Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Past Grand Masters' Luncheon

No tough question this time, just a brief report on one of the nice perquisites of being a Grand Secretary. I have enjoyed a close working relationship with the past 18 Grand Lodge of Minnesota Grand Masters, three while I was the Grand Treasurer and 15 since becoming the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota. In addition to these fine Masons I have also had the distinct privilege of getting to know most of the other living Past Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota over these past several years. So when we have a chance to get most of them together in one place, that is a real treat. The Grand Lodge of Minnesota hosted a little luncheon and they gathered on August 2nd at the Minnesota Masonic Home in Bloomington. Here is the photo memorializing the event.

Seated, left to right: MWB Alyn Dull, 1983; MWB Donald Severson, 1978; Grand Master John L. Cook; MWB Verne Long, 1973; MWB John Peterson, 1981; MWB Warren Clark, 1993.
Standing, left to right: Jr. Grand Deacon John Gann; Jr. Grand Steward John Studell; Jr. Grand Warden David Olson; MWB Steven Johnson, 2006; MWB Neil Neddermeyer, 2003: MWB Thomas McCarthy, 2009; MWB Thomas Jackson, 2008; MWB Charles Baltos, 1991; MWB Jack Benson, 1995; MWB Donald Sether, 1986; MWB Eric Neetenbeek, 1996; Deputy Grand Master Thomas Hendrickson; MWB Roger Taylor, 2001; MWB Samuel Dickinson, 1980; MWB Ward Sonsteby, 1989; MWB Philip Soderberg, 2000; MWB Donald Flood, 1985.
Not pictured, Grand Secretary Douglas Campbell, Photographer.

Knowing that our most senior Past Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother D. William Tiffany, would not be able to attend the luncheon at the Minnesota Masonic Home on August 2nd, some of us gathered at his home near Redwood Falls a week earlier to greet and visit with Bill.

Kneeling next to the left of MWB Bill Tiffany, is MWB Verne Long, 1973; standing next to Bill is Grand Master John L. Cook, Jr.
Standing first row, left to right: MWB Samuel Dickinson, 1980; and MWB Philip Soderberg, 2000. Standing in the back row, left to right: MWB John Peterson, 1981; MWB Ward Sonsteby, 1989; MWB J. V. Christianson, 1997; and Grand Secretary Douglas Campbell.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Grand Lodge Recognition Process - Minnesota Syle

Brother Doug,
Over the past several years our lodge has raised several Brothers of Liberian descent. One of our members traveled to his home country Liberia. There he visited a Lodge and was well received. He had a conversation with the Master and their Master would like to become, for lack of a better term, a "Sister lodge" of our Lodge. To my knowledge, I have heard of only this one member communicating with a Lodge in Liberia, (again, I will speak to this Brother about the situation). I do know that many of the members we have raised spoke of how hard it is to become a Mason in Liberia. And I assume that many of them, should they travel back to their home countries would want to be accepted into a Lodge.
I realize that our member should not visit a clandestine lodge nor should he converse Masonically with a clandestine Mason. With that said, I would like to see if I can get the recognition process moving. What can we do to get started?
W. Brother Al

Hello W. Brother Al,
Yes, for you or any member of a lodge under the Grand Lodge of Minnesota to be able to converse Masonically with a member of a lodge in Liberia, or any other unrecognized lodge, the lodge’s Grand Lodge and the Grand Lodge of Minnesota would first need to recognize each other. This is not a process that is very easy, nor is it accomplished by an individual Mason or an individual lodge, other than the process needs to start somewhere. The recognition process is complicated and time consuming. The younger Grand Lodge must be the one to request recognition from the older Grand Lodge. My records show that there was a Grand Lodge of Liberia constituted in 2001 and another one in 1883. In either case, the Grand Lodge of Minnesota was constituted in 1853, making us the older Grand Lodge. There is little or no information on the web on the Grand Lodge of Liberia.
Long story short, if the person you are dealing with wants us to recognize his Grand Lodge, then his Grand Lodge will need to make a formal request for recognition. That request should contain their constitution and bylaws, among other things. They will need to certify that they adhere to the long established standards for recognition, which include these elements:
1 Legitimacy of origin
2 Exclusive territorial jurisdiction, except by mutual consent
3 Adherence to the Ancient Landmarks
Before the Grand Lodge of Minnesota would act on such a request, with such action taking place at an Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, the request would go to our External Relations Committee. Before our External Relations Committee will be likely to act on such a request, the foreign Grand Lodge would first need to make its presentation to the Committee on Information for Recognition of the North American Conference of Grand Masters. This part of the process would likely take a year or two at best. The Commission on Information for Recognition was organized in 1951 as a facility to gather, collate and from time to time, revise information on Grand Lodges in other lands, as a service to the Grand Lodges of the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America. The Commission neither advises nor recommends that recognition be given to any Grand Lodge, but merely inquires whether or not it considers that a Grand Lodge in question satisfies the conditions of regularity. The Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America meets every February and a report from the Commission on Information for Recognition generally follows within several weeks.
As you can see from what I am saying here, this is a process that can easily take a few years. But like every project, it starts with the first step. If the Grand Lodge of Liberia wants to take that step then by all means, they should do so.