Delaware Chapter Knights Preceptor
Chartered March 6, 2014
One of the many unique and pleasant experiences of presiding over a Masonic body, is the opportunity to participate in the “Chair Degree” - a ceremony presented to those members who have been elected to preside over a Masonic body. In Delaware, in the case of the Worshipful Master of a Lodge, or the High Priest of a Chapter, the reception of the degree is mandatory prior to their installation as a presiding officer. In Council, the Chair degree is not mandatory but almost all new Illustrious Masters partake of the ceremony. In all cases, the Chair degrees provide interesting and important information to the Brother about to take on the Leadership of a Masonic Body. The conferral of the degree also provides an opportunity for all Past Presiding officers of the body to once again come together, welcome and greet the new Presenting officer and join together in providing an evening rich with caring, sharing and Brotherly Love.
Up until now, there has never been a “Chair Degree” in Delaware for a Commander. In 2010, recognizing the opportunity provided by its availability, the Grand Commandery of Delaware established, as Standing Resolution Number 8, a Past Commander’s Association. This Association was charged, in part, with -
“Presenting a Past Commanders ‘Chair’ degree to be conferred upon any newly elected Commander, or a Past Commander, of one of the constituted Commanderies in Delaware.”
Initially, it was believed that this might be a new venture in Knights Templary but after due examination, several very well presented degrees were identified, including two marvelous ones from the Grand Commandery of Maryland as well as one from the Grand Commandery of Florida. A degree from the Grand Commandery of New Jersey, however, was identified as the one of primary interest for further study and was noted, as such, to Grand Commandery in March of 2011.
In mid-2012, the Committee decided that the Knights Preceptor degree, developed under the incentive of Past Grand Commander Thurman C. Pace, of New Jersey, and now used throughout several jurisdictions as a “Chair Degree”, was ideal for Delaware. Copies of this Degree were forwarded to several Past Grand Commanders, as well as to then Grand Commander John Hiott and Deputy Grand Commander Robert Benson for comment. All but one responded, all with favorable comments.
Past Grand Commander Pace also directed our attention to the office of the Grand Recorder of Grand Encampment, who put the Committee in touch with Anthony Such, Sovereign Grand Preceptor of the Grand Chapter of Knights Preceptor. Sovereign Grand Preceptor Such welcomed the inquiry and provided the Committee those steps necessary to seek recognition by the National body.
Inquiry of several Past Grand Commanders in Delaware enabled the Committee to find seven Past Grand Commanders - C. Granville McVey, James A. Pletz, James R. Herrington, Arthur A. Loveless, Shelton L. Edwards, William F. Lott (Connecticut) and Donald D. Thomas, who had received the Knights Preceptor Degree during their term as Grand Commander, and were amenable in supporting a petition for a Chapter in Delaware. In November of 2012, a letter was directed to Grand Master Barry C. Hughes requesting, according to Chapter 17, Article 2 of the Grand Lodge of Delaware Constitution, recognition of the Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor. In January, 2013, Worshipful Brother James Reed, Chairman of the Grand Lodge By-Laws and Charter Committee, sent his report back to the Grand Secretary’s office approving the recommendation.
A set of By-Laws was developed, forwarded to the National Body and approved by Sovereign Grand Preceptor Such on February 1, 2013. Lastly, the petition for a Warrant for Delaware Chapter, Order of Knights Preceptor was prepared, signed by the above noted Sir Knights and forwarded to Sovereign Grand Preceptor Such.
On February 8, 2013 in Alexandria, Virginia, Sovereign Grand Preceptor, Anthony Such, of the Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor Grand Chapter, issued a Charter to Delaware Chapter, Order of Knights Preccptor.
On, March 6, 2014, Past Sovereign Grand Preceptor Charles W. Wagner, of Robert V. Hines Chapter in the District of Columbia, by virtue of the Power and Authority in him vested, declared opened a Chapter of Knights Preceptor at the Wilmington Masonic Temple. 818 Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware, and Constituted and installed the officers of Delaware Chapter, Order of Knights Preceptor. Present to assist him was Past Grand Marshal of the Sovereign Grand Preceptory, William H. Haynes of Pennsylvania Chapter, together with Sir Knight David Hardie, from Ontario, Canada, a member of New Jersey Chapter, Knights Preceptor. The installed elected and appointed Charter Officers were:
|Preceptor||Knight Preceptor William Lott. PGC|
|Deputy Preceptor||Knight Preceptor C. Granville McVey. PGC, by Proxy|
|Master of Templars||Knight Preceptor James A. Pletz, PGC|
||Knight Preceptor Arthur A. Loveless, PGC|
||Knight Preceptor James R. Herrington, PGC|
||Knight Preceptor Donald D. Thomas, PGC|
||Knight Preceptor Sheldon L. Edwards, PGC|
||Knight Preceptor Charles M. Lengel, PGC, by Proxy|
There has always been a close tie in the York Rite between Delaware and New Jersey. In 1867, Three Times Three Chapter of Trenton, New Jersey exalted 14 Royal Arch Masons from Delaware. Later, in 1868, the same Chapter from New Jersey provided assistance in the formation of the present Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Delaware under the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons.
It was the tradition In the 1970’s and 80’s, that Past Grand Commander Harold A. Peterson, of the Grand Commandery of New Jersey, would cross the Delaware River, at least once a year, to install the officers of St. John’s Commandery Number 1.
On October 5, 1991 Past Grand Commander Thurman C. Pace of New Jersey, now Honorary Most Eminent Past Grand Commander of the Grand Encampment, assisted in the Constitution of the Grand Commandery of Delaware.
These ties between these two jurisdictions have run long and deep for many years. They are now further bound together by the establishment of this Chapter of Knights Preceptor.
Non Nomis, Domine, Non Nobis: Sed Nomi Tuo Da Gloriam.
So Mote It Be.
Donald D. Thomas, P.G.C.
August 11, 2014