News From The Ninth Arch

Regional Deputy Conference Call – November 16, 2020

Regional Deputy Conference Call – November 16, 2020
Submitted by Stephen Balke, General Grand Recorder, Cryptic Masons International

Cryptic Masons International Collar
Photo Credit; MIC John Bridegroom


On November 16, 2020, a conference call was held with the Regional Deputies. A summary of the call is below.

In Attendance: Carl Lidstrom, Rafael Soneghet, Marc Adote, Marcos Ostrander, Jason Varner, Tom Nesbit, John Logan, Norm Draine, Michael Smith, Sandy Karstens, Jay B. Walsh, Wayne Long, John Miller, Stephen Balke, G. Thomas Taylor, Monty Glover.

Called off in Advance: Mike Smith

Invocation: Rafael Soneghet

Called to Order: 23:00 UTC

Fireside Chat – Invite ALL Companions – Allan Sylvestre will be giving a presentation on the Color Purple. – Great presentation and then an open conversation with the General Grand Master.

General Grand Chapter Triennial Convocation this Saturday.


  • Confinement in Europe/Africa – no travel available.
  • Not many changes have occurred.
  • Gabon – Still on lockdown.
  • Togo – Still on lockdown.
  • Madagascar – Trying to connect with the Grand Lodge and Companions there.



  • Grand Lodges in Brazil are taking public issue with irregular Masons being members of appendant and Concordant bodies.
    • Unifying behind this assertion.
    • COMAB – Brazilian Masonic Confederation – Meeting shortly regarding Grand Supremo Chapter.
  • Many Councils are approaching RDGGM that were previously unable to complete the fealty steps and are looking to chart a path forward with General Grand Council.

Central America

  • Key is in Safety and Security
    • Powerful/Grade 5 Storm – going right through Central America. Following just after another storm just 1 week ago. Iota – 250 k/h winds.
    • Flights are opening slowly at this point – still no mail.
      • Many countries still remain closed
  • COMACA – Central American Masonic Conference
    • Marcos representing General Grand Council.
  • Panama – opening up.
    • Attended (maximum 21) Festival to give the Royal Arch Degrees, on the 21st a Cryptic Degrees.
    • Social distancing is in place – masks, distancing, etc.
    • Looking like 10 new Companions for 2020
  • Central America
    • Costa Rica – Storm
    • Guatemala – Storm
    • Nicaragua – Storm
  • EUM – Estados Unidos de Los Mexicanos
  • Paraguay – Working under many restrictions.
  • Peru – Working under many restrictions.
  • Venezuela – Working under many restrictions.
  • Columbia
    • When travel opens up, will be doing degree work for Brethren and Companions that will be ready to start the Chapter and Council. Bogota, Cartagena, Santa Marta, and Cali.
  • Ecuador
    • Quito is going strong. Looking forward to presenting the Charter for the Council.
  • Mexico

East Central

  • Indiana: had some degree work but are Back to Covid -19 restrictions again, Ambassador David Miller has the \” Rona\” but is getting better
  • Kentucky: had some degree work but are Back to Covid -19 restrictions again
  • Illinois: had some degree work but are also Back to Covid Restrictions
  • Ohio: Had some degree work for Oct. but are now back to restrictions
  • Michigan: I am still trying to get an Ambassador in place but also from news restrictions are back in place


  • No meetings – All countries have an increase in Covid 19 – No one is doing anything.
  • Italy
    • Zoom meeting on the 23rd – the History of Cryptic Masonry in Italy.
    • Planning to have a Grand Council Under Dispensation at the start of year, 2021.
  • Germany
    • Grand Line – Missing Deputy – GGM is working with them.
    • Requesting Charter again.
    • Responsibilities – Annual Return, per capita, etc.

North Central

  • Covid is running wild – lockdowns and restrictions for the entire Region.
  • Councils working on their annual meetings – many keeping officers in place.
  • Ambassador to North Dakota named:
  • Iowa – August 6, 7 Des Moines
  • Nebraska – April 15-17, Younes Conference Center, Carny NE
  • Minnesota – June 24-26, Holiday Inn, Alexandria, MN
  • North Dakota – Follow up
  • South Dakota – Follow up

Northeast North

  • Ambassador Meeting – 2nd Tuesday 8:00 PM EST

  • Desmond Hotel in the works for September 10-11 2021
  • Email – Contacts accessible to all RDGGMs
  • Fireside Chat – big hit – confirm 4th Sunday 5:00 PM EST
  • Request more interactivity between Chapter and Council.
  • Maine:
    • * 50 people or less
    • * Some degree work (inc. MM) w/physical distancing
    • * Generally slow time
    • * Annual YR planned for April (4th Sat) in Bangor
    • * Feb 27th – day-long Cryptic education course
  • New Hampshire:
    • * Restricted GL semi-annual meeting coming up
    • * Doing some degree work up to MM; w/usual restrictions
    • * Meeting in-person and virtually; monthly education meetings
    • * Annual YR still planned for 2nd Sat in May
    • * Paul Smith raised over $700 for CMMRF on a FB birthday fundraiser
  • New York:
    • * Tri-State festival planned for 2nd Sat in May (Saugerties) – problem with NH conflict!
    • * Restricted meetings/ little degree work
    • * Did a leadership course back in October
    • * Planning a Cryptic education course
    • * Did an update on their ritual and book
    • * Annual Cryptic planned for 3rd Sat in August
  • Rhode Island:
    • * Very little activity/curfews and closed Lodges
    • * No social groups > 10
    • * Essentially no degree work
    • * Annual YR – 27th March; Cranston
    • * One-day festival w/MA on 4th Sat in June
  • Vermont:
    • * Gatherings of 50 people or less
    • * Generally very slow, but some degree work is taking place
    • * Annual YR – June 6-7

Northeast South

  • Having regular meetings – but waiting until March…
  • Restrictions and COVID issues happening across the Region
  • New Jersey – 1st Weekend in March
  • Delaware – 2nd Weekend in March
  • District of Columbia – 3rd Weekend in March
  • Maryland – Sessions were successful
    • Tom Taylor was in attendance.
  • Virginia
    • Starting a Council?? – Follow up (Jay B and Monty)


  • Covid running wild – high increase throughout the NW
  • Per state governor shutdowns and regulations.
  • Successful York Rite Conference
    • Good Roundtable conversation
    • Concerns –
      • During COVID – Older members at risk
      • Younger Members – Time/Family/Work
    • Mike Holland – Zoom Overview (+Mike Smitson)
    • No Report Submitted
    • Colorado is completely shut down by order of the Colorado Dept. of Health. Some Councils are conducting education programs during These business meetings. No degree work by any Council is planned or permitted by the state. Membership numbers are sliding slightly due to older members passing and no increase due to no degree work permitted.
    • No Festivals are scheduled until summer 2021 and hopefully, those will be permitted.
    • Bruce Lawlor, GGC of CMI Ambassador of Colorado
  • IDAHO:
    • The Governor has placed Idaho into Stage 3 of COVID-19 response.
    • This means that indoor gatherings must be limited to 50 or less. Outdoor gatherings must be at 25% of Capacity or Less.
    • All masonic meetings except for Commanderies have live meetings.
    • Commandry meetings are done on Zoom. Masks must be worn as well as usual social distancing in the lodge. Gloves may be worn. All facilities must be fogged after each meeting with an antiseptic fog machine.
    • The status of annual meetings is still unknown and will evaluate closer to
    • April 2021.
    • Robert Farrow, GGC of CMI Ambassador of Idaho
    • Montana is still in the grips of the Pandemic, many of the planned Festivals that are scheduled for 2021 are on” hold” as we do not know what the Future holds for us. Many of the Councils throughout the state are meeting, but the opportunity for growth at this time is questionable at best.
    • As far as COVID-19 restrictions go, The Grand Master of Montana has allowed All Masonic meetings to resume but with precautions taken. Common sense Being if you feel ill, or uneasy about attending, don’t come. As the Councils In Montana follow the Grand Lodge guidelines meetings are sparsely attended.
    • I know that Great Falls has a Festival scheduled in March 2021 but are waiting to see what the new year brings us.
    • Roger Cathel, GGC of CMI Ambassador of Montana
  • Oregon No Report Submitted
  • Washington:
    • Currently, all of our Masonic Buildings are closed. Thus all Meetings are suspended, as we are experiencing an increase in COVID-19 with no end in sight.
    • We have authorized each Constituted Council to hold Zoom meetings for purpose of having face contact with each other without personnel contact.
    • At this time, most Councils are meeting in a Zoom format along with some Chapter and Commandry groups in a limited basis.
    • Michael Smitson, GGC of CMI Ambassador of Washington
  • Wyoming:
    • The Cryptic Masons of Wyoming are allowed to meet provided They follow the Grand Master’s ruling on COVID-19 precautions. These follow the Governor of Wyoming’s policies. MIGM of Cryptic Masons, James Sturdevant, has postponed several upcoming visits until the situation improves. There is still the intent to hold the Central York Rite Bodies Degree
    • Conferrals on January 23, 2021, in Casper Wyoming.
    • Richard Lewis, GGC of CMI Ambassador of Wyoming
  • Companions All:
    • I cannot impress upon all the necessity to stay healthy so that when this ordeal is ended, we may return to respective Councils and continue the Preservation of our Craft.
    • Thanks to all the Northwest Ambassadors for their continued efforts to keep me informed, keep up the good work!!

South Central

    • South Central $21k of $200k
  • Arkansas –
    • Not meeting will reassess.
    • Joseph Clements – MIPGM 2011 – Passed last month.
  • Oklahoma –
    • All counties in the red for COVID
    • Grand Master Edict forthcoming – Council follows MWGM direction
    • October – Statewide festival – 11 new Companions
    • Grand Lodge – This last weekend.



  • Successful Southwest Regional Conference
    • 88 People in attendance –
    • built-in time for questions and discussions – went well.
    • Hybrid meetings in the future?
  • Utah –
    • Early History of Royal Arch Masonry – Moises
    • Closed and hospitals are full


  • December Board Meeting
    • Goal of raising $500K by June 1 to help acquire a Stem Cell Processing Aparatus.
    • Outreach to State Chairmen to onboard technology and put systems and tools in place for their use – training, materials, collateral and information flow.
    • Tom Taylor, Vice President

Benediction: Jay B Walsh

Adjourned: 00:28 UTC 11/17/2020

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