The 2018 New Jersey Voorhis AMD In-Gathering was held at Da Vinci Council No. 477 AMD on Saturday August 4, 2018. Over 65 brethren from 20 different councils from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia were in attendance. We were graced with the presence of M:.V:. David Dixon Goodwin, Sovereign Grand Master of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America, M:.W:. Roger B Quintana, Grand Master of Masons of the State of New Jersey, and a host of other dignitaries from the Grand Council and the Grand Lodge.
The brethren mustered at 9:00am coming from far and near, all weathering the torrential rains. The day began with the reception of W:.B:. Vito Petitti, Worshipful Master of Atlas Pythagoras Lodge # 10, into Da Vinci Council #477 AMD. The obligation was administered by R:.V:. Mohamad A. Yatim, Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America, the R:.W:. Grand Education Officer of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey.
Up first was the play performance “The Martyrdom of Grand Master Jacques De Molay: A Tale of Knight Templar Absolution”. This play acted out the Church’s absolution of the Knight Templars as documented in the Chinon Parchment. This play was written by V:. Michael Canavan, who unfortunately could not attend the Ingathering, but was gracious enough to allow us to perform it in his absence. V:. Raymond Ortiz, who led the performance, gave a high-level overview of the Trial of the Templar Knights, and discussion around the charges and guilt or innocence, depending on one’s perspective, of the Templars.
R:.V:. Yasser Al-Khatib, Grand Superintendent of Pennsylvania East, presented “Three Distinct Dots”. Many brethren have seen this simple symbol of three dots used by many people in signatures, in various masonic charters, as abbreviation symbols, and other documents, but what do these three dots actually represent? Is it a coincidence that we see these three dots in other cultures, not only in Western Europe, but in Japan, India, Buddhism, and Taoism? Did you know you can even find it in the art work, of none other than, Rembrandt (take a close look next time you see the painting “Doctor Faust” 1652)?
While the brethren had a filling of masonic enlightenment, we must never forget the nourishment of the bodies, and BBQ lunch was served.
After lunch the Ingathering presented the Excellent Master Degree, with a special thank you to the cast members from Da Vinci Council No. 477 who did an outstanding job.
The degree tells the tale of a Babylonian Exile, who after 70 years in captivity, is returning to Jerusalem, and is taught the words he will need to prove himself, such that he may join the workers in building the Second Temple.
R:.V:. Oscar Alleyne, Past Grand Superintendent of New York, the R:.W:. Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of New York, presented two short papers on Reggae Music and Masonry (who knew they were connected) followed by the great men that already exist within our fraternity (yes that means the guy sitting next to you right now), if we only just tapped and harnessed their potential.
The day ended with V:. Raymond Ortiz presenting the Sovereign Grand Master and Most Worshipful Grand Master certificates of appreciation on behalf of Da Vinci Council #477. R:.W:. Glenn Visscher, District Ritual Instructor of the 11th Masonic District, presented gifts to the Sovereign Grand Master, Most Worshipful Grand Master, R:.V:. Mohamad Yatim, and R:.V:. Michael S Neuberger, Grand Superintendent of New Jersey on behalf of Forget Me Not Embroidery.
Lastly, we had closing remarks from R:.V:. Michael S Neuberger, R:.V:. Moises I Gomez, Honorary Senior Grand Deacon of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America, the R:.W:. Grand Historian of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey, R:.V:. Oscar Alleyne, R:.V:. Yasser Al-Khatib, R:.V:. Mohamad A. Yatim J.G.W., M:.V:. Thurman C Pace Jr, Past Sovereign Grand Master 1994, M:.V:. David Dixon Goodwin, and M:.W:. Roger B. Quintana. The Council was closed, and the brethren retired for refreshments and fellowship.