Order of St John in the United States

The Priory in the United States of America is one of the establishments of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. It is one of eleven international priories and the representative of the Order in the United States of America. The main purpose of the Priory is to provide for the financial support of the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group. It also contributes to other projects of the Order of St John around the world, responds to special appeals for disaster relief, and maintains a volunteer service corps that serves veterans in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

Priory in the United States of America of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem
Priory coat of arms
MottoPro fide and
Pro utilitate hominum
(Latin: For the faith and in the service of humanity)
Formation1996
TypeCharitable organization
Headquarters1850 M Street
Washington, DC 20036
Location
  • United States of America
Membership
1,206[1]
Prior
Palmer C. Hamilton, KStJ
Key people
Douglas L. Paul, KStJ (Chancellor)
AffiliationsOrder of St. John
Websitehttp://www.saintjohn.org/

History

The predecessor of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem have had a long history in the United States of America. In the 1870s, Bishop Charles Todd Quintard of Tennessee had been made a Chaplain of what was then called the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem in England.[2] The number of members of the Order in the United States remained small even after the a Royal Charter was granted by HM Queen Victoria in 1888. It was only in the 1950s that a number of prominent individuals in the area of New York City began to get involved with the Order's work.[3] Before 1960, the membership included Fanny Hanna Moore, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr, Edward Nason West, and Grayson L. Kirk.[3] As more people became involved in the Order, a need was felt for some sort of organization to help in the coordination of fundraising and service efforts. Because the United States of America was a republic with no formal connection to the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth, an alternative to the traditional Priories and Commanderies was devised. In 1957, the American Society of the Order was formally incorporated in the state of New York[4] with Fairbanks and others acting as the original founders.[5] This allowed the American contingent of Order members to more effectively raise funds for the Eye Hospital in Jerusalem and the Order's work around the world.

As the Order's presence in the United States grew, it was able to expand beyond its traditional base in the area around New York City. Groups of members began to develop around St. Louis, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. among other areas. The geographic area of the Order in the United States became larger and the membership became more diverse.[4] By the early 1990s, the arrangement whereby the Order was represented in the United States solely by a corporate entity in New York became untenable. On May 11, 1996, the Priory in the USA was formally established at a ceremony National Cathedral in Washington attended by HRH Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester.[4] When the Priory was established, some members of the Order from existing Priories expressed concern that those appointed in the new Priory would be buying honors since there was no St. John Ambulance in which service could be recognized.[6] Since its establishment, the Priory in the USA has "raised millions of dollars over the years to support the work of St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital, its hospital in Hebron, satellite eye clinics in Gaza and the West Bank, and mobile outreach, training, teaching and research programs."[7]

Structure

National organization

As one of eleven Priories of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, the Priory in the United States of America is led by a Prior and a Chapter.[8] The Priory has had three Priors since it was established in 1996:

  • John R. Drexel IV, GCStJ (1996–2008)[4]
  • A. Marshall Acuff, GCStJ (2008–2014)[4]
  • Palmer C. Hamilton, KStJ (2014–present)[4]

From the foundation of the Priory until 2012, the American Society and the Priory in the USA worked concurrently to fulfill the Order's mission in the country. The American Society was dissolved on June 26, 2012 and its functions were absorbed into the Priory. The Chapter of the Priory comprises 20 members of the Order from across the United States who serve staggered three-year terms.[9] There are also several national officers of the Priory including the chancellor, four vice-chancellors, a sub-prelate, a treasurer, a secretary, a hospitaller, an historiographer, and a genealogist. These are appointed to three-year terms as well.[10] The Priory also employs an executive director who is not a member of the Order, but "handles day-to-day operations, focusing on membership communications and fundraising within and outside the Order."[8]

Regional organization

The regional administration of the Priory is divided up into thirteen geographic areas. As of 2014, these regions were Atlanta, Charleston, Connecticut, the Gulf Coast, the Mountain States, New York, Palm Beach, Richmond, San Diego, San Francisco, Southwest, St. Louis, and Washington, DC.[1] Each region is headed by a regional chair and a committee that plans and organizes fund-raising events. The annual service of investiture and rededication also rotates through these cities each year.

Service

Unlike many other Priories and Associations of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, the Priory in the United States of America does not manage an ambulance service for first aid training and first aid cover. The main mission of the Priory has always been to raise funds for the Order's eye hospital in Jerusalem. This was its main purpose in its days as the American Society, as well. The donations provided by the Priory in the United States comprise a large portion of the Eye Hospital's budget. In 2014—the most recent year for which data are available—the Priory donated $1,515,562 to the hospital's work.[1]

Since 2013, the Priory in the United States has overseen the St. John Volunteer Corps (SJVC). It was formally launched at the Priory's annual meeting in January of that year.[11] Because the Priory has never been involved with the St. John Ambulance, confrères in the United States had never had coordinated hands-on service opportunities in which to be involved.[11] They were not able to support the work of the Order beyond making annual oblations to Eye Hospital.[11] The SJVC's stated goal is to give "provide members and potential members [of the Priory] with the opportunity to engage in a variety of volunteer service activities in Veterans Administration Facilities throughout the United States."[12]

Cooperation with the Order of St John

In addition to working with the Saint John Eye Hospital Group and the St. John Volunteer Corps, the Priory in the United States of America is involved in other cooperative work both with the other establishments of the Order of St. John and with other organizations. As one of 11 international Priories of the Order of St John, the Priory in the United States has twice been the host of the annual Grand Council meeting of the international Order of St John.[7] It also has supported various appeals from the international office in London. These have included the Grand Prior's appeal for the Priory of South Africa for its home-based care training programs, St. John programs in Sri Lanka and in Canada, and renovation projects for the Order's Priory Church crypt and museum in Clerkenwell, London.[7] On a personal level, members of the Priory in the United States respond to the disasters such as tsunamis in Asia, Hurricane Katrina in the United States, and a cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe by providing medical equipment, supplies and financial support to relief efforts.[7]

Notable members

References

  1. "Annual Report 2014" (PDF). The Priory in the United States of the Most Venerable Order of Saint John. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  2. Zieber, Eugene (1900). Heraldry in America. New York, NY: Bailey, Banks, & Biddle Company.
  3. Sasser, Howell. "The Order of St. John – The Historiographers' Corner". The Priory in the United States of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  4. Sasser, Howell. "The Order of St. John – History". The Priory in the United States of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  5. "The Order of St. John – Douglas Elton Fairbanks, Jr". The Priory in the United States of America of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  6. Sylvester, Rachel (April 14, 1996). "Royal honours for sale in the US". Sunday Telepraph. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  7. "The Order of St. John – Mission". The Priory in the United States of America of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  8. "The Order of St. John – Organization". The Priory in the United States of America of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  9. "The Order of St. John – Priory Chapter". The Priory in the United States of America of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  10. "The Order of St. John – Officers". The Priory in the United States of America of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  11. "The Order of St. John – Who We Are". The Priory in the United States of America of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  12. Southby, Richard; Heppner, Gray. "St John Volunteer Corps HANDBOOK FOR VOLUNTEERS" (PDF). The Priory in the United States of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  13. "No. 61305". The London Gazette. July 24, 2015. pp. 13771–13773.
  14. "No. 60559". The London Gazette. July 3, 2013. pp. 13083–13085.
  15. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/notice/L-59148-888305
  16. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/40818/page/3804
  17. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/38952/page/3259
  18. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/notice/L-58420-324096
  19. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/notice/3062494
  20. http://saintjohn.org/who/history
  21. "No. 47369". The London Gazette. November 4, 1977. pp. 13902–13904.
  22. "No. 62665". The London Gazette. June 6, 2019. pp. 10168–10169.
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