MWBro. Kenn Culbertson Grand Master GRA Biography 2018-2019
Kenn is a third generation Mason, as his Grandfather and Father both were members of West Edmonton Lodge # 101. He began his career with Canadian National Railway in 1971. In May 1974 he qualified as a Locomotive Engineer. Kenn held this position for 32 years at Canadian National, then transferred to VIA Rail Canada where he retired in 2008.
Kenn Culbertson was made a Mason on June 19, 2005 in Evergreen Lodge #166, he is also an affiliated member of Baseline Lodge #198 and a honorary member of Patricia Lodge #91.
June 13, 2015, he was successful in being elected Junior Grand Warden where he served under MWBro. Chris Batty. The educational opportunities are invaluable as to his future service to the craft. June 12, 2016 Kenn was invested as the Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Alberta serving under MWBro.James Ratchford. June 10, 2017 Kenn was invested as the Deputy Grand Master serving with MWBro. Gordon Berard Grand Master. The Grand Master’s apron that Kenn is wearing was given to him by MWBro. Don Millar’s wife on his passing to the Grand Lodge above he wears it proudly.
Masonry was extremely important in filling the void that came after Kenn’s retirement. It was the fellowship and visitation that are cornerstones to our fraternity that were the inspiration for Kenn’s wholehearted involvement in the craft.
Kenn is married to Phyllis, and their family includes four children and four wonderful grandchildren.
Outside of Freemasonry Kenn also enjoys golf, travelling and volunteering as a driver for the Canadian Cancer Society.
MW Bro. Kenn Culbertson
GRAND MASTER’S ADDRESS AT THE ANNUAL COMMUNICATION – 2018
Brethren, I greet you as a Brother.
My humble thanks to the men who have encouraged me in this journey. VWBro Nick Wengreniuk and RWBro. Stan Bembridge first interviewed me, and then sponsored my petition into freemasonry. Thank you to the brothers of Evergreen Lodge #166, my mother lodge; Baseline Lodge #198, my affiliate lodge; and Patricia Lodge #91, my honorary lodge, for excellent examples of freemasonry at every level. Thanks, too, to all the members of Northern Lights District who supported my elevation to District Deputy Grand Master; and thank you to the brethren of the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Alberta for my election to the Grand Line in 2015. Thank you all.
My father was a Freemason and a hard-working, faithful and devoted man. He quietly set about his life never exclaiming what he had done, would do, or could do, but ever so gently performing all his duties as a husband and father. Once I was made a Mason, I came to realize that his personality and demeanour displayed most or all the Masonic qualities that are in the General Charge regarding the ideal of a Freemason. Because of my father, I lived the life of a Freemason without those qualities ever being explicitly mentioned. I truly believe my father to have been a Freemason who learned his life lessons from his father who was also a Freemason. Although I never had the honour of meeting my Grandfather, Bro. Fred Culbertson of West Edmonton Lodge #101, I feel in every bone in my body that through his influence, I was taught to live my own life as a Freemason.
When I became a Mason, I realized just how lucky and privileged I was to be raised in a Masonic family. I hope my children’s children will continue to be raised in the family of Freemasonry—until time shall be no more.
That has been my journey until now, but, Brethren, thanks to your confidence in me by electing me to the Grand Line, my journey is now our shared journey.
I am aware—keenly aware—of tensions among us in this jurisdiction, and it will be part of my task to ease those tensions. It is important for all of us to realize, however, that little good can come if we do not look forward and build on future vision. Freemasonry is the stone that makes up both the rough and the perfect ashlars, and just as each Brother must learn to move from rough to perfect, so we as a Craft in general and this jurisdiction in particular must knock the rough edges from the stone that is our core. That takes planning, skill, confidence—and a team that includes every Brother.
Engage, Educate and Enjoy.
Allow me to suggest three observations that, if made part of our lives both
in Lodge and out of it, will assist us in our shared journey.
We are a fraternity that offers engagement at many, many levels. We offer the esoteric, the hidden mysteries that are revealed in the symbols of the tracing board, and within the lodge itself. We offer the opportunity of leadership that ranges from chairing a lodge committee to ‘going through the chairs’, to seeking a position with Grand Lodge. And, of course, we also offer the fellowship of a hand freely offered and the shared brotherhood of the festive board.
We are also a fraternity with many opportunities that can and should include the whole family, such as the joy of witnessing your thirteen-year- old grandson becoming a second degree DeMolay with perfect adherence to their regulations. Or having a daughter engage in the activities of Job’s Daughters. Then, there is the Daughters of the Nile, in which my dear wife and best friend, Phyllis holds membership. And let us not overlook the Order of Eastern Star. So, not only do the lodges of Freemasonry offer rewards to their members, but there is engagement available for every member of the family.
Our first wish as newly obligated Masons is for light, a reasonable wish since most of us probably joined the fraternity to find such light. Later, we are charged with making a daily advancement in our masonic education. Which is, my brothers, a distinct way of reminding us to be a better men each and every day of our lives as we journey through this earthly existence. While such advancements in masonic education must remain the responsibility of individual brothers, Lodges can and should help. Presentations of papers on Masonic topics, discussions of ritual, demonstrations of such things as floor-work—all of these are educational, and provide interest in bland meetings.
My Brothers, again we are reminded that the chief point that can be attained in Freemasonry is to endeavour to be happy ourselves and communicate that happiness to others. Such happiness derives not from the pursuit of pleasure for pleasure’s sake, but rather from the growth that we can see in ourselves and from the trust that we can place in our fellow brethren. Freemasonry teaches us the true enjoyment of both learning to give, and learning to receive what others would give us.
For each Mason there must be hours dedicated to work, family, prayer and sleep; but time must also be allowed for personal growth. And that is where we as a fraternity can help to build a better man. Learning to live by the virtues contained in our ritual will lead to the enjoyment of a life of quiet satisfaction. Then, for each of us as a Brother and as a man, the mirror will reflect all that can be achieved in Freemasonry, which is to be happy ourselves and convey that happiness to others.
In this jurisdiction the working tool the Trowel is unique to the Ancient York Rite Master Mason. We are taught to make use of the trowel for the more noble and glorious purpose of spreading the Cement of Brotherly Love, and Affection. That is the cement that unites us into one sacred society of friends and Brothers, among whom no contention should ever exist save that of who best can work and best agree. I wish to make this tool the symbol of my year, bringing Brothers together in the common goal of making our lodges places of sanctuary from the outside world where we can go trusting that “I will up hold your good name in your absence as well as your presence.”
To be a Freemason a man must travel with, converse with, take education from and emulate men of quality— and by that I mean other Freemasons. To read and study the books about Freemasonry can give you an understanding of allegory and symbols, but in order to move to that place of higher destiny, we must devote time to our Masonic temples and lodges, those places that contain the Brethren of Freemasonry.
Brethren, I suggest to you that as leaders in the communities, we as Freemasons are taught to extend our knowledge, learn by experience, and uphold right. Leaders require support and I would like to bring you a message in that vein.
A leader is one who guides, influences or inspires another person or a group of persons to think and act. It is very necessary for a leader in any organization to fully acquaint himself with the limits of his authority. Every Masonic Lodge has our book of Constitution and Regulations as well as the bylaws of that lodge. These are drawn up and and presented to the Brethren from time to time for their approval. They are the rule and guide to our gentle craft and are there for all—including those in authority—from the Grand Master on down. No one is exempt from these rules.
The next year I am asking you, the Brethren in this grand jurisdiction, including those of us who constitute Grand Lodge, to commit to enriching Freemasonry through involvement in making each Lodge an educational, engaging and enjoyable meeting place. Socialize, commiserate, visit with members, with widows and with those who are no longer a part of monthly meetings.
And more personally, be active in bringing Freemasonry to your everyday life.
I will give you my very best! I hope you and every Freemason will do the same to create a better craft and a better world for us all to enjoy.
Grand Master of Alberta