By Casey Latham, 32°
I had the pleasure of attending the 2012 Scottish Rite Leadership Conference held in San Diego on March 9 and 10 at the Towne & Country Resort Conference Center. It was a great success and well attended by fellow Scottish Rite Masons from as far away as Japan. Also in attendance was SGC Ronald Seale, 33°, and his Supreme Council staff from Washington DC, as well as Grand Masters from many states within the jurisdiction.
As a new 32° (less than two years), I felt this would be an opportunity to learn more about our fraternity. The professionalism of the presenters at each session and the conversational tone of the event made for easy interaction with Supreme Council leaders. The conference opened with an inspiring message from SGC Seale concerning events and membership in the Scottish Rite. We were then introduced to the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, Strategic Plan. The first session ended with a “Daily Wrap-up” to review notes and recap information. This was followed by a reception permitting brethren to freely discuss their new ideas and, in turn, helping us form new bonds of friendship.
The second day opened with a Scottish Rite membership update. Data was reported; conversations were started, and questions were asked concerning membership enhancement, retention, and growth. Following membership, was a sit down with the Sovereign Grand Commander himself to go over the “Grand Commander’s Notepad.” He was again inspirational. After a short break, we returned to the conference room to a stage set with two chairs, which had the appearance of a talk show setting as we see on television. To my pleasant surprise, we were then honored with the appearance of a man who certainly needs no introduction—Ill. Ernest Borgnine, 33°, Grand Cross. What a great man and outstanding brother we have in Bro. Borgnine!
Photos: Clockwise from top: Conference attendees take notes during a group session. Ill. Ernest Borgnine, 33°, Grand Cross, shared his Masonic experiences with attendees during a special sit-down session with Grand Commander Ronald A. Seale. Ill. Hoyt O. Samples, 33°, SGIG in Tennessee, discusses the Strategic Plan during the Friday afternoon session. (Photographs by Bryan D. Meyer, KCCH, Valley of San Diego)
Next up were the individual breakout sessions where the attendees could choose what topic they were most interested in hearing. Sessions included: Financial Management; Public Relations; Social Media; and Effective Web Strategies. These sessions were again top-notch, and the Supreme Council members and staff interacted with each session attendee in a very conversational tone. With foresight, the Supreme Council provided each of us with a DVD containing the entire breakout of session material so we could have a record of material discussed throughout the whole conference.
To all of our honor and extreme delight we were next present at a conferral of the 4°, Secret Master, put on by brethren from San Diego.
The event closed with a recap of sessions from both days, and a great message from our SGC Seale. What was most important, in my opinion, was the closing statement, when the Grand Commander notified us that “Our work is not over, but is continuing.”
Attendees left the conference prepared to perpetuate the Scottish Rite into the future. Using the information and tools conferred upon us, we now have the skills, cooperation, and brotherhood of the Sovereign Grand Commander and other illustrious brethren of the Supreme Council, and we have also formed many new friendships from around the globe. In fact, we can each truly say that we have “Mission Possible” ahead of us.