Thursday, November 15, 2012

Imperial Potentate's message regarding the Arkansas debacle


Office Of Alan W. Madsen
Imperial Potentate
18410 Balmore Pines Lane
Cornelius, North Carolina 28031

Member
Oasis Shriners
Charlotte, North Carolina

An Important Message from the Imperial Potentate Regarding Our Masonic Relationships in Arkansas

November 2012

Dear Fellow Nobles,

By now most of you have heard that my predecessor in office certified to all Shriners that the Grand Master of Masons in Arkansas took action several months ago designed to suppress or proscribe the operation of the two Shrine temples in his state. The result of the action of the Grand Master has caused considerable harm to these two temples and their members.

From the moment of my becoming Imperial Potentate of Shriners International on July 5, 2012, I have labored strenuously to find a resolution to the issues that have arisen between the Grand Lodge of Arkansas and Shriners International. We promised many Grand Lodges and fraternal leaders that the Shrine would take the initiative and travel to Arkansas and meet with the Grand Lodge officers.  We gave this matter priority over all our other responsibilities and obligations.

As most of you are aware, Shriners International has been in amity with all Grand Lodges for more than 140 years. Sure, there have been occasions when there were bumps in the road and brotherly dialogue was necessary. Yet, each time the bumps surfaced, both sides were able to sit down together in a spirit of goodwill and brotherly affection and smooth them out.

Keeping this in mind, we made two trips to the Arkansas Grand Lodge, July 30-31 and September 17-18, 2012. We went with an open mind. We sought reconciliation. We expected each side to have respect for the other and to be constructive at our meetings. Unfortunately, this never happened. We were bluntly informed that, in Arkansas, Shriners International will be governed by the Grand Lodge of Arkansas; and that Shriners
International will conduct its governance and activities in accordance with the directives of the Grand Master. When we attempted to explain that the Shrine, in the conduct of Shrine matters, must be governed by its own articles of incorporation and bylaws, we were told by a Past Grand Master in attendance (please excuse the language) that I was a "smart ass." Then, we were told "Shrine and Masonry need to separate." The dialogue
never got any better.

On September 18, 2012, a Masonic Agreement was drafted and given to me. I took it with me and later discussed it with the other international officers and our counsel. After the discussion it was clear to me and the other international officers that signing the "Masonic Agreement" would violate the very sovereignty of
Shriners International. Please understand that the powers of an Imperial Potentate are not nearly as extensive and encompassing as the power of most Grand Masters.

Though we have labored through this fraternal year with heavy hearts, we have never failed to meet our brothers in in manner other than peace and amity. 

Please be assured that you and I, working together, will continue our world-wide benevolence for those in need, especially for children who cannot help themselves. All Shriners, hand in hand, will continue to operate the world's greatest philanthropy - Shriners Hospitals for Children.

We will never waver in our mission of offering a helping hand when called upon to do so.

Yours in the Faith,

Alan W. Madsen
Imperial Potentate, Shriners International

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