Current Interest: Ethic and Care Packages in Omaha

Several years ago, the Scottish Rite Valley of Omaha, adopted a new strategic plan, which included “being seen as an ethical organization.” Through the Scottish Rite Foundation of Omaha and the generosity of the Adah and Leon Millard Foundation, Scottish Rite Masons support education at local public schools, providing students with ethical literacy education. Often, choices are not about right versus wrong, but right versus right. This ethics initiative offers students a framework for making difficult ethical choices throughout their lives.

Internally, the Scottish Rite offers ethics as part of our Reunion and ritual. But to reflect on these lessons contained within our degrees, the membership has sought to provide opportunity to reflect and discuss our degrees. Recently, the Valley of Omaha has brought in noted writer and speaker Dr. Rushworth Kidder from the Institute for Global Ethics to speak about ethics. The Valley has hosted “Ethics through the Eyes of Science Fiction” and “Ethics and The Simpsons” as opportunities for public discourse. In 2011, the membership hosted “Ethics and the 32nd Degree” and on November 21, 2011, “Interviews and Performances from the 14th Degree.” This lecture, including non-esoteric performances from the degree, was followed by a TV talk-show panel discussion, with degree team members PGM Charles Amidon, 33°, Ill. Ben Harvey, 33°, and Larry Jacobsen, 33°, moderated by Bro. Chris Carter, 32°, KCCH. Reflecting on the Scottish Rite ethics initiatives, Bro. Carter said, “This has been a grass roots effort created by the membership and has truly leveraged our strengths as a Fraternity.”

The panelists reflected on the meaning of the degree and how self-reflection and ethics applies to our daily lives. The discussion including several very interesting questions from the membership, and the continued discussion of ethics and the degrees of the Scottish Rite will continue in the Spring.

As the membership was participating in this conversation, Scottish Rite wives were preparing care packages for servicemen and women stationed overseas. Under the leadership of Elizabeth Charbonneau, wife of Bro. Joseph Charbonneau, 32°, the wives secured donations of nuts, granola, socks, snacks, and drink mixes. “Too many soldiers are far from home, far from loved ones during the holiday months, and this is our way of providing them some comforts from home, and letting them know we’re thinking about them” said Elizabeth. Adding handwritten cards to the soldiers, the women prepared twelve care packages, and already planning on how to grow this program for next year.

—Submitted by Micah Evans, 32°, KCCH