Striving For Excellence Not Perfection

Team History

The Emblems of Mortality Degree Team was first discussed by Mike Johnson, Chris Keown and Michael O’Mara after Brother’s Keown and O’Mara were raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason in September of 2005 by the “Northern Alberta Veterans Degree Team”. The three of them thought it was amazing that a group of freemasons who had something in common decided to put together a team that’s sole purpose was to perfect the ritual and floor work that freemason’s strive to achieve. The three Mason’s also found that they had something very unique in common at Baseline Lodge in Spruce Grove Alberta, They were all very young in age compared to the average age of most Masons and from there it was decided that they would form a team of younger Masons to do the third degree as they had so expertly seen the Veteran’s Degree team do. From the very beginning of the conception of the team, the three knew that they would need help. And so they waited for more young Masons to be initiated into Baseline Lodge.

In February of 2007 the 3 asked David Buckingham and Chris Woods to join them for a meeting to tell them about the idea and see if they would like to be a part of something special. The two agreed quickly that it was a great idea and so the first ruling council was formed.

Michael Johnson-President

David Buckingham-Board Member

Chris Woods-Board Member

Chris Keown-Treasurer

Michael O’Mara-Secretary

The name of the team was decided. “The Skull and Bones Degree Team”

It was then decided that we were going to choose young mason’s carefully on the merit of their memory work during their proving up in the Master Mason Degree. The following Mason’s were chosen to be on the team.

Michael Johnson-Master

David Buckingham-Senior Warden

Chris Keown-Junior Warden

Chris Woods-Senior Deacon

Benoit Desvoyault-Junior Deacon

Byron Menzies-Senior Steward

Dean Horsfield-Junior Steward

Andrew Gordon-Inner Guard

Ryan Huff-Chaplan

Michael O’Mara-Director of Ceremonies

There was another pressing issue as August of 2007 was coming to pass. Michael Johnson, the longest serving Mason on the team was only in the chair of Junior Warden in Baseline Lodge and in order to confer any Masonic degree the obligation has to be given to the candidate by a sitting Master or Past Master. At first the team thought that they would just get the Master of each lodge that the team was performing the degree at to do the obligation. Brother O’Mara had helped Right Worshipful Brother John Slade (current District Deputy Grandmaster of the yellowhead district in Alberta) with a Demolay function in April and had gotten to know him well from that as well as Brother Slade was a regular visitor to Baseline lodge and a former member. It was decided that Brother O’Mara would approach Brother Slade and see if he would be the team’s Master until Brother Johnson could take the seat officially. Brother Johnson would sit in as the Immediate Past Master to learn from Brother Slade, all that he could, and then the two would reverse roles once Brother Johnson was Master of Baseline Lodge.

It was decided that the name of the team had to be changed. The team did not want outsider’s to Masonry, to associate the team to the Skull and Bones Secret Society at Yale University in the United States. A new name was decided on.

"Emblem’s of Mortality Degree Team”

The first few practices went well. Worshipful Brother Jim Linton, a Past Master of baseline Lodge was asked to come to help advise the team as well as Right Worshipful Brother Neil Lonsbury who was on the Veteran’s degree team. As a few more practices came and went Andrew Gordon and Ryan Huff had to resign from the team due to their busy work schedules and personal commitments.

Brother Tony Ebdon was asked to join the team to replace Brother Gordon as inner guard and Brother Linton was asked to be an honorary member to replace Brother Huff as Chaplan. Brother Lonsbury was also asked to be an honorary member to be the organist when his busy schedule permitted.

The team practiced through the winter and in January of 2008 the team approached the Worshipful Master of Baseline Lodge, Worshipful Brother Jochen Hommel, and asked him if he would let the degree team perform their first degree in his lodge. He agreed and the date was set for Tuesday March 18, 2008 at Baseline Lodge #198 in Spruce Grove Alberta at their emergent meeting to raise Brother John Rushton to the sublime degree of a Master Mason.

On March 7, 2008 the team had their first dress rehersal and full run through of the degree. Worshipful Brother Ed McLean of Baseline lodge was asked to fill in as the candidate for the run through and to make suggestions for improvement of the work by the team. Brother McLean earned the title of “Distinguished Friend” to the team for his assistance.

The New Team was ready to go for their Degree.

The Roster:

John Slade-Worshipful Master

Michael Johnson-Immediate Past Master

David Buckingham-Senior Warden

Chris Keown-Junior Warden

Chris Woods-Senior Deacon

Benoit Desvoyault-Junior Deacon

Byron Menzies-Senior Steward

Dean Horsefield-Junior Steward

Tony Ebdon-Inner Guard

Jim Linton-Chaplan

Michael O’Mara-Director of Ceremonies

Neil Lonsbury-Organist