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Statement of Shriners International relating to Imperial Session 2020

Shriners International is looking forward to hosting an amazing Imperial Session in Kansas City this summer!

The Imperial Potentate, Director General of the 2020 Imperial Session and the staff of Shriners International are closely monitoring quickly changing developments related to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) as it may impact the upcoming Imperial Session.

Of course, the safety of our Nobles and their families is our highest concern. We are carefully reviewing the guidance provided by the World Health Organization and will be working in close collaboration with local health authorities to minimize the risks associated with this virus. Each individual should evaluate their own heath situation in connection with the latest information provided by public health professionals in determining whether they should travel. We have every expectation that the 2020 Imperial Session will be an outstanding and extremely positive experience.

We anticipate providing additional updates and information related to Imperial Session 2020 as developments warrant.

Organization

Organization Overview Imperial Potentate Imperial Divan First Lady

Imperial Potentate Jeffrey L. Sowder

Jeff SowderJeffrey L. Sowder of Toronto, Kansas, is currently serving his 11th year as a member of the Boards of Directors for Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children®. He was elected Imperial Potentate, part of the 12-member body that helps govern the Shriners fraternity, during the Shriners’ 2019 Imperial Session – held in Nashville, Tennessee, June 30 – July 4.

Sowder was raised a Master Mason in 1975 at Toronto Woodson Lodge #121. He served as Master of his lodge in 1981, 1983, 1991 and 1992. After many Grand Lodge appointments, including District Deputy Grand Master, Area Deputy Grand Master, and Chairman of the Grand Lodge Membership Committee, and serving as an appointive Grand Officer on three separate occasions, he was elected Grand Junior Warden in 1994, and he served as Grand Master of Kansas in 1997.

Sowder became a member of Midian Shriners in Wichita, Kansas, in 1988 and served as the temple’s Potentate in 2004. Sowder has served on many committees at the Imperial level, including the Pilot Implementation Team, Executive Membership Committee, and the Building and Equipment, East/West Shrine Game®, Strategic Planning, Donor Relations, TRAC, Ritual and Leadership Training and Education Seminars Committees. He has also been a presenter at the Imperial Membership, Oriental Guide and Assistant Rabban seminars.

Sowder served as the personal representative for the Wichita Scottish Rite Valley in Wichita from 2006 to 2009. He served on the board of the Kansas Masonic Foundation for 25 years and as its President from 2004 to 2011.

Sowder was born and raised on a ranch in Kansas. He operates four separate agricultural-related corporations — a 1,000-head cow/calf operation, a retail feed business serving ranchers throughout the Flint Hills of Kansas, a wholesale cattle mineral business with distribution in four states, and a multifaceted agricultural wholesale/retail business in Wichita.

Sowder and his wife, Cheryl, have been married for 45 years and have two daughters, Stephanie and Lindsay. Stephanie and her husband, Jamie Nelson, live near Toronto, Kansas, with their three children, Corinne, Sutton and Reid. Lindsay is married to John Hill, and they live in Fort Scott, Kansas, with their sons, JJ and Hudson.