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THE HONOR 200 YEARS OF TEMPLARY IN VIRGINIA

Vignettes: #2 "DID YOU KNOW?"

BICENTENNIAL UPDATE - JUNE 2020

Sir Knights…in less than three years from now, we shall gather to do something few states have done and fewer still will do in our lifetimes…celebrate two centuries of being organized as Christian Knights Templar here in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Your Bi-Centennial Committee would like to share with you our vision of the scope of what we intend to accomplish and ask for your help.

In 1923, over 1500 people gathered in Richmond to commemorate the first century of our order…this number included Knights, their ladies and DeMolay. They marched in a parade down Monument Avenue in Richmond, conducted business in the Temple in Richmond and concluded the affair with a grand dinner dance complete with a live orchestra.
 
For 2023, we are going to be in Williamsburg at the Double Tree and will build upon the Centennial activity. Sir Knights will gather at Bruton Parrish and, accompanied by a Bag Pipe Unit and Colonial Re-enactors, march down the Duke of Gloucester Street to the Capitol Building, where a Bi-Centennial Ceremony will be held.
  
The grand ballroom will be outfitted with two big screens upon which we will have many "virtual visits" during meetings and dinner. Those who cannot physically attend (or cost too much to get to attend) will still be part of our Bi Centennial memory with recorded visits.

After the Grand Commander's banquet, we will open a space adjacent to the dining area for music and dancing with a cash bar. (No Bi Centennial funds will be used to purchase alcohol).

All our activities will be photographed and videoed. Instead of printed programs, we will furnish every Sir Knight in Virginia with a flash drive bearing our logo and loaded with all the video, pictures and virtual visits, coverage of the trip to the Capitol together with the many documents in our episodic history we will be telling on our website each month in vignette fashion, leading up to the Bi-Centennial.
Various Sir Knights, including Tom Varner, the late Jeff Burcham and myself have been and will continue to be writing our 200 year history in episodic vignettes, placing them on the Grand Commandery Website in the years leading up to the Bi-Centennial. It is a way to tell our story rather than try to fit that into an already full agenda at conclave.

As you can imagine, all of this will cost money above what is typically spent for our annual conclave. Here is how you help.

We are asking each Commandery to undertake exercise fund-raising effort between now and the 2022 Conclave. Each Commandery has been given a goal that has been thoughtfully set, mindful of your membership size and capabilities. The per capita commitment works out to just $35 per Sir Knight given current membership. This is not a mandate from Grand Commandery nor is it an assessment, it is your committee asking fellow Knights…to help us organize a great remembrance for each of you and for the history of our Order.

Our incoming Grand Commander will be reaching out to the Eminent Commanders and their Sir Knights and share our Bi Centennial plans and additional aspirations with the hope to inspire the Sir Knights to will help to achieve our goal across the state.
The average amount per commandery is under $2,000 in total over the next two years, many are under that…we are not asking anyone for more than is possible.
 
It is totally up to each Commandery to decide how to get to their number. No one at Grand Commandery seeks to tell you how to do your business. Be creative and be relentless. If we collectively meet our goal, we can afford the Bi Centennial costs that are involved with what you have heard about just now.

It is our hope that the publicity we arouse (more on that in the next update) in the next couple years and with the support of our DeMolay, we can help grow interest and membership in Templar Masonry; and so, the scale of the celebration is key.

This is not just some grand, elaborate party…this is a multi-year activity, designed to bring focus to Templar masonry, giving a viable future to the next generation of Masons. For those of us too old to dance…we are not too old to dream of a legacy passed on in proper form.

With Gratitude for Your Faith and Service,

Jeffrey C. Hedges
Grand Musician
Chairman Bicentennial Committee