The New Jersey Statewide Harold V.B. Voorhis A.M.D. In-Gathering was hosted by Harold V. B. Voorhis Council No. 260 at Central Valley AASR, 103 Dunns Mill Road in Bordentown, NJ on Saturday July 20, 2013.
Our guest of honor this year was M:.V:. Matthew D. Dupee, Sovereign Grand Master of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America. New Jersey’s own Grand Line Officer - R:.V:. Mohamad A. Yatim, Grand Tyler of the Grand Council of A.M.D - was in attendance as well.
Almost 80 Allied Masonic Degrees Brethren from NJ, PA, NY, as well as MA, CO and CA gathered for a day full of enlightenment and fellowship. In addition to the strong attendance from our own 12 NJ AMD Councils, I am very pleased to report that Brethren representing 19 out-of-state AMD Councils attended the 2013 NJ In-Gathering, particularly from NY (7 Councils) and PA (9 Councils).
The day started early at 8:30 a.m. with breakfast and registration, then Sovereign Master Michael Holt opened Voorhis Council No. 260 and the Statewide AMD In-gathering at 9:30 a.m. S.M. Holt recognized all sitting and past Sovereign Masters, and the visiting brethren. V:. Holt then presented the gavel to R:.V:. Henry G. Abel III, Grand Superintendent of New Jersey, who received and recognized the representatives of appendant bodies, members of the Allied Masonic Degrees, who were present that morning. Subsequently, the Sovereign Grand Master, M:.V:.Bro. Matthew D. Dupee was officially received into the council along with the following Grand Council Officers:
M:.V:. Thurman C. Pace Jr., Past Sovereign Grand Master
M:.V:. Edwin E. Cummings, Past Sovereign Grand Master
R:.V:. Mohamad A. Yatim, Grand Tyler of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the U.S.A.
R:.V:. Kraig D. Hess, Grand Superintendent of Pennsylvania East
R:.V:. E. Oscar Alleyne, Grand Superintendent of New York
R:.V:. Gary D. Jackson, Grand Superintendent of California
The morning program started with a keynote presentation and lively discussion led by Brother Robert Herd from Colorado, author of the book, "The Initiatic Experience: Ancient Pathways That Led to Your Initiation into Freemasonry”. Bro. Herd outlined similarities found in the initiatic experiences which have been practiced by people of different cultures from time immemorial and presented a lineage or pathway, so to speak, created by the sharing of knowledge and wisdom from Ancient Egypt and Greece, to Renaissance Europe and even the Middle East into the present.
The Brethren then enjoyed a trio of AMD degrees - Architect, Grand Architect and Superintendent – a special event as these degree were performed in succession and together, something which is rarely seen. Each degree was emulated by a team from NJ, PA, and NY in full form, from memory and in costume and with supporting materials.
Starting the sequence, a team from NJ, led by Moises I. Gomez (Senior Warden of Host Voorhis Council) emulated the Architect degree. “Supporting cast Brethren” for the degree included Ron Murad, Mike Neuberger, Greg LaConte, Raymond Ortiz, and Yasser Al-Khatib.
Continuing the sequence, a team from PA, led by Grand Superintendent Kraig D. Hess, emulated the Grand Architect degree. “Supporting cast Brethren” for the degree included Thomas Helm, Daniel Hess, Aaron White and Daniel Tarafas. Finally, a team from NY, led by Grand Superintendent E. Oscar Alleyne emulated the Superintendent degree. “Supporting cast Brethren” for the degree included Brandon McCluskey, Mark Mason, Steven Koch, Mark Isaacs and David Barkstedt. The work was then called from labor to refreshment at noon time and the brethren enjoyed a delicious lunch together.
At 1:00 p.m, the afternoon program began with a short talk by Bro. Steven P. Koch of KMT Council No. 511 (NY) entitled the “Duty of the Mark Master Mason Degree”- a philosophical exercise conducted through the drama of the Mark Master degree and related scripture passages highlighting our duty to ourself and others.
Next came, Venerable Bro. Howard Z. Kanowitz of J. Harold Haring No. 116 (NJ) – a veteran NJ AMD presenter of almost two decades – who gave a well-researched and intriguing talk - "Morphing the Morphology of Ezekiel’s Tetramorph". His work examined how the number 4 has influenced mankind's spirituality from paganism in ancient Babylon through Ezekiel and Judaism and into early Christianity.
V:. Michael Holt presented SGM M:.V:. Dupee with a certificate indicating the M:.V:. Dupee was made an honorary member of Harold V. B. Voorhis Council No. 260. Next, SGM M:.V:. Dupee and NJ Grand Superintendent R:.V:. Abel presented certificates to the three speakers in recognition for their work followed by a presentation to each member of the NJ, PA and NY degree teams of a certificate recognizing their ritual work at the In-Gathering. Then, SGM M:.V:. Dupee, assisted by the Grand Superintendents from NJ (Abel), NY (Alleyne) and PA (Hess), presented each of the brethren present with a personalized 2013 NJ AMD In-Gathering certificate of attendance noting all the particulars for the day including speakers, emulated degrees and guest of honor.
V:. Michael Holt presented Senior Warden Moises I. Gomez with a certificate of appreciation for his help in organization the day’s event and R:.V:. Henry G. Abel III presented to him a commemorative bottle of scotch in the same spirit. After a few words from the floor and from our distinguished guests, the final gavel rap was sounded by M:.V:. Dupee duly closingHarold V.B. Voorhis Council No. 260 and the NJ Statewide A.M.D. In-gathering at 2:30 p.m. The brethren all retired to the collation room to cut the special occasion cakes and enjoy more fellowship and discussion.
Next year’s New Jersey Statewide A.M.D. In-gathering has been scheduled for Saturday August 2, 2014. Our guest of honor will be R:.V:. Brother William Howard Koon II, who if elected, will be serving as our Most Venerable Sovereign Grand Master at that time.
R:V:. Henry G. Abel III
Grand Superintendent of New Jersey
Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees of the USA