Saturday, February 21, 2009

Grand Council of AMD

From left: Richard Gan, deputy grand secretary, Mark Masons Hall; Brian Wareham, deputy supreme ruler, Order of the Secret Monitor; Peter Glyn-Williams, supreme ruler, OSM; John Paternoster, supreme magus, SRIA; Roy Leavers, intendant general, Surrey Red Cross; and Tommy Thompson, grand tyler, Mark Masons Hall. Most Worthy Brother Williams delivered the signed concordat establishing relations between the Order of the Secret Monitor of America and Britain Feb. 14.

When I began attending this busy Masonic Week event, it was called AMD Weekend, because the meetings and functions spanned the weekend, and those hosted by the Allied Masonic Degrees were considered the most important. Things have changed; now there is a full day of all kinds of meetings and meals on Thursday, thanks to the addition of St. Thomas of Acon and the expansion of Rosicrucian activities.

And, if a group of us who gather at Gadsby’s Tavern have our way, there will be something to do on Wednesday Feb. 10, 2010 too.

Well, I guess it is safe now to discuss what could have happened on the eve of this Masonic Week. Mark Tabbert at the George Washington Masonic Memorial and the Magpie Mason were planning a special event for that Wednesday: a daylong celebration of Masonic culture with a colloquium, ritual exemplification, a catered meal, and more, all at the Washington Memorial.

So what happened?

After three months of weighing options and choosing the best mix of speakers and other considerations, we settled on a too-good-to-be-true agenda. Leaders of the Rose Circle Research Foundation, who happen to be officers of St. John’s Lodge No. 1, AYM in New York City, would start the day with two lectures on the meanings and methods of initiation. Then an exhibit of Masonic regalia hosted by Toye, Kenning & Spencer Ltd., one of Britain’s leading manufacturers (since 1685!). Then a great meal together. Capping the event was to be an exemplification of an EA° of Emulation ritual, provided by the officers of Benjamin B. French Lodge No. 15 in Washington, DC. There even would have been shuttles taking our guests to and from the Alex Mark.

So what happened?

About eight minutes after the final touches were put on this plan, the Grand Lodge of New York pulled its recognition of the Grand Lodge of DC over the Lebanon thing. Naturally this would make it difficult for New York and DC Masons to work together, even in Virginia. The two jurisdictions reconciled right after Masonic Week.

Story of my life.

Where was I going with this? Yes! The AMD.

Saturday at 2 p.m. saw the annual meeting of the Grand Council. Actually, at 10 a.m. was the meeting of Nine Muses Council No. 13, a function which is open to all Masons because its purpose is to present one outstanding paper for the brethren’s advancement in Masonic knowledge. I don’t know what happened there, but I stepped outside for two seconds and the meeting was over.

William Robert Logan of South Carolina
is the new Sovereign Grand Master of Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States.

But Grand Council’s meeting was interesting in its own way. Seventeen new Councils around the country received their charters. A bunch of others lost theirs for not filing their annual returns for several years, including two in New Jersey: Hudson Valley No. 58 and Dabar No. 161. (I learned this morning that both of these Councils are still active, so hopefully their secretaries will get in gear and correct the problem.)

Other news: Our British brethren in the Order of the Secret Monitor had voted on April 15 to reciprocate the U.S. extension of recognition made last February. This means intervisitation can take place. In Britain, the OSM is its own fraternal order; it is not under the AMD. MV Kenneth B. Fischer, right, reads the concordat.

It also allows for the importation of the Order of the Scarlet Cord which, not coincidentally, was conferred that night.

The Marvin E. Fowler Award was presented to James Wilson, Jr.

James Wilson, Jr. and Franklin Boner have a laugh during MV Ken Fischer's allocution at Grand Council’s annual meeting last Saturday. Wilson was then presented the Marvin E. Fowler Award for service to the fraternity.

MV Ken Fischer, our outgoing Sovereign Grand Master, delivered a very eloquent, humorous and touching allocution. I wish I could read my notes.

In the VIP department, among those introduced to the brethren were: John R. Paternoster, of the Red Branch of Erie for England and Wales; and Peter Glyn Williams, Grand Supreme Ruler of OSM in Britain, who delivered the signed concordat establishing relations between the American and British OSM brethren.

Along those lines, a new committee for international relations was formed.

“This won’t create a lot of ‘green jobs,’ ” said Chairman Allen Surrat, “but I assure our Board of General Purposes that all my taxes have been paid!”

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