The 64th Knights Templar Triennial Conclave has been going on in Roanoke, Virginia this week. Almost 400 Sir Knights gathered at the Hotel Roanoke for drill team competitions, elections and general business meetings. There were 377 voting members representing 47 states and 6 foreign countries.
William H. Koon II has been elected as the Most Eminent Grand Master, Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America. David Godwin has been elected as the Right Eminent Deputy Grand Master, and Indiana's Duane L. Vaught has been elected as the Right Eminent Grand Captain General.
Indiana was well-represented at the Triennial by Grand Commander Larry Brown. In the Class 3 Drill competition, Greenfield Commandery No. 39 took 3rd place, and my own Raper Commandery placed 5th. Commanders Terry Terhune and Carson Smith worked together this year to share drill team members so both commanderies could place teams on the floor. There is talk of working on a battalion-wide level next time to be sure there are A and B teams three years from now, as well. This kind of cooperation could go a long way to keep drill team competition alive, if, for instance, commanderies put together C teams, battalions B teams, and states A teams. Note that there was only one A team at the triennial this year.
Indiana Knights Terry Turner, Phil Whisner and Gary Messer spent Sunday evening touring the hospitality suites in their medieval Levant Preceptory kit, spreading the word about how steel helmets, broadswords and chainmaille are generating new interest in Templars looking for something a little more unusual in their commandery. The reduced interest in drill teams evidenced this year is a barometer that shows new men coming to the door of our asylums aren't wanting to be Templar Knights out of a desire to march in formation. The biggest challenge that faces all of the York Rite bodies is keeping members participating. The York Rite arguably has some of the best written, and most affecting degrees in Masonry. But once the degrees are conferred, we all have to make damn sure there's a reason for men to come back next month. And jamming them into an officer's chair is NOT the way to do it. Unique, entertaining, interesting programming, table meetings, speakers, papers, historical presentations, road trips, cooperation between chapters for degree conferrals—we need to try everything we possibly can.
I spent most of my days hanging out selling and signing books, meeting Knights literally from around the world—Togo, Romania and France were among the countries attending this year.
Toye, Kenning and Spencer had a large vendors' table set up, as they enter the US regalia market. TKS is the world's oldest Masonic regalia manufacturer, and having them in the US at last is a great development. Charles Toye has been working for two years to set up a supply line to America, which will make US shipments much faster (good news for us at Lodge Vitruvian, since they provide our custom aprons). Brother Michael Seay, a regular tour guide at the George Washington Masonic Memorial, is officially TKS' US sales rep. Contact him at email@example.com
(Note to Stephen Dafoe: both of your books, Nobly Born and The Compasses and the Cross were flying off Toye's table.)
Many thanks to the brethren who joined The Masonic Society this week. After some conversation with Mark Tabbert and George Seghers of the George Washington Masonic Memorial, we'll have a new development to announce in the coming weeks concerning the Society and the Memorial's digital archiving program.
For photos of the event, Sir Knight John Westervelt of Winchester, Virginia will be putting up an online photo album (check back if it is not up yet). Go to www.seeyourphotos.net , enter as the event "64th Triennial Conclave" and password "20060644"
Our road trip plans have changed a little bit, as we roll through the Virginia countryside in the Dummies Urban Mobile Assault (DUMAss) Command Center. We'll be in Williamsburg and Washington DC the rest of the week, through the weekend.