|Recent KCCH inductees in the Valley of St. |
Joseph, Orient of Missouri (left to right): Kent Fisher,
Carl Keith, Bobbie White and Emmett Bryson.
Since KCCH is not a degree, the ceremony is an investiture, not an initiation. As such, it is open to the public. Candidates view the proceedings from front-row seats as 17 officers instruct an exemplar in the meaning of the teachings, symbolism and regalia of the Court of Honor. Of the officers, only the Sovereign Grand Commander is a 33° Mason. The remainder are Knights Commander of the Court of Honor.
The most distinctive apparel of the KCCH Mason is his red cap. It is "a symbol of the nobility of the soul, which is the parent of all knightly virtues." It replaces the black cap he earned upon becoming a 32° Mason, and it is the cap he wears to Valley meetings.
In the Southern Jurisdiction, a Brother must receive the KCCH honor and hold it for no less than 46 months before becoming eligible for the 33rd degree. During the ceremony, however, the KCCH candidate specifically hears the admonition that the KCCH does not represent a half-degree, nor does it assure advancement to the 33rd degree. "If you do not in future years receive the last Degree," he is instructed, "remember that you have been singularly honored in this Investiture by the Supreme Council and that it is a solemn duty to be true, loyal and devoted to the Rite..."
Upon his investiture, John Doe, 32°, becomes John Doe, 32° KCCH. In the event he receives the 33rd Degree, he will be John Doe, 33°, dropping the KCCH initials because it is understood all 33° Inspectors General Honorary are also KCCH. Selection for the KCCH designation is strictly limited, and a maximum of half of all KCCH Brothers advance to the 33rd Degree.
The Supreme Council, at the insistence of Grand Commander Albert Pike, created the KCCH rank on May 5, 1870. Its purpose was and remains to honor those Brethren who have shown significant achievement, without diluting the 33rd Degree by increasing its number of chosen members. It is in and of itself one of the greatest honors in the Southern Jurisdiction to hear the Sovereign Grand Commander say at the investiture's culmination, "I dub and create thee a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor and may our Father in Heaven make thee a good Knight in the service of our fellow men."
Steve Harrison, 33° KCCH, is a Past Master of Liberty Lodge #31, Liberty, Missouri. He is the editor of the Missouri Freemason magazine, author of the book Freemasonry Crosses the Mississippi, a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research and also its Senior Warden. He is a dual member of Kearney Lodge #311, St. Joseph Missouri Valley of the Scottish Rite, Liberty York Rite, Moila Shrine and is a member of the DeMolay Legion of Honor.