Grand Master was given a special presentation by the Grand Lodge of Oregon, a Certificate of Appreciation from the Masonic Service Association of North America, and a Certificate of Appreciation from the George Washington Masonic Memorial. I was also given my grandfather’s Masonic pocket piece by my mother, which proclaimed that he was made a Mason in St. Andrews Lodge No. 35 in Renton, WA in 1920. I also had the pleasure of presenting the Alaska Mason of the Year medallion for 2009 (name of the recipient omitted pending formal presentation in Lodge).
The business of Grand Lodge was completed by 11:30 AM Friday morning, in time to break for refreshments before calling to order again at 1:00 PM to complete the balloting and announce the officers for 2010. Legislation that were passed by the members of Grand Lodge included those resolutions related to improving the Alaska Masonic Code, a resolution to make the Scholarship Committee a standing committee of Grand Lodge, a resolution to delete the requirement for the Secretary to read the minutes of the previous stated meeting at the succeeding stated meeting, an emergent resolution to consolidate the three ciphers for the degrees of Masonry with the monitorial work into a single Alaska Standard Work and Freemasons Guide. Recommendations that were approved by the members of Grand Lodge included the authorization of the Code Review Committee to make all portions of the Code consistent with any legislation that was passed during Grand Lodge, the approval of a $1.50 increase in the Grand Lodge per capita assessment to the Lodges for the purpose of paying the recurring charges for the Masonic Online Registry Interface (MORI), and the recommendation to create a Disciplinary Code Review Committee to review, rewrite, and restructure Part IV of the Alaska Masonic Code.
This was a very rewarding Grand Lodge session and I owe special thanks to the officers and members of our Grand Lodge, most especially to my Sessions and Arrangements Committee, to the officers and members of my Mother Lodge (Matanuska Lodge No. 7), and to my wife Beth. Thanks to all of you who made this a special year in my Masonic career.