Eleven members of the Orient of Nebraska Scottish Rite and seven wives went to Washington, D.C. for the 2019 Biennial Session of the Scottish Rite and Coronation of the new 33° Inspectors General Honorary.
After a few days of visiting the sites of the nation's capitol, including the Library of Congress, National Archives, Smithsonian museums, Mt. Vernon, and other sites, Scottish Rite Masons attended the opening ceremony of the Biennial Session. This was an auspicious session, as Grand Commander Ronald A. Seale, 33° announced his retirement. Lt. Grand Commander James Cole, 33°, SGIG for Virginia, was elected as the new Grand Commander for the Scottish Rite, and Nebraska SGIG Charles V. Sederstrom, Jr., 33° was elected Grand Chancellor. In this capacity, Ill. Brother Sederstrom's role is to advise Scottish Rite bodies on what may or may not be permissable based on interpretation of the Supreme Council By-Laws and rules.
As new Grand Commander, Jim Cole, 33° cautioned Scottish Rite Masons, particularly the newly coroneted 33° members against thinking that since they have achieved this new honor, they can kick back and say they're done. Brother Cole reminded us what we often say in Nebraska - this honor is not for what you've done, but for what you will do. In that respect, the theme for the Biennial Session was "Passing On the Tools of Leadership," and we were reminded that not only do we as Brethren continue to labor in the quarries of Masonry, and we are responsible for imparting the tools of the Craft, the leadership, and the wisdom to the next generation of members.
Our new 33° Honorees - Art Stricker from the Valley of Alliance, M.W. Bob Moninger from the Valley of Lincoln, and Armel MacDonald, Chuck Sohm, and Don Kavalec from the Valley of Omaha - signed the Book of Gold, which attests that they have accepted the Vow of Allegiance and Fealty to the Supreme Council. Their signatures, and all Brethren who receive the 33° in Washington, D.C., join such luminaries as Albert Pike, Col. Harland Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken, General Jimmie Doolittle, General Henry “Hap” Arnold, Senator Robert Byrd, Senator Sam Ervin, Jr., department store founder J[ames] C[ash] Penny, and President Harry S. Truman (above), all of whom signed the book.
The coronation took place in the Valley of Washington, D.C. Scottish Rite with first-rate Degree work hosted by the Valley, and the session concluded with a formal banquet at the Capitol Hilton.