Monday, December 15, 2014

The Conference of Grand Masters in North America

Opportunities for Business and Fellowship

by Steven L. Harrison, 33°, FMLR

     Most Brothers don't get much individual time with their Grand Masters, but as editor of the Missouri Freemason magazine, I'm fortunate to have known several.  I'll never forget, however, as a new editor, getting my first call from a Grand Master.  It might as well have been the Governor of my state.  Grand Masters are important. 

     In my experience, the ones I have known have gone out of their way to show it's the members who are important, not the Grand Masters — and they do that for good reason... but more on that later.

Inside the formal meetings, it's all business.
     With all that in mind I was thrilled to learn the Conference of Grand Masters in North America was scheduled to meet right down the road from my home.  I immediately started making plans to go.  Then, not too long ago I told a friend I was looking forward to what might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  "Oh, Steve," he sighed, "I've been to that conference.  You've never seen such a collection of bombastic egos assembled in one place."  Wow.  I'd say his experience has been a bit different than mine.  I wondered if  Missouri has just been lucky to have a string of great, friendly Grand Masters lately.  I guess I really didn't know what to think as I lowered my expectations a bit and headed for the big show.

     I spent three full days at the conference, taking in everything so that I might, in a manner of speaking, see the light by which Grand Masters work.  I was also on a secret mission to locate a few of the bombastic egos my friend mentioned.  I had a great time, met so many people and took part in so many conversations by the second afternoon I had nearly lost my voice.  I must admit, it was one of the most concentrated assemblages of bigshots I have ever attended;  but my quest for bombasts went unfulfilled.  Here is what I discovered:

Outside the formal meetings the author 
and Illinois Grand Master Terry 
Seward renew acquaintances 
and share a moment of fellowship.
     The business meetings were... well... all business.  The Grand Masters took their responsibilities seriously.  On some issues their consent was unanimous, but they didn't always agree.  When they didn't, I saw spirited debate, but no pomposity or bluster.  That's just my unscientific observation, and I did not, mind you, see every minute of the business meetings.

     Outside the meetings it was a different story.  The attendees seemed to me to be outgoing, gregarious and were genuinely interested in what I and others had to say about the Craft.  None in any way seemed absorbed in his own self-importance.  And it stands to reason.  These men are the leaders of our fraternity.  They are its ambassadors and virtually by necessity have to be its promoters.  The atmosphere was friendly.  For three days I had a terrific time making new friends and acquaintances, and renewing old friendships.  I don't know if I'll ever get a chance to do it again, but I'd like to.  

     As for my friend who thought I was headed into an encounter with a lot of big egos, maybe he was just having a bad day.


SCOPEMAN said...

Thanks for the interesting write up Bro. Steve. I knew of a Past GL Secty. of Turkey that Visited the one in Atlanta, GA. I wish I knew that he was coming, I would have met him there. He started the CRAFT Masonic site on FB for Turkish Masons and others. IF you would like to be on it, please let me know:

I guess my thrill came in meeting our SGC Seale in Boise, ID, back in '07 for the 100th Anniv. of Boise SR. Also, in Sept, spending some time with PGM Rex Hutchens in Austin for the conferring of the 19th C. Production of the 4th Degree.

Like you meeting GM's, I served on the MN. State DeMolay Found. back in the mid 70's, and the GSW and GJW of the GL of MN. served on the Board. So, it was nice to be with these Brothers that would soon be Grand Master of MN. - PRICELESS as the SAYING GOES!!


Steve Harrison, 33°, FMLR said...

I might add that SGC Seale was also at this conference. Meeting and talking with him is always a memorable experience.