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From the Rose Croix West

Portrait of Joe MagoffinA gold compass open on a quarter circle with a rose cross between the legs of the compass and under it a pelican Remembrance and Renewal

As we move towards our annual Remembrance and Renewal celebration which takes place on April 20th, it seem fitting to take a closer look at how this came about.

It is often held that the first known reference to the Scottish Rite's Remembrance and Renewal ceremony came to be in 1856 through a version of the 18th Degree Rose Croix ritual penned by Charles Laffon de Ladebat. Charles was born in Jamaica in 1807 to a family that was active in the plantation trade. His life there was disrupted in the Black Revolt of 1831, a slave uprising also known as the Baptist War or Christmas Rebellion. Beginning on Christmas day of 1831 and lasting for eleven days, the leader and Baptist Minister, Samuel Sharpe, sought freedom and a working wage for the enslaved plantation worker. British forces quickly crushed Sharpe's forces with heavy loss of life, and de Ladebat, now 24, mad his way to New Orleans by way of Baltimore.

The Ceremony of Remembrance and Renewal borrowed heavily from the more religious observance of Maundy Thursday, which occurs on the Thursday before Easter Sunday. Ten years later, in 1866, the Code of Statutes identifies Maundy Thursday as a feast day and by 1878 it was recorded that the observance was mandatory.

In 1994, to better address the changing needs of the Scottish Rite brethren, it was decided that the Maundy Thursday observance would be replaced by the Celebration of Remembrance and Renewal. It was further determined that it should be administered by the Chapter of Rose Croix and that it take place on, or as near as practicable, to the Vernal Equinox. While the contemporary evolution is not considered a religious service, it carries themes that are clearly adapted from Passover and Easter traditions.

In an effort to keep the Ceremony of Remembrance and Renewal both relevant and engaging, it's presentation by the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Rose Croix is conceptually fluid with regards as to how it is exemplified to the audience each Spring. At a high level, the purpose of the Ceremony is to remember our fellow Knights Rose Croix that fell in the last year and to celebrate the promise of Spring with life renewed through seed and fruit. In 2019, Past Wise Master Ben Williams made significant changes to the way this was shared through visual symbolism and musical enhancements. Based on feedback received we are largely continuing upon this new concept for 2020, with the addition of other enhancements which time did not allow us to incorporate into the 2019 version.

On behalf of the entire Rose Croix team, officers past and present, we hope you are able to make it out on April 20th, that you enjoy the show, and that you are able to take home a new point of positive reflection.

Joseph Magoffin, 32° KCCH
Wise Master, Rocky Mountain Chapter of Rose Croix

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