Theosophical Order of Service Annual Report to Sep 30, 2015

TOS board members 2015
TOS board members

The Theosophical Order of Service (TOS) in the USA is governed by a board of seven directors plus a treasurer and two honorary directors who assist with valuable insights gained from their many years of service. Pictured above are: (from left to right, seated) Tim Boyd, Nancy Secrest, president, (standing) Joe Gullo, honorary director, Jon Knebel, Betty Bland, treasurer, Rozi Ulics, assistant webmaster, Carol Nicholson and Kathy Gann, secretary.

 

Director Lloyd Standish, webmaster and honorary director Miles Standish are not shown.   Membership in the TOS is automatic for all members of the Theosophical Society in America (TSA) who wish to participate, and is also available to non-TSA members  by a financial donation of any size. Many of our TSA branches and study centers have appointed a liaison. Kathy Gann continues to  do a wonderful job as liaison coordinator. She assists whenever local TOS groups need help  with ideas or in getting started on a project. Kathy also publishes an e-Newsletter, The Spirit of  Service, which is sent to the liaisons and group leaders periodically. In addition, funds have  been set aside for groups to request as ‘seed’ money to help them begin new service projects.  This year, seed money was granted to local TOS groups for a Christmas giving project, the  purchase of the book and CD War and the Soul, copies of which were distributed to local  veterans’ organizations, and to pay TS membership dues for prisoners. 

Our healing network director, Diane Eisenberg, heads up a network consisting of 44 groups as well as a number of  individuals who perform healing meditations on a regular basis. Names are now submitted and shared internationally. 

Our animal healing network is directed by board member Rozi Ulics. It works along the same lines as our regular healing network with a meditation designed specifically for animals, and that network also shares names internationally.

Ananya Sri Ram Rajan, editor of For the Love of Life, produces our magazine on an annual basis. This year, the theme of our Winter 2014/15 issue was “Women’s Issues”. The theme of our Winter 2015/16 issue will be “Children in Distress”, with articles about children who are in stressful situations such as: war, displacement, natural disasters, homelessness, child abuse, etc. Ananya also edits our new quarterly e-Newsletter, OneHeart. The first issue will be released October 1, 2015, and will contain news, current activities and reports on local group projects of interest to our members. In addition, our TOS informational and healing brochures are included in every TSA new member’s packet. They are also available, at no cost upon request, for distribution at TS/TOS lodges and study centers. 

.This year we published a new edition of a booklet originally published by the TOS in 2006, Are Animals Our Neighbors? by Gracia Fay Ellwood. The new edition was launched at the TSA’s Summer National Convention (SNC) in July. Copies have been sent to all theosophical libraries and bookshops for free distribution and are available to TS/TOS members and groups at no cost. A small donation to cover postage is requested. A Spanish language edition is in the works.

We continued to assist the international TOS by distributing copies of their publication, Helping the Dying in both English and Spanish. In addition, some funds were granted to the TOS International, our parent organization, with additional funds set aside to assist with international disaster relief such as the April 2015 earthquake and its aftershocks in Nepal.

This year, we also focused on the following projects and programs: 
We continued to work toward the objectives set out in our Plan of Action for the TOS-USA.  More presentations on the TOS were given, culminating with a talk at the Olcott Study Center in Wheaton, IL in February 2015 which was video taped and placed on DVD’s. A copy of the  DVD was then mailed to all TSA branches and study centers. The board formed a committee to suggest guidelines for “what constitutes a theosophical project”. The redesign of our TOS website was completed in early September 2015, and we have contracted with iContact, a service that assists with the formatting and mailing of e-newsletters in order to “go green” and increase member contact while reducing postage costs. 

We worked closely with the international TOS on the collection of donations for the Golden Link College in the Philippines. These donations, combined with a matching grant from the Kern Foundation in the US, have allowed us to send over $40,000 to the school each year since 2009.  

The Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservations in the USA are among the poorest in the country. Karen McCormick continues the TOS work with these Native Americans.  We provide school supplies for the children and winter coats, blankets and Christmas gifts for the children and elders. Miles and Lloyd Standish, honorary TOS board member and TOS board member respectively, continue to assist a Native American newspaper with computer services. This year our Native American program was expanded by the granting of funds to the Lakota Waldorf School on the Pine Ridge Reservation. 

The TOS-USA board voted, for the fifth year in a row, to grant a scholarship to a Native American student from the Oglala Lakota College School of Nursing located on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. The student is selected by the college based on criteria set by the TOS.  Although the award is given to an individual, we feel that a student with a degree in a service profession, such as nursing, will benefit countless others for many years to come.  The most recent recipient is Angie Big Crow, pictured at right.

We also repeated grants to DuPage County PADS, a local homeless shelter, Safe Haven for Cats in NC, The Beagle Freedom Project in CA and the Grace Children’s Foundation in NY. New grants this year went to the Children’s Advocacy Center – Hope House in Covington, LA, a group dedicated to breaking the cycle of child abuse, and to Mushrooms for Ghana which assists local farmers, mostly women, in growing oyster and shiitake mushrooms, an inexpensive, protein rich food source for the Ghanaian people. 

Nancy Secrest
President, TOS-USA