A vigorous 199-year-old Christian fraternity, Utica Commandery #3 of Knights Templar NY hosted their even-older parent organization’s 209th annual Convocation (convention) this past weekend at the Utica Delta Marriott Hotel. More than 220 “Sir Knights” attended the session which incorporated youth activities, a marching drill team competition, education, and fundraising for the Knights Templar Eye Foundation.
The new 2022-2023 “grand line” of Grand Commandery of New York officers were elected and installed, with 2021-2022 Grand Commander, former Oneida County Public Works Commissioner, Dennis S Davis, succeeded by Massapequan David R Barkstedt, Davis’ former Deputy. The Saturday evening annual banquet was replete with Templar and Masonic service awards, promotion of “The Battle Within” a Masonic outreach to veterans to deter veteran suicide, and encouraging news about the effectiveness of Knight Templar Eye Foundation’s 165 million research expenditures.
Among those addressing the Knights and Ladies was Sir Knight William M Krzewick III who had served as right Eminent Grand Commander of New Jersey, and is now a Department Commander. Krzewick mentioned the all too frequent tragedies of premature babies losing their sight due to receiving overly concentrated oxygen mixtures in their incubators., He then encouraged err with news of encouraging advances in the treatment in some types of blindness which K.T.E.F is funding through their Templar donations. According to the former New Jersey Grand Commander, the breakthroughs are coming in DNA research in which certain DNA combinations are injected directly into afflicted tissues.
“Divine Worship Service”, Christian, but non-denominational, was themed on “Three Important Graces” (Faith, Hope, and Charity) with a reading of Psalm 23, and a new testament lesson from the Book of Matthew 22:34-40.. In keeping with the rest of the convention, the collection was donated to the Knights Templar Eye Foundation.
Ending the banquet was an audience participation of “America the Beautiful” when NY Grand Master of Masons Richard E Kessler asked Templars and guests to hold hands in solidarity with our nation. The request received eager and universal compliance.
Home Box Office sent a crew led by producer Clark Filio to cover the historic event. Filio said that the segment would run in the spring of 2023