Thursday, October 31, 2019

Report from the 2019 North Central Grand York Rite Conference

North Central Grand York Rite Conference 2019
Steve Tiner-General Grand Chapter

     The 2019 North Central Grand Conference was held October 22, 2019 at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This is the annual meeting of the Leadership of the Grand Royal Arch, Grand Cryptic Council, and Grand Commandery for the states that make up the North Central Conference which is Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The approximately 200 attendees travel from a good-sized geographical area.  The conference is an opportunity for the leadership to gather and attend a daylong meeting within their respectful groups. It’s a day that is filled with information on new programs, workshops, and learning opportunities along with an exchange of information. Of course, there is always time to renew old acquaintances, make new ones, and tell tall tales.
 Many years ago, the Grand Rites saw a need to assist the State Chapters, Councils and Commanderies and developed the Grand York Rite Leadership-Emerging Leaders Program. This course is usually held at the regional conferences held across the U.S. and it has been an annual event for many years at the North Central Conference. As the Leadership meets in their day long meetings the Leadership Course is held down the hall. Here is a little more information about the course.
This training recognizes the need to prepare a core group of leaders for the York Rite, and the Masonic family. The leaders of each Grand Body nominate members of their organization who shows signs of leadership or who they feels would have their existing skills enriched by this training.  The entire training program is provided free of charge to the participant. The program is designed to integrate solid leadership skills with a special emphasis on Masonic teaching, this program promotes classroom interaction and participation. The training consists of three courses. The first explores general leadership concepts, The second course builds upon the concepts gained from the first year, and the third year emphasizes development of communication skills. These courses are offered each year at our Area Conference. Once each of the three courses are completed the successful graduates receive a token indicating that they have satisfactorily completed the program.

I have had many opportunities to talk with those Companions and Sir Knights who have attended and they all have very positive comments and glowing reports about the program.

I have always loved to attend conferences for work or Freemasonry. It’s great to be in a room that is filled with likeminded people who share the love of vocation or the Craft. Being in this magnetized atmosphere reenergizes my enthusiasm. This year being the Grand Recorder for the Grand Commandery of Minnesota I attended the Grand Encampment Knights Templar Conference. I found it to be a very interesting, helpful and stimulating program. Grand Master Jeff Nelson runs a great meeting. I must admit that I did sneak out to go over to the Royal Arch to hear Steve Tiner the General Grand King of the General Grand Chapter. Steve is a wonderful speaker and I enjoyed listening to his message. I also had the opportunity to hear the author Worshipful Brother Russell Herner talk about his book “Cathedrals Built by Masons”. You will hear much more about his book for I am preparing an article that should be posted soon.
For me the most touching or heartfelt moments of any masonic conference is hearing from our fraternities’ charities. It is uplifting to see the work of the researchers and physicians who are working hard towards finding new cures and procedures to help our ailing fellow man. This year we were fortunate to have two very committed and dedicated doctors from two very different fields discuss their cutting-edge work.
Dr. Michael P Murphy from the Cryptic Masons Medical Research Foundation and Professor of Vascular Biology Research at the University of Indiana attended. He presented the Seneca Trials Research, and the use of stem cells to prevent amputations. He also shared his experience on his tour of duty in Iraq in the U.S. Army as a Vascular Surgeon on battle injuries.
Knight Templar Eye Foundation Speaker Bela Anand Apte PhD Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland, Ohio spoke on the “Impact on Pediatric Vision Research”. Dr. Apte also presented material on Retinopathy of Premature Babies, and updates on her current research projects. She also gave a very interesting presentation on the vast number of blindness cases that can be prevented.
My hat is off to all those who have spent many hours in arranging a central location and taking care of all the details in putting together such a fine conference. My thanks for all the speakers who traveled across the country who came to share their important message. My gratitude for all the Masonic Leaders for their dedication and vision to move us in a positive direction.

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