Aleppo has installed it’s 97th Potentate, Illustrious Sir Robert Havener, at the January 2019 Ceremonial. He described his installation to Aleppo’s highest post as “a huge honor,” emphasizing that taking this on comes with an equal amount of responsibility. In this lofty position, he acts as the CEO of Aleppo temple, a “difficult and complicated role.”
“I am thankful and indebted to each of you – especially Linda (and my family),” he stated, as “you have each shaped me for this year’s role.” “I hope to do a great job as Illustrious Potentate,” he stated. Ill. Havener noted that he already receives some ‘thank you paychecks,’ which can come in the form of something as simple as a handshake, a pat on the back or a smile lighting up a child’s face.
This can be very rewarding, he emphasized, noting that it “feels great” to know that we, as an organization, are “saving lives, changing the world and making a difference.” “Going forward, it will take many people to get the job done,” said Ill. Havener, and both Aleppo and the Shriners Hospitals for Children will need to do their fair share. Fortunately, our Aleppo Nobles are up to the task. “Aleppo has a great team of Shrine Masons,” he stated. “I have seen and learned this each step of the way, and struggled to remain the Mason I was before I started in the progressive line.”
Since his installation of Second Ceremonial Master, he has had six years to prepare for the top post of Illustrious Potentate. “Linda and I have travelled throughout our jurisdiction and beyond,” said Ill. Havener. “We have been blessed to get meet and to know so many Aleppo Shriners. We have been able to get to know our Shriners Hospitals for Children–Boston and Springfield.”
“Along the path to Potentate, demands on my leisure time has increased significantly,” he stated. However, Ill. Havener noted that he is not alone in this boat, as many of us have faced increasing demands on our time and resources. Because of these constraints, it can be more difficult for people to commit to this organization, he stated.
As the world continues to change, Shriners International needs to keep up. He emphasized that providing value to individual members is of paramount importance, and the Divan is working toward that. “This is not the same organization it was 20 years ago,” said Ill. Havener, “this is still the playground of Freemasonry, There is much fun to be had.”
There is plenty of fun to go around, so anyone who is thinking about becoming a Noble shouldn’t wait too much longer to get involved, he stated. What we do – providing specialized treatment to children regardless of their families’ financial ability to pay – is truly rewarding.
“I am a Shriner,” he stated. “That is what we do!”