Prepared by SGIG Dr. Verne Jenkins, Deputy of the Orient,
Credits: Much of this information was researched by S. Paul Dixon, Past Commander-in-Chief, Prince Hall Military Consistory No. 304, Frankfurt Germany.
Dedicated to those who preceded me, especially The Honorable DONALD H. COLEMAN, my mentor and predecessor.
The Beginning: From 1963 - 1998
While doing research for this brief outline of the history of the Council of Deliberation, Western Europe, I was again reminded of the need for repositories for our treasured information. Much of the history of the "Prince Hall Masonic European Experience" has been lost or sequestered in the brief cases of many of you who will read this feeble attempt to document our past. All across the "domain" I see an urgent need to gather all Masonic records, at the local level, and cause them to be placed in safekeeping. This is why I can applaud the efforts of our brother SGIG Joseph Walkes, president of the Phylaxis Society. "From an Acorn to a Mighty Oak"
Thirty five (35) years ago, while the struggle for civil rights was being waged on the frontiers of America; while we were being thrown in jails and beaten for our political believes, our churches being bombed, our children being lynched and torched, there emerged several great men with dreams for the future.
While likewise a continent away, another great dream was emerging under the leadership of other great men. Men of vision. Such was the beginning of Prince Hall Military Consistory No. 304, comprising membership from Prince Hall Military Lodge No. 140, which was at the time located in the Bavarian City of Bamberg Germany. In April 1963, Worshipful Master Ernest W. Armstrong (PHML No. 140) dispatched a letter to then Sovereign Grand Commander John G. Lewis requesting permission to establish a Consistory. Sovereign Grand Commander Lewis, without hesitation, granted permission for the establishment of the requested organization. However, he stated that due to his busy schedule he, himself, would not be able to attend the dedication ceremony, but the Lieutenant Grand Commander, Amos T. Hall, would make the trip and confer the required degrees. In addition, sometime in April 1963, a series of meetings were chaired by Armstrong to decide who would fill the various positions in the new Consistory. It was unanimously agreed upon that the following brothers would serve as the first officers of the Consistory, which would be named Prince Hall Military Consistory (304):
Ernest W. Armstrong, Sr Commander-in-Chief
John E. Murphy First Lieutenant Commander
Earl A. Clark Second Lieutenant Commander
Samuel D. Tucker, Jr. KOSA
Roy Roberts Treasurer
In addition, the following brothers would fill the offices indicated: Arnold Dukes, Thrice Potent Master, Joe L. Persons, Deputy Master Tyre, Wallace Davis, Venerable Senior Warden, James Missouri, Venerable Junior Warden. Robert Pringle, Most Wise and Perfect Master, Chester Wright, Most Excellent Perfect Senior Warden, William Covington, Most Excellent Perfect Junior Warden. Leon A. Moten, Grand Commander, Jessie L. Gribble, Grand Chancellor, and Wesely Walker, Grand Architect.
On 28 June 1963, at approximately 0800 hrs, HISTORY was made! Prince Hall Military Consistory was called to order by Prince Herbert Dailey, who was presiding under direction from Lieutenant Grand Commander Amos T. Hall, who was also the Most Worshipful Grand Master for the jurisdiction of Oklahoma. There were ninety-two (92) candidates present to receive the degrees. The following Sublime Princes assisted in the conferring of the degrees: Donald H. Coleman, Albert Gains, Donald Jones, Edward McCree, Carl McLauden, Elvis Miles, Robert Jackson, and C.F. Goodwater. Brother Hall installed the officers of the concordant bodies before the completion of the day's work.
On 29 June 1963, Brother Hall completed the installation of Consistory officers, in addition to naming Commander-in-Chief Armstrong as "Deputy Sovereign Grand Commander for Europe" making him the first Scottish Rite Deputy for Europe.
On 14 Dec 1963, the first election of officers for PHMC took place. The results were as follows: CIC Herbert Dailey, 1stLT Cdr, John E. Murphy, 2nd LT Cdr, Donald Jones, KOSA, John Lockett, Treasurer, Daniel Hurt.
On 8 June 1964, because of the pending departure, Deputy Armstrong announces that he has requested that a new deputy be named, also during this same time, for reasons which are unclear, (probably rotations) John Murphy is installed as Commander-in-Chief. On 29 November 1964, CIC Murphy announced that he had received permission to establish a Golden Circle Court. That same month new leadership emerged within PHMC 304. Russell Parks becomes the CIC and Murphy becomes Deputy.
On 31 March 1965, Murphy announces the first meeting of the Council of Deliberation. The primary purpose of this first meeting was to select princes to receive the 33rd degree. From this first council of deliberation, the following brothers were selected to receive the last degree in masonry: James E. Brown, Jr., Daniel R. Hunt, and Daniel Freeman. It was also during this time period that Donald H. Coleman and J. Mark Magee demitted into PHMC 304.
On 6 August 1965, Murphy informs the camps of his pending departure and that James C. Hudson would become the deputy.
The history continues with many Masonic stalwarts making their mark in Western Europe. Donald Coleman becomes the commander-in-chief in 1966 and serves until his appointment to Deputy of the Orient in 1968. He held this position until 1987, at which time Verne E. Jenkins was appointed Deputy by then Sovereign Grand Commander, Dr. I. H. Clayborn.
From this beginning four (4) Councils of Deliberation emerged. (1) COD Western Europe, E.W. Armstrong first Deputy (SGIG Verne E. Jenkins, current), (2) COD England, Sheldon Redden first Deputy (SGIG Darnell Phenix current), (3) COD Korea, Deary Vaughn first Deputy (SGIG Alvin K. Wilkins current and (4) COD Western Europe, Northern Jurisdiction first and current Deputy SGIG Andrew Morgan.
The Council of Deliberation, Western Europe continued to flourish. Growing from one Consistory to a total of fourteen as of this writing. Also of significance, in 1993, members of the 9th Masonic District, jurisdiction of Washington, petitioned Sovereign Grand Commander Samuel Brogdon Jr. to obtain dispensation to organize Council of Deliberation under the Northern Jurisdiction. Brother Brogdon heard their plea and gave his blessings. This organization, under the dynamic leadership of its' deputy SGIG Andrew Morgan, also the District Deputy Grand Master for the jurisdiction of Washington, continues the "European Scottish Rite Experience", working closely with the brothers of the Southern Jurisdiction and its' Deputy.
Thirty-five years have gone by very fast. Obviously, for the sake of brevity, it could not all be captured for this particular publication. However, we are all proud of the fact that many prominent Prince Hall Masons have toiled in the Masonic Fields of Europe. They include but are not limited to,
MWGM Deary Vaughn (Oklahoma), MWGM Benjamin Barksdale (Georgia), MWGM Harold Wolder (Arizona), MWGM Sheldon Redden (Maryland), MWGM Michael Boone (Alaska), MWGM Harold H. Bendaw (New Mexico), MWGM Althouse (Kansas), SGIG Joseph Walkes, SGIG Don D. Robinson, SGIG Alan S. Webster, GIG J. Mark Magee, GIG Russell Parks, GIG Carlease Jones, GIG William Gore, GIG Wilmer V. Garden, GIG John L. Grant, GIG George B. Swanston, GIG Irving Henry, GIG William C.E. Sayles, GIG James R. Branham, GIG Benjamin F. Watson, GIG Junior N. Glenn, GIG Michael A. Delgado, GIG S. Paul Dixon, GIG George Barnes, GIG Raymond Pipkins, GIG Pernell Cooper, GIG John Robinson, GIG Edward J. Reese, GIG Henry James, GIG Robert Epps, GIG John L. Lemasters, SGIG Darnell Phenix, SGIG Leroy Lassiter, SGIG Andrew Morgan, SGIG Alvin K. Wilkins, GIG Joseph T. Thornton, GIG Anthony Bowns, GIG Charles A. Spikes, GIG Clifford Parks, GIG John A. Caldwell, GIG Clifford Bankhead, GIG Samuel Gregory, GIG Harry C. Jones, GIG Lionel Cartwright, GIG Don Ferebe, GIG Robert N. Hicks, GIG John R. Green, GIG Mordecai Williams, and Arnold H. Dukes (Class of 63)
Yes, the time has gone by rapidly. However, from my vantage point the crop of “Young Guns” who seem eager to grab the torch and continue the drive forward encourages me. They are somewhat cocky, but then they have a right to be. Students of the best of the best have trained them. They are impatient! But this to is o.k. Time waits on no one!
To SGIG Donald H. Coleman, we of the Council of Deliberation, W.E. are most appreciated of the twenty plus years you devoted to leading this great body. It is through your vision for the future that many of our programs are working today. I personally owe you a debt of gratitude for guiding me in the secrets and ways of Scottish Rite Masonry.
For those whose names were not mentioned, I ask that you not hold it against me. I ask if you have records pertaining to Scottish Rite Masonry in Europe that you provide me copies in order that we can complete the story.