Instruction Certification & the Royal Arch Degree

Well, it seems that I finally went and got myself official. As of Saturday (the 25th), I am officially certified by the Grand Lodge of Texas to teach the memory work for degree proficiencies, and the opening of all four lodges (the fourth being the Lodge of Sorrows).

Initially, I drove all the way to Phoenix Lodge in Weatherford. When I got there, just before the forum (degree exemplification and general Q&A) at 9 am, I was asked, “Hey brother! Are you here for the Commandery Work Day?” My confusion must have beeen pretty evident. I quickly explained that I was there for the exam certification, and was then told that it had been postponed to next weekend. The paper copy of the schedule posted up in the dining hall had been the same one as on the PDF I had on my phone; however, the paper version had a correction on it, in pen. The PDF, naturally, did not have this change.

At this point, I settled in the hallway, hanging out with some brothers I knew and some brothers that I didn’t know, chit-chatting about memory work, Commandery, and a few other things. One brother pointed out to me that Krum (and therefore Krum Lodge’s certification exams) was only an hour and fifteen minutes away. If I hustled, I might still be able to catch the last 20 minutes of the forum, and make it in time for the certification exams.

So I hustled!

I managed to get to Krum Lodge and had a great time. I met some District Instructors, members of the Committee on Work, and all sorts of other brothers. One brother had even heard of the podcast that I put out with some of my lodge brothers! The exams went well, and when I left, I was officially “C-certified.”

Last night (Monday, March 27) was also pretty eventful. I managed to double-book myself for both Blue Lodge and Royal Arch Chapter. We had four profiencies in two different degrees in Blue Lodge, and I had my Royal Arch degree scheduled! I had to excuse myself before the last EA profiency, because it was time to go to Chapter. I was really bummed about that, because I am usually the examiner during proficiencies, and I was really looking forwards to this Brother delivering his work.

The Royal Arch degree was absolutely incredible. It was incredibly immersive and I’m still digesting it. I am looking forwards to the next time – when I can participate in it. I would write more about it, but to be quite honest, I have to let it settle a bit before I can competently talk about it! It’s got to be one of my favorite degrees so far, though. I might actually like the experience of this one as an initiate even more than the Master’s degree (although the Entered Apprentice degree still remains my favorite). This was a very physically-involved sort of experience, which I thought was awesome.

Super happy with my experience. I even bought a RAM emblem to put on my car! Very psyched to see what happens in Cryptic Council.

Advanced to the Honorary Degree of Mark Master

Today I was advanced to the honorary degree of Mark Master Mason! I was one of three candidates. It was a fun and interesting experience. The degree team did a great job despite having a bunch of people missing – those filling in did very admirably. There was joviality (something very strange compared to my Blue Lodge experience) and quiet, solemn moments. Overall, it was a pretty wonderful time. Next stop: Virtual Past Master and Most Excellent Master!

Handley Lodge Captures the Travelling Gavel

Where the magic happens: the Fort Worth Masonic Temple

Last night was pretty great.

Fort Worth Lodge had its stated meeting night, and I was pleasantly surprised to see so many visitors – at first only minorly so, then majorly so. I shared the elevator with three or four brothers from Handley Lodge on the way up to our dining hall… Then I quickly realized, as the time went on, that they were coming out in force! Our little dining hall was packed. Handley Lodge brought out 15 brothers to come help take the travel gavel.

The Grand Lodge of Texas (AF&AM) 64th District Traveling Gavel:

Eyes on the Prize

The room was abuzz with excitement. Many of the Fort Worth Members were whispering to each other over the food – cooked on the Fort Worth Lodge #148 Smoker, of course – as we were and are totally psyched to get so many visitors. I pro-tem’d the Senior Deacon’s part, and began running around the dining hall, collecting names and titles as fast as I could.

The time to file into the lodge room came, and we ran out of aprons! We had to dig in the closet for a third box of aprons. We had a total attendance of 54 brothers. Once visitors were introduced, all first time visitors were given a Fort Worth Lodge pin.

One of my little treasures, the Fort Worth Lodge #148 pin that was given to me the night that I was raised:

Light in Pin Form

We blasted through the regular business, with some minor delays during a slightly more free-form portion of lodge, and then got to the presentation of the Travel Gavel. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of that, since we were in open lodge at the time (meaning photography is verboten), but it was wonderful. In addition to the travel gavel on the plaque, Fort Worth Lodge has decided to toss in the Mega Gavel as well. Now, in addition to the existing stipulations on the gavel, the Mega Gavel will be travelling with the regular plaque. After our Brother Hando Nahkur played a very stirring piece, we closed out and Hollywooded for the camera. All in all, a great night in Texas Masonry.

A group photo (most of us are in here):

Everyone gather ’round!

14 of the 15 brothers from Handley, with guest appearance by the Mega Gavel (Worshipful Master of Handley Lodge, Haskell Rogers III, is in the middle with the plaque):

Brethren of Handley Lodge

Our pro-tem WM, SW Greg Wright (on the left), poses with some of our brothers from Webb Lodge! We really hope that they are the next ones to get the gavel. Ed (on the right) is a Past Master of both Webb Lodge and Handley Lodge:

The Brethren of Webb Lodge