December 2014



Order of Service
Liaison News
December, 2014
Warm holiday greetings,
This issue welcomes our new TOS International Secretary, Nancy Secrest.   Nancy has hit the ground running and is already making practical plans for the future of the TOS.  Remember the bumper sticker from a few years ago that read, "Think globally, act locally"?  Nancy feels that the slogan describes the TOS pretty well.  She explains, "that's what we do. Local members get together to serve in their areas, and all of us together can make a difference globally."
In this issue we highlight service ideas from TOS members who are finding diverse ways of thinking globally while acting locally.
If you haven't yet experienced Brother David Steindl-Rast's exquisite video, "A Good Day," please do this for yourself.  It's 5:28 minutes of heartfelt beauty and gratitude for everyday miracles we often overlook.  Brother David's gentle voice is a gift in itself that you won't soon forget.  Click here to see the video.
In service,
Kathy Gann
TOS Liaison Coordinator

TOS Welcomes Nancy Secrest as International Secretary!

Retiring Secretary Diana Dunningham-Chapotin

After serving the TOS as International Secretary for 20 years, Diana Dunningham-Chapotin is retiring from office and has passed the baton to her successor, Nancy Secrest.  Diana has been a tireless inspiration, embodying the very essence of what is meant by "heart-centered leadership."  In speaking of TOS members, Diana says, "They are precious!  In fact, they are what simplifies the job of International Secretary and makes a veritable joy of it – its members tend to be no-fuss types who just want to get down to putting Theosophy into practice. They are not navel-gazers and pontificators. They love to take Theosophy out into the community and show the light it sheds on human problems, both individual and societal.  They recognise society as the very theatre of evolution." 

Diana plans to remain active in the TOS, and we wish her all the best in this new chapter of her life.

Current Secretary Nancy Secrest

Nancy Secrest has accepted the position of International Secretary of the TOS, and we welcome her with open arms.  When Diana asked Nancy what she most looks forward to about her position, Nancy answered, "Developing relationships with wonderful people all over the world.  In this regard, I was amazed at the really special members I met at the TOS working conference held at Olcott last year.  Hearing firsthand about their projects set me on fire.  I returned home overflowing with new ideas for making the teachings of Theosophy of practical use in people's lives and of transformative value in the world."

Read the full interview between Diana and Nancy by clicking here.

In addition to her new international duties, Nancy will continue to serve as President of the TOS-USA.


(Thanks to Lynette Scott, Liaison, Salt Lake City Study Center)

Here's an idea that gives a new and more compassionate meaning to "Turkey Day."  For as little as $30, you can adopt a turkey at Farm Sanctuary each fall.  Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986 to combat the abuses of factory farming and encourage a new awareness and understanding about farm animals.  Today, Farm Sanctuary is the nation's largest and most effective farm animal rescue and protection organization, having rescued thousands of animals which are cared for at sanctuaries in New York and California.  Click here to help.

Copyright Alan D. Wilson

Little-known turkey factoids:

1) Researchers have identified 30 distinct vocal sounds in turkeys, and turkeys recognize each other by their unique voices.

2) Turkeys form strong social bonds that can last a lifetime. 

3) Turkeys' heads change color depending on their mood and stress level.

4) Possessing built-in GPS, turkeys can mentally map up to 1,000 acres.  They can often remember where they found food the year before and will return to the same spot in search of a meal.

Did you know:  according to Farm Sanctuary, each vegetarian saves 30 land animals per year and 200+ fish per year (including small fish used to feed the larger fish most people eat).  Visit to find a vegetarian- or vegan-friendly restaurant near you.

So easy:  Lynette inspired me by adopting a turkey, so I adopted one too.  My newly adopted turkey, Gable, is described by Farm Sanctuary as gentle and shy.  And such a handsome fellow! Gable was one of many young turkeys recently left at Farm Sanctuary's doorstep by an anonymous rescuer. The turkeys were in desperate need of medical care, but are flourishing now in their safe new home.  

Although the turkey adoptions only run from October - Thanksgiving and are closed for this year, you can still offer Farm Sanctuary your support to get the animals through the winter.  Click here to help the animals at Farm Sanctuary--it's so easy!

Cleveland-Besant Lodge:  true to its namesake

When it comes to service, the members of the aptly-named Cleveland-Besant Lodge are following in the footsteps of the Lodge's namesake and TOS founder, Annie Besant.  I recently had the opportunity to talk and email with Lodge Members Dianna Dusek and Beverly Cotton, who kindly shared some of the group's service activities.

For the Animals:  The project that stole my heart is a new one this year--the group supports Valley Save-a-Pet, a Cleveland-area animal shelter that rescues and finds homes for dogs and cats.  The shelter offers low-cost spay and neuter services, low cost veterinarian services and even offers spaying and neutering for feral cats.  Valley Save-a-Pet invests in the future by offering animal education to Cleveland-area children--they fund the Humane Society's "Kind News" newspapers for 25 classrooms.

Cleveland-Besant Lodge members support Valley Save-a-Pet's fundraising efforts by contributing household items to its resale shop, "The Purr-Fect Place."  TS members divest themselves of items they no longer need, somebody else finds a treasure at a great price, and dogs and cats awaiting adoption are the big winners!

For children and families:  To help families going through rough times, the lodge donates to the local Salvation Army, The Domestic Violence Center, and Providence House (helping families in crisis and at-risk children).

For like-minded charities:  Each year, the Cleveland-Besant Lodge contributes to about 10 charities.  They focus on charities that operate consistently with theosophical ideals, and those that are lesser-known and less well funded.

For healing:  Every Tuesday at 9:30 am, lodge members participate in a TS healing meditation followed by Reiki healing and instruction. Lodge member Beverly Cotton (pictured below left) is a Reiki Master who provides Reiki healing and also conducts Reiki training, called attunements.

Bev originally started the healing group in the 1990's, at first offering Therapeutic Touch.  She recalls meeting Therapeutic Touch founders Dora Kunz and Dolores Krieger.  After Bev and her husband studied Reiki, the group's focus changed to Reiki healing and training. 

As a Reiki Master, Bev estimates that she has attuned approximately 150 students.  She offers Reiki level I at the Lodge during their healing sessions, and teaches Reiki levels II and III in her home.  And for all this, Bev says, "we do not charge for any treatments or training, although like all classes, they can put money in the basket."

A gift for your heart: free e-book from HeartMath
A favorite among many, The Appreciative Heart monograph is easy to read.  This monograph is an overview of the Institute of HeartMath's research on the physiological correlates of positive emotions and the science underlying two core HeartMath Techniques which supports Heart-Based Living.  The heart's connection with love and other positive emotions has survived throughout millennia and across many diverse cultures.  New empirical research is providing scientific validation for this age-old association.  Click here for free pdf download.

You'll learn two HearthMath techniques: Freeze-Frame and Heart Lock-in, which engage the heart to help transform stress and produce sustained states of coherence.  Data from outcome studies are presented which suggest that these techniques facilitate a beneficial repatterning process at the mental, emotional and physiological levels.  Copyright 2002 Institute of HeartMath.

21 pages  *  diagrams, charts and graphs   *   research references

"A union of those who love in the service of all that suffers."



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