Regional Deputy Conference Call - June 28, 2021
Submitted by Stephen Balke, General Grand Recorder, Cryptic Masons International

General Grand Council Collar
Cryptic Masons International Collar
Photo Credit; MIC John Bridegroom
 

On June 28, 2021, a conference call was held with the Regional Deputies. A summary of the call is below.

CMMRF

  • New Awards
    • Tree of Life Plates
      • $5000 - Individual donations within one year
      • $50,000 - Organizational donations within one year
    • Tree of Life Coasters
      • $30 each

GGC

  • New Grand Council under Dispensation - Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of Brazil

Africa

  • No report

Asia/Pacific

  • Philippines - 
    • General Community Quarantine - changes 6/29 maybe (still high infections)
    • Grand Lodge - ALL PARTICIPANTS must be tested.
    • Virtual Sessions likely in October
  • Taiwan -
    • Pandemic is getting more serious.
    • Stated meetings likely on hold
    • Ambassador - GGM will talk with RPC Vic
  • Japan
    • Unclear on pandemic - mixed messages.

Brazil

  • NEW GRAND COUNCIL - June 19, 2021!
    • Rafael Soneghet, Most Illustrious Grand Master
  • Covid 
    • Slightly decreased (70K/day cases - 2K/day deaths)
    • 34% Vaccinated - September - Adults vaccinated
  • State-based responsibility for meetings
    • recommendations and orders not to meet in person exist in some states
    • Some states are open and planned to open between now and September
  • Cryptic Masonry
    • All organizations are registered and following all financial and lawful restrictions.

Canada

  • No report

East Central

  • No report

Europe

  • Covid
    • New variants coming into being weekly.
    • Travel and meeting restrictions vary by country - some delineating which countries are travel-worthy for their citizens.
    • 22K positive in the last 24 hours.
    • Vaccinations are available but may be ineffective on new variants.
  • Portugal - Restricted today.
  • Italy -
    • Annual Sessions in October.
    • Contention with Grand Chapter and Grand Commandery
  • Virtual European Conference
    • August 7, 2021
    • Send minutes for the planning meeting. - Steve
    • Talk with Bob Davis as a speaker - GGM
    • Reach out to MIGMs and Ambassadors - What do they want? - Norm

Latin America

  • Regional Conference 
    • No date and planning is all TBD (planning by August)
    • In Mexico
    • RDGGHP - New to office working on when and where.
  • Central America - 
    • Gradually opening up - depends on the country
  • Columbia
    • Chapter - planned to open - put together documents for UD Chapter
    • Others are working on the same documentation and opening in 2022
    • Anticipate Councils being requested.
    • Pandemic is causing many issues. Vaccinations are slow.
  • Ecuador
    • Election time for the Equinoxial Lodge.
    • Slowly establishing new Chapter (belong to Panama Bodies - need to update memberships before establishing new bodies).
    • CMI is encouraging communications between the two factions.
  • Mexico
    • Subordinate Councils are getting organized.
    • Recorders are showing up to talk about the opportunities, many preparing to solicit Charters.
    • State by state basis and restrictions for Covid.
    • Anticipate Grand Lodges permitting more activity in August/September.
  • Panama
    • Foresee September for Degrees 
    • Slowly opening up.
    • RT Rate - 1000/day cases Fatalities going way down.
    • Vaccinations are proceeding well - hopefully March 2022 all adults
  • Peru
    • Pandemic is causing many issues. Vaccinations are slow.
    • Planning on opening starting in July.
    • Grand Lodge will have elections.
  • Paraguay
    • Pandemic is causing many issues. Vaccinations are VERY slow.
    • In the process of opening.
    • May are seeking vaccination opportunities in the US or other locations.
  • Venezuela
    • Pandemic is causing many issues. Vaccinations are slow.
    • Pretty much closed.

Mid-Atlantic

  • Nothing new to report - dark for the summer. Jay B Walsh had another meeting.

North Central

  • Covid is not an issue.
    • At the end of the process of opening in most places.
    • Most Councils are dark in July and August, so will be open at that time.
    • Members enjoying fellowship
  • Iowa
    • Grand Session - 
      • August 
  • Minnesota 
    • Grand Sessions
      • This past weekend
      • Chapter and Council - no legislation
    • Grand Commandery Resolution - change requirement for Council
  • Nebraska
    • Grand Sessions
      • April
  • North Dakota
    • Grand Session
      • Tom Taylor Representing - 
        • Steve send letter
        • GGM additional talking points
      • Bismarck, ND
  • South Dakota
    • September
      • Changed venue - limited number of rooms
  • Wisconsin
    • Session - May - Virtual

Northeast

  • Connecticut:
    • Ambassador: Peter Smyth
    • Annual Grand Chapter / Council meetings held on 6/5 in hybrid form. Grand officers from both lines were in person in Meriden CT. Approximately 80 additional companions joined virtually.
    • MPGM Martin Ede was succeeded in the East of Council by James S. McNeely IV. MEGHP Jeff Flynn was succeeded by Daniel M Luft.
    • Grand Council for CT will have a busy upcoming year in an effort to expand interest and membership in the council. A festival day is being prepared in conjunction with the Grand Chapter. This is an attempt to catch up on the lost year in COVID where almost no new companions joined either body.
    • Grand Council is encouraging bodies to hold Council Tables as a way to connect with existing companions and to introduce new blue lodge candidates to the York Rite.
    • Succession planning for recorders and treasurers has been elevated to a crucial issue. Most of our bodies are controlled/cared for by a very few companions who can have up to 10 different bodies they are monitoring. We have been asked by the leadership of all York Rite bodies to identify and plan for future events that we cannot control.
    • There is generally higher awareness that we have to help the blue lodge and work together with them to build membership. The two have to work hand in hand.
    • Blue lodge was considering doing background checks on potential new brothers. This proposal has been shelved.
    • The majority of masonic bodies in the state are now doing some form of hybrid meeting. Very few are completely doing away with the virtual format. It may be taking hold as a permanent feature of our meetings moving forward. Appendant bodies are not all back in person. Especially for new members needing degrees in order to attend the meetings.
    • Our CT York rite bodies experienced a sharp drop in membership 2020-2021. Among the biggest recorded.
    • 2021 Will be a year of rebuilding in CT but we have our sleeves rolled up.
  • Massachusetts:
    • Ambassador: Steve Rubenstein
    • All is open. If fully vaccinated all is okay, if not masks and distancing are required.
    • Annual York Rite meeting still planned for October 22-23. Location TBD.
  • Maine:
    • Ambassador: Ken Caldwell
    • Maine is fully open – all Masonic bodies.
    • Councils are now meeting and working through the backlog of candidates.
    • The only restrictions are if you are not vaccinated you still need to wear a mask and physical distance.
  • New Hampshire:
    • Ambassador: Paul Smith
    • Fully open with degrees back on track.
    • Annual Banquet - July 31 - Concord, NH
  • New York:
    • Ambassador: Dick Fowler
    • Latest news from the Grand Master – “Go, Go, Go!” Can receive passwords as before shutdown. Masking & distancing in the hands of the presiding officer.
    • It is acceptable to check on vaccination status (it is not a HIPAA issue).
    • Grand Chapter & Council – same as Grand Lodge.
    • Grand Commandery: General Order #4, just starting to meet – then same as Grand Lodge.
    • Annual Grand Council meeting still planned for August 21st in Albany at the Desmond.
    • Tri-State Council festival – October 9th in Saugerties.
  • Rhode Island:
    • Ambassador: Mark Thompson
    • Now at 3ft versus 6ft distancing.
    • Everything essentially open.
    • Chapters and Councils are meeting in-person and doing degree work.
    • Had a one-day festival for Chapter on June 5th and made 21 new Royal Arch Masons.
    • On July 17th, we are holding a one-day class for Council at the Grand Lodge in East Providence. Registration is at 8:00 am and degrees will start at 9:00 am. Possible lunch to follow.
    • The only State requirement is that if you are not vaccinated you need to wear a mask and social distance.
  • Vermont:
    • Ambassador: Kirk White
    • Annual Grand York Rite took place on June 12 in Barre, in hybrid mode. Generally a successful event.
    • State is fully open and everyone is starting to line up the backlog of degree work that needs to be done.
  • NE Conference:
    • September 10-11 at Desmond in Albany.
    • Meetings have taken place between the Regional Deputies for General Grand Chapter and Council and Department Commander (to-be) to discuss details for the conference. The brochure is essentially done and the material will be sent out as soon as we can.
    • Ambassador meetings are going to change in style.
      • Exchange Ideas
      • Review Programs
      • Council of Excellence Document

Northwest

  • Alaska
    • Coming along through opening - dark for Summer months
  • Colorado
    • Opening up for business
    • Most Councils dark for Summer
    • Grand Pathways Rendezvous - 
      • 18 new Cryptic Masons
      • Telluride No. 10
    • Sessions
      • Virtual Meeting - September 9-11, 2021
      • Banquet - Chapter/Council/Commandery
      • Unsure about awards
      • Officers Dinner
      • Doubletree Denver CO
  • Idaho
    • Opening up
    • Awaiting openings and preparations - Degree work
    • Going dark for Summer in many locations.
  • Montana 
    • Only three areas open right now
      • Great Falls
      • Billings
      • Missoula
    • Most others are waiting for Fall to come and open slowly with Covid 
    • Sessions
      • In-Person
      • September
      • Great Falls
      • Specifics TBA
  • Oregon
    • SLOWLY Opening
  • Washington
    • Successful Virtual Session
      • MIGM Richard Kovak
    • Opening up at this point. (Somewhat Slowly)
    • Session
      • La Quinta Inn
      • May 13-14, 2022
      • Tacoma, WA
  • Wyoming
    • Wide-open.
    • Some dark for the Summer
    • Grand Session
      • September 16-18, 2021
      • Cheyenne, WY
      • In-Person
      • Registration is on the website.
  • Northwest Conference
    • October 15-16, 2021
    • Boise, ID
    • https://nwyr.org
    • Council - Afternoon of the 15th.

South Central 

  • Kansas 
    • Grand Sessions
      • July 17, 2021
      • Personal Rep (prepared) - May be Chuck McCollum
  • Missouri 
    • Grand Sessions
      • In-Person - June
      • Done well, well attended
      • Members excited about fellowship
  • Oklahoma
    • Open since May
    • 17 new Sir Knights at KT festival 
    • Grand Master’s Festival
      • September 11, 2021
  • South Central Conference
    • September 17, 2021
    • 1 PM CMMRF - GGC Presentations
    • Overland Park, KS

Southeast

  • No report

Southwest

  • No report