Priory of St. Andrew

The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem ®


Grand Prior Chev. Charles Edgar Hires, GCTJ established the Priory of the Cumberlands and the Tennessee Valley on May 22, 1982. It was to be based in Nashville, Tennessee under the leadership of Chev. James Orton Buck, GOTJ as Prior I. Another proclamation was issued on September 27, 1982 by Grand Prior Hires changing the name of this new priory to the Priory of St. Andrew, at the request of the priory members.

COL. Chev James Amos Hamilton, Jr., GCTJ was installed as Prior II in 1986, in which capacity he served for seven years. The Priory of St. Andrew became a regional priory during his able leadership, spreading over most of the southeastern area of the United States. St. Andrew identified and established a strong connection to the Scottish-American community, as well as those with a history of military service.

Several commanderies were established within the priory for geo-graphical reasons during the rapid early growth of the Priory of St. Andrew. They were the Commandery of the Cumberland based in Nash-ville, the Commandery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux in New Orleans, the Commandery of Jacque DeMolay in the greater Atlanta area and the Commandery of St. Vincent in South Carolina and southern Georgia.

Priory members petitioned Prior V, COL Chev. Donald Lewis Boney, GCTJ in 1998 to establish a commandery that would serve western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee and southwest Virginia. Eighteen Priory members organized the Commandery of the Highlands at the Vernal Convent in April, 1999. The Commandery of the Temple Church was established in 2000 in Orlando, Florida. The Commandery of the Poor Knights of Christ was established in the Memphis area in 2002. Members of Priory of St. Andrew residing in North Alabama petitioned Prior IX, Chev. D. Bruce Shine, Esq. to establish the Preceptory of the Knights of the Celtic Cross. This Preceptory was officially established by the present Grand Prior, CAPT Chev. Keith Howard Larson, GCTJ, GMTJ, at the Autumnal Covent in 2008 and placed under the leadership of LTC Chev. Owen Ferrell Pharr, GOTJ.

The Priory of St. Andrew has the distinction of being the “mother of many” in the number of priories it generated. The Priory of St. Bernard de Clairvaux in New Orleans was one of the first new priories generated by St. Andrew. The Priory St. Thomas á Becket was established in 1997 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Commandery of St. Vincent was elevated to priory status in February 2000 under the leadership of COL Chev. Chester Cotter, GCTJ. The commanderies of Jacques de Molay and Temple Church were combined in 2002 as the Priory of the Holy Rood, under the leader-ship of the then Chancellor of St. Andrew, MG Chev. Wilson T. Dreger, GCTJ, GMTJ. It stretches from Atlanta to southern Alabama and Florida.

The Priory of St. Andrew is comprised today of the Preceptory of the Highlands, which encompasses northeast Tennessee, southwest Virginia, western North Carolina and southern Kentucky. The Preceptory of the Cumberlands serves the Nashville area. The Preceptory of the Poor Knights of Christ is located in Memphis. The Preceptory of the Celtic Cross is situated in northern Alabama and northwest Georgia.

The Priory of St. Andrew, under the leadership of Chev. Bertrum Chalfant, GCTJ and Chevse. Betty Jane Chalfant, GCTJ arranged several tours of Templar sites in England and Scotland in 1999. A Convent and Investiture was held at Rosslyn Chapel, a Templar site in Scotland, during each of the tours.

The priory celebrated its silver jubilee during the Autumnal Convent of 2007, when the first of the St. Andrew jubilee medals was presented to Chevse. Becky Hamilton, the daughter of Chev. James A. Hamilton, GCTJ, Prior II. This medal, which was designed and struck by Chev. Zell Andrew, GOTJ, was awarded to a number of priory members.

The main purpose of the Priory of St. Andrew is the nurturing of various charities, which meets the ideals and nature of the Sovereign Military Order of the Knights of the Temple. The Priory contributed money and sweat equity at the Boys Home of South Belton, South Carolina. Contributions were made to a number of charities throughout Tennessee, Georgia and New Orleans.

The Council of the Priory of St. Andrew voted in 2006 to adopt a resolution to formalize the procedure for the distribution of a meaningful contribution to one charitable entity each calendar year. The Priory began its large, one-time-only charitable gifting formula, which the preceptories within the Priory continue to handle in their charitable giving as they see fit. This marked a major step in the Priory’s maturity, which allowed it to make substantial charitable contributions. The first of the large gifts was made to the Child Advocacy Center in Johnson City, Tennessee, along with gifts to Uhru Child, a school building project in Kenya, and the Good Samaritan Clinic of Haywood County in North Carolina.

An Endowment Fund was established under the direction of Chevaliers Lanny Payne, KCTJ and Robert Owens, GOTJ. The endowment seeks gifts and bequests until an amount is achieved that will supplement the priory’s annual giving substantially.

Priors of the Priory of St. Andrew
Prior I Chev. James Orton Buck, GOTJ (1982-1986)
Prior II COL. Chev James Amos Hamilton, Jr., GCTJ (1986-1993)
Prior III CDR Chev. Lewis Midgley Walker, GCTJ (1993-1995)
Prior IV CAPT Chev. Laurence M. Long, GCTJ, GMTJ (1995-1997)
Prior V COL Chev. Donald Lewis Boney, GCTJ (1997-1999)
Prior VI BG Chev. Bertram H. Chalfant, GCTJ (1999-2001)
Prior VII Chev. Sam W. McKinstry, Ph.D., GCTJ (2001-2003)
Prior VIII Chev Norman Leroy Worrell, GCTJ (2003-2005)
Prior IX Chev. D. Bruce Shine, Esq., GCTJ (2005-2007)
Prior X Chev. Ralph Donald Robinson, GOTJ (2007-2009)
Prior XI LTC Chev. Joel E. Warren. GOTJ (2011-2013)
Prior XII LTC Chev. Enrico Anthony Clausi. GOTJ (2013-2015)
Prior XIII Chev. Phillip DeWayne Martin. GOTJ (2015-2017)
Prior XIV Chev. William Douthitt McKinney Jr. GOTJ CMTJ (2017-2019)
Prior XV LTC Chev. Owen Ferrell Pharr GOTJ, CMTJ (2019- 2022)

Prior XVI Chev. Charles William (Bill) Bissell, GOTJ (2022-present)




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