Corporate Structure of the Order in America

The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem is a non-profit corporation first incorporated in the State of New Jersey in 1962. All activity under the name of the Order must be conducted through the Grand Priory by order and direction of the Grand Council. Priories and Commanderies operate by charter from the Grand Priory and function like branches of a corporation. Priories and Commanderies may not separately incorporate, and any Priory or Commandery that has incorporated must promptly notify the Grand Avocat of such separate corporate status and take steps to dissolve such status and operate only as a part of the national corporation.

Despite the inability to separately incorporate, all Priories and Commanderies are responsible for compliance with local statutes and ordinances whenever conducting events.

Autonomous Grand Priory of the United States of America

The Autonomous Grand Priory of the United States of America was officially established when the Secretary of State of New Jersey issued the Proclamation of the Corporate Charter under the Official Seal of his office on June 29, 1962. The Certificate of Incorporation identified principal corporate officers: Grand Prior (President); Grand Chancellor (Vice President); Grand Treasurer (Treasurer); and Grand Secretary (Secretary). It authorized the Order to have a Grand Council (Corporate Board) and such officers as may be necessary, and identified the charter corporate location as the City of Newark, New Jersey—but authorized activities elsewhere in the United States.

Under this Charter and the Grand Statutes Priories are a branch of the corporation, subordinate to the Grand Priory, and have no other legal status. Commanderies, which are viewed as temporary organizations, are subordinated to either a parent Priory or to the Grand Priory.

In addition to being the President of the Corporation, the Grand Prior is the supreme leader chosen by the Grand Council to guide the activities of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem in the United States. His duties and those of his several Grand Officers were approved by the Grand Council in October 1997.

Since the founding of the American Grand Priory, the following men have served as Grand Prior for the terms indicated:

I. Crolian William Edelen 1962 - 1965
II. William Young Pryor 1965 - 1968
III. John Whelchel Finger 1968 - 1972
IV. Gordon Malvern Fair Stick 1972 - 1976
V. F. Daniel LeVert Coleman 1976 - 1980
VI. Charles Edgar Hires 1981 - 1984
VII. Robert Francis Dyer, Jr., M.D. 1985 - 1991
VIII. Donald Robert Weber 1991 - 1993
IX. Donald Roderick Perkins 1994 – 1996
X. James Joseph Carey 1996 - 1998
XI. Stewart Boone McCarty 1998 - 2000
XII. Andrew Patrick O’Rourke 2000- 2002
XIII. BG Chev. Patrick E. Rea, GCTJ, GMTJ 2002 - 2004
XIV. COL Chev. David N. Appleby, GCTJ, GMTJ 2004 - 2006
XV. MG Chev. Robert C.G Disney, GCTJ, GMTJ 2006 - 2008
XVI. COL Chev. Wayne J. McGrath, GCTJ, GMTJ 2008 - 2010
XVII. CAPT Chevalier Keith H. Larson, GCTJ, GMTJ 2010 - 2012
XVIII. LTC Chev. Thomas Pelham Curtis II, GCTJ, GMTJ 2012 - 2014
XIX. COL Chev. Buren Riley Shields III, GCTJ, GMTJ 2014 - present

Webmaster's Note: The above material reproduced from the SMOTJ Knight's Manual, 2000.