Where the Action Is

July-August 2011

Grand Commander’s Message

As this issue of the Journal reaches your hands we will be in the final stages of preparation for the biennial session of our Supreme Council in Washington, D.C., celebrating 210 years of Scottish Rite Freemasonry. I realize that many readers of the Journal have attended previous meetings of the Supreme Council but, equally so, many have not. Permit me, therefore, just a brief overview of what is about to happen.

Our Statutes mandate that the Supreme Council shall meet every other year for the purpose of conducting its business. Many items are usually on the agenda, including consideration of various amendments to the Statutes, budgetary and financial matters, and, certainly not least, election of a new class of Thirty-third Degree Inspectors General Honorary and Knight Commanders of the Court of Honour. It is also at these meetings that some of the men serving as Deputies of the Supreme Council in their respective states are elected as Active Members of the Council and thereafter bear the title of Sovereign Grand Inspector General.

In addition to business matters, there is much pageantry including the formal ritual opening and welcoming of distinguished guests as well as the conferral of the Thirty-third Degree. One of the comments that I often hear is that attendance at a meeting of the Supreme Council gives one a broader view of the depth and extent of the Scottish Rite than they have heretofore enjoyed. This is understandable as our experience of the Rite is often limited to the activities of our local Valley or within the geographical boundaries of our own Orient.

At the Supreme Council session, however, not only do we have the chance to witness our Supreme Council at work, but also we are in the company of Scottish Rite members from 41 states and territories throughout the United States as well as Southern Jurisdiction members from NATO, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Panama Canal, and elsewhere. Moreover, many Supreme Councils throughout the world are represented through their Sovereign Grand Commanders and delegations, thus giving the whole experience an international flavor.

And let us not forget the social side as brothers, friends, and their ladies come together to enjoy a meal, a cocktail, or even to dance the night away at the Grand Commander’s Ball! It’s an exciting time to be in Washington, and I would hope each of you would consider attending if you have never done so. All the information is on the Supreme Council website: www.scottishrite.org.

And yet, as exciting as all this can be, I am constantly reminded that the “real” Scottish Rite occurs right where you are—at home. Your home Valley is where the action is. Here we find degrees conferred, brethren welcomed, fellowship extended, and we go about the business of beings Masons one to another. When a brother participates in a degree for the first time and with shaking voice and knocking knees delivers his first part, or when someone picks up the phone to inquire of a member who hasn’t been seen in some time, or when the Valley is hushed as a shiny Fourteenth Degree ring is placed on a candidate’s finger in a remarkable, ancient ceremony, then know for sure that the labors of the Rite are being accomplished.

So in whatever place and station we are called to labor, let us be faithful, industrious, and zealous in discharging our respective duties, thus remaining true to the vows we have assumed and obligations undertaken. It’s what we are called to be as men and Masons. Perhaps the same sentiments are expressed, albeit much more eloquently, by my predecessor of a few years, Sovereign Grand Commander Albert Pike, 33°:

To sleep little, and to study much; to say little, and to hear and think much; to learn, that we may be able to do, and then to do, earnestly and vigorously, whatever may be required of us by duty, and by the good of our fellows, our country, and mankind,—these are the duties of every Mason who desires to imitate the Master Khūrūm.