Last week just outside the town of Gilroy, in a clearing surrounded by towering eucalyptus trees, California Masonic Posse members gathered for their famous “Masons in the Grove” outdoor lodge.
The Posse is a third degree ritual team, made up of Master Masons from throughout Northern California. Honorary members hail from as far away as Nova Scotia and North Carolina. Two California past grand masters, as well as several inspectors and assistant grand lecturers, are among the 50-plus Master Masons on the team.
Besides a love of ritual, Posse members share something unique: All are active, former, or retired law enforcement officers.
The Posse offers its degree services – which must be requested by a candidate or his lodge – to third degree candidates in Northern California who are fellow peace officers.
Bro. B.J. McCuiston, undersheriff of the Posse and master of Keith Lodge No. 187 (located in Gilroy), explains why the ceremony has special significance: “These candidates are already part of a brotherhood in law enforcement. By becoming Masons, they are joining yet another brotherhood.”
As part of the degree ceremony, the candidates are “deputized,” and become automatic members of the Posse. “We give them a lapel pin with a star to commemorate the occasion,” McCuiston says. “And at our next third degree ceremony, we hope they’ll join us.”
The ceremony on October 15, which was hosted by Keith Lodge No. 187, raised Deputy David Ramon of Salinas Lodge No. 204.
Visit the Salinas Masonic Temple website for more information.
Photo: The California Masonic Posse's outdoor degree conferral team on Oct. 15, 2011 in Gilroy