Issue 33 – December 2014 

Special edition

  • Introducing our new International Secretary
  • What’s new on the International TOS website?
  • An inspirational story about peace

Dear fellow-members of the TS and TOS around the world,

Sound the trumpets! The TOS has a new International Secretary!  It is with great pleasure that we welcome Nancy Secrest of the state of Washington on the West Coast of the United States. 

After many years as Secretary, Diana Dunningham Chapotin wishes to step aside to allow for fresh leadership and is moving to a supporting role.  She assures us that she is not abandoning the TOS.

Introducing Nancy Secrest

Nancy Secrest joined the Theosophical Society in 1970, and served for one year as secretary to the resident head of Krotona Institute of Theosophy in Ojai, California, in 1987. She then spent three years as National Secretary of the TS in America in Wheaton, IL.  A certified public accountant, she went on to work as chief financial officer of a non-profit organisation that assists the homeless and low income persons until her retirement in 2009, and still serves on their finance committee. Nancy was named Assistant National Treasurer of the Theosophical Society in America in 1994, and became National Treasurer seven years later. Nancy served the TS in America in these capacities for 18 years, until mid-2012.

Nancy is currently the President of the Theosophical Order of Service in the United States. She looks forward greatly to helping the TOS facilitate and encourage service amongst all Theosophists in whatever domain they choose to serve. 

Nancy’s email address is:

What does the International President of the TOS do?

As many of you know, the International President of the TOS is, ex officio, the President of the Theosophical Society.  In that capacity, Tim Boyd sets the direction of the organisation.  He oversees its work of encouraging and supporting the service endeavours of TS members and friends in whatever field they are engaged. Tim keeps an eye on the TOS as a place where social action as spiritual practice is valued and nurtured.  He sees the TOS as functioning fully within the Theosophical Society’s embrace and encourages it to allow for many different approaches to the art of serving. 

What does the International Secretary do?

Nancy’s job as International Secretary is to coordinate the work around the world. She supports established groups and encourages the starting of new ones. She reports to the President on plans and achievements.  She ensures that Theosophy remains at the heart of the TOS work, encouraging members to take it out into the community and show the light it sheds on human problems, both personal and societal.

Nancy has been active in the TOS since the 1990s. We see her here (in centre) in 2001 with TOS workers (left to right): Tim Boyd, Diana Dunningham Chapotin, Michel Chapotin, Hutoxy Contractor, Joe Gullo, Dinshaw Contractor, Jean Gullo and Betty Bland.

In appointing Nancy, Tim Boyd wrote:

One of my first tasks on taking the International President's position was trying to convince Diana Chapotin not to retire. After many years of service as International Secretary of the TOS her mind was made up. Now, I am happy to find myself in a position to share the many good qualities of Nancy Secrest with the international TOS. Having known her for almost 30 years as a co-worker and friend, I can say without reservation that she will be motivated and sincere in her new responsibilities. In the US she has worked in every possible capacity, from setting up chairs for meetings, to National Treasurer of the TSA, board of directors, and TOS president. In the work we have done over the years I have depended on her organisational skills and consistency. I look forward to the new era she will bring to the international TOS.

In receiving the news of Nancy’s appointment from Tim, retiring Secretary, Diana wrote, “It is fine news that Nancy has accepted this challenge. I have known her for well over 30 years. She has essential qualities for this work – a passion for service, a loving, caring nature, enthusiasm for the TOS’s potential, a sense of commitment over the long haul, discernment, open-mindedness, the capacity to keep pushing forward steadily and quietly and an attentive eye to administrative detail. I have every faith in her.”


A conversation with Nancy

Diana’s last task in office is a particularly enjoyable one. She interviews Nancy at length for us:

“A big thank you, Nancy, for accepting the challenge of coordinating the Theosophical Order of Service work around the world and every best wish to you from us all. How do you feel about taking on the role?”   Read Nancy’s answers here…




What’s new on the International TOS website?

In our Latest News we welcome our new International Secretary, Nancy Secrest, and share an interview in which she talks of her passions and plans.

The new Featured Article is by Betty Bland and is entitled Living Waters. Betty explores the idea of water as a symbol of spiritually focused consciousness and sets us a challenge: On a daily basis, consider your life and how you might add to the well-being of another; think of the beauty and treasures of this earth; explore the deep recesses of your heart for meaning and purpose in the realms of immortality. By doing so, each day you will be increasing the joy, gratitude and understanding that fills our lives and our planet with living waters.

Our Featured Project brings us touching photos of a gesture of solidarity by French TOS members toward Ukrainian children affected by the war in the country’s eastern regions.

You’ll also find additions to the TOS photo gallery and the expanded Inspiration section.
Go to


An inspirational story about peace

When a wizard’s good intentions and actions still don’t bring peace to a country, a child has a creative idea that works. Read more here…  




Email addresses for the editorial team

Please note Nancy’s email address:
(Feel free to send her a note of welcome!)

Address for TOS webmaster, Geoff Harrod:

Address for TOS assistant webmistress, Rozi Ulics:

Address for e-newsletter editor, Carolyn Harrod:

Address for Diana, retiring International Secretary:



Christmas greetings from the editorial team

2014 has been a year in which our TOS community has worked with energy and dedication to make a difference in our world. Individually and collectively we have endeavoured to put theosophical principles into action in our service to the One Life in all.

As we celebrate our achievements, we look forward to a vibrant 2015. We wish you peace, harmony and spiritual fulfilment, and a New Year filled with happiness and many opportunities to work together in service.


Nancy Secrest

Diana Dunningham Chapotin

Geoffrey Harrod

Rozi Ulics

Carolyn Harrod

“The Theosophical Order of Service encourages self-forgetful service, and is the natural counterpart of the Theosophical Society’s work to guide people to wisdom.”

Radha Burnier, December 1994