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The Winners of the Power of Purpose Essay Contest are...

Winners of the $25,000 award

Randall Frame –mentioned God once Randall Frame is Acquisitions Editor at Judson Press in Valley Forge, PA (Judson is the publishing arm of the American Baptist Churches). In Fixing Haiti a young man's encounter with a child at risk of starvation leads to a new realization about life's priorities. This account is based on the author's one-week experience in Haiti in the mid-1990s.

Fruma Klass The time: a hundred years ago. The place: a “Fiddler-on-the-Roof” kind of town, but in its squalid, starveling reality. The family: intent on coming to America, with no money, no resources outside themselves, and only an overwhelming sense of purpose to direct them.

The Bath Room cleaner by Elizabeth Orndorff My story was inspired by a column by Merlene Davis in the (Lexington) Herald-Leader which told of the Colored Women’s Clubs of the 1930s through the 1950s in Lexington, Kentucky, one of which “maintained” a bathroom in a beauty shop for use by colored folks who were downtown shopping and had no other place to go

The natural order and the Human mind by Stephen Pimentel Mankind has always seen order within nature, leading to the belief that nature itself is purposeful. Some modern philosophies rejected this belief, holding instead that nature may be ordered, but not purposeful. However, contemporary advances in physics and biology have discovered order within nature on the deepest levels, an order that is governed by laws consistent with purpose.

Winners of the 50,000 award The Face collector by Dr. Mitch Abblett “A combat veteran has carried a heavy burden of pain and guilt since the Vietnam War. In the years since the war, he has found atonement and a mission in life through his work as a photographer, and through teaching others about the power of caring, empathic contact with others.

Alan Hirshfeld How wonderfully We Stand Upon this World.  In 19th-century England, an unschooled bookbinder named Michael Faraday overcame almost impossible economic and class obstacles to become the greatest experimental scientist of all time. Faraday sought to understand the natural world in the belief that the revealed knowledge would nourish the collective soul of humanity. His legacy is nothing less than our own technological society.

Grace by Leslie Larson. Grace tells the story of a seventy-four-year-old woman who struggles to learn—not only to read, but to write. And not just to write, but to write poetry. Her patience and perseverance overcome a barrage of obstacles—-including the fading enthusiasm of her twenty-something year old tutor.

Struan Stevenson is a Member of European Parliament. Crying Forever is Struan Stevenson's moving account of the people he met in Semipalatinsk in 2003- people the Western world would largely have forgotten- the true victims of the Cold War - in the area of East Kazakhstan where the Soviets carried out over 600 nuclear tests between 1949 and 1990, using the half million local population as human guinea pigs. Stevenson's essay explores the daily life of these communities, their suffering, pain and sense of hopelessness as they struggle to survive in a polluted environment.

And the $100,000 Winner is...

North Carolina Businessman Wins $100,000 John Templeton Foundation 'Power of Purpose' Essay Contest
09-20-2004 NEW YORK -- Sept. 20, 2004--August Turak, a North Carolina entrepreneur and founder of The Self Knowledge Symposium Foundation (SKSF), won the Grand Prize of $100,000 in the first Power of Purpose Awards: A Worldwide Essay Competition sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation.

The competition awarded a half million dollars in total prizes, and included both published and unpublished material from professional and amateur writers. The Awards were designed to encourage people to think about the benefits of noble purpose where purpose is defined as something more important than our simple survival, something not merely intellectual, but in our souls. The timely topic and the phenomenal cash prizes attracted 7,351 essays from 97 countries worldwide.

The winners were chosen by a distinguished panel of judges from many disciplines, including Rick Warren, author of the Purpose Driven Life which has sold 13 million copies; Nancy Brinker, Founder, The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation; Paul Davies, Professor of Natural Philosophy, Australian Centre for Astrobiology; Hugh Delehanty, Editor in Chief, AARP Publications; and Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children's Defense Fund.

   John marks Templeton Milestones Oct 2004   “Turak’s probing essay was the unanimous first choice of the five judges in the essay competition

* Rick Warren cast his vote for New Ager August Turak as best essay for $100,000 First Prize in Templeton Foundation “Power of Purpose” Essay contest. By doing so he voted against his own book that states one can only find their purpose in God and Jesus Christ. Consider what won...

Turak's essay, Brother John, is the true story of how the author's contemplative retreat to Mepkin Abbey, a Trappist monastery, turns both magical and terrible when a simple monk offers to share an umbrella on a cold and rainy Christmas Eve. This simple act of loving kindness proves almost more than he can bear, and becomes the catalyst for a gut wrenching re-evaluation of life, love, and the terrible yet fascinating nature of God.

While Brother John is his first attempt at serious writing, he is no stranger to religious, philosophical and/or spiritual themes. Turak founded the Self Knowledge Symposium Foundation, an interfaith non- profit, 15 years ago to help students at Duke, NC State, and UNC find a deeper and more spiritual purpose to their lives.

Turak's incredible business career began in the late-1970's when he studied under Louis R. Mobley, founder of the IBM Executive School. He held key positions at MTV Networks, what is now the A&E Network, and even, briefly, at Adelphia Communications before moving to Raleigh, North Carolina and starting his own businesses. Turak sold Raleigh Group International to an Israeli firm in 2000, allowing him to retire at age 49.

His goal in retiring was to devote more time to his own personal development, executive coaching, and his non-profit pursuits. Recently he has been pursuing a Masters in Theology at St. John's University in Collegeville MN. In 2003 he was awarded a coveted Coolidge Fellowship which enabled him to spend a month at the prestigious Union Theological Institute in New York City working on an unrelated and as yet unfinished writing project.

Asked what he intends to do with the $100,000 Turak said, "My first spiritual teacher told me that blessings are only given in order to be 'passed on.' I promised myself many years ago that any compensation I might receive through my spiritual activities would go to charity so I guess that Ferraris will have to wait. Seriously, I hope in a smaller way I can emulate what Sir John Templeton is doing with his money. I am so grateful that there are people like him and the people at the John Templeton Foundation."

Turak's Grand Prize winning essay and other prize winning essays are at http://www.powerofpurpose.org.  

We see that it was spiritual humanism won over in the Templeton awards.

 READ- About the John Templeton Foundation

The mission of the John Templeton Foundation (www.templeton.org) is to support programs, competitions, publications and studies in the human sciences and in character education that promote the exploration of the spiritual nature of the human person. The research is guided by Sir John Templeton's unyielding optimism that there is much to learn from examining the nature and benefits of such principles as purpose, creativity, gratitude and altruism.

About the Self Knowledge Symposium Foundation

The Self Knowledge Symposium Foundation (www.selfknowledge.org) is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization that encourages people to consciously develop their own personal, moral and spiritual values and to live according to them. The SKSF creates experiential learning programs and social contexts within which people can explore the deeper questions in life.



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