We think of the Theosophical Society as being dedicated to study, meditation and service. The Theosophical Order of Service is the service arm of the Theosophical Society. The motto of the TOS is – A union of those who love in the service of all that suffers. The TOS operates nationally in many TS countries. The national TOS groups then work together internationally. So that the warm hearts and helping hands of theosophists circle the globe.
For many, many years the TOS-USA was run by Jean and Joe Gullo. They put in many thousands of hours of loving service demonstrating theosophical values through action, and encouraging service to all life on the planet through the work of the TOS departments and the publication of For The Love of Life, our magazine. Jean Gullo passed away in January of this year. We remember her with fondness, respect and gratitude. Joe Gullo sits on our current board as an honorary director. We value his experience and his wisdom.
The TOS in the USA is governed by a board currently consisting of seven directors. They are: Tim Boyd, Betty Bland, Ananya Rajan, Jeanne Proulx, Jon Knebel, Kathy Gann and Nancy Secrest. We also have two honorary directors who are Joe Gullo and Miles Standish.
Many of our branches and study centers have appointed a member to act as a TOS liaison to the national TOS. These folks keep us up to date on service projects their groups are doing and communicate whenever they need help getting ideas or getting started on a project.
We also have several TOS Action Groups. These are groups of people consisting of TSA and non-TSA members who band together to carry out service projects. The Wheaton group has served meals at a local homeless shelter, visited veterans, worked with children and adopted families at Christmas among several other worthwhile activities.
We have seven loosely organized departments which are: Arts & Music, Ecology, Peace, Family, Social Services, Animals & Healing. These emphasize the areas of service to which we devote our energies.
Our healing network is run by Hutsy Contractor. In Husty’s own words which I took from the Winter 2011 issue of FTLOL.
"In these days of seemingly perpetual crises. It is easy to become complacent or even despondent, feeling personally incapable of having any significant impact on the world’s problems. However, there is very strong evidence that our thoughts, words and deeds do have an impact beyond our immediate awareness. If we accept this as fact, it becomes our responsibility to contribute in any way we can to the positive energy of our universe. One way of achieving this is to consciously invoke the angelic hosts to send healing love to those who suffer."
The TOS Healing Network consists of approximately 57 groups and individuals who perform healing services on a regular basis. The Network receives the names of individuals who are ill or injured via a dedicated phone line. These names are distributed to the Network groups who include them in their healing services for the next month. We encourage anyone to contribute the names of their loved ones who have become ill.
The TOS magazine, For The Love of Life, is published each winter with a newsletter being published in June. Ananya Rajan is the editor of FTLOL. She does a wonderful job of acquiring articles and presenting them in the magazine. In 2007 we published a commemorative issue which is a lovely keepsake. It gives the history of the TOS both internationally and in the US with many interesting and rare pictures. Our 2009 issue focused on various service projects. The 2010 issue focused on ecology and sustainability and our 2010 Winter issue highlighted homelessness. Copies of these older issues are still available. They can be requested by emailing us, calling our toll free number or writing to our PO Box – see contact.
The TOS has also published two books, The Essence of Healing and Christmas and Solstice. They are also available upon request for a small donation. The international TOS recently published a small booklet, Helping the Dying, written by Nelda Samarel. Nelda holds a doctorate in Nursing, is a former TSA board member and the former head of the Krotona School of Theosophy. Copies of these booklets are free upon request for personal, branch/study center, or hospice use.
During the past few years, we have focused on several projects and programs. One of the most successful was our effort to raise money for the Golden Link School in the Philippines. The Golden Link School is a theosophical school. Donations came in from around the world. Due to a matching grant from the Kern Foundation, we were able to send $43,000 to the school that matched donations received during the 2010 calendar year. These funds paid for the addition of college curriculum and other essentials to the school.
Working with The Tibet Fund, the TOS acted as a conduit for donations to the ChuSuhl orphanage in Tibet. Enough money was raised for a new dormitory and to improve the sewage system with toilets and showers for the children. The TOS also raised funds for Haitian relief.
Our battery recycling program is a great success. This program was started by Marcia Doty in Ojai,CA. She devised a plan whereby a small bucket is placed in places of business, etc. Into the bucket people can deposit spent batteries D cell or smaller. The buckets are then collected and batteries taken to appropriate local collection site for safe disposal or recycling. The last count I heard was that Marcia and friends have recycled 4 tons of batteries. Others around the country have followed her lead. Kits are available at no charge if you would like to set up your own battery recycling program, although any small bucket will do.
The Rosebud and Pine Ridge Indian reservations are among the poorest in the country. Karen McCormick has worked tirelessly with these Native Americans. The TOS has supplied school supplies, Christmas gifts and winter coats for the children and elders.
In fiscal 2012, the TOS-USA will continue with these Native American projects. The board also voted to grant a $5,000 scholarship to a Native American student from the Oglala Lakota College School of Nursing who displays both merit and need. The student will be selected by the college. The Oglala Lakota College is located on the Pine Ridge reservation. We will also be granting funds to the St.Francis wolf sanctuary which is in Texas.
We have an exciting new program. Last year, the TOS funded a scholarship for one of our TSA members to attend a Soldiers’ Heart seminar. In return, he was to write a paper or plan a project based on what he learned. David Ely, a member from the Northeast, devised the Trees for Vets program. Donations are made to this program (via the TOS) to have a tree planted in memory of or in honor of a veteran. The trees are being bought from Lowe’s at a discount then planted in a local location that the donor chooses from a list of places that have granted permission to plant. A plaque with the veteran’s name marks the tree. The difference between the amount donated and the cost of the tree and planting materials is then donated to the veteran’s organization of the donor’s choice. All labor is volunteer. The program is still in the planning stages, but should be up and running soon. Watch for news of it on this website.
Speaking of the website: Here you can find the latest and greatest information about the TOS and submissions from our members and friends about various service opportunities. Our web master is Lloyd Standish, and he eagerly awaits your submissions to the site. Those interested please contact him.
I will end with these words from Anne Frank:
"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."
Theosophical Order of Service