HISTORY OF THE ORIENT OF MICHIGAN
Date originated: May 1904
First Deputy: III. J. Francis Rickards, 33°- Present Deputy: Ill. Christopher Buck, 33°
Sovereign Grand Commander Then: Ill. Joshua David Kelley 33°
Sovereign Grand Commander Now: Ill. Melvin J. Bazemore 33°
On December 25, 1903, eight Masonic Brothers, who were greatly respected in their community, assembled. S.P. J. Francis Rickards, 33°, used this occasion to act as the leader and organized this group as the start of Scottish Rite Masonry in this area.
A petition was prepared along with an application from thirty members of the Knight Templar requesting a ceremony of initiation into our organization. This petition was presented to the United Supreme Council at its Annual Session in Philadelphia on May 9, 1904. Their petition was granted and the first Consistory was chartered, the officers elected and Sublime Prince Rickards was elevated to a Grand Inspector General.
Wolverine Consistory’s number at first was No. 13 and later changed to No. 6. This Orient had many great men in the united Supreme Council, including Sovereign Grand Commander Ill. James Francis Rickards, 33°, who was Michigan’s founder and first Deputy. In addition, he assisted the United Supreme Council in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Ill. Robert E. Barnes, 33°, served as Grand Minister of State. Ill. R.W. Jeffrey, 33°, in addition to being the Deputy, served as our Recording Secretary.
On May 10, 1920, Sovereign Grand Commander Rickards, 33°, along with the Deputy, Ill. Samuel W. Franklin, 33° conferred the 32nd degree on sixty Master Masons and organized Peninsular Consistory No. 44.
For 29 years the Scottish Rite Fraters residing In Flint and Saginaw gave loyal support to Peninsular Consistory No. 44. Realizing that growth was good and their own community had an even greater potential for another consistory, a meeting was planned. On January 25, 1949, these Fraters residing in Flint and Saginaw, Michigan met and formed a club. A letter outlining their intent was written to the Deputy, Ill. R. W. J. Jeffrey 33°, on January 29, 1949. After many means of communication by the Thumb District Club, as they called themselves, their petition was presented to the United Supreme Council on May 15, 1950. On November 19, 1950, a dispensation was issued and the Deputy, Ill. Jeffrey, 33°, and six Fraters from Wolverine Consistory No. 6, initiated forty-five new members. These Sublime Princes along with twenty-two members who 2 from Peninsular Consistory No. 44, formed the new Saginaw Valley Consistory No. 71, that was chartered on May 14, 1951. The Orient of Michigan under the leadership of the Deputy Ill. Homer E. Gaines, 33° , had done much to promote the ideals of Masonry.
The three Consistories successfully carried a program in July 1972 and held a retreat called the Tri-Valley Retreat. Another outstanding accomplishment in the Orient, is the publication called the “Crown” newsletter. Under the leadership of Ill. Commander-in-Chief S.P. William Chapman, 32°, the first issue was printed. The “Eagles Club” of Detroit, Michigan is the brain child of our Illustrious Edward B. Darnell. In May of 1982, the Deputyship passed on to S.G.I.G. Wendolyne C. Terrelle, 33°. Under his leadership the following events have taken place: the organization of the Commanders of the Rite in 1982; the organization of the State Grand Assembly, Order of the Golden Circle; the organization of the Tri-Cities Eagle Club in 1984; and the appointing of a Dean of Instructions in the person of Ill. Clanton N. Dawson, 33°.
This Orient is proud to have three Assemblies of the Order of the Golden Circle and they are: Charity Assembly No. 38, Detroit, Michigan; Faith Assembly No. 63, Lansing, Michigan; and Light of Hope Assembly No. 64 in Flint, Michigan. All are doing well in supporting the Scottish Rite Bodies in our Orient. The State Grand Assembly was organized in 1982 with Loyal Lady Margaret Alexander of Charity Assembly #38 as the First State Grand Loyal Lady Ruler.
MICHIGAN COMMANDERS OF THE RITE
The Commanders of the Rite was organized in May of 1982 with Ill. George Chadwell, 33°, of Wolverine Consistory No. 6 as the First President.
The year 1985 also saw the second man from Michigan to become the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Northern Jurisdiction, Ill. Booker T. Alexander, 33°.
We are proud of the contributions that the Fraters have rendered during the 86 years that the light of Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry has shone over the Midwest, for it was the Valley of Detroit that the Candle was lit for all the Midwest of the Northern Jurisdiction. May the Great Architect of the Universe continue to Bless the Rite through us.
Ill. Booker T. Alexander was elected an officer of the United Supreme Council in 1977 and advanced regularly through several offices to that of First Lieutenant Commander where he served until July 31, 1984. Upon the resignation of Sovereign Commander Russell S. Gideon 33°, because of poor health, acceded to the office and was elected at the Triennial Session in 1985.
*J. Francis Rickards 33°………………………….1904-1910
*John T. Evans 33°…………………………………1910-1915
*Thaddeus W. Warsaw 33°…………………….1915-1917
*Samuel W. Franklin 33°………………………..1917-1926
*Charles A. Campbell 33°………………………1926-1928
*R.W. Jeffrey 33°……………………………………1928-1949
*Homer E. Gaines 33°……………………………1949-1982
*Wendolyne C. Terrelle 33°……………………1982-1992
*SGIG Wesley A. Jones 33°………..…………….1992-2007
SGIG Robert P. Lewis 33°…………..………….2007-2012
Current Deputy: SGIG Christopher Buck 33°
*G.I.G. George Chadwell 33°
*G.I.G. Peyton J. Thomas 33°
*S.G.I.G. Clanton N. Dawson 33°
*G.I.G. Randolph McKinney 33°
G.I.G. John E. Meyers 33°
G.I.G. Carl Saunders 33° S.G.I.G.
*S.G.I.G. George Logan, Jr. 33°
SGIG Robert J. Meekins 33°
The Origin and Purpose of the Commanders of the Rite
The originator and creator of the Commanders of the Rite was the late Sovereign Grand Commander John G. Lewis Jr. 33°, of the United Supreme Council, Southern Jurisdiction, P.H.A. He envisioned a group of Grand Inspectors General coming together and putting their vast knowledge of Scottish Rite Masonry to work for the good of Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite and education of all 32nd Degree Masons.
Past Sovereign Grand Commander Lewis gave special instructions to the Illustrious Deputies of the Orient to organize a State body of Commanders of the Rite, as well as Concordant Chapters wherever there was a Consistory.
An Honorary Thirty Third Degree Scottish Rite Mason has reached the pinnacle of the order. There are no other degrees above this one. The only grades above this are Active, and Emeritus Sovereign Grand Inspectors General.
The elevation to this noble honor however does not imply that you have reached the end of your labors and can now rest upon your laurels. On the contrary, as a Grand Inspector General (G.I.G.), the obligation to Scottish Rite Masonry increases significantly. The G.I.G. is now considered a Teacher, Advisor, Counsellor, Historian, Ritualist and Protector of the Order. It is often said that Scottish Rite is the College of Masonry. If comparison is correct, then we may presume that the Grand Inspectors General are its Professors.
It is for this reason that candidates for elevation to this coveted degree must only be those Sublime Princes who have demonstrated a dedication to the Order and have acquired a keen knowledge of its innermost workings, anything less than that diminishes the purpose. The Mason who does not look beyond the forms and ceremonies of the institution, utterly fails to realize the import of its teachings. Its sublime truths are indeed mysteries to him. No Frater can fail to become wiser and better if he will pause on his way through the degrees and deliberately study the allegories and symbols so profusely set before him in Scottish Rite freemasonry.
No matter in what direction he may turn, the lessons of the truths are set before him on every side, and it only remains for him to study their deep and hidden meaning.
The Commanders of the Rite is composed of learned Grand Inspectors General of all grades. They exist to provide guidance and wise counsel to Consistories and the Council of Deliberation in the State.
The Commanders of the Rite must function to assist the Consistories in the application and implementation of the true meaning of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Other functions are to maintain a broad avenue of charitable programs (through suggestions and activities, if requested), and to produce workshops for Sublime Princes in order that they may better understand Scottish Rite Masonry. Another very important function is to offer their assistance to the Consistory in fund raising projects and programs for the purpose of charity.
The Commanders of the Rite should provide a forum for the enlightenment and development of Illustrious Sirs, and Peers, through lectures, workshops and research assignments. The Rite should prepare its members for active roles in the development and guidance of all Scottish Rite Bodies; and promote programs and sponsor activities, which will enhance the image of Prince Hall Masonry within the local communities and throughout the state.
The Commanders of the Rite must be active in their communities by volunteering to perform various civic services thereby demonstrating to the citizenry that Scottish Rite Masons are civic-minded men of honor and good moral character. While there are certain prerogatives belonging to Grand Inspectors General, they must nonetheless, exercise them sparingly and with due consideration for their Commander-in-Chief. They should in spite of their high rank remain humble and amenable to the wishes of those elected to govern over the Consistorial bodies of the Order.
In addition to the many functions of the Commander of the Rite, there is also another major obligation! That obligation is to support their Consistories in any effort that may be needed (ritualistically or initiatory), and to encourage all the officers of the Consistory, Lodge of Perfection and Rose Croix to attend the Council of Deliberation each Year.
Within the Council of Deliberation, the Commanders of the Rite must be proficient in the reception of dignitaries, employing the proper methods of protocol prescribed by the United Supreme Council.
The Commanders of the Rite is an elite corps of Sovereign Grand Inspectors General and Grand Inspectors General, who have dedicated themselves to the Order unselfishly. But remember, once you arrive, your job has just begun.
“Strange is our situation here on earth, each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to define a purpose.”
“Continue your search”
“Freemasonry has endured not because of its antiquity, its influence, or its social standing, but because there have been so many who have lived it. The effectiveness of Masonic teachings will always be the measure by which the outside world judges Freemasonry; the proof of Freemasonry is in our deeds and it is in our deeds that Freemasonry is made known to non-Masons. The only way that the Craft can be judged is by its product. The prestige of Freemasonry lies squarely on the shoulders of each of us.”
– G. Wilbur Best
Extracted from the Southern California Research Lodge
‘Fraternal Review’, May 2004
ASK! SEEK! KNOCK!!!
by Rob Morris
Ask, and ye shall receive;
Seek, and ye shall surely find;
Knock, ye shall no resistance meet,
If come with ready mind;
For all that Ask and Ask aright,
Are welcome to our lodge to-night.
Lay Down the bow and spear;
Resign the sword and shield;
Forget the arts of warfare here,
The arms of peace to wield;
For all that Seek and Seek aright,
Are welcome to our lodge to-night.
Bring hither thoughts of peace;
Bring hither words of love;
Diffuse the pure and holy joy
That cometh from above;
For all that Knock and Knock aright,
Are welcome to our lodge to-night.
Ask help of Him that’s high
Seek grace of Him that’s true;
Knock patiently, the hand is nigh,
Will open unto you;
For all that Ask, Seek, Knock aright,
Are welcome to our lodge to-night