Saturday, October 29, 2022

Commissioned Templar Chaplain Program

While Freemasonry is not a religion nor a substitute for one, our members are religious and we are charged to pay that respect and reverence to the Great Architect of the Universe as due from creature to its Creator. In nearly every Masonic body, there is an officer known as the Chaplain, Prelate, or Primate who has the duty to preside over the prayers and other important duties delegated to them by law, ritual, or dictates of the presiding officer. The Chaplain (or by whatever name they are known) is, in my opinion, an underutilized officer and there is so much potential for that officer's involvement in the affairs of the Lodge and not just during the meetings. Having served in the U.S. Army, I learned that while our Chaplains Corps provided spiritual support to the soldiers, they also provided counseling to those in need, and were often the morale officer of their unit. Chaplains in Masonry can serve a similar mission, but this also requires training and study.

During the Northwest Department Conference, the Grand Encampment announced the creation of the Commissioned Templar Chaplain Program to train Chaplains and Prelates for leadership and service within their respective Masonic bodies. In their own words, "A chaplain who is secure in his or her own faith, and who has the skills to listen and comfort, is the person who will help lead us to greater glory in service and humility." 

The program is composed of 12 units that are all online and self-paced. The course will include reading, video lectures, quizzes, and projects that will help develop your skills and assess your strengths and weaknesses as a Chaplain. The course is open to all Sir Knights as well as to all members of the Masonic family (including Masonic youth groups). The cost of enrollment is $75 plus the cost of the book "On Being a Masonic Chaplain" by Sir Knight Robert Elsner, Associate Grand Prelate of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar USA. It is important to note that this program is not a substitution for ordination nor a course in evangelism. As the Knights Templar is a military order, this program is a commission by the Grand Encampment only; ordination falls under the authority of a church. This program can be found at the Templar Education Portal. NOTE: Enrollment will not be open until December 1, 2022.

Upon completion of the 12-courses, a certificate and a breast jewel are issued.

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