It did not look promising on October 3, one day before the fifth annual Hummus Open was scheduled. The skies were gray and rain was in the forecast for this Saturday 11 AM Tee time at Mainland Golf Course. Event director Jerome Burke tried to contact Kathy Orr at CBS Eyewitness News for weather advice, but had no luck. Fortunately, he was able to reach Glen “Hurricane” Schwartz at NBC who advised to push the start time back to 1:30 PM. Moreover, the Hummus Open trophy, perhaps the most unusual trophy in all of sports, was missing in action. Traditionally, the most valuable player from the winning foursome, takes the trophy for 1 year. This was not the case last year however and last year’s MVP Raja Kyriakos never took the trophy. Once this was realized the day before the tournament, an intensive search began to locate it. The basement, barn, and attic of Cranford’s home was studied as were various rooms in the Burke house hoping against hope to find the prized possession. The office at St. Philip’s was contacted and Vera Acker looked in the most logical places and could not find the trophy. Going ahead with the Hummus Open without the Garbanzo would be like playing the Stanley Cup final without the Stanley Cup! Father Noah Bushelli was contacted on the morning of the event and retreived the trophy which was sitting on a book shelf above Father Boniface Black’s desk since last fall (approx. 10 feet from Vera’s desk, ahem) . The trophy was polished up, the skies cleared and 16 golfers – 4 foursomes began the most successful Hummus Open ever.
The Pennridge “Green Jackets”, consisting of Dr. Peter Psomiadis, Mike Heveran , Lou Sudholz, and Craig Martin, hit first, followed by the Harleysville Hurricances: Giacamo Zamperri, John Disacquino, Caleb Benner, and Pat Miller, the Millennials: Nick Burke, Chris Richter, Tim Yacoo and Brian Godshall, with the Royal Hibernians: Pat Burke, Jerome Burke, David Kelly, and Raja Kyriokas (how did he get in there?) bringing up the rear. Conditions were nearly perfect and all the participants enjoyed the fellowship and learned about the history of The King’s Jubilee, at each Tee box, by reading the inserts on the Hole Sponsors posters which were beautifully done.
Individual prizes were given to Lou Sudholz (straightest drive- a sleeve of premium golf balls – as he was one of the few players who knew what to do with them ), Peter Psomiadis (closest to the pin – 9th hole) – a bottle of Ouzo bought at the State Store (He prefers the real stuff that he smuggles through Kennedy Airport every 2 years from Greece), Lou Sudholz again for longest drive (He won a container of Karen Burke’s famous homemade Hummus – (not the knock-off stuff sold in Costco or Giant) and Chris Richter – winner of the closest to the hole on the 17th hole – again a bottle of Ouzo. Nick Burke won the prize for the best putt of the day. The Hurricanes won competition go away carding a 5 under par 65. A fierce battle for second place between the Pennridge squad and the Millennials ensued with the experienced Pennridge team coming out on top. The Hibernians were not far behind and may have been in the thick of the competition had they not missed so many short putts. The older Burke brother (Jerome) was overheard saying that his new putter from Golf Galaxy was working great until he took it home. Caleb Benner was voted the MVP of the winning team and was given the coveted “beige jacket ” for his efforts. The awards ceremony was held in the golf course parking lot .
On a serious note, we are very grateful to all the participants and sponsors of this year’s Hummus Open to help The King’s Jubilee in caring for the homeless of Philadelphia. It was troubling to learn of financial hardship that The King’s Jubilee and Cranford and his family have been experiencing. As a small business owner ( partner in a medical practice)- we’ve experienced months where our cash flow slows from factors beyond our control- weather forcing us to close the office, patients waiting on paying their deductibles early in the year, every so often. It is inconvenient but no big deal even if the partners hold their own paycheck for a period or two. There is always a line of credit for us at our community bank . The King’s Jubilee, however, does not enjoy this same luxury and the process of making ends meet to serve the needy is a week to week , if not a day to day challenge. While it is wonderful that special events and one time donations help this ministry, it would healthier if there were a steady, more predictable stream of support. To this end, I invite you to join my wife and I, and consider making a monthly pledge to TKJ. It does not have to break the bank. If enough people participate, and do what they can do, what a blessing it would be! If you have read this much, thank you.
I received phone calls from all over the country when I started this. When I answered the phone, people would ask for my dad. They said they were expecting a much older man to get something like this into the prison. I told them I hoped to be some day. I explained it was quite the contrary. I was too young and naive to expect them to say no, so I asked. The male superintendent was too flabbergasted and the lady wardens were too thrilled with the idea that they all approved it at first sight.
It was a simple homemade, cloth, drawstring bag, filled with the items that the women would normally have to buy for themselves, deodorant, shower flip-flops, etc. and a New Testament and a note saying that the person who made the bag and purchase the things was praying for her and her family while she was putting it together. This project revolutionized the Women’s Detention Facility. We could now get down to business with our tutoring program. The guards gave one to every inmate to start and to every new inmate as they were admitted. Everyone was crying when they gave them out. The guards were crying when they thanked me the next time I went in there. They said the whole “temperature” of the place had come down by 20 degrees.
This year, Jerry took it up a notch with hole sponsors for the 5th Annual Hummus Open held last Saturday. I made simple 8″x10″ framed markers for each tee with a little info. about the ministry, since February was our 25th anniversary, then the name of the sponsor or honorary sponsor. I will be posting these, hopefully one per day here and on Facebook, some with comment, some without.
February marks the 25th anniversary of The King’s Jubilee. I dug out a bunch of the old newsletters and other literature today. The hand traced logo is from a newsletter I did in marker in 1996 after people complained about the print quality of my printer. In 1994, our entire annual budget was less that $4,000. With that we served over 9,000 meals in Philadelphia, Pottstown and Stowe, and led a Monday Evening Bible Institute, two prison Bible studies, established a Spanish ministry in Graterford Prison; printed an inmate newsletter; established a new homeless ministry in Upper Darby; provided personal care kits via our Project: Lydia program in the Northampton Co. Women’s Prison. I have never received a salary for this ministry. I have basically worked at it pretty much as a full time volunteer. I started to write another paragraph about the various ministries we have done or attempted through the years, but decided to do it as a bullet list, instead. I’m not sure of all the dates.
Wednesday, General population Bible study, Graterford Prison, 1989 – 1996
Christmas morning at Graterford Prison with Bethann & April, 1989 – 1995
Serving hot meals and sandwiches to the homeless and poor in Center City Philadelphia, along with clothing, blankets & toiletries. 1987 – present
All day Music Festivals with free food for the poor and homeless and the community. We called them “Victory Parties”, because we were sounding the trumpet, to declare Jesus’ victory over homelessness and poverty, in the early nineties. Twice in Philadelphia, Pottstown, Phoenixville, & Upper Darby.
Film with discussion series on various social issues, held in different church halls.
TKJ Monday Evening Bible Institute, 1993 – 1996
Established Spanish language ministry in Graterford Prison. It continues to this day, although not under our leadership. We were just the catalyst to open the door.
Inmate Correspondence Discipleship Course
TKJ Inmate edited newsletter
Sunday evening support prayer meetings / house fellowships in East Greenville, Pottstown & Upper Darby, PA & Columbia, SC.
“Clothesline” free clothing ministry in East Greenville. We facilitated it, found its new home and ran it for a little while. April designed its logo when she was in high school. They still use it. Peace Mennonite Church still operates it 20 years later.
Project: Lydia, personal care items in hand made drawstring bags distributed to all of the women inmates in the Northampton County Prison. Only for a few months. Then they disallowed us.
Serving hot meals and sandwiches, etc., in Pottstown and Stowe, 1990 – 199?
Serving hot meals and sandwiches, etc., in Columbia, SC, 1991 – 199? (We got it started, then entrusted it to a local church. We are not interested in empire building.)
Serving meals to the homeless and poor in Upper Darby. 1992 – 1996
Power Packs, relatively non-perishable snack bags for folks to take with them for the next day, 1992 – present
Stocking cupboards with staples and basic utensils when people move off the street. 1995 – present. We are launching an organized program to do that, now, called “Jubilee Pantry”.
I’m sure I forgot some things. That’s OK. Through the years, we have also helped several homeless students buy books and computers to complete their studies. One man presented me with his graduation program and a thank you note when he graduated cum laude as a nurse. We have helped other front lines ministries with materials, computers and funds. Once we even delivered a used, electric golfcart to Ora Love so she could get around the project with all of her books and equipment to teach her students.
During Mayor Rendell’s years, we were investigated by undercover police at least three times that I was aware of. I told them that we were willing to go to jail before we would quit, because we had to obey God rather than men. Fast Eddy Rendell thought that the homeless were like dogs and that if we would only stop feeding them, they would go to someone else’s city. I assured him on the three occasions when I met him that no one was on the street because the food was that good! Since then, I have been told that my soup is better than what they serve at The Four Seasons. I still stand by my statement. We have been chased from one park to another. Policemen have harrassed us. Once I was told that Fairmount Park was private property . I took that officer’s name and badge number. He got a civics lesson from his commanding officer the next day. We have witnessed knife fights and fist fights and one shooting. Brownie shot Peaches in the butt with a 22. Most thought she had it coming. The two of them have been more or less happily married for over 15 years now. Ain’t love grand!
Once, the Fruit of Islam at Graterford put a hit out on me, and some other inmates put out a counter hit to protect me, stating that if anything happened to me, Nation of Islam inmates were going to die. They apparently circulated my photo around Phila. Les Bucher & I were coming home from serving one night and we were being ambushed, with a car in front and a car behind and a man in a long coat in the summertime with a big gun in his pocket came running up to Les’s side of the van. He started to raise the gun. He spots me in the “shotgun” position, and says, “O, it’s you, Cranford. Have a nice night!” A signal was given and the car in front moved and we were allowed to leave. Another time, I was taken at gun point from my workplace by an ex-offender so I could get him admitted to a drug rehab while he was high as a kite. Interesting times.
Working in prison and on the street changed me and changed my theology. This has alarmed my old fundamentalist friends. However, a theology that bears bad fruit in the real world is invalid. If it leads me to see my brothers and sisters as “other” or inferior or “market” and not simply as somebody’s children, who are trying to muddle through as best they can figuring it out as they go like I am, then I don’t need it. “Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.” (Kahlil Gibran)
Through the years, I worked at various jobs to support myself and my family. I always needed something with a flexible schedule so that I could do this work. Finally, I started “Come and See” Icons, Books & Art in January 2001 thinking it would be flexible and could grow and support the ministry. I was doing this out of our half twin in East Greenville, making the icons in a tiny space in the basement and finishing them in a tiny spare bedroom, which was also the office and mailing center. We finally decided to take the leap and move closer to church, to a place with an outbuilding that we hoped to house the business in in May 2006. It required major rebuilding. I set to work to do that. It took money. Some money came in, but then was delayed for a year. By the time we received it I had serious health issues, so I could not do as much. The business also got interrupted repeatedly by my health issues, an infection on my spine, then reaction to the antibiotic that nearly killed me; six months later migrainous strokes. Then debilitating strokes for three months, etc. Finally, the business went under in July of 2013, after never really showing a profit. A major flaw in my business plan was that my main competition was monks.
In 2012, we had to sue Mayor Nutter and the City of Philadelphia, after he decreed that serving free food in the parks to needy people was illegal. We won an injunction and that decision has become a landmark for other groups to fight and win against similar oppressive regulations across the country.
Dr. Jerry Burke & Dr. Peter Psomiadis organized the Hummus Open Golf Tounament. We had the 2nd Annual in 2012 where we debuted the most unusual trophy in sport, The Garbanzo. In 2013, we took it up another notch and introduced commemorative tournament hats.
We have been featured a lot in the press lately, since Charli Riggle encouraged me to do a Gofundme to save our home from foreclosure in conjunction with the almsgiving Facebook group drive she coordinated. She started the press connections as well. It eventually made it onto both the very local and the national scene. We raised over $45,000 and were able to save our home from foreclosure as well as a neighbor’s, for now. We raised the profile of the ministry and gained a few more monthly donors. We need many more to make this truly sustaining. I have been essentially working two full time jobs for nearly 25 years. No wonder I had a dozen or more strokes! We can end homelessness in Philadelphia. We need your support to be able to work at it to do that, without having to worry about not having insurance for Bethann and losing the house again in another year. Please make a monthly pledge. It’s easy and automatic on Paypal. If everyone who liked us on Facebook would give $10/month, we would have more than we have ever had to work with, ever. That is a McDonald’s meal (blecch!) skipped for you, which would allow us to move forward, full time to develop the ministry in some marvelous ways! We cannot do this ministry without you. We just give your alms away.
You are invited to pre-register for the 4th Annual Hummus Open Golf Tournament at Mainland Golf Course to benefit The King’s Jubilee. You will compete to win the honor of engraving your signature into the most unusual trophy in all of sport, the Garbanzo! There is the coveted (not really) beige blazer. There is the bottle of Ouzo for the longest drive, and the tub of hummus for the best score on a hole.
It’s a lot of fun! It’s a strictly amateur event. You don’t have to be a great golfer to enjoy it. I mean, Dr. Jerry Burke is organizing it. That should tell you something. Although he is taking lessons. The event starts just after Noon on Saturday, September 7. It will be followed by a great, home cooked meal prepared by Drs. Chefs Peter Psomiadis, Jerome Burke & Cranford Coulter. Award presentations will take place after dinner. Spouses may join you for the meal and presentation of awards. We just want to know the count.
You may pre-register for the event at the Early Bird rate of $80 per golfer before August 20. After that, it goes up to $100. All those who pre-register will receive an event logo embroidered hat at the event. Make the check out to The King’s Jubilee. In the memo line, write 4th Hummus. Mail it to:
4th Annual Hummus Open
The King’s Jubilee
27 N. Front St.
Souderton, PA 18964-1148
The third annual Hummus Open to benefit The King’s Jubilee was held at the Mainland Golf Club in Mainland, PA on November 23. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy there was doubt as to whether or not the event would take place. Though circumstances related to the “super storm” affected turnout for the tournament, it did not diminish the enthusiasm of the six participating golfers. Weather conditions and a few fallen trees on the course were worrisome, but it turned out to be a beautiful day and the Mainland staff did yeoman-like work getting the course in excellent condition for the players.
Peter Psomiadis, the winner of the inaugural event in 2010, recaptured the title as he won the event going away by five strokes on the strength of his short game and iron play. Jerome Burke, who drove the ball well all day, but fell apart on the short game and putting, was runner up. Ernesto Bentencort took honors for the “closest to the pin” award hitting a fantastic 9 iron shot ten feet from the pin on the difficult 9th hole. For his effort, he was awarded a bottle of Ouzu. The “longest drive award” was hotly contested between Jerome and Jim Eggers. Replay officials decided to call it a draw and let the two competitors share the tub of Hannah’s Hummus from Costco. One official at Mainland later commented, “if it was Karen Burke’s homemade hummus at stake, there would have had to have been a playoff.”
After playing, the golfers gathered at the Burkes’ for fellowship, food, and a couple of shots of Ouzo. They were joined by Cranford Coulter, founder and CEO of The King’s Jubilee, who presented the awards. Cranford unveiled the newly designed and highly coveted Hummus Open trophy. He had commissioned his friend and highly skilled artisan John Haggerty for the task, and John did not disappoint. Perhaps the most unique trophy in all of sports, the Hummus Open Trophy, has a giant garbanzo bean as its center piece, along with the names of previous winners inscribed on the bean. “I will cherish the opportunity to hold this over the next year ,” said Psomiaids on receiving the trophy. A new custom was also started by Cranford this year with the awarding of the “Beige Jacket“ to match the color hummus . This is sure to help the Hummus Open become a tradition like none other. Purchased at the local Care and Share, it is a ‘one size fits all’ jacket which will be stored for safe keeping in a cedar closet until next fall.
Nearly five hundred dollars was raised for The King’s Jubilee this year and plans are being made to expand and better publicize the tournament next year. “I don’t know what I was thinking when I scheduled the Hummus Open for November – how dopey was that ?“ commented Burke at the awards ceremony. The date of the event will most likely be changed to late September or early October next year.
The Garbanzo is made of native PA poplar. The base is made of native PA cherry. The 9 iron head was donated by tournament organizer Jerry Burke, who pleaded the 5th as to how it came to be in that state.
The coveted Garbanzo, the most unique trophy in golf, perhaps the most unique trophy in all of sport, was awarded for the first time, last Saturday, to Dr. Peter I. Psomiadis of Perkasie, PA, as champion of the 3rd Annual Hummus Open Golf Tournament benefiting The King’s Jubilee. Peter signed and dated the bean twice, since he won in 2010, as well. Last year’s winner was unable to attend this year, because of difficulty of travel because of the unreliable gas supply due to superstorm Sandy. We will catch up with him later. We carved them into the surface of the Garbanzo, in what will become an annual tradition.
Some may think it incongruous to see a Celtic font used for hummus. The choice was very intentional. The brains behind this event is Dr. Jerome Burke. The founder and director of The King’s Jubilee is Cranford Coulter. The man who designed and donated the trophy and designed the font is John Haggerty. So with Burke, Coulter and Haggerty working on it, just be glad there isn’t a leprechaun somewhere.
This trophy will only get more beautiful with age. The richness of the colors and the grains of these native, Pennsylvania woods will deepen. This piece is finished with Watco Danish Oil. We rubbed black, paste shoe polish into the engravings to make them stand out.
This year’s event was held a Mainland Golf Course with a home cooked dinner afterwards at the home of Jerry and Karen Burke. The small field had a great time. They told me that they got their money’s worth on the golf. Peter said that they paid only pennies a stroke.
We are already laying the plans for next year’s tournament. With such a classy trophy, guys will be lining up to play! It is always an opportunity for good fun, good friends and helping a good cause!