Sunday, February 14, 2010

I have moved

To continue to follow me, please go to "The End of the Beginning".

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Fat Lady Sang

This is the final posting of the “Grand Master’s Musings”. It has been an enjoyable ride, but as the newest Past Grand Master for the Grand Lodge of Alaska, it isn’t appropriate for me to continue to publish under this title. I am considering creating a new Blog, but with a little different focus. Please let me know your thoughts, if you are interested in my vision for the future of Freemasonry. Likewise, please offer your suggestions on what I might call that Blog.

Thank you to all my loyal followers. I will edit this post with a link to a new Blog, if and when I decide to start one.

Bo Cline

Grand Master's Message

The following is the message of the Grand Master of Masons in Alaska, as published in the Annual Communication Message booklet.

To the Members of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Alaska:

Welcome to the Twenty-Ninth Annual Communication of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Alaska. It gives me great pleasure to extend a special greeting to the visiting Grand Masters and dignitaries from other jurisdictions. I know how busy your schedules are and I really appreciate that you have taken the time to come and share in the fellowship with us. Please do not hesitate to ask, if there is anything we can do to make your stay more enjoyable.


The following brethren were appointed to additional duties during the year:

W James M. LeFlore as chairman of the Fund Raising committee with all sitting Worshipful Master as committee members

MW Stephen L. Cox as my personal representative to the Grand Lodge of Kansas
MW John H. Grainger as my personal representative to the Grand Lodge of Russia
RW Johnnie L. Wallace as my personal representative to the Grand Lodge of Florida
RW Ronald L. Ackerman as my personal representative to the Grand Lodge of Idaho
RW Jerry W. Pinion as my personal representative to the Grand Lodge of Arizona
Brother Jerry W. Lewis as my personal representative to the Grand Lodge of Maine

VW William Goodwin as the Grand Lodge of Alaska Representative to the Masonic Service Association of North America’s Hospital Visit Program

RW Johnnie L. Wallace (Chair), RW Jerome P. (Jerry) Wasson, and MW Henry T. Dunbar as a special committee, working with a committee from the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Alaska to survey U.S. Prince Hall Grand Lodges which are in amity with their mainstream counterparts

RW Jerome P. (Jerry) Wasson (Chair), VW V. Clifford Darnell, W James S. Zuke, and W David R. Oaks as a Ritual Performance Recognition Committee

MW Joe Dees (Chair), MW Charles Corbin, and MW Don Chaffin as the Segregations and Reference Committee

RW Philip S. Lee (Chair), RW Bobby W. Alexander, and VW James R. Herrington as the Grand Lodge Audit Committee


It is my sad duty to report that, since our last Annual Communication, 51 of our brethren have laid down their working tools and answered the call of the Great Architect of the Universe. We mourn their passing and share that sadness with their families. Our Grand Chaplain, Worshipful Brother Van O. Cheney, will conduct a memorial service later today.


The Changing Face Of Alaskan Masonry – At the end of 2005, the average age of Alaskan Masons was 65 years old. At the end of 2009, that average age has dropped to 58½ years old. 12% of Alaskan Masons today have been members of the Craft for five years or less and are 42 years old on average. It is plain to see that Masonry in Alaska is getting younger. As I have traveled around the jurisdictions this year, I have experienced a renewed energy and enthusiasm in our Lodges. Our Lodges are branching out and becoming reconnected with their communities, their members enjoy each other’s company, they participate in more group activities, they are pursuing more Masonic education, and improving on their ritual presentations.

Fragile Lodges – On the morning of October 18, 1867 at Baranov’s castle in Sitka, the flag of the United States was raised over the territory of Alaska for the first time. The fellow who raised that flag was Frederick Sloan Sargent, a Freemason. Freemasonry spread throughout the territory, where Masons tilled the soil, mined the ore, caught the fish, and cut the trees. Along the way, those Freemasons built the villages, towns, cities, and created communities throughout this great state. In each of those communities, Masons practiced their craft and established Lodges, Chapters, Courts, and Assemblies. As Masonry grew throughout the Country, it also grew in Alaska. Times have changed, and with that change remote Alaskan communities have seen a more dramatic decline in their social, civic, and religious institutions. The impact of this decline on Alaskan Freemasonry is a degradation of Masonry at those locations at the end of the trap line. Over the past decade we have experienced the loss of Masonry in the communities of Adak and Nome, we have seen lodges consolidated in Ketchikan, Juneau and Anchorage, and today Masonry in the communities of Petersburg, Cordova, Seward, and Kodiak is on life support. If we don’t see a reawakening in those communities, we are destined to see a loss of Masonry there, as well. Grand Lodge cannot enroll new members in and reinvigorate our constituent lodges. We can and will continue to provide resource material, officer training, assistance in performing degree work, and encouragement. The success or failure of any lodge however is dependent upon the energy of its members and Masonry’s acceptance within the community.

Status of Law Suit – In November 2004, three members of the Grand Lodge of Alaska brought a civil suit against two elected Past Grand Lodge officers for actions they took while serving in their respective positions. At the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge in 2005, the Grand Master declared that Grand Lodge would assume responsibility for the legal fees of the two Past Grand Lodge officers. Also, at that Annual Communication, the members of Grand Lodge approved a resolution to make it a Masonic Offense to bring legal action against a lodge or Grand Lodge or against a member of the same without first complying with all of the provisions of the Alaska Masonic Code. In 2007, the suit was dismissed by the trial judge. In September of that year, the case was appealed by the plaintiffs to the State of Alaska Appellate Court. At the Annual Communications in 2007 and 2008, the members of Grand Lodge approved a $10 per capita special assessment to pay accumulated legal fees of the Past Grand Lodge officers. According to the State of Alaska Case Management System, the assigned judge has issued an initial draft of a judgment, which is being circulated for review by the entire court. As no legal fees have been accumulated since the last special assessment was approved by Grand Lodge, I will not be recommending any additional assessment this year.

This year with the assistance and recommendation of Mrs. Debbie Ackerman, I have directed the Grand Treasurer to purchase Director and Officers Liability Insurance to cover the elected Grand Lodge officers in the performance of their duties. This insurance will remain part of the Grand Lodge’s insurance portfolio to protect Grand Lodge from any future litigation.

Grand Lodge Endowments – In March of this year, the Grand Lodge received notification from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that the Alaska Masonic Foundation for Children (AMFC) had been granted charitable status under Section 501 (c) 3 of their code. AMFC is the Grand Lodge’s Charitable Endowment, which sponsors the Grand Lodge of Alaska Visual Arts and Music Scholarship (Edward O. Weisser Scholarship) and the Alaska Masonic Model Student Assistance Program. This year, I appealed to the members of our Grand Lodge for money to support the Scholarship portion of our endowment. Thanks to the generous contributions of Alaska Masons, Grand Lodge netted $10,614.07 for the endowment fund. When this money was added to the balance in the Scholarship fund, we now are in a position to distribute approximately $1,000 annually to deserving Alaskan High School Seniors to support their pursuit of further education in the arts and sustain the fund indefinitely. Additionally, I named a Scholarship Committee to develop criteria for selection of scholarship awardees, to promote the scholarship throughout Alaskan Secondary Schools, and to make a selection of the best qualified individuals to receive this year’s grant. As of this writing, the Scholarship Committee has made their selection and will present the award at the Public Opening of Grand Lodge. Future contributions to the scholarship fund will grow this endowment and make future disbursements even larger.

The Alaska Masonic Model Student Assistance Program (AMMSAP) makes resources available to train Alaska’s Public School Teachers and Administrators on how to identify children at risk from abuse and to help them identify the tools available to prevent that abuse, so that Alaskan children can live healthy and productive lives. It is the goal of the AMFC, as identified in the Grand Lodge Strategic Plan, to grow this endowment through grants, outside funding sources, and the generous donations from Alaska’s Masonic Lodges and their members to make this a viable and fundamental program to help stem the abuse of children in Alaska.

Internet – Our Grand Lodge web site was updated this past spring by WB Tad Dean. Subsequently, our site was reviewed by Greg Stewart of Freemason Information Blog. Tad made additional updates to address the suggestions made. Later, Tad informed me that, as he codes our web site using native “hypertext markup language” (html), he had reached the limit of his capability. He suggested that if Grand Lodge wished to have a more professional looking site with additional graphics, we needed to either contract out to have our site upgraded or purchase some sophisticated web authoring software with training to perform the upgrades in house.

The Grand Lodge of Alaska web site is gradually becoming our face to the world and the primary means with which we communicate with our members. In my opinion, we need to enhance it to make it more attractive and user friendly. We also need to make it more accessible for adding and updating content.

Alaska Masonic Family Group – I chose “Unity” as the theme for my year as your Grand Master and selected the trowel as the symbol to represent that theme. I figuratively wished to use the trowel to spread the cement of Brotherly Love and Affection among all Alaskan Masons, and had the specific goal of strengthening the bonds of friendship between the Grand Lodge of Alaska and our concordant bodies. I stand before you today to report that that goal has been met. On May 9, the Grand Lodge team met in fellowship with the leadership of each of the concordant Masonic bodies, at the first annual Alaska Masonic Family Group meeting. A major accomplishment of this meeting was a mutual agreement to share information between Grand Lodge and the concordant bodies and to create an Alaska Masonic Family events calendar. Additionally, the group agreed to make this meeting an annual occurrence.

Grand Lodge Records – The Grand Lodge of Alaska maintains member records of all Alaskan Masons. The information contained in these records is provided by each of our constituent lodges through monthly and annual reports. This information is essentially necessary to credit our individual members for their accomplishments on their journey through Masonry and is a historical record of our heritage. Currently the information necessary to maintain these records is contained in numerous different places. Within our lodges, it is contained in dusty file folders, in turn of the century card files, on slips of paper, and on various computers in LODGEiCal, Microsoft Excel and Word, and numerous other electronic databases. Within the Grand Lodge this information is contained in five separate and distinct Microsoft Access Databases, in Microsoft Excel and Word, in file cabinets and boxes, and in the ever-present 19th Century card file. The information provided by our lodges to update the information at the Grand Lodge is provided through the US Mail on various lodge forms, slips of paper, backs of envelopes and scrawled on napkins. It is provided through voicemail and in countless formats over email. Brothers, the information contained in our records is our history and the heart and soul of Masonry. Two hundred years from now, we don’t want our future brethren to lament that we didn’t have the foresight to protect this information from loss and inaccuracy.

Prince Hall Recognition – In April, while attending the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Alaska, I noted that we are one of the youngest Grand Lodges in North America, and as such, I believe we should be extending the hand of brotherly love and friendship to all Prince Hall Grand Lodges who meet the standards of regularity and have treaties of shared jurisdiction. I requested assistance from our Prince Hall Grand Master in extending the bonds of brotherhood to those Prince Hall Grand Lodges that meet the criteria previously mentioned and proposed that we form a joint committee to explore this possibility.

The following day, in his message to the craft, the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Edward Miller recommended that a committee of Past Grand Masters be formed to work with the Grand Lodge of Alaska to expand on the brotherly love and friendship between our two jurisdictions. This recommendation was unanimously approved by the members present.

I subsequently appointed RW Johnnie L. Wallace, MW Henry Dunbar, and RW Jerome (Jerry) Wasson to work with the members selected by MW Miller.


Proclamations, Edicts, & Rulings –
• Proclamation naming April 2009 Public Schools Month in Alaska
• Proclamation naming January 2010 Masonic Youth Month in Alaska
• Grand Master’s Ruling authorizing the Order of Eastern Star to place the Square and Compasses on their altar during their meeting in respect for their Masonic members
• Grand Master’s Ruling authorizing Master Masons to be clothed as Masons when visiting regular meetings of Masonic Youth in Alaska.
• Grand Master’s Ruling authorizing the Alaska Chapter of the Widow’s Sons Masonic Riders Association to operate within the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Alaska

Orders Issued – I issued the following orders this past year:
• To Seward Lodge No. 6 an order to file their monthly reports with Grand Lodge
• To Mt. Juneau/ Gastineaux Lodge No. 21 an order to have Chapter 21 of the Alaska Masonic Code read at a stated communication

Bylaws Approved – I approved the following lodge bylaw changes this past year:
• 3/9/2009, Kenai Lodge No. 11 – Changed the cost of Life Membership and the start time of stated meetings and designated the recipient of Lodge proceeds upon dissolution.
• 7/15/2009, Aurora Lodge No. 15 – Added the phrase “Non Profit Fraternal Organization” to the heading.
• 7/29/2009, Fairbanks Lodge No 12 – Designated the names of recipients of the Lodge’s charities.
• 10/27/2009, Eagle River No. 13 – Clarified of the wording in several sections.

Dispensations & Assessments – I approved the following dispensations:

• February 2009 – established a blanket waiver to allow Lodge members to be clothed as Masons when attending Church Services, Parades, and Community events.
• February 13, 2009 – granted Glacier Lodge No. 10 permission to change the date of their April stated communication.
• August 10, 2009 – granted Matanuska Lodge No. 7 permission to change the date of their September stated communication.
• August 20, 2009 – granted North Pole Lodge No. 16 permission to change their regular meeting place for the purpose of conducting a special communication.
• November 24, 2009 – granted North Pole Lodge No. 16 permission to change their regular meeting place for the purpose of conducting their installation of officers.

Restorations – I restored Jonathan Winchester to good standing as a nonaffiliated Mason from a sentence of indefinite suspension in response to an appeal for clemency.

Requests for Amity – I submitted requests for amity to the following Grand Jurisdictions:

Arizona, PHA
California, PHA
Colorado, PHA
District of Columbia, PHA
Hawaii, PHA
Illinois, PHA
Indiana, PHA
Iowa, PHA
Kansas, PHA
Maryland, PHA
Massachusetts, PHA
Michigan, PHA
Minnesota, PHA
Missouri, PHA
Nebraska, PHA
Nevada, PHA
New Jersey, PHA
New Mexico, PHA
New York, PHA
Ohio, PHA
Oklahoma, PHA
Ontario, PHA
Pennsylvania, PHA
Rhode Island, PHA
Texas, PHA
Virginia, PHA
Washington, PHA
Wisconsin, PHA


Scholarship Committee – This year, I created the Grand Lodge Scholarship Committee as a Grand Master’s Sub-Committee. The committee performed their task admirably and has established the Grand Lodge of Alaska Visual Arts and Music Scholarship as a sustainable grant to be awarded annually. I recommend that this committee be made a standing committee within Grand Lodge to promote the scholarship throughout Alaskan Secondary Schools and to make a selection of the best qualified individuals to receive the grant annually.

Code Review Committee – The Masonic Code Review Committee identified numerous errors, inconsistencies, typos, and omissions in the Alaska Masonic Code. To avoid future irregularities in the Code and the level of effort needed to correct them, I recommend that Code Review Committee be given the authority to review all legislation passed at all future Annual Communications. Further, I recommend that this Committee be given the authority (with oversight by the Committee on Jurisprudence) to correct errors identified in the passed legislation and change other sections of the Code affected by the passed legislation to ensure consistency throughout the Code.

Ritual Consolidation – I recommend that a resolution to combine the Grand Lodge of Alaska ciphers for the degrees of Masonry and the Alaska Monitor and Freemason’s Guide into a single Alaska Standard Work and Freemasons Guide be approved.

Disciplinary Code – I recommend that the incoming Grand Master for 2010 appoint a Disciplinary Code Review Committee to review, rewrite, and restructure Part IV (Disciplinary Code) and other Sections of the Alaska Masonic Code that might be affected by a new Part IV to make Part IV of the Code more straightforward, consistent, and just.

MORI – I recommend a $1.50 per capita increase in the Grand Lodge of Alaska annual assessment for the purpose of paying the annual recurring cost to access and maintain a Grand Lodge of Alaska “Masonic Online Registry Interface” (MORI). MORI is a unified lodge management system that integrates lodge records with Grand Lodge records. This system will replace the multitude of processes and management systems currently in use by our Lodges and Grand Lodge and ultimately lower the operating costs to both. The MORI system will virtually eliminate the deficiencies noted in the Grand Lodge Records section of the “State of the Craft” above.


This year I traveled throughout our jurisdiction and several Grand jurisdictions around the country. I also experienced the truly universality of Masonry through virtual travels around the globe by way of the World Wide Web.

I visited each and every lodge within Alaska at least once, with the exception of Seward Lodge No. 6 and Fairbanks Lodge No. 12. During my visits to Fairbanks, Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula, and the Matanuska Valley, I consolidated my visits to two and three lodges at one time. This consolidated “Grand Master’s Reception” proved to be popular approach to meet with the brethren from more than one lodge in a geographical area. It effectively reduced both the financial burden on the Grand Lodge Officers and provided Masons from adjoining Lodges an opportunity for fellowship.

I represented the Grand Lodge of Alaska at several other Grand Jurisdictions and annual meetings of concordant bodies. In February, shortly after our Annual Communication in Kodiak, Beth and I travel to Garden Grove, CA to participate in the Western Conference of Masonic Grand Lodges and the Conference of Grand Masters of North America. In April, we attended the Grand Lodge of Hawaii in Honolulu and returned to Anchorage to attend the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Alaska. June found us traveling to the Grand Lodge of Oregon in Bend, the Grand Lodge of Washington in Spokane, the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon in Prince George, and Rainbow Grand Assembly in Fairbanks. In July, we traveled to the Imperial Shrine Session is San Antonio, TX. The last week in August I had the opportunity to attend the 50th Anniversary of my father’s lodge (TF McElroy Lodge No. 302) in Federal Way, WA. In September, we traveled to Dawson City, YT for International Days and London for both the Quarterly Communication of the United Grand Lodge of England and Taurus Lodge No. 3981. We traveled to San Francisco, CA for the Grand Lodge of California and Washington, DC for the Bi-annual Session of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction in October. Finally, we traveled to the Grand Lodge of Washington’s Landmark on the Sound for the International Night Banquet and Reception of Lafayette Lodge No. 241 and then on to Reno, NV for the Grand Lodge of Nevada. The visit to Lafayette Lodge for International Night was an event I will long remember. It was very special to be counted among the many notable personalities from presidents, stage and screen stars, and famous Masons who signed the historic Lafayette bible. It was also special because the Landmark on the Sound, which was once called the Masonic Home at Zenith, was the building where I first met Beth during a Rainbow installation nearly forty years ago.

My virtual travels on the Internet have had me visiting with brethren from all corners of the world over Masonic Forums like The Masonic Society, The Sanctum Sanctorum, and the Scottish Rite’s Freemason Network. I have also connected with Masons around the country through Facebook, Twitter, and several Masonic Blogs and Podcasts. One of my most pleasurable activities this year has been keeping a live journal (Blog) on the Internet called “Grand Master’s Musings”. I hope the brethren have enjoyed reading about my exploits this year as much as I have enjoyed posting them.


At my installation as your Grand Master, I remarked that I was going to work hard for you in the coming year. At that time, I also asked each Alaska Masons to work equally hard to help improve our Grand Lodge. I am exceedingly pleased by the time and effort that I have seen given in support of our Grand Lodge this year, I would especially like to recognize the following brethren:

MW Charles E. Corbin for your imagination and enthusiasm in conceiving the Alaska Standard Work and Freemasons Guide and for the time and effort you spent preparing a consolidated ritual, so that I could take it around on my official visits to share this exciting concept with the brethren.

VW Roger Hansen and VW James Herrington for your dogged determination and tireless effort in painstakingly scanning the Alaska Masonic Code for errors, omissions, and inconsistencies. It was Roger who remarked on many Grand Master’s visits that “the only thing consistent about the current version of the Code is that it is consistently inconsistent.”

Brother Stephen Wright and the Scholarship Committee for accepting the challenge of creating guidelines for the Alaska Visual Arts and Music Scholarship and for taking the bit in their teeth to promote the scholarship throughout Alaska, screen candidates, and make our first scholarship selection this year.

VW Ken Creamer, chairman of the Jurisprudence Committee, for your good counsel and your always thoughtful review of my proposed decisions.

VW Tom Schram for your uncommon work ethic managing the Grand Lodge office.

W John Bishop, the Grand Lecturer, for traveling throughout the jurisdiction on your own nickel to present Lodges of Instruction. John has been an excellent traveling companion, accompanying me this year, while we drove on many dark and winding roads across the wilds of Alaska.

W Tad Dean for completing the much needed facelift to Grand Lodge Web Page.

MW Jared Decker for graciously volunteering and dutifully publishing the Grand Lodge newsletter, “Light of the Great Land” this year. It should be noted that this is the first time we have published a Grand Lodge newsletter since 2004.

Juneau Valley Scottish Rite for their very generous contribution of $50,000 to the Grand Lodge permanent fund.

VW Russ Shivers and my District Deputy for taking on the responsibility and conducting Leadership Training throughout the jurisdiction.

W John Paul Jones and the members of the Sessions and Arrangements committee for your assistance in making this year’s Annual Communication a highlight of Alaskan hospitality. I extend a special thanks to the members of my mother lodge, Matanuska No. 7, for all their support and generous contribution to the refreshments in the hospitality lounge.

All Worshipful Masters for all of your hard work in managing your Lodges and your dedication to the Craft.

MW Jared Decker, RW Johnnie Wallace, RW Ron Ackerman, RW Jerry Pinion, RW Jim Grubbs, and RW Jerry Wasson for your companionship and your good counsel and advice this year.

All Alaska Masons who contributed to the Alaska Visual Arts and Music Scholarship and exceeded my wildest dreams by giving more than $10,000.

And, to my wife Beth for all of her companionship and her tireless work behind the scenes this year. Beth, you are my best friend and the love of my life. This would have been an extremely lonely journey without you.

This has been an extraordinary experience and one that I will never forget. I thank you, the Grand Lodge of Alaska, for your confidence in me and the honor of serving you as your Grand Master this past year.

John R. “Bo” Cline
Grand Master

29th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Alaska

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.

Ground Hog Day

On Tuesday, February 2 the Alaska Masonic Library and Museum Foundation, assisted by the Alaska 2nd Circle Committee of the Masonic Society conducted its first annual fundraiser. The funds raised will be used to cover operating expenses of our Library and Museum. This event took place the night before the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Alaska and included several visitors from around the state and around the country, including visitors from the Grand Lodges of California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Wyoming, Vermont, and Nevada.

Fellowship was a key ingredient of the evening, where our guests enjoyed each other’s company, while participating in a “Paring Food with Beer” presentation. German food and German beer highlighted the festivities, and the participants received an education about different beers and ales, how they enhanced the food being enjoyed, and how they were enhanced by it. From my perspective, it was a very enjoyable evening, and I heard several guests remark what a great time they were having. It was plain to see that the evening was planned to please everyone, and to unite them in the grand design of being happy and communicating happiness.

The fundraising activity included a silent auction of various items donated for the purpose. The auction was enthusiastically received and bidding was quite lively, with some items being bid up far above their market value. The following is a list of the various Masonic books, which had been signed by their authors and what they sold for:

Book Author Donated by Sold for
Building Boaz and Building Hiram Dr. John Nagy Dr. John Nagy $40
Lifting the Veil Dr. John Nagy Dr. John Nagy $10
American Freemasons Mark Tabbert Bo Cline $225
The 32 Secret Paths of Solomon and The Alchemical Keys to Masonic Ritual (2 sets) Timothy Hogan Timothy Hogan $30
Committed to the Flames S. Brent Morris & Arturo DeHoyos S. Brent Morris & Arturo DeHoyos $45
Idiots Guide to Freemasonry S. Brent Morris S. Brent Morris $30
Morgan – The Scandal that Shook Freemasonry Stephen Dafoe Bo Cline $25
Masonic Enlightenment Michael Poll Michael Poll $12
Mystic Fire, Rosicrucian Writings of A.E. Waite Michael Poll Michael Poll $25
The Masters and the Path Leadbeater Michael Poll $20
Collected Rosicrucian Thought Michael Poll Michael Poll $20
Robert’s Rules of Order (Masonic) Michael Poll Michael Poll $25
Our Stations and Places Meacham Michael Poll $22
Masonic Words and Phrases Michael Poll Michael Poll $10
Knights & Freemasons Michael Poll Michael Poll $42
A Reporter’s Life (First Edition) Walter Cronkite Judy & Richard Fletcher $120
The Reef (First Edition) Nora Roberts Judy & Richard Fletcher $30
Deciphering the Lost Symbol Chris Hodapp Chris Hodapp $30
Solomon’s Builders Chris Hodapp Chris Hodapp $30
A Laudable Pursuit Knights of the North Chris Hodapp $20
Freemasons for Dummies Chris Hodapp Chris Hodapp $25
Conspiracy Theories & Secret Societies for Dummies Chris Hodapp Chris Hodapp $20
Templar Code for Dummies Chris Hodapp Chris Hodapp $15
Overall, the Alaska Masonic Library and Museum Foundation raised over $2,000. I wish to thank all those generous people who donated items to this cause and all those who took part in the auction and purchased those items.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Log of the Week of January 17th

Its been a while since I last posted anything on this blog. During that time the Grand Master of Minnesota made 18 post, the Grand Master of Ohio made 15 posts, and Chris Hodapp made 24 posts. Its time I caught up on my journal.

On Sunday, January 17, 2010 I attended the installation of officers for Anchorage Chapter No. 8, Order of the Eastern Star. Sister Iris Crothers, P.M. was installed as Worthy Matron and Brother Steve Lee, P.P. was install as Worthy Patron for 2010. Sister Beverly Keto, P.M. and Brother Clarence Keto, P.P. were installed as Associate Matron and Associate Patron respectively. The installing officers included:
      Sister Alice Chaney, P.M. - Installing Matron

      Brother Van Chaney, P.P. - Installing Patron

      Brother Damon Shine, WP, PHA - Installing Chaplain

      Sister Michelle Williams, AM, PHA - Installing Secretary

      Sister Victoria Ault, P.M. - Installing Marshal

      Sister Pat Dart - Installing Musician

Each year the newly elected Worthy Matron and Worthy Patron choose at least one philanthropic endeavor for their year, besides our Masonic Youth. The selection for this year is "Cares for Kids". these kids are some of the most highly neglected and abused children in Anchorage.

On Saturday, January 23, 2010, I attended the 120th Installation of Officers for Nugget Assembly No. 13, International Order of the Rainbow for Girls. The installation took place at the Anchorage Masonic Center, where Miss Janelle vonBrigelen was installed as Worthy Advisor. Miss Chloe Stoces, Miss Tiffany Cameron, Miss Jamie Wooding, and Miss Maressa Ottman were installed as Worthy Associate Advisor, Charity, Hope, and Faith respectively.

The Worthy Advisor's theme for her term is "Dancing Through Life", and she chose as her bible verse Psalm 30 verse 11, which reads:
"You turned my waiting into dancing, you removed my sack cloth and clothed me with joy."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Log of the Week of January 4th

On Monday evening, January 4, I attended the Installation of Officers of Denali Chapter No. 16, Order of the Eastern Star. Sister Bonnie Duncan and Brother Al Schuerger were installed Worthy Matron and Worthy Patron. It was great to see Bonnie in the East and a bit of a surprise. The surprise was because I had always associated Bonnie with the Great Alaska Council of the Boy Scouts where she was the training chair for the Denali District. Its also interesting to note that, although a coincidence, the OES Chapter and the Boy Scout District share the same name.

As Tuesday, January 5 was the first Tuesday of the month, it was time for the stated communication of Matanuska Lodge No. 7, my “Mother Lodge”. This was our first meeting for 2010 and WB Ted Hutchinson’s first time in the East as Master of the Lodge. Ted had an extremely well planned out meeting, which he executed in a superior manner. Assisting WB Ted were WB Dennis Oakland (SW) and Bro. Mitch Coulthard (JW). The officers performed the opening and closing ritual with precision, which was a pleasure to see from such newly installed officers. It was also a pleasure to see so many sideliners, who enjoyed wonderful fellowship in the dining room before the meeting.

Wednesday evening, January 6 found me back in Anchorage for the 94th installation of officers of Anchorage Lodge No. 17. Brother James S. Zuke was installed as Worshipful Master for 2010. Installed along with WB James were VW Thomas L. Schram (SW), Bro. Mark A. Sledge (JW), VW Michael B. Swensen (Treasurer), and VW Jim R. McMichael (Secretary). It was a delight to see the members of Job’s Daughters Bethel No. 1 escorting the officers into the lodge room. The installing officers included VW Dennis R. Thayer (Installing Officer), RW Johnnie L. Wallace (Installing Marshall), Bro. Robert K. Kelly, Jr. (Chaplain), W Glen E. Josey (Installing Secretary), and W Timothy Jackson (Installing Tyler). Some of special guests at the installation were RW Curtis Harris, Senior Grand Warden and W Franklin Dunbar, Assistant Grand Secretary of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Alaska.

Saturday, January 9 was a very busy day Masonically, with the Al Aska Shrine Annual Meeting and installation of officers and the installation of officers for International Order of the Job’s Daughters Bethel No. 1, Matanuska Chapter No. 14 Order of the Eastern Star, and Sterling Lodge No. 22. It is hard to be in two places at once, so I had to choose my participation. As I was invited to be an installing officer for the Sterling installation, I opted to stop in Anchorage for the Al Aska Shrine annual meeting. The election of officers for 2010 took place during this meeting and the following Nobles were elected as the leaders of the Divan:

Potentate – David Worel
Chief Rabban – V. J. “Nik” Nicholas
Assistant Rabban – Bruce Cling
High Priest and Prophet – Paul Bordale
Oriental Guide – Jeff Polizzotto
Treasurer – Fred Angleton
Recorder – Kip Clapper

The installation of officers, which I unfortunately missed, occurred later in the evening. Typically, the Potentate’s Ball would have followed after the installation; however Illustrious Worel has chosen to have his festivities at the conclusion of the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Alaska, beginning Friday, February 5. Dave has planned a whole host activities and events to participate in. Please go to the Grand Lodge of Alaska Website for information about the activities.

Sterling, Alaska is located on the beautiful Kenai Peninsula and alongside the World Famous Kenai River. A couple of months ago, I had been invited by MW Les Little to be his Installing Marshall for his progression to the East, yet again, as Worshipful Master of Sterling Lodge No. 22. The installation took place on Saturday, January 9. Sterling is a little over 350 miles round trip from my home and January in Alaska means winter driving conditions. As such, I decided to leave home a little early to make sure I arrived in time. Along the way, I stopped in Anchorage to attend the annual meeting of Al Aska Shrine, where I picked up my driving companion, RW Johnnie Wallace (DGM), for our trip along the Scenic Seward Highway.

Johnnie and I arrived in Sterling just in time to join the other installing officers (MW Henry Dunbar and MW Harry Koenen) for their 10th installation of officers. In addition to MW Les Little (WM), the other officers installed included Bro. Bill Roberts (SW), W Carl Lindstrom (JW), Bro William Nelson (Treasurer), and VW Tim Smith (Secretary). It was a very enjoyable installation ceremony, and I am pleased to report that the installing officers did an excellent job.

After a great meal and wonderful fellowship, it was beginning to get dark, so Johnnie and I hit the road for our drive back around Turnagain Arm. Along the drive, Johnnie and I listened to past editions of Masonic Central, which I had downloaded to my phone. All in all, it was a very satisfying end to a long Masonic week.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's Beer

I know this photo looks like a chemistry experiment gone awry, but it is actually me transferring my home brew to Cornilus Kegs for the Grand Lodge Hospitality Lounge. The one on the right is an IPA and the one on the left will be an Amber. I am told that there will be two other home brews to sample. Please come join us at the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Alaska, and stop by the Hospitality Lounge for a taste. To register for Grand Lodge, go to our website ( and follow the links to the registration form and hotel.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

To all my family and friends, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. At this time of year let us rejoice in the many blessings we have received and at the same time be mindful of those who are less fortunate. Remember, at this time of giving, the greatest gift that you can give is your love and friendship.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

How We Dress is a Reflection of Who We Are

It is my custom to only place original content in this Blog. However on occasion, I run across sentiments on other sites that I feel are worth sharing. Such is the case of message from MW Barry Rickman, Grand Master of Masons in South Carolina. That message is printed on The Palmetto Mason Blog. MW Rickman addresses the manner in which Masons should dress to represent the best qualities of our institution. It struck a cord with me and I encourage all to follow the link above and read the Grand Master's message.