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Special Conclave Concludes With David Kussman Restored to Office

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

The Special Conclave of the Grand Encampment met yesterday in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Almost 300 voting delegates made the trip to the seat of Allen County to participate in the historic meeting.

At the outset, Sir Knight Michael B. Johnson declared the meeting out of order. After opening the meeting to give a statement and bolster the jurisprudence committee’s position excusing his conduct, Sir Knight Johnson was reminded that the sovereignty of the Grand Encampment resides in the membership in Conclave assembled, not in the dictates of one man. Ultimately, David Dixon Goodwin, Most Eminent Past Grand Master, was called to preside.

Once a disinterested party took the East, the meeting moved fast. In short order, the Sir Knights voted resoundingly to restore Sir Knight David Kussman to the office of Deputy Grand Master. They made short shrift of Sir Knight Johnson’s decisions, overruling decisions 1 through 4 (decisions preventing members from attending their own committee meetings; requiring recognition of other Masonic bodies to be first referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations, rather than the Grand Encampment, which committee is more properly charged to report on the doings of other Templar bodies and is not a vetting station for non-Templar rites with which the Grand Encampment moves in amity; an unnecessary decision pronouncing denigrations of officers as unknightly conduct; and a decision preventing written materials from being distributed in Conclave, mistaking the deliberative body (where non-members are frequently present) with the tiled sacred Asylum). Decisions 5 and 6, which effectively restored amity with the Great Priory of America, CBCS, were approved and adopted.

Finally, the Sir Knights balloted to remove Sir Knight Michael Johnson from office. His attempts to shut the meeting down, to tell all who had expended considerable time and money to make the meeting that their efforts were in vain, all while jabbing a finger at his officers and threatening to remove them, did not serve him well. Of 298 voting delegates registered at the Conclave, 219 voted for his removal, 57 voted against, 15 ballots were not filled out but entered (spoiled), and 7 ballots were not cast (members not present at the time of the vote). Thus, 79% of members present and voting carried the day (219/276).

Pursuant to Section 26 of the Constitution, Sir Knight David Kussman thus assumed the vacancy, effectively becoming Grand Master and restoring Sir Knights Jeff Bolstad and Jack Harper to their respective offices previously relinquished. Sir Knight Kussman then appointed Sir Knight David Studley, Grand Commander of California, and a dissenting voice on the Jurisprudence Committee, to serve as Right Eminent Grand Captain General for the remainder of the Triennium.

It was a sad day. But like the breaking of clouds after a heavy storm, a new day had dawned.

At the installation of the officers to their respective stations, a prayer was given that spoke well to the moment. Compassion for Sir Knight Johnson was well afforded. We may not agree with his conduct as Grand Master, but despite what he may believe, the Brethren love him still. Hope and divine mercies were implored on his behalf - such a moment is transformative. It need not define the man. Whether it does or not, though, must be up to him.

Now the real work begins. To order, Sir Knights.

L to R: Jeff Bolstad, REDGM; David Kussman, MEGM; Jack Harper, REGG; David Studley, REGCG.

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