Jackson York Rite Bodies

Jackson-Coolidge Masonic Temple
355 Napoleon Rd.
Michigan Center, Michigan 49254-1264
(517) 764-9962

Jackson York Rite College No. 3

The York Rite of Freemasonry is a journey that can take a Master Mason through three successive Masonic bodies, a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, a Council of Royal & Select Masons, and finally a Commandery of Masonic Knights Templar. 

Membership in a Chapter and Council is open by application to all Master Masons in good standing.  Commandery is a branch of the fraternity whose membership is open to Masons who are Christians.

The Degrees conferred by Jackson Chapter #3, Royal Arch Masons

The Chapter degrees are a natural extension and culmination of the Legend begun in the Blue Lodge. The first three Chapter degrees, Mark Master, Past Master, and Most Excellent Master, develop more fully and expand on the theme of the Temple of King Solomon.  The Royal Arch degree concerns itself with the destruction of this Temple by the Babylonians, the "Babylonian Captivity" of the Jews, and their return to Zion after seventy years to begin building the Second Temple, that of Zerubbabel.  In the course of this reconstruction, that which was lost at the death of the Architect of the First Temple is recovered.

Mark Master Degree
The candidate in this Degree represents a young Fellowcraft working in a quarry.  After due preparation, he is instructed to choose a mark which will hence forth be his Masonic signature. 

The Mark Master Degree teaches two important lessons.  First, it teaches that one should relieve a Brother's needs when possible and second, that one should be satisfied with one's wages.

Past Master Degree
This Degree teaches the candidate the important lessons of moderation and decorum which are expected of one who would serve as the Master of a Symbolic Lodge.  Masters of Lodges must always bear in mind that they symbolically serve as Masters of Master Craftsmen and not as overseers of day laborers.  In Ohio, it is necessary to have received this Degree before a Master Elect is installed into office.

It is the tradition of York Temple Chapter that this Degree is conferred by a cast made up entirely of Actual Past Masters of Lodges, with the occasional exception of the presiding officers who may not yet have attained that distinction.

The allegory of this Degree depicts the passing of the hat from King Solomon to Noah and through him to all future Masters of the Fraternity.

Most Excellent Master Degree
This Degree portrays the completion, furnishing and dedication of King Solomon's Temple.  After which, the candidate, along with the other Temple workmen, is promoted from Fellow of the Craft to the rank of Most Excellent Master, a surrogate for the Master Mason degree. This Degree teaches that he who would achieve his dreams and goals must persevere steadily along the paths of knowledge and virtue, coupling these with diligent industry and a firm reliance upon God.

Royal Arch Degree
This is the final Degree conferred in a Chapter. It depicts the return of the Jews from Captivity in Babylon and their attempts at rebuilding the Temple of King Solomon under the direction of Zerubbabel.

The candidate represents one of the sojourners returning from Babylon to the Holy City. After making a difficult and dangerous journey, he gains admission into the presence of the Grand Council comprised of Jeshua (High Priest), Zerubbabel (King) and Haggai (Prophet, or Scribe). Upon expressing his desire to aid in the labor of reconstruction, he toils among the ruins of the Temple and makes several valuable and significant discoveries, which shed light on the Legend of the Master Mason Degree.

The Degrees conferred by Jackson Council #32, Royal & Select Masons

The Council degrees are largely an elaboration and explanation of the Royal Arch degree and, to a lesser extent, the Master Mason degree. The next degree, Select Master, concerns itself with the construction and adornment of the subterranean vault introduced in the Royal Arch degree of the Chapter and alluded to in the Royal Master degree. The last degree is that of Super Excellent Master, and tells the story of the treachery of King Zedekiah, the destruction of Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple.  Council Masonry is also referred to as "Cryptic Masonry" in allusion to the vault or crypt referred to in the degrees

Royal Master Degree
There are two main sections in this degree.  The first takes place just before the legend depicted in the Master Mason degree, and the second takes place immediately after it. 
In the first section, the candidate represents one of the Craftsmen who are preparing items for the Sanctum of King Solomon’s Temple.  As such, the candidate has a very impressive conversation with the Master Architect of the Temple.  In the second section, the candidate bears silent witness to the grief of the two Grand Masters.

Select Master Degree
This degree explains how the Subterranean Vault, introduced in the Royal Arch degree, was created and for what purpose. The Select Master degree is the culmination of what has been styled Ancient Craft Masonry, or Masonry related to the building of the Temple of King Solomon.

Super Excellent Master Degree
This is an optional degree.  However, any Companion desiring to serve as an officer in a Council must have received it.

The story depicted in this degree is that of King Zedekiah, the last King of Israel, in the final days of his reign.  Treachery in contrast to fidelity is the overwhelming theme of this degree.  This degree is perhaps the most dramatic of all the Lodge, Chapter, & Council degrees.

The Orders of Knighthood conferred by Commandery #9, Knights Templar

The first Order of Commandery , the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, provides a bridge with Ancient Craft Masonry and the Chivalric Orders of Commandery.  In this Order, the story of the Jewish Prince, Zerubbabel, and his efforts to secure permission of the Persian King Darius to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem are presented.  The last two Orders of Commandery mark a divergence from Ancient Craft Masonry in that they refer to ideals and practices of chivalry and Christianity.

The Illustrious Order of the Red Cross
This Order consists of two sections.  The first depicts Zerubbabel's (the candidate) admission to the Jewish Council at Jerusalem, in which he is invested with permission and authority to travel to Babylon and attempt to obtain leave from King Darius to stop the enemies of the Jews from hindering their progress in building the Temple, as well as to recover the holy vessels of the Temple which were taken as booty to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar when he destroyed the First Temple. 

The second section takes place at the Court of Darius.  There Zerubbabel renews his earlier friendship with the King, and is granted a position in the royal household.  He then participates in a friendly contest with other nobles of the realm regarding the question: "Which is greater, the strength of wine; the power of the king; or the influence of woman?"

The Order of Malta
This Order is actually a combination of two others: The Order of St. Paul (sometimes called the Mediterranean Pass), which is a preparatory order, and the Order of Malta.

The Order of St. Paul is based on the story of Paul's shipwreck on the island of Melita (Malta). The candidate represents a knight about to depart for the Crusades in the Holy Land.  The Order of Malta presents the history of the Order as an opportunity to discuss the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is a suitable preparation for the Order of the Temple, in that it provides the candidate with additional New Testament instruction, particularly in the eight Beatitudes.  

The Order of the Temple
This Order begins with the candidate, a Knight of Malta, who, after a vigil, seeks to unite with a Commandery of Knights Templar. To test his faith, the candidate is instructed to perform a number of years of pilgrimage.  After assuming an obligation, he is then required to undertake a number of years of knightly warfare, as a test of his courage and constancy.  Having satisfactorily performed these, he is admitted to the Asylum of the Knights Templar.  The candidate is then required to perform a time of penance in token of his humility.  Following this, sealing his membership in the Order, he is duly dubbed a member of the Valiant and Magnanimous Order of the Temple.