Grand Master's Address - 2020
On Fraternity and Leadership

As is customary, I greet you all as a Brother and thank you for your support and guidance that has allowed me to reach this station in life. As one without Masonic family roots and never having aspirations to high office, as such this journey to become Grand Master was a great surprise. My Masonic journey as a Grand Lodge Officer began with a common theme, the desire to give back to this fraternity of ours for those great gifts that it has provided – lifelong fraternal friendships, core leadership skills and above all the self-confidence to challenge myself to be the best I can be. So to those that inspired this journey and offered encouragement through the various stages I offer my many thanks as it could not have been accomplished without your guidance.

This composition has been written and rewritten many times, the first draft was started in May when nothing was really certain and the current iteration being completed in July. You can all be assured that the effects of Covid-19 will play and have played a significant part of what we can accomplish this year – just getting the Grand Lodge Officers invested has been an interesting and unique experience. Regarding the ability to reopen our lodges and begin working again, I must reiterate that care must be taken at all time to see that precautions are in place that protect all members while Covid-19 is active within our communities. Having a plan and following that plan will be key, if there are doubts that a meeting can be safely conducted, prudence says to postpone or cancel and be safe.

We all begin the journey into the Craft somewhat naïve and with dreams about its mysteries. Some who have familial connections or through experiences shared from acquaintances were aware of some of the traditions – traditions only realized after our own initiation and reflection on that event. We each share in a common journey but some take on the challenge and seek to capture all that is possible from the lectures, the degrees or from serving in the offices of the lodge; and then there are those that travel along never seeking office or greater participation but enjoying the essence of the fraternal experience. My first experiences with leadership began with my involvement in the Air Cadet movement, like all cadet organizations it is based on military traditions its structure with uniforms, rank and training procedures. We were challenged to bond, make friends, and develop leadership skills; each individual undertook a different journey. The rewards for success and participation were varied but inevitably the steps taken were life changing. As I had a passion for flying I became involved in the flight training programs and won a coveted scholarship to glider school. I used that opportunity and the skills gained to help found a program in my high school to teach a course in aviation ground school. Not expecting anything from this work, I was recognized for my efforts with a leadership award for innovation. In the years to follow I was trained to fly hot air balloons, became involved with regulatory matters which led to becoming a member of our provincial advisory board which ultimately concluded with two terms as president. I later began a career as an educator and tied that to my previous training in construction engineering to become a program manager at NAIT under the Business Development Office. All of these leadership experiences combined helped me in my masonic path to Grand Master.

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While the history of Freemasonry is shrouded in mystery and goes back beyond the official date of 1717, the modern era is well documented and its mysteries far less concealed from those that wish to unlock the secrets. Above all the esoteric offerings that can be derived from our Craft, the constant is that of fraternity and through that fraternal offering, we see and develop insights to leadership and education. We recognize most Masons take seriously the oath to keeps all matters Masonic private… the mysteries of the Order are rarely conveyed to anyone without reflection. They answers are there if you ask the right question and are asking the right person. Will the knowledge we seek be found with one simple question, no. This is a journey that will takes years and requires patience to unravel. To this end we all develop small libraries that help us fill in our thirst for knowledge. In one such book which I reference often, The Master’s Lectures – published by Evans Lodge No. 524 of Evanston Illinois, there is a paragraph in the preface that clearly states this thought: “It seems taken for granted that reception into Freemasonry will automatically be accompanied by an ability to appreciate forthwith, and at its full value, all that one there finds. The contrary is the case, for Freemasonry is a veiled and cryptic expression of the difficult science of spiritual life, and understanding all of it calls for special and informed guidance on the one hand, and on the other a genuine and earnest desire for knowledge, and a considerable capacity for spiritual perception on the part of those seeking instruction.” We do though convey our basic history through our Constitution and Regulations along with the common rituals of the Canadian and Ancient York Rites. These are issued to every member and convey the foundation, teachings and history of our Fraternity both here in Alberta but more significantly about the world. If we read these texts, study them and live by their teachings we have a foundation for leadership and growth that is in essence timeless.

If there was one thing that took me to this office as Grand Master, it was the desire to protect our Constitution and its ancient landmarks. While Constitutions and By-laws are living documents, we must be careful to protect the core values, allowing for change that is guided by careful exercise of leadership. While we are individually unique and are a product of our own environments, the depth of our leadership skill and the quality of that leadership come from lessons learned in life. Through education and more importantly through the trials of life we develop a style that will mark our commitment to being a leader – most of the time we will be successful and on occasion we will be humbled by our efforts which might not have been as successful as we had wished. If there is a guide for emulation, let it be the opening charge from the Ancient York Rite Ritual as it says it all. Working as part of a cohesive team, my hope and desire is to leverage the best from the team that is elected and manages the affairs of this Grand Lodge.

Brethren I have three key objectives that I would hope to see followed in my year as Grand Master, these objectives follow in the paths of those that have come before me. Building on these themes with the hopes of strengthening our commitment to Freemasonry and building a better future for all of us; they are: Peace, Harmony and Prosperity.

Peace. By understanding the concept of peace we set a standard and benchmark to which we can operate our lodges. By embracing a place for deliberation and business that is devoid of hostility and antagonistic behaviour and becomes a sanctuary for reflection and learning. It is to this unique space and environment that we hope to attract likeminded individuals.

Harmony. With harmony of thought and deliberation we grow as individuals and build the unique bonds that mark our fraternity. We grow as a team and prosper within the lodge, we carry this strength to our Districts and to Grand Lodge. In like mind we carry this message and transfer it to our daily lives and into the community at large.

Prosperity. Prosperity is the culmination of the work achieved through achieving peace and harmony while at labour and it takes many forms. To be prosperous as a lodge means that we have financial health, strength of membership and a wealth of leadership and knowledge. As an individual we hope this translates to financial wealth and a stable career, a strong tight knit family with a prosperous future. As a Grand Lodge we look to having stable membership with lodges that are growing and prosper through united efforts; Districts that develop and share programs, education with insights to success. It is through prosperity at all levels that we see an extension into our communities.

Brethren, to be successful we must embrace the teachings of Freemasonry and live the dream. We cannot just come to lodge once a month and say we are Masons as it just isn’t enough. We must demonstrate through true commitment and personal leadership that the teachings have meaning and are fit and proper for our 21st century lives. While we are challenged as never before by and through the use of technology to do more, learn more and explore more. Our Lodges offer a somewhat unique place to meet, reflect, and gather our thoughts to bond as friends through fraternal connection. We are stronger together and collectively have a brighter future through linking peace and harmony with that goal of prosperity by way of our Masonic Fraternity. Pursue peace and harmony to achieve that goal of a prosperous future.

MWBro Reg Karbonik Grand Master GRA Biography 2020-2021

Bro. Karbonik was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta.

Bro. Karbonik has always had a passion for flying, he joined 395 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, achieved the rank of Warrant Officer 2nd Class and received his Wings as a glider pilot in 1976. In 1977 he added Balloon Pilot to his resume and became an active member of the Alberta Free Balloonist Society. He held many offices including that of President for a three year period. He retired from flying in 2007 after 31 years and having logged over 3000 hours in the air.

He graduated with a Diploma in Construction Engineering in 1981 from NAIT and later graduated with a Bachelor of Education Degree in 1989 from the University of Alberta.

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He worked as an Educator from 1989–2007 with Edmonton Public Schools, the Alberta School of Drafting and NAIT. In addition to teaching role at NAIT he was the Coordinator for CADD and GIS Programs within the Business Development Unit.

He joined Stantec Consulting in 2007 as a Structural Designer with the Oil & Gas Group and unofficially retired from Stantec as they began to downsize in the summer of 2014. As something to do and “occupy” his time he accepted a position at an Edmonton GM dealership in customer relations as a transportation specialist. He continues to work part-time for Stony Engineering on an as needed basis.

Bro. Karbonik was initiated into Redwood Lodge No. 193 in October 1994 and served as Worshipful Master in 2007–08. In 2009 he affiliated with Temple-Centennial Lodge No. 167 and assumed the role of Secretary-Treasurer for the Lodge. Having completed a two year tenure as Secretary-Treasurer he later filled in as Sr. Warden and now serves as Historian and assumes duties as required.

In 2013 Bro. Karbonik was elected as DDGM for the Yellowhead Masonic District and served that office for the 2014–15 Masonic Term under MW Bro. John Slade; Bro. Karbonik has continued to be active as an advisor and mentor within the Yellowhead District. In 2016 Bro. Karbonik was asked to serve as Secretary for Redwood Lodge and concluded his term of office at the end of September 2017.

At the June 2017 Alberta Grand Communication Bro. Karbonik was elected as Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Alberta and in June of 2018 RW Bro. Karbonik was elected Senior Grand Warden. In October of 2019 Bro. Karbonik completed his 25th year as a Mason.

On June 13, 2020 Bro. Karbonik was installed as the 116th Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta at the Annual Communication held in Edmonton.

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