The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was host to the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons of North America in Philadelphia, Feb. 22 through 24. Sixty of the 63 Grand Masters in North America plus their ladies attended, along with other officers, representatives, and guests of their jurisdictions. Also, there were 25 dignitaries, including grand masters from nations around the world. More than 800 persons attended.
William B. Jeffers, Jr., M.W. Grand Master of Arizona, was the Conference Chairman. James L. Ernette, R.W. Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, welcomed the conferees to Pennsylvania and introduced Mayor Edward G. Rendell, who welcomed them to Philadelphia.
The theme for the conference was "Enjoying Masonry" and the major focus was on "The Prevention of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Among Children." The first keynote speaker was Bro. and former Senator George McGovern. Keynote speaker on the second day was General Barry McCaffrey, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. First, he congratulated the Grand Masters for their enormous contribution in the field of drug education for our youth and commended the Conference of Grand Masters of North America for being "Charter Members" of the Civic Alliance. He reviewed the 1998 National Drug Control Strategy, saying that its success depends on the commitment of all Americans.
At the Monday luncheon, R.W. Grand Master Ernette was presented with the unique Medallion of Excellence Award by the National Foundation For Children. Two days before, Grand Master Ernette retired from the Board of Directors of the National Foundation and for years was the President of the Pennsylvania Foundation. Pennsylvania's program and its organization served as the model for the National Foundation and its programs. The only previous recipient of the Medallion of Excellence Award was the late R.W. Past Grand Master Carl W. Stenberg, Jr., the founder of the Pennsylvania Foundation and a spearhead of the national organization.
The luncheon speaker was Celia Van Horn, a former nun, now a teacher and leader of a successful Student Assistance Program in Mesa, Arizona. She related the great need and the progress in counselling Native American children from the reservation. Ms. Van Horn has a unique background for facing her challenges in counselling. She grins as she explains what she learned "during my years in prison," where she counselled inmates.
At the closing session, Bro. and Marine General Thomas Wilkerson presented a moving and challenging talk on patriotism and paid tribute to all men who served their country.
During their stay in Philadelphia, the grand masters visited historic sites, including the Masonic Temple, home of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, and as a memento had a group picture and individual pictures taken at the Liberty Bell.
The Grand Masters of Masons in North America posed for a historical picture at the Liberty Bell prior to the opening of their three-day Conference hosted by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, Feb. 22 through 24.
Flanking the Liberty Bell are the host James L. Ernette (left), R.W. Grand Master of Pennsylvania, and the Conference Chairman, William B. Jeffers, M.W. Grand Master of Arizona.
To the left of the Liberty Bell are Grand Masters(l-r): Front Row - Harry G. Cunningham, Texas; Bruce S. Sim, Wisconsin; Thomas C. Ehlers, Washington; Albert T. Ames, P.G.M., Massachusetts, Executive Secretary of the Conference; and C. Michael Watson, Ohio. Row 2 - Benny L. Grisham, Illinois; James V. Voyles, Idaho; Edward J. Wildblood, Jr., Vermont; Richard A. H. Brown, Saskatchewan; and Ralph A. Livermore, Iowa. Row 3 - Eldon J. Brown, District of Columbia; Stephen M. Munsinger, Colorado; Robert W. Stevens, Michigan; Douglas O. Fegenbush, Indiana; and Stanley R. Foulke, Alaska. Row 4 - Earle J. Hino, Jr., New York; Arthur Johnson, Massachusetts; Herbert P. Fulmer, Delaware; J. V. Christianson, Minnesota; and Max L. Schumacher, Oregon. Row 5 - Gerald H. Grosskopf, New Jersey; John C. Naquin, Maryland; Frank Dias, Jr., Rhode Island; Jeffrey O. Nations, Missouri; and Charles I. Ottem, North Dakota.
To the right of the Liberty Bell are Grand Masters (l-r): Front Row - Hugh Young, Alberta; Samuel E. Cowan, Florida; Jeffrey L. Sowder, Kansas; Ronnie G. Bell, Kentucky; and Joseph L. Boster, II, Wyoming. Row 2 - Charles Rae Haldane-Wilsone, Manitoba; Garry Odom, Oklahoma; Don E. Rasmussen, Nebraska; Anthony P. Wordlow, California; Arnold M. Ashley, New Hampshire; and Carlos Marban, York, Mexico. Row 3 - William T. Anderson, Ontario; Paul D. Jones, Hawaii; Luis F. Crespo Cordero, Puerto Rico; Leslie L. Morrow, New Mexico; and Arthur K. Cronin, Nevada. Row 4 - Steve J. Brownfield, Alabama; D. Samuel Tennyson, South Carolina; James A. Forbus, Mississippi; John L. Palmer, Tennessee; Lowell C. Holmgren, South Dakota; and William H. Brown, Louisiana. Row 5 - David W. Barron, Utah; W. Kent Bell, Montana; Walter M. Macdougall, Maine; Jimmy R. Avery, American-Canadian; James W.Seymour, Georgia; and William F. Carpenter, Connecticut.
Not pictured are Grand Masters: O. C. Boyd, Arkansas; Alan R. Tomlins, British Columbia; Osborne I. Nason, New Brunswick; Gerry T. Smith, North Carolina; E. Carson Jackson, Nova Scotia; S. Forrest Dumville, Prince Edward Island; Maurice A. Kershaw, Quebec; Albert H. Tignor, Jr., Virginia; and Paul V. Cottrell, West Virginia.