On a bitter-cold, snow-laden January 17th day, dedicated leaders of your Scottish Rite Orient met at the NE Kansas Scottish Rite Center in Prairie Village to talk about the our university of Freemasonry. Your Valley was well represented with Ill. Tom Dials, Ill. Mike Tavares, and Bros. Jerry Osborne and Rick Reichert. Actually, we were 33% of the 12 representatives at the state-wide forum of 7 valleys, which is a revealing statistic.
First topic was about possible improvements in degree exemplification. Fort Scott uses computer monitors or projection on the wall showing the script during degree work. Both presenters and class members can follow along. One valley uses an off-stage reading of oratory/soliloquy while the actors simply act out the script. The S.G.I.G. prefers rote memorization. Also discussed were the use of slide-ware for the communicated degrees (or the prohibition thereof) and the standardization of how degrees will be presented across the Orient.
We have been meeting on this for two years and the problem always come back to the point that we do not have enough brothers to do the work. – Bro. Jerry
Another approached being considered is to divide the exemplified degrees across the state where each Valley is responsible for “professional-level” exemplification of only one degree. To see all 5 pivotal degrees, a candidate would need to attend all 5 reunions across the state. A second option would be to do one state-wide reunion per year on a single weekend. The latter is most favored by your Valley reps. Wichita Scottish Rite Center would be the most likely location.
All valleys should come together, put on a state-wide reunion with each Valley responsible for exemplification of one of the pivotal degrees, with the rest of the degrees communicated between the pivotal degrees. – Bro. Mike
Make the state-wide reunion as big an event as the Grand Lodge Annual Communication. – Bro. Jerry
In conclusion on the topic of degree work, no decision was made and no directive was given. None are expected soon. A proposal needs to be made and sent to the Valleys for their Personal Representatives and Secretaries to sign establishing a date and place for a state-wide reunion and commitment to participate.
School of Light was also discussed. Ill. Bro. Tom mentioned that we are using the Master Craftsman program as the center of our curriculum. The Master Craftsman program is open to everyone, including women. Therefore, we should welcome and encourage all Masons to attend our School of Light when discussing the Master Craftsman program.
On the topic of Masonic education, Brother Jerry talked about his experience and recommended that we alternate topics in our Schools of Light. He recommended formalizing a way to present (preferably by a brother who could use the ‘grooming’, one of these four general areas: The Art of being a Mason (learning the etiquette of being a Mason), Festive Board, Education, or Philosophy. Ill. Hugh requested a written outline or guidelines on the method that can be shared with the other valleys. Bro. Mike Kupsch mentioned that he is endeavoring to put together a Speakers Bureau with support from Kyle Ferlemann.
Next leadership meeting was tentatively scheduled for April 24th starting at 1pm location TBD. Scottish Rite Foundation board meeting will take place Saturday, Feb 13th,10 am in Salina for Personal Representatives and Secretaries.
Personal commentary. I have always been drawn to those things of interest that do two things: Provide value and represent quality. If I get nothing from it, my commitment to it will be doubtful. If the experience is low quality, I’ll look for a better experience elsewhere. Whatever endeavor we propose to do, we should keep the scope small enough to ensure we make possible the highest quality results with the coalition of the willing. My experience is that high-quality attracts. Poor quality repels. Let’s put on a superior quality, 5-degree exemplified event in Wichita in August 2017. If it works, we have set the bar and started our re-building. One thing for sure: If we don’t get started, nothing will get done. Let’s pick a date, get the valleys committed, and get rolling on a state-wide Scottish Rite reunion weekend.