Friday, June 19, 2009

Scottish Rite Leadership

A couple of Saturdays ago, I attended a Leadership Retreat for the Officers of the Valley of Syracuse, AASR.

The session was very well attended by our Valley Officers both present & past as well as some from neighboring Valleys as well. An enjoyable time was had by all and here is a couple of things that were mentioned by attendees:

Several Brothers mentioned the great programs being spear-headed by the Southern Jurisdiction and would like to see the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction follow suit.

One Brother mentioned that there seems to be a trend to dumb down our Rituals and Teachings - many were in agreement and expressed disappointment in this trend.

I am in agreement with both of these observations. A lot of Brothers come to the organization looking for "more light" - sometimes light of a more esoteric nature, only to attend a degree that seems to be a badly written version of a morality play that has been revised to death to be more likable to a "modern" pallet. There's a treasure trove of symbolism in those Scottish Rite degrees and it seems to be a shame that we in the NMJ have to constantly look to the SJ for what we crave.

It's probably up to those of us here in the trenches to get something started at the ground level - maybe that's how it been done in the SJ only to be picked up & supported bu the Supreme Council. I don't know.

I have been tempted to get a group together locally to study this sort of thing but under a general "Blue Lodge" heading. Maybe I should get it together with some Scottish Rite Brothers, start with a study of the Symbolic Degrees and then move onto the 4th though the 32nd Degree. What do you think? I welcome all suggestions and idea, especially from anyone in the area.

It was announced at our gathering that I, along with fellow Brothers Norm Kruth and Harley DeShane, had received the Valley's Dedicated Service Award and we are therefore eligible to wear the Blue Hat pictured above. Wish me luck as I enter my two year term as our Consistorial Orator and Secretary of our Knights of St. Andrew Chapter.

NY & DC Are Cool...

As a follow-up to my post last month about more trouble possibly brewing between the Grand Lodges of New York & the District of Columbia, I have heard that all is well and everything that had been agreed upon has been taken care of.

My source is a local Brother here in the Syracuse area who is also a member of a Lodge within the District of Columbia. Good news all around!

Friday, June 05, 2009

York Rite College

A few weeks ago, I had the distinct honor to be initiated into the Central New York York Rite College No. 27.

The York Rite Sovereign College of North America exists primarily to be of service to the York Rite of Freemasonry. Constituent colleges must declare fealty to the Grand Lodge of their respective jurisdictions. The pre-requisite for membership, which is by invitation only, is good-standing in all four York Rite bodies: Lodge, Chapter, Council and Commander or Preceptory (Canada.)

The Reference for the following information is a pamphlet published by the York Rite Sovereign College of North America.
"Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave: even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve." Matt.20:26-27-28


"This craft came into England, as I tell you, in the time of good king Athelsan's reign; he made then both hall, and also bower and lofty temples of great honor, to take his recreation in both day and night, and to worship his God with all his might. This good lord loved this craft full well, and purposed to strengthen it in every part on account of various defects that he had discovered in the craft. He sent about into all the land, after all the masons of the craft, to come straight to him, to amend all these defects by good counsel, if it might so happen, He then permitted an assembly to be made of divers lords in their ranks, dukes, earls, and barons, also knights, squires and many more, and the great burgesses of that city, they were all there in their degree; these were there, each one in every way to make laws for the state of these nations. There they sought by their wisdom bow they might govern it; there they found out fifteen articles, and there they made fifteen points."----Regius Manuscript, circa 1390----Regius Manuscript, circa 1390


The York Rite takes its name from the Ancient English city of York, around whose minster, or cathedral, cluster many Masonic traditions. Here , these traditions tell us, Athelstan, who reigned more than a thousand years ago and who was the first king of all England, granted the first charter to the Masonic guilds. Here, in 1705, a Grand Lodge in London, to whose constitution the Grand Lodge of England later appealed as the true source of authentic Freemasonry. Though early disappearing from the Masonic scene, this Grand Lodge left an indelible impression upon the institution, and its name --- York --- will survive as long as Freemasonry continues.


The York Rite Sovereign College of North America came into being in the City of Detroit, Michigan on January 6, 1957. It was the result of a meeting called by Richard W. Lewis, Past Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Michigan, and attended by the heads of the four Michigan York Rite grand Bodies and a number of distinguished Masonic leaders from other States. These founders, responding to a need which had long been recognized in the York Rite, outlined the structure and purpose of the new organization and arranged for its incorporation.


The purpose of the York Rite Sovereign College of North America, as set forth in its Constitution and By-Laws, are as follows:
(1) To foster a spirit of cooperation an coordination among each of the Bodies of York Rite Masonry.
(2) To assist in worthy efforts to improve the ritualistic and dramatic presentation of York Rite work.
(3) To conduct an education program in order to inculcate a greater appreciation of the principles, ideals and programs of York Rite Masonry.
(4) To strengthen York Rite Masonry in every possible manner.
(5) To build up a love of country and to aid and support genuine Americanism.
(6) To reward outstanding service to York Rite Masonry by awards, honors and other methods of proper recognition.
(7) To support Charitable and Benevolent Endeavors of Freemasonry.

Following my stint as the Onondaga District DDGM, I have found myself active once again in my Royal Arch Chapter. Unfortunately, I have yet to find the time to fit in The Cryptic Council or Commandery, although, I do belong to both.

I think that the York Rite Bodies are sometimes overshadowed by the Scottish Rite in this country. It is often said and I quite agree, that the Holy Royal Arch completes Blue Lodge Masonry. There are many ritual & symbolic similarities between the Royal Arch Chapter and the Scottish Rite's Lodge of Perfection - I highly recommend that you try both.