M.W. James A. Carlton was installed as the 155th Grand Master of Masons of Nebraska on Saturday, February 6, 2021.
On February 6, 2021, I was honored and humbled to be installed as the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Nebraska. The Annual Communication and the Installation Ceremony were smaller in size than in normal years, and had fewer events, as we had to hold our meetings under the constraints of COVID-19 health directives. We limited the attendees at the Annual Communication to Masons of Nebraska only. I want to thank those brethren who braved blowing snow and slick roads on their journey to and from Kearney to attend our sessions. By Saturday morning, February 6, weather conditions worsened, and many brethren felt compelled to start their journey home early. So, I especially thank those who stayed on for the Installation of the 2021 Grand Lodge Officers. The Installation was exceptionally well done by my team of Past Grand Masters who performed the ceremony. Thanks go to Past Grand Masters Ron Stites, Dennis Rix, Dean Skokan, Bruce Baker, and Phil Lorenzen. I have an enthusiastic group of Grand Lodge Officers who are ready to go to work, and they performed admirably in the Installation.
My first focus for the fraternity in 2021 will be restoration of membership in our lodges. We have been dealt a blow from COVID-19 that could lead to a precipitous loss in brethren. The pandemic forced us to cease all lodge activities in March, then gradually return to in-person regular communications and degree conferrals over the summer. Human nature being what it is, I am concerned that brethren may have grown content to stay at home on lodge night. I am challenging all Worshipful Masters and their membership committees to contact the missing brethren of their lodge and give them a reason they need to come back. We need to contact those who are newly “missing” from lodge, and also those suspended over the years for non-payment of dues. I have created a new award, the Titanium Trowel, to recognize any Mason who comes back to active status and completes certain activities in the lodge. This award also goes to the mentor who brings a brother back and ensures he completes all the necessary steps.
We must also improve our processes to attract, initiate, and educate new candidates. Our membership has been declining, in large part, because we lose brethren after four years for non-payment of dues. To reverse this trend we need to find quality candidates, perform critical investigations that search for his expectations of Masonry, perform memorable initiations with polished ritual, assign dedicated mentors to the candidate, and finally, involve the new Mason in lodge activities immediately. Our lodge closures have also resulted in a number of candidates “stalled out” in their progress through the three degrees. In conjunction with the Grand Custodian, I will be implementing new activities for our Deputy Grand Custodians to address this issue. Watch for more Round Table proficiency practices, localized Schools of Instruction, and expanded Grand Lodge Proficiency Classes.
Lastly, I have issued Grand Master Edict No. 1. It replaces the edicts of 2020, which were intended as state-wide directives for lodge operations in response to COVID-19 health directives and guidance. As 2020 went by, we saw those directives changing frequently, and many times becoming focused on an individual county or city. It became apparent that we could not issue timely guidance, nor be as geographically focused as necessary. Therefore, Edict No. 1 of 2021 states that the Worshipful Master of each Nebraska Lodge will be the responsible figure to make decisions on in-person activities in the lodge, by evaluating, prior to each meeting in the lodge, the lodge’s ability to comply with health guidelines in their community.
Thank you again for the honor of electing me as Grand Master for 2021. I will do my best this coming year to use the traditional tools of our ritual teaching to re-vitalize our great Masonic fraternity in Nebraska.
2021-2022 Grand Lodge Officers
|Grand Master||James A. Carlton||Bellevue|
|Deputy Grand Master||Alex F. Straatmann||Kearney|
|Grand Senior Warden||John L. Millington||Lincoln|
|Grand Junior Warden||John B. Ferguson||Kimball|
|Grand Secretary||Reginald S. Kuhn, PGM||Lincoln|
|Grand Senior Deacon||Michael W. Stuhr||Omaha|
|Grand Junior Deacon||John R. Herbolsheimer||Gretna|
|Grand Chaplain||Jock H. Faris||Alliance|
|Grand Orator||Roger D. Moore||Omaha|
|Grand Historian||Kevin H. Scheele||Waco|
|Grand Custodian||Patrick D. Barger, PGM||Lincoln|
|Grand Marshal||Stanley L. Weidner||Bassett|
|Grand Senior Steward||Tyler S. Loontjer||Bellevue|
|Grand Junior Steward||Eric J. BenSalah||Omaha|
|Grand Tyler||S. Hal Cottrell||Bellevue|
|Grand Musician||F. Graham House||Lincoln|
|Personal Rep of the GM||Jeffrey L. Buhrman||Lincoln|
|Personal Rep of the GM||Kent L. Neumann||Bancroft|
|Personal Rep of the GM||Sean D. Sutherland||Sidney|
Nebraska Living Past Grand Masters
The table below can be sorted by any of the column headers. Simply click on the column header to change the sort order.
Click here to view the complete list of Nebraska Past Grand Masters on the Nebraska Masonic Education Committee site, including links to the proceedings for their year of leadership.
|First Name||LastName||Term Start|