Knights, Dames and Friends:
Please see the timely update from our Priory Chaplain the Right Reverend Canon Brian Cox, SCTJ who is currently in Iraq meeting with religious leaders including Syrian and Iraqi Muslims, and Kurdish and Assyrian/Syriac Christians. Please continue to keep father Cox and the team from the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD) in your thoughts and prayers. For more information on the interfaith diplomatic efforts of ICRD, please see http://icrd.org/. NNDNN, JR
From: Brian Cox <email@example.com>Date: May 22, 2013 7:08:28 AM GMT+03:00Subject: Update on Situation in Erbil, Iraq
Dear Friends,The ICRD [International Center for Religion and Diplomacy] team and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We here are praying and fasting for God's intervention in the situation. This is one of the important characteristics of Faith-Based Diplomacy---that we look to God for intervention. That does not mean that we sit here and do nothing. Here is the situation in a nutshell. When we arrived into Erbil, Iraq early on Monday morning we learned that the border had been closed between Iraq and Syria owing to a dispute between the two major Kurdish political parties, the Kurdish Democratic Party (the Party of Prime Minister Barazani, leader of the Kurdish Regional Government based in Erbil) and the PYD ( the Syrian branch of the PKK under Mr. Ocalan in Turkey). The PYD is a close ally of the Assad Regime and shares with the regime in the security control of the Hassake region (eastern Syria). On Sunday the PYD arrested 80 people from the Democratic Party at the border and in response the Kurdish Government closed the border not allowing anyone to cross. Most of our participants, both Kurdish and Assyrian/Syriac Christians were effected by this and were not allowed to cross. Yesterday we were in contact with the top party leaders of both sides who were in contact with border officials. The people arrested were released and we managed to negotiate with PYD leaders to allow our delegation to cross from Syria into Iraq. We were celebrating this victory until last evening when we learned that the border officials on the Iraqi side were keeping the border closed as a way of punishing the PYD. Last night the leader of the Kurdish Democratic Party and his wife took the team to dinner. We discussed the situation and are now seeking to get the participants here by going through Turkey and starting the conference three days late. In our conversations with top party and government officials we have learned that they consider ICRD's conference utilizing the Faith-Based Reconciliation process to forge a new social contract for the Hassake region to be not only essential but that this is the perfect time for such a step. We are getting calls from all sorts of Syrian leaders want to be part of this. Our conference is getting covered in the news and journalists have been calling us wanting to cover the conference. Yesterday we saw God's hand at work. In the morning we were told by the leader of the Kurdish Democratic Party that they would not participate if PYD leaders were part of it. Ironically, top Democratic Party leaders and PYD leaders arrived at the hotel at the same time to meet with Bassam and me. Hence, Bassam and I were negotiating with them simultaneously to effect some kind of agreement. While Bassam was meeting with PYD leaders I was meeting with Democratic Party leaders and the two of us shuttled back and forth until they both agreed to be involved. Pray also for the flexibility of the hotel so that we don't spend or waste money needlessly due to a political situation beyond our control. Once again, as in other times, it seems that ICRD is in the right place in the right time with the right idea to create movement in one part of the Syrian conflict. Keep praying dear friends,BrianSent from my iPhone
Grand Treasurer, His Excellency Chev. Edward S. Garlock, GCTJ officiated at the Convent and Investiture of the Priory of Our Savior at General Patton's family Episcopalian Church of Our Saviour in San Gabriel, California on Saturday April 27, 2013. See photos from the C&I HERE.
His Excellency Chev. Jay Allen Richardson, GOTJ, knights and dames participated in the investiture of SSG Eric Rommel Franco, Susan Marie Porter Griego, CAPT Michael Robert Lawler, Jr., Esq. and Joshua Adam Singerman for the Priory of Our Savior; and Wendell Brooks Phillips III, Esq. and Marydee Samn Rickards, Esq., for the Priory of Saint Francis.
His Excellency Grand Treasurer Chev. Edward S. Garlock, GCTJ led the granting of awards and promotions. The Commendation Medal: was awarded to Chancellor Bishop Chevalier Louis Victor Carlson, KCTJ for his extraordinary service as Treasurer and Chancellor. The Order’s prestigious Legion of Merit Award was awarded to His Excellency Chevalier David D. Hurford, Jr., GOTJ for his continued leadership as past Prior, in the new role as Grand Marketing Officer for GPUSA, and as Chair of the Committee to produce the Grand Convent & Investiture 2014 in Pasadena, California. The rank of Grand Officier (GOTJ) was conferred upon Chevaliers Leonard M. Holzworth and Chev. David Jester. The rank of Senior Chaplain (SCTJ) was conferred upon The Reverend Canon Chevalier Brian Cox.
A Change of Command for the Priory of Our Savior saw the installation of the new Priory Officers led by His Excellency Prior Bishop Chevalier Louis Victor Carlson, KCTJ.
A grand reception and banquet took place at the San Gabriel Country Club after the C&I.
Knights and Dames-Some important news will break shortly about the Los Angeles area priories, and I wanted to give you an early heads-up. Months ago, Grand Prior Tom Curtis asked us to host the Grand Priory’s national meeting, the Grand Convent and Investiture, in 2014. The priories’ Executive Committees, after much investigation and deliberation, agreed to accept this honor. Basic highlights are these:
This the first time in the Grand Priory’s history that Southern California will host this annual gathering of our American (and international) Brothers and Sisters. We plan to make it a memorable, well-executed event for all. And doing that will entail Southern California Knights and Dames pitching in together as we have never done before. I look forward to working with you to demonstrate for our friends from around the country the hospitality and capabilities that the Los Angeles priories can bring to producing the largest, most important Templar event of the year. Meantime, keep your eyes peeled for the article announcing the news nationally in the next issue of The Beauseant, arriving at your mailbox soon.I will be sharing more information on the back-story and the planning for the event at the Banquet following the Priory of Our Savior’s C&I next month, on April 27. So, if you have not done so already, please find your invitation and RSVP card, and make plans to be there!nnDnnDavid Hurford Jr., GOTJGrand Convent ChairmanPrior VIPriory of Our Savior
The Priory of Our Savior had a busy year in 2012 under the inspring leadership of Prior VII, His Excellency Chev. Jay Allen Richardson, GOTJ.
Grand Chancellor, LTC Chev. Thomas P. Curtis II, GCTJ, GMTJ presided at the Convent and Investiture of the Priory of Our Savior at General Patton's family Episcopalian Church of Our Saviour in San Gabriel, California on Saturday April 21, 2012. See photos from the C&I HERE.
Prior Jay A. Richardson, GOTJ, knights and dames participated in the investiture of Karyn Ayn Carlson, the Honorable Barbara Kogerman, LT COL William Gustav Kogerman, Erik Joel Laykin, COL Jeffrey Alan Powers and Ricardo Alexander Sarmiento for Priory of Our Savior and Master Gunnery SGT Matthew Perry Scott for Priory of the Christian Soldier.The rank of Commandeur (KCTJ) was conferred upon Chevaliers The Right Reverend Louis Victor Carlson, Jr., CSM William David McLeroy, Ronald Lee Smalstig and David Randall Siler. The Bronze Long and Faithful Service Award (5 Years) was awarded to the Reverend Canon Chev. Brian Cox, CTJ, Chev. Leonard Martin Holzworth, KCTJ, Chev. Robert Daniel Marcarelli, GOTJ, GMTJ, Chev. Jay Allen Richardson, GOTJ. The Silver Long and Faithful Service Award (10 Years) was awarded to His Excellency Chev. David D. Hurford, Jr., GOTJ.The Achievement Medal was awarded to Chev. Bazzel Hassan Abes Baz, KTJ. The Meritorious Service Medal was awarded to His Excellency Past Prior Chev. David D. Hurford, Jr., GOTJ. The Legion of Merit Medal was awarded to His Excellency Deputy Grand Prior Region VII Chev. Edward Sanford Garlock, GCTJ. Grand Chancellor, LTC Chev. Thomas P. Curtis II, GCTJ, GMTJ led the investiture of Chev. Leonard Holzworth, KCTJ, into the Order of Merit in the rank of Commandeur, CMTJ.A grand reception and banquet took place at the San Gabriel Country Club after the C&I. Grand Chancellor, LTC Chev. Thomas P. Curtis II, GCTJ, GMTJ addressed the assembly. Chev. Rob Marcarelli, GOTJ, GMTJ, screened his Templar promotional video.
On July 21 the Priory and guests met for "Knights on the Beach" at the Jonathan Beach Club at Santa Monica, CA. Over 60 members, candidates and guests met for fellowship, food, a delightful afternoon at the Pacific Ocean, and our principle annual fund raiser. After a brief prayer and delicious food, we drew tickets to win some wonderful prizes, like tickets to the Hollywood Bowl, tickets for box seats at a L.A. Lakers game, an Apple I-Pad, etc. We conducted a live auction for some "ancient" spirits (Scotch) and bid "God's Speed" to a Knight who was bound for a years duty in Afghanistan.
With the funds raised, the Priory of Our Savior has funded two GPUSA scholarships for students in the Holy Land, and issued major support checks for the Red Shield program of the Salvation Army in Los Angeles, the Pasadena Boys and Girl's Club and the USMC Devil Pups Program for "at-risk" youth in the Los Angeles area. New prospective members were recruited for the Priory and everyone had a grand afternoon.
On December 1 the Priory of Our Savior hosted "Christmas in the City" on the downtown rooftop terrace of the Jonathan Club. Surrounded by the brightly lit skyscrapers of Los Angeles, the Knights and Dames of the Priory brought toys for children and placed them under a sparkling Christmas Tree. Cocktails, an invocation, an inspiring message by Prior Jay Richardson and a gourmet dinner were brightened by live music, wandering carolers and Christmas carols sung by a choir of over 70 members and guests. Between raindrops we went out onto the rooftop for cigars, champagne and delightful conversation.
As 2012 comes to an end, we are preparing for a Convent and Investiture on April 27, 2013, welcoming many new Knights and Dames into the Priory and a change in Priory leadership.
And we have begun to prepare to host the Grand C&I in 2014, if approved by GPUSA.
The San Antonio C&I was incredibly rewarding, and also a little sentimental in my view, since the new Jerusalem Commandery was stood up for the first time in seven-hundred years. The Convent was informed that the senior clerical leaders of the Holy Land insisted that we Templars return in numbers to take up residence in Jerusalem as it was, in fact, our historic home. Yet, at the same C&I, we learned that less than ONE THIRD of our 1,700 Templars here in America contribute to the Jerusalem Mite.
For those of you unfamiliar with the plight of Christianity in the Middle East, it is a catastrophe both from their declining numbers and the on-going persecution which diminishes their numbers. Egypt’s Copts, Lebanon’s Maronites, Iraq’s Chaldeans, Syria’s Catholics and Israel’s various Christian communities are "in extremis." For instance, it was pointed out that Jerusalem’s Armenian Catholics who once numbered 40,000 in the old city only a half century ago, are now numbered at 400. Similar declines mark the other major Christian communities enumerated above.
Films like "Obsession: Radical Islam’s War against the West," "Facing Extinction: The Christians of Iraq," and SMOTJ’s 2011 Documentary, "An Overview," relate to the burgeoning saga of religious intolerance desperately in need of address.
We are an ecumenical, charitable, Christian order striving to keep the pilgrim roads to Jerusalem open for all faiths, not only Christianity. Our order is held in the highest regard by many of Islam’s best known theologians. They acknowledge that we seek peace among the world’s great religions through reconciliation, conflict avoidance, standing against oppression, support of the poor and the sick, and defense of those wrongfully accused. They respect us as a chivalrous order.
GPUSA’s financial help in the Holy Land last year approached $135,000. I can only imagine what it might rise to if all our Templar members join in our commitment to keep the pilgrim roads to Jerusalem open at this critical time in Christianity’s history in that troubled area.
Lt.Col. (ret) Chev. Robert S. Miller, KCTJ
Last November my colleagues from the PACIS Project and I met for 2 1/2 hours with Mohammed Morsi, then Chairman of the Freedom & Justice Party of Egypt with his Vice Chairman Dr. Esam El-Erian. This week we learned that Morsi is the new president of Egypt.
Being the first Islamist President of the most populous and powerful Arab nation has world leaders wondering “what can we expect from Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood?” Perhaps some insights gained from that meeting and from my general dealings with Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Jordan, Syria and Egypt over the past seven years will shed some light. I have three key observations.
Brothers and Sisters:The Government of Iraq (GoI), the new sheriff in town, is now changing some of the processes which, prior to 1 January 2012, had been working effectively for deliveries of Class I and Class III (Bulk), so our key efforts are focused on sustaining the supply chain deliveries of Class I and Class III (Bulk) to support Department of State (DOS) mission requirements.
Beginning early 2011, nine year old Willow Bradfute was abducted from her home in Killeen Texas. The abductors, Willow’s non-custodial mother with a history of drug trafficking and imprisonment along with her Columbian Cartel boyfriend, also previously imprisoned for drug trafficking planned and executed the kidnapping and journey across the Mexican border to escape capture. Fearing for the life of his daughter, the custodial father, Cory Bradfute contacted local, state and federal authorities for assistance and was turned away… authorities either too busy or calling it a civil matter and dismissing it. The kidnappers threatened to harm the child if a ransom was not paid and began extortion demands first for $50,000 US dollars. When the custodial father, Cory Bradfute negotiated as best he could, he and his parents had no choice but to pay the first installment of $1000.00 to buy as much time as they could.
In my last article, we met Master Bladesmith Andrew Jordan and his preparation for the commission to create for our Knight a pair of authentic Templar fighting swords manufactured to the same specifications, and with similar materials, as the swords of the ancient warrior Knights. We watched him clean, cut, and create blocks of a rare grade of ancient steel for forging of the swords. And we watched the process of heating, hammering and folding those blocks (with over 250 layers from the folding) of steel into two finished bars called “primary blanks”, one that will become the Short Sword and one to become the Great Sword, that our Knight is donating to our Priory.
Robert Marcarelli, GOTJ, GCTJ and member of Priory of Our Saviour has produced a 15 minute promotional video for SMOTJ. The film is to serve as a visual tool that provides a general overview of the Order that can be used as a recruiting DVD. The fast paced film uses footage shot at the grand C&I at West Point as well as the Holy Land Pilgrimage. It starts with a brief history of the Templar's then moves to various testimonial interviews by members of the Order. We now have an approved film that serves to assist in the sometimes difficult process of explaining "who we are, and what we do". For a copy for yourself of a potential postulant, please contact Prior Jay.
Reverend Chev. Brian Cox, KTJ, Chaplain of the Priory of Our Savior, was recognized with the prestigious Association for Conflict Resolution's Peacemaker Award for his peace and interfaith reconciliation work in the Middle East with the Pepperdine Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution and the PACIS Project in Faith Based Diplomacy. The Peacemaker Award acknowledges the significant and sustained contributions by an individual or organization to the cause of peace. At its heart, the purpose of conflict resolution, and the goal of ACR, is to bring peace to troubled relationships, whether domestic, organizational, environmental, or international. This award recognizes efforts to bring peace through various conflict resolution approaches to ethnic, religious, and civil conflicts that have raged domestically and outside the United States. The Peacemaker Award was instituted in 2001. Earlier recipients include Senator George Mitchell, Lee H. Hamilton, Amb. John W. McDonald and Padraig O’Malley.
What does G-d say? The trauma in Iraq over the lastfew days has been immense. People have been killed bombs have gone of one stop and it would be normal for people to say why? Why does G-d allow such awful things? It is question that is often asked to us Whatas Christian's. Why does God allow such awful things to happen if he is really in control? Bombs, illness, famine. These are indeed the real questions of life.I remember the days when I was at studying theology in Cambridge. I was at a very good Evangelical College Ridley Hall. Studying theology is never easy, training for ministry it is always difficult but the hardest thing for me was dealing with the intensity and negativity of so many of my fellow students. The doubts and anger and theological questions. When are faced with suffering we always have questions. They main one being "Why Lord why?" it is natural to ask questions, but the issue is how we respond. For us as Christians our response has to be different.In the midst of our immense difficulties and problems we have to remember the most basic thing in our life, our relationship with God. It is a relationship based in LOVE it is only the love of God that can sustain us in such suffering. It is only knowing His love that will sustain us and enable us to cope with out major theological questions of theodicy, (Why does a good God allow evil). We may be faced with major theological questions but our response is also a major theological. Like the response to most issues of suffering there is no clear easy response. The fundamental issue is the we live with a partially inaugurated eschatology. In other words God glory and majesty have been revealed yet at the same time the present evil age continues. In other words Man and the world fell soon after creation. The world remained in a fallen state until Jesus comes in all his glory. When our Lord comes the world radically changes. Suddenly light is revealed in darkness. People have hope, light and a future. Jesus has come, life has changed.Whilst change has come, the way of salvation has been revealed miracles happen and we live with supernatural God given power the present evil age continues. So we live in a post cross world but the present evil age continues. With its evil brokenness, terror trauma and evil continue. Yet there are so many Christians who think all brokenness and evil has gone. Indeed in 2 Cor.5 :17 we read that "the old has gone, the new has come" but that does not mean that all evil is over forever. It does not but we are told that "the suffering of this world is nothing to compare with the glory that is to come" Rom 8:28. So in scripture we are told of this ongoing battle between suffering and glory. Is the nature of the challenge we live with daily. It is the challenge of a partially inaugurated eschatology. I find it very difficult when Christian friends imply that if we are really living in Christ we have all the answers. We only need the real faith to have total healing and a total end of all tragedy. My Lord is with us always despite the suffering. Our God suffers with us, as I will write about that soon when I look at the suffering of Christ.
WITH EVERY BLESSING
Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East
Dames and Knights All:
It’s the only day all year that chancel hangings and clergy vestments may be Gold. Not all parishes and clergy have such hangings and vestments. After all, they are used only one day a year!
That day is Easter. It is the queen of all the festivals, even higher than Christmas, whose color is white. A bit of history explains why. You see, Easter is the oldest of the festivals. It was nearly three centuries before the date of Christmas was widely accepted, and even now, it is not totally so. Some, using an older calendar and tradition, celebrate Christmas on January 6, Epiphany Day. Truth is, the date of the birth of Jesus is a mystery. It was witnessed mostly by angels, a few shepherds, and a bit later, three kings. It is Easter that finally brought Christmas into focus. We know the date of Easter. The resurrection, through the witness of the apostles, quickly become a very public proclamation.
Around the time of Jesus, many were expecting the coming of the Messiah. There were quite a number who claimed to be the messiah. Pilate dealt with a few of them himself. But they came and they went. Many of their names are lost altogether, and a few are known only to historians and scholars.
It would have been the same with Jesus, had God not raised him up from the dead. That’s how the New Testament apostles proclaimed the Good News. Peter peached in his Pentecost sermon: "God raised him up from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him." (Acts 2:24) Paul would write: "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself." (II Corinthians 5:19) Again Paul writes: "Therefore, God has highly exalted him and given Him a name that is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus, every knee shall bow . . . and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." (Philippians 2:9-11).
The color of Easter is gold! It defines our lives, the way we live. Of course we celebrate His birth. It is the story of God sending His Son into the world to redeem the world. (John 3:16) But it is fulfilled in awesome glory on Easter. "He is not here. He is risen. Why do you seek the living among the dead?"(Luke 24:5-6) Indeed! We shall never find the Risen Christ in the cemetery. He is alive walking in the midst of this world’s despair, working through his "resurrection people," people like us, who live always in the Good News of this day with the courage of the Risen Christ and the perspective of eternity. That changes things, you know! Canon White has written us, just this week, of the carnage and suffering in Baghdad. Still, he serves there and calls upon us to serve with him.
So Dames and Knights, as we celebrate again this Good News, we are committed to assist the Christians in the Holy Lands and elsewhere, bringing hope and sharing the courage that Easter should be giving to us all.
The color is gold! Its brilliant light illumines every day of the year. This is the news that can change lives. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!
In Christ, Our Risen Lord,
+ Theodore F. Schneider, Bishop Emeritus, SCTJGrand Chaplain
AN EASTER PRAYER:
ALMIGHTY GOD, you have renewed in us again the joy of celebrating our Lord’s resurrection. Give us also the joys of life in your service, and bring us at last to the full joy of life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. AMEN.
Adapted from the Gelasian Sacramentary (7th to 8th Century)
"I don't want the Islamists. If they come to power and I oppose them, they will say I am criticising their religion and who knows what they'll do to me? We can't talk to them," said 57-year-old Sanaa Rateb after casting her ballot. Dressed in a floral jacket topped with a pearl necklace, Rateb railed against those, including the Muslim Brotherhood, who object to a Christian or a woman standing as president.
The Grand Prior CAPT Chevalier Keith Larson, GCTJ, GMTJ has asked all Templars to consider the recent CBS "60 Minutes" video regarding the plight of the dwindling Christians in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Please pray for and support these Christians with a contribution to the Jerusalem Mite. Thank you and God Bless.
Christians of the Holy Land http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7406228n&tag=contentBody%3BstoryMediaBoxThe exodus from the Holy Land of Palestinian Christians could eventually leave holy cities like Jerusalem and Bethlehem without a local Christian population. Bob Simon reports.
We hear so often about Muslims as victims of abuse in the West and combatants in the Arab Spring’s fight against tyranny. But, in fact, a wholly different kind of war is underway—an unrecognized battle costing thousands of lives. Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion. It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm
The Executive Committee (“ExCom”) met in multiple sessions late this summer to discuss a variety of topics. I’m writing to inform you of two interrelated decisions, one that will be implemented later this year. The second will be implemented in 2012. For as long as I have been a member, the annual oblation has been mailed out in late November or early December. However, GPUSA relies heavily on the Grand Administrative Officer (Michael Burke), and members of his Firm (York, Burke, and Lee) to perform the related administrative work that includes the processing of all of the oblation returns. Unfortunately, by sending out the oblation notices at year’s end, we are asking York, Burke and Lee to collect and process the bulk of oblation returns during the first three months of the year, when the Firm’s attention needs to be focused on tax preparation and filing. The EXCOM has therefore voted unanimously to change the timing of the issuance of the annual oblation notices.
News came filtering back from Warsaw, Poland, that LTC Chev. Bill Sellen was elected as the new Grand Prior for the NATO Grand Priory. Most of us have had the great pleasure of meeting, and getting to know, Bill and Phyllis, who are familiar participants in all of the C & I’s of the GPUSA. It was wonderful news to know that we will continue to have a direct line into the "happenings" of the NATO Grand Priory and our fellow Knights and Dames across the world. Invested into the Order in Brighton, England, back in 1998, LTC Sellen served as the Chancellor South in the NATO Priory of the Pacific, which included Southern California, and the Chancellor East of the NATO Priory of the Pacific, which included all of the United States other than California. Bill was elected Prior of the NATO Priory of the Pacific and Atlantic in 2007, which included all of the United States, the capacity in which he served until his election as NATO Grand Prior on 1 August.
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Grand Convent 2012 in San Antonio