News From The Ninth Arch

One of Twelve: GGR Update: Fireside Chat, Ritual Award, Tech

One of Twelve: GGR Update: Fireside Chat, Ritual Award, Tech
Submitted by RPC Stephen A. Balke, General Grand Recorder


Stephen A. Balke, General Grand Recorder
Cryptic Masons International  

Greetings Companions ALL!

As we close out the first Cryptic Quarter of 2021 – we are all realizing just how fast we’re going. Already over one month has gone by since the Triennial Assembly and we’re glad we hit the ground running because there is a LOT to get done – and we have a FANTASTIC team that is coming together to deliver!

Fireside Chat

The first General Grand Master’s Fireside Chat was a resounding success! With over 150 registrations and over 120 on this first meeting spanning at least nine countries, five languages, and three continents, we are seeing the first steps to a smaller world for the Cryptic Rite. Companion Robert Lopaka Kapanui of Hawaii gave us a ghost story as the first Guest Speaker. In addition to a great Hawaiian tradition being shown to many for the first time, updates on what the General Grand Council is doing and questions from the Craft comprised a 1:20 fraternal and educational experience. We look forward to the next Chat on Sunday, November 22, 2020, at 5 PM EST!

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Fireside Chat #1 – Feat. Robert Lopaka Kapanui – Ghost Story – See the chat on YouTube!

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Speaking of Tech

RPC John Bridegroom has been busy! For the past three years, you have seen the facelifts to the website, our Facebook Page with the seasonal banners, certificates for some of our awards, presentations at the Regional Conferences, and many other “Branding” items that have been intentional contributions to help us develop an esprit de corps – a brand – a pride that is shown in what people see publicly. Now, he is rolling out some more tools that are designed to assist us in instilling a sense of pride from DAY 1!


Subordinate Council Charter

Grand Council Charter

Greeting Certificate or Cryptic Patent

Not only are these traditional and particular to our gentle Craft, but they are also something worthy of the effort and investment by our newly Greeted Companions and newly Chartered bodies. In short – something that tells the story AND that people can be proud to exhibit! More to come, and we’ll let you know when they are available.


The Ritual Award


Ritual Award Jewel

The General Grand Master has suspended the date limitation in the current Ronald L. Thomas Ritual Award – further, work toward earning this recognition will be honored across the Trienniums. There are issues with the current documentation that are being resolved, and a new tracking program is being developed to make it easier to maintain a path once started. This is a complex process and will take some time, but those who have taken steps toward this important achievement SHOULD CONTINUE! We plan to publish an interim document that will reflect this decision and make it available to the Grand Recorders of our Jurisdictions.

Welcome Aboard!

  • Companion Jon Greene, OK, is our new Calendar Czar. He is currently working to update the public calendar and streamline our systems to be inclusive and useful for reference to Masonic Events.
  • MIGM Corey FGL Curtiss, MI, is the new Facebook Editor, and we all know how well he does at that particular post, so we are looking forward to him bringing his experience and know-how to the General Grand Council!
  • IC Stephen Dake, WI, has taken on the monumental task of upgrading our Marketplace. This may not happen over-night, but we are in good hands with his technical experience and understanding of the complexities of our international footprint.
  • IC Sean  Gardiner, MN, has signed on as our Sweeper (soccer reference), tester, and troubleshooter. We keep him busy.

Meanwhile back in the Factory…

Our team is working on documenting processes, established projects, and keeping our programs moving!

  • IC Will Highsmith, NC, continues with the Decryption and a side project;
  • RPC James McNeely, CT,  has been running multiple meetings each week and working on processes to facilitate using our Zoom platform. If you would like the General Grand Council to host a Zoom Meeting for your organization, you can fill out this request form:
  • RIC Rod Wagoner, AZ, is working on a project that will knock your socks off! More to come as we level out and get these in place!

In the office

  • In the midst of the pandemic, our engraver has contracted COVID. We are praying for her and hope to see her back operating soon!
  • Lady Michele, NM,  continues to refine the processes of fulfillment and communications with those who are ordering.
  • PC John Miller, FL, is organizing all of our Subordinate Council members and preparing for the end of the calendar year (their Cryptic Year as well) events – dues cards, Annual Returns, etc.

We are all working on the transition from the 47th and logistics for regalia and stock to be situated properly and ordered if needed. In addition, carrying on with the business of the Craft.

Still working…

We have continued the Regional Recorder’s Conferences, but not inclusive of all thirteen regions as of yet – we (hopefully) plan to have this started this month. We are working to implement the new QuickBooks system and have it shared and available by November 30. And, we are working to get the Audit completed. Again, lots of activity!

Please let us know if there is a program you would like to see, any ideas that are working for your Council, or if you have questions about what we are doing. But – many can be answered by subscribing to our regularly updated channels of communication:

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