The first sessions of the "Pennsylvania Academy of Freemasonry" will be conducted at the Masonic Homes and the Masonic Conference Center at Elizabethtown at 9:00 a.m. on Mar. 11. The second session will be Oct. 14. The Academy will comprise three areas of Masonic education, which will be a School for Ritual, Seminars for Wardens, and an Academy for Masonic Knowledge.
The three-track program, developed at the direction of Robert L. Dluge, Jr., R.W. Grand Master, will offer Pennsylvania Masons educational opportunities that are vital to the history, tradition and operations of Freemasonry. The Grand Master said, "As a result of the training, Masons will be able to broaden their knowledge of Freemasonry, its origins, history, and ritualistic work and to impart skills and planning information for their lodge leadership."
Junior and Senior Wardens' Seminars
The Masonic Education Committee will conduct training sessions for Junior and Senior Wardens, with Worshipful Masters invited, as part of the Pennsylvania Academy of Freemasonry on Mar. 11 and Oct. 14 at the Masonic Conference Center in Elizabethtown. During the next few weeks, all lodges will receive letters inviting those elected officers to the training sessions.
The concise, one-day training is designed particularly to give Junior and Senior Wardens of all lodges in Pennsylvania the opportunity to learn what their jobs entail while progressing through the line and to be able to plan fully for their service to the Fraternity. The ladies of the wardens and masters will be invited to observe the Fraternity in action and enable them to understand more fully their supporting roles.
The Masonic Education Committee that is planning and conducting the training is chaired by Edward O. Weisser, R.W. Past Grand Master, and comprises Ronald A. Aungst, Sr., R.W.J.G.W. ; Stephen Gardner, P.D.D.G.M.; Jay W. Smith, P.D.D.G.M.; Dr. Elvin Warfel, Newtown Lodge No. 427, Woodside; and William Wetterau, P.M., Lodge No. 806, Southampton-Radiant Star Lodge No. 896, Hatboro.
School For Ritual
In the Grand Lodge School of Instruction, Regional Instructors and Principals of the Schools of Instruction will exemplify the ritualistic work. Bro. Dluge emphasized, "Through the Grand Lodge School of Instruction, we are striving for the excellence in our ritualistic work that is so vital to the philosophy, motivation and tradition of our Fraternity. Brethren involved in ritual will be able to witness the degrees the way they are intended to be exemplified."
This school, which is one of the three tracks of the Pennsylvania Academy of Freemasonry, will replace several of the Regional Schools of Instruction.
The Academy of Masonic Knowledge
In presenting the plans for the newly conceived Academy of Masonic Knowledge, its chairman, Thomas W. Jackson, R.W. Past Grand Secretary, noted: "For a considerable number of years it has been a concern of many in the Fraternity that Freemasonry in North America has been failing to provide the proper stimulus to develop Masonic scholars and to provide an environment for those who wish to learn about Freemasonry and its impact and receive guidance in understanding and communicating it."
This has been a particularly great concern for Brother Robert L. Dluge, Jr., and rectifying that deficiency has become one of the major causes to be addressed during his tenure as the R.W. Grand Master. For that reason, he has had the "Academy of Masonic Knowledge" created as part of the Pennsylvania Masonic Academy. The committee that is directing the Academy of Masonic Knowledge is composed of some of the most knowledgeable and interested Freemasons in Pennsylvania.
The Academy of Masonic Knowledge has been designed specifically to present a learning opportunity based on the "Academy of Ancient Greece." It will be open to all who truly have a desire to learn more about Freemasonry, its origins, its early purposes, accomplishments and reasons for being. Bro. Jackson explains that it is recognized that this will not be a program that will interest all members, but it should be a program that, in the end, will have an impact upon the quality of the Craft in general through the improvement of those who will carry the information into the lodges.
It will meet twice this year, Mar. 11 and Oct. 14, as part of the Pennsylvania Academy of Freemasonry. Each meeting will feature a prominent Masonic scholar who will deliver the keynote address. The Masonic scholar who will address the first meeting is Bro. John Hamill, noted author and scholar who served as the Librarian and Curator of the United Grand Lodge of England for 16 years and currently is the Director of Communications for that Grand Lodge.
There will be written materials distributed, along with suggested reading lists for those seeking more light on the topic of discussion. In addition, it is intended that the Academy will provide through this material a "Home Study Guide" for those interested in expanding their knowledge. It also is the intent that the Academy will develop a home study course that, upon a participant's completion of it, will designate the individual as a graduate of the Academy of Masonic Knowledge.