Chicago Council Princes of Jerusalem
2021-2022 Annual Report
Illustrious Active, Illustrious Deputy Representative, Thrice Potent Master, Most Wise Master, Commander-in-Chief, Past Sovereign Princes, Officers of Chicago Council Princes of Jerusalem, and Princes all,
The following constitutes my report for the Scottish Rite fraternal year 2021-2022. Let me begin by expressing my sincere thanks, as Sovereign Prince, to everyone who assisted the Council in their endeavors this past year. Your contributions and support continue to provide a positive influence on the Valley of Chicago. Thank you.
During this trying time of the pandemic, with the stressful challenges of sickness and distress, we have leaned upon Brother Almoner Kristeffor Caldwell and his new team of Assistant Almoners to help manage the supportive endeavors of our Valley. The hard work they put in is very much appreciated. Thank you.
As the year progressed, we were slowly able to increase the number of events while following approved guidelines. With the implementation of appropriate safety measures to potentially mitigate any health concerns, our brothers were able to begin meeting together in person. We started having more familiar events that the brothers had been missing. We also had the opportunity to participate in some brand-new experiences.
In December, we were proud to introduce the first Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago Double Eagle Con. This was an educational symposium, the likes of which, our area has never before seen. There was quite a lot of positive feedback and everyone that attended expressed the hope that this would be a recurring annual event. We enjoyed nine esteemed scholars speaking on a variety of Scottish Rite -themed topics throughout one Saturday. It was an all-day event, with breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Thank you to Ill. Robert G. Davis, 33°, Ill. Steven L. Harrison, 33°, Ill. S. Brent Morris, 33°, Chuck Dunning, 32°, KCCH, Roberto M. Sanchez, 32°, KCCH, and Darin A. Lahners, 32° who were able to be with us in person. Thank you also to Michael R. Poll, 32°, Josef Wäges, 32°, and Mr. Jeffery Croteau, Director of Library & Archives for the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, who were able to join us remotely and provided their presentations via Zoom, projected on the screen in the preceptory. You gentlemen provided much light and I appreciate your willingness to participate in this endeavor. A very special thank you goes out to Brother Robert Johnson. Robert went above and beyond in helping to facilitate this inaugural program. Without his yeoman’s work, it would not have been quite the amazing success that it turned out to be. Thank you.
In February, we had a special Degree Nite at the Rite. This was a joint effort by both the Council and the Rose Croix, who opted to experiment by presenting two of their degrees outside of the normal reunion time frame. In so doing, this allowed the opportunity for more Lodge and Consistory degrees to be presented in the Spring Reunion. The Council started the night with the presentation of the 16th degree. Thanks to the vision of degree director Alan Betker, KCCH, there was a new take – starting “in-the-round” in the Lodge room and then transitioning, with a scene change, to the dining room, where the rest of the degree was presented over dinner. And there was live music, in the theme of period musicians, during a part of the feast. Thank you, Brother Alan, for your great directorial work and for inspiring us with new perspectives. Following the completion of dinner, the Rose Croix presented the 17th on stage in the theatre. Thank you, Most Wise Master Sobecki, for being willing to undertake and participate in this experiment with us.
Also in February, in fact just the very next week, members from the Valley of Chicago got the opportunity to travel to the Valley of Minneapolis, Orient of Minnesota, and experience the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction’s version of the 16th degree. For brothers that had just witnessed our presentation of the 16th the week before, this was an exceptional chance to quickly compare our ritual interpretation to that of the Southern Jurisdiction. This is one of the few degrees where the same themes and general characters/timeline are presented with the identical degree number by both the Northern and Southern Jurisdictions. This unique prospect was facilitated by Alan Betker, KCCH. Alan is not only an officer in the Chicago Council Princes of Jerusalem, but he is also a member of the Valley of Minneapolis. It was his ties to them that, not only brought the providentially timed event to our attention but also helped to make the joint visit both possible and a success. Thank you, Alan. We were also joined by our newest staff addition at the Valley of Chicago, Membership Director, Brother Michael Kuniej. Michael was very helpful in making sure all the little details were attended to, and ensured that everyone got on the bus and no one was left behind. Thank you, Michael, for coming on the overnight road trip with us, and Welcome to the Valley.
On a personal note, I wish to thank Ill. James (Jim) Patton, 33°, whose generous mentorship, as a Past Sovereign Prince, has been extremely supportive and helpful in my preparation to serve in this role. It has been my honor to be blessed with your good counsel. Again, thank you for being willing to share your time, insight, and wisdom with me.
My appreciation also goes out to Ill. Lance Welter, VA, MSA, 33°, who assisted in a time of need. My heart fills with emotion and gratitude when I reflect upon having received that very special gift, of encountering a Brother that actively practices his solemn obligations. Thank you. Your confidence and support made a difference.
Brothers, your leadership at the Valley continues to endeavor to provide you with opportunities for personal growth – both in educational and fraternal experiences. Some have referred to the Scottish Rite as the ‘University of Masonry’. Upon further consideration, the analogy does have some merit. Much like institutions of higher learning, you are presented with many chances to experience something new, explore different ideas, and converse with others outside your normal circle. Whatever your particular journey for improvement involves, the Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago can help. Through your continued participation, contemplation, and conversation we are all encouraged to succeed. As we embrace the potential of ‘the Scottish Rite experience’, we help to nurture the yearning to grow – developing our members with meaningful values and polishing their character, so that they may benefit not only themselves but ultimately our society as a whole.
David A. Truax