Former Clearfield resident David W. Berry received the 33rd and last degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry during a recent annual meeting of the Supreme Council of Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Masons of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction held recently in Washington, D.C.
Berry began his affiliation with masonry when he joined the Clearfield Chapter’s Order of DeMolay, sponsored by Clearfield Lodge No. 314 Free and Accepted Masons in 1976. He was a member of the Clearfield Lodge from 1985-1992.
A resident of Elizabethtown since 1992, Berry is employed by the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation as assistant to the executive director. He is a member of Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682 of Elizabethtown and the Scottish Rite Valleys of Lancaster and Harrisburg. Berry serves on the Board of Governor’s for the Children’s Dyslexia Center of Lancaster.
“Achieving the 33rd degree of Sovereign Grand Inspector General is an honor that can be bestowed upon a Scottish Rite Mason,” stated Berry. “It is not campaigned for. It is granted solely by the Supreme Council.”
A 33rd degree mason, he explained, is a master mason who has exhibited knowledge, passion and sacrifice to his craft. He stated that the Supreme Council awards the 33rd degree as its way of honoring “outstanding and selfless work” performed in the Rite or in public life.
Local Scottish Rite Valleys nominate “worthy members” to be elected as 33rd degree masons, and at its annual session, the Supreme Council elects members of the Rite to receive the degree. These men are unanimously elected to become honorary members of the Supreme Council, stated Berry.
Berry traveled to Washington D.C. with other members and their families from the Valleys of Lancaster and Harrisburg for three days of fellowship and fraternalism that included a formal luncheon for the candidates and their families; a Vesper Service; a formal dinner hosted by the Valley of Harrisburg; the annual meeting of the Supreme Council; conferral of the 33rd degree; and a 200th Anniversary Gala Banquet.
The Scottish Rite is a branch of Freemasonry designed to supplement and amplify the philosophical teachings of the first three degrees that are received in the Blue Lodge. The Scottish Rite builds upon the ethical teachings and philosophy of Blue Lodge Masonry through dramatic presentation, according to Berry.
The Scottish Rite is sometimes called the “University of Freemasonry,” because it uses extensive allegory and drama in its degrees to explore the philosophy, history, ethics and ultimate truths that guide Freemasons’ lives, stated Berry. Berry worked for Clearfield Broadcasters in the 1980’s and served as Clearfield Borough Mayor in 1986-1987.