I’m honoured to have just interviewed George MacLean KCTJ of the Grand Priory of Knights Templar in England and Wales. This is part of OSMTH – the Knights Templar International. As I mentioned in a post yesterday, the Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani is the only Templar Order that enjoys Special Consultative Status at the United Nations. So here are some questions I put to George MacLean:
1) Tell me what The Grand Priory is, for those who don’t know?
The Grand Priory (GP) is a fraternal order of Christians from all denominations, aiming to live out their Christian lives according to the Rule (see website). We are made up of men and women from all walks of life and from all parts of England and Wales (Scotland has it’s own GP). The GP is the centre of the Order in E&W, but has devolved much responsibility to local areas (Preceptories) which focus charity in their local region. Additionally, some of our very large regional preceptories are divided into Houses where group members meet on a social basis. The GP is part of an international confederation of Grand Priories as you know (OSMTH-KTI) which meets several times a year. National events are organised at the GP level, and happen across England and Wales. Currently there are four major events per year:
Annual General Assembly in April: Where each member has the ability to vote and question the decisions made at Chapter (chapter is the “management committee” of the Order and meets 5-6x a year).
History and Heritage weekend in July: A weekend of education and visits to Templar sites. Destinations vary each year.
Retreat and Study weekend in September: a weekend of religious reflection and education. Destinations vary each year.
Advent Dinner: Canterbury social event.
At national events, novices receive the accolade of knight or dame and postulants become novices. We encourage families of the novices and postulants and members of the public to attend our national events.
We are a non-Masonic organisation, but do not discriminate against those who are.
2) What charitable work are you currently involved in?
The Grand Priory has two associated charities, Templar Pilgrimage Trust and Templar Heritage Trust (see website). These two charities are the focus of our activity, but from time to time the GP (not a charity) does contribute to causes in the name of the GP and membership. Additionally, Preceptories are active in local charity work, see above.
3) What is your relationship to the original Knights Templar?
We do not claim, never have claimed, to be inheritors of the original KT. We are not a secret organisation and neither do we have “secret knowledge”. We see the original KT as role models for chivalric and prayerful life.
4) How does one become a member?
The process of joining is relatively easy, but it is rigourous. Not all applications are successful. Applications are made through the website or by contacting a local group. Once an application form is completed and returned, checks are made. If successful then the applicant is nominated to Chapter for admission. Candidates are initially admitted as Postulants. We encourage applicants to attend local or national events in a “getting to know you” environment. Once through the stage of Postulant, the candidate becomes a Novice, is allocated to a Preceptory and begins to prepare a project. It is the successful completion of this mentored project that will confirm the candidate as ready to become a knight or dame. Initially there is only a £15 admin fee to cover the candidate’s application form. Our annual subscription is not excessive at £52.
The Grand Priory is always looking for new members. They are the future of our Order. We encourage members to participate at all levels, and perhaps even stand for election to one of the officer roles. We have a OMOV system of election. All members are treated equally and our equality policy is all-encompasing. The GP is more than a “dining club” – it is a place to share our Christian lives and goals.