2018 Templar Pilgrimage
CAPT Chev. Clay Kemmerer, USN (ret), GCTJ, GMTJ
Grand Prior XXI, GPUSA

Dear Knights and Dames:

Greetings Fellow Templars! We finished 2018 exceptionally well, in many ways, but especially where our Pilgrimage is concerned. As I shared with our Pilgrims in our final days in the Holy Land, one goes on such a journey knowing that it will be a spiritual experience, profoundly so for many, though one cannot fully envision just how that will reveal itself until one is there. What may be less anticipated is the depth and extent of the insights one gains into both the complexities of life and culture in that Land, and also the appreciation gained for the works of those we support there with our charitable gifts. We had all three in spades – spiritual, cultural, charitable - on our truly wonderful 2018 Pilgrimage. I encourage all to engage those who went in conversation and learn about it from them. We certainly had much to reflect on over Christmas, mere days after our return home.

Now that 2019 is well underway and associated tasks are progressing as they should, some thoughts come into new focus. New Years are all about making resolutions and commitments, often to things we have committed ourselves to in the past (successfully so or otherwise!) The word that comes most to mind for me is “REDEDICATION”. Rededicating ourselves can take many forms, each as individual as we all are. Our commitments as Templars are of course on my mind – but that is but one aspect of the rededication that I encourage us all to undertake at this time of year. For some, this will be a very practical exercise – and for others, perhaps those who have been suffering or lost loved ones, this can be a deeply internalized matter. Let us all take stock and, keeping each other and our loved ones well in mind, rededicate ourselves to all that gives the most substance and meaning to our lives. Healthy Habits are a common resolution theme – but they can be and are, certainly for us, about much, much more than diet and exercise, just as we are so much more than just our physical selves.

2018 Pilgrimage, and 2019 Rededication – how are they related? My first thought on this stems from our official call with the Greek Patriarch. Sometimes the simplest ideas can carry the most meaning. We were discussing the Christians in the Holy Land, and HB THEOPHILOS III shared the perspective that there needed to be much less focus on victimhood, and more focus instead on what it truly means to be a Christian and a concomitant willingness to sacrifice with more acceptance, and indeed fulfillment, for that. I believe he stated, and I wrote just afterward, the thought that there is really but one victim, and He chose to sacrifice for us all. This came to mind again days later, on the Mount of the Beatitudes, as I reflected on the last of them, “Blessed are they who are Persecuted for the sake of Righteousness, for theirs shall be the Kingdom of Heaven.”

On December 4th we visited Tabga. As we sat in the Church of the Multiplication, looking upon the rock under the altar and listening through our earpieces to the description of the dividing of the loaves and fishes and the feeding of a great multitude, a crowd came and stood between us and the chain which cordoned off the chancel and altar area. I might have been annoyed – but instead, I was struck that they, and we, were still being fed today, in the spiritual sense. Soon after, we walked to the nearby Church of the Primacy of St. Peter, where after the resurrection Jesus gave his mandate to Peter. His words, on the plaque at the bottom of the sculpture, were “Feed My Sheep.” Loaves and fishes were not what He had in mind – and that was a message I could not miss!

We are all being fed still today, and we feed and care for each other. Some suffer or are persecuted more than others, and yet they endure. We Templars endeavor to feed them, as we would wish to be fed were we in their shoes, as they endure for the sake of Righteousness. We enjoy many peripheral aspects of Templarism, some more than others, and that is fine – but this, the feeding of others, is what we are truly about. Perhaps that is worthy of inclusion among the things that we renew our commitment to, and to which we rededicate ourselves in this New Year. May it be a great one for us all!

Humbly yours,



January 2019
Regular publication of SMOTJ GPUSA

In This Issue

  A Word from the Grand Prior

  Milwaukee - 2019

  Cross of the Four Apostles

  From Pilgrim to Missionary

  SMOTJ Scholarship Program

  Heraldic Services

  Priory News

  GPUSA Calendar


CAPT Chev. Clay Kemmerer, USN (ret), GCTJ, GMTJ, Grand Prior XXI

Templar Times Editor
Chvse. Analee V. Evans, GOTJ

Chvse. Michael Ann Robinson DCTJ
Chev. Robert Orin Holmes, Sr., GCTJ, CMTJ

Non Nobis, Domine, Non Nobis, Sed Nomini Tuo Da Gloriam ®

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