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Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, Inc. (STERA, Inc.)

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Welcome to the home page of the Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, Inc. (STERA, Inc.). This organization is dedicated to publishing fact-based information about the Shroud of Turin through its award-winning website, www.shroud.com. In addition to this extensive online resource, the Association maintains a large collection of scientific and historical material crucial to the continuing study of the Shroud. It is our goal to insure that a continually increasing portion of these materials is made available indirectly to the public via the website, and directly to qualified researchers on request. As the process of curating and archiving continues, more and more of these extensive materials will be made accessible. In the near future, the Board of Directors will establish formal, written guidelines for the licensing of Shroud related photographs and establish the criteria for direct access to research materials by qualified researchers. That information will be included on this page as soon as it is finalized. You can read the entire STERA, Inc., Mission Statement for further insights into our future plans. Also see important links at bottom of page.

    
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June 7, 2014
News From STERA, Inc.

Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, Inc.

Naturally, the biggest news for STERA, Inc. is the upcoming Shroud exposition in 2015. As we did in 2010, STERA, Inc. will again be working directly with Canterbury Tours, who are already in the process of creating the itineraries for a number of different specially designed tour packages in which I will personally participate. I will be in Turin for about two weeks, during which time I will meet (and hang out with) each group. Since we will all be staying in the same hotel, we will have some time to socialize and I will give each group a private presentation and visit the Cathedral with them to see the Shroud. The tours not only allow me to meet and spend time with some of our website viewers, but to see the actual Shroud of Turin with them! It will also serve as a fund raising event for STERA, Inc., and each participant will receive a tax deductible receipt for a portion of their tour costs. The funds raised in 2010 provided STERA, Inc., with the necessary resources to begin formal operations that year. Also, if you choose to work with Canterbury Tours and can organize a group of 20 people or more, you can get your own tickets gratis and still help STERA, Inc. Just let them know that you learned about Canterbury from the Shroud of Turin Website when you contact them directly and they will donate a portion to STERA, Inc.

In other news, the STERA, Inc. Board of Directors will be having their first meeting of 2014 sometime in July. At this moment, the agenda is still being planned so the date has not been set. We will include a full report in our next regular update.

Barrie Schwortz
President

January 21, 2014
News From STERA, Inc.

First, I want to extend a sincere "thank you" to all of our friends and supporters who made contributions to STERA, Inc. last year. It was the best year we ever had and, although the final numbers won't be in until after this update goes online, I believe we set a record for contributions in 2013. Your generosity, friendship and continued support are deeply appreciated.

STERA, Inc. held their second annual Board of Directors meeting on December 22, 2013. Due to the holidays, the meeting was a brief one and only a few items of business were discussed. We first reviewed STERA, Inc.'s activities for 2013, including the various venues I spoke at during the year and the public appearance I made on EWTN in November. The next order of business was a discussion of the recently announced 2015 Shroud Exposition in Turin and the impact it will have on STERA, Inc. I was able to report that we would again be working closely with Canterbury Tours (for the 4th time since 1998) and meeting with their tour groups in Turin. Details are yet to be worked out. I also presented the 2013 Financial Report as of the date of the meeting. There were several other issues and suggestions brought up at the meeting that are still being discussed by the board, so it would be premature to mention them here at this time. We will report on them later in the year.

Thank you again for your support!

Barrie Schwortz
President


December 14, 2013
News From STERA, Inc.

Secure Contribution Form

We would like to thank those of you who have already contributed to STERA, Inc. this year for your gracious and generous support and remind those of you who have not yet contributed that you can quickly and easily make an online contribution using our Secure Order Form, which now also accepts PayPal. All contributions to STERA, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, are tax deductible and any contributions received by December 31, 2013 can be deducted as a charitable contribution on your 2013 tax return. Remember that it is your support and contributions that allow Shroud.com to grow while keeping it free of any advertising. We hope you can help.

And don't forget to visit our Facebook page during the holidays. We try and post something every week.

On behalf of STERA, Inc. and its Board of Directors, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a joyous and healthy New Year! See you in January.

Barrie Schwortz
President


August 31, 2013
News From STERA, Inc. - PayPal Comes to Shroud.com

We are very happy to announce that we have added PayPal as an additional payment method on our Secure Contribution Form, so you can now safely use your PayPal account to make online contributions to STERA, Inc. At this time, we are testing this only on our Secure Contribution Form, but are considering adding PayPal to the Secure Order Form on our Website Store page in the future, depending on viewer response. Just go to the Secure Contribution Form and click on the "Donate" button to make a contribution using your PayPal account. Of course, you can continue to use your credit or debit cards or even make contributions by phone or postal mail. See the form for details.

On August 18, 2013, the STERA, Inc. Board of Directors held their first annual meeting of the year. As always, the meeting was held by telephone via a free conference call service and all board members were present, along with Barrie Schwortz, President. The Meeting Agenda included:

Barrie Schwortz
President


June 3, 2013
News From STERA, Inc. - The High Price of Success

Website Statistics for Shroud.com

As I said at the beginning of this update, a "perfect storm" of events recently led to massive international media coverage of the Shroud, the most in many years. The effect on STERA, Inc. and Shroud.com was immediate and I think the above graphic chart says it all. We had nearly 150,000 unique visitors in March (nearly triple our norm) and 90,000 in April. Consequently, our bandwidth tripled in March to 87GB and was double the norm in April at 50GB. Although we receive very reasonable rates from our service provider and a gracious allowance of free bandwidth (which we only rarely exceed), we dramatically exceeded our allowance over March and April. This put an unexpected burden on our operating expenses and we have to ask our viewers for assistance. We are hoping to raise at least $3000.00 to help offset these recent expenses and you can help by making a safe, online tax deductible contribution to STERA, Inc. using our 256 bit encrypted Secure Contribution Form. Please help us manage the high price of success.

Barrie Schwortz
President


January 21, 2013
News From STERA, Inc.

First, I want to extend a very special "thank you" to all of our friends who made contributions to STERA, Inc. last year. Your generosity, friendship and continued support are deeply appreciated.

STERA, Inc. held their second annual Board of Directors meeting on December 16, 2012. Due to the holidays, the meeting was a very brief one and only a few items of business were attended to. One topic of discussion was the upcoming 17th anniversary update and the continued growth of the website, including the first issues of Shroud Spectrum International. Another topic was fundraising, and once again the board encouraged me to actively pursue it as part of my daily operations. As I've mentioned before, fundraising is probably the hardest part of this job for me. But I have an obligation to STERA, Inc. to appeal to our viewers for support. Since we have just started a new year, let me remind you that you can safely make contributions online using our Secure Contribution Form. You can also contribute by Mail or by telephone at 719-689-2217 (between the hours of 12:00 noon to midnight, M.T.). Of course, any purchases made from the Website Store page of the site also directly support STERA, Inc.

As further incentive and to say thank you for your contributions, we offer contributors a number of excellent gifts for their generosity:

Contribution - - - - - - Free Gift
$100.00 - $299.00 - Double sided Sepia Shroud Poster
$300.00 - $599.00 - Full Color Shroud Lithographic Poster
$600.00 - $999.00 - Both Posters
$1000.00 (or more) - All the above plus Miniature Shroud Replica on Cotton Canvas

Thank you again for your support!

Barrie Schwortz
President


November 21, 2012
STERA, Inc. Needs Your Help

As you can see from the dramatic growth in the content of the website this year, along with the redesign of our pages to better accommodate smart phones and tablets, STERA, Inc. is working very hard to bring added depth, value and functionality to Shroud.com. The materials and news in today's update are further examples of our efforts to make this website the definitive internet resource of Shroud information. We are also very proud to have kept this site free of any advertising for seventeen years and we are dedicated to keeping it that way. We even pay an extra monthly fee to keep ads from appearing on our search engine results pages.

Although we work very hard to be self-sufficient, we still need some support from our viewers to make ends meet. This year, perhaps because of the economy or the elections here in the U.S., our contribution levels have fallen short. So STERA, Inc. really does need your help. And there are a number of different ways that you can do so. Since we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, you can make an online tax deductible contribution directly to STERA, Inc. using our Secure Contribution Form or by mail using our Mail Contribution Form. We even offer a selection of gifts to those who make contributions over $100.00. Remember that donations made by December 31, 2012 can be claimed as a deduction on your 2012 income tax return. You can also visit our Website Store page and order some of the Shroud materials we offer for sale. With the holidays approaching, some of the items we offer might be the perfect gift for someone on your list. Like our beautiful, hand signed Lithographic Poster bearing both color and black & white high quality reproductions of the Shroud. With around 600,000 visitors to the site each year, we hope that some of you can support us in our ongoing work. We would truly appreciate your help!

Barrie M. Schwortz
President


August 26, 2012
A New Project and a Note on Fundraising

With the extensive traveling and lecturing I have done since January and two major updates to the website, this has already been our busiest year on record. And it's not over yet! At the end of August, after this update goes online, I am leaving for Tucson, Arizona to visit the University of Arizona Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory, one of the three labs that dated the Shroud in 1988. I have been granted permission to photograph and document what remains of the 1988 C-14 dating samples used by the Arizona lab to date the Shroud. As you probably know, they saved some of their original samples and kept them in reserve. I will be making a series of digital macro photographs of the remaining samples with adjacent millimeter scales to allow for pixel based measurements to be made from the resulting 4000 x 3000 pixel images.

Several months ago, STERA, Inc. was contacted by Helmut Felzmann, German Shroud researcher and author, who asked if I would be willing to go to the laboratory in Arizona and make these photographs. Helmut was researching the samples and had already contacted Dr. Timothy Jull, the current Director of the laboratory, to make the preliminary arrangements for the samples to be photographed. In addition to Helmut, I was also contacted by Dr. Charles Mader, who had a parallel interest in the research Helmut was doing and Holger Kersten, noted Shroud researcher and author. Helmut, Charles and Holger each made tax deductible contributions directly to STERA, Inc. to fund the travel and other expenses of the project and ultimately, I agreed to make the photographs as an official project of STERA, Inc., with the understanding that we would simply make the images available to the researchers but would not participate directly in any research in which the images were used. This is the first such project that STERA, Inc. has participated in and we appreciate Dr. Jull giving his consent for the work to be done. We will first provide a complete technical report and share the results with the Arizona lab and those who contributed to sponsor the work. We will then share the results publicly on the website, hopefully in our January 21, 2013 update.

With fall rapidly approaching and the end of the year in sight, I am obligated to bring up the subject of fundraising. As you can see from the size and scope of this update, the work we have already done this year and the other projects we are working on, STERA, Inc. is growing and becoming even more active in the Shroud world. Of course, our continued success depends on a number of factors, not the least of which are contributions from our viewers. As you know, STERA, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization so all contributions are tax deductible as allowed by law. And we offer some special gifts for those who contribute. In case you have forgotten my comments on fundraising from last year, here is a link back to my November 1, 2011 article titled, Fundraising: I Hate It! Thank you all for your continued support and participation.

Barrie M. Schwortz
President


January 21, 2012

On December 18, 2011 STERA, Inc. held its annual Board of Directors meeting. The first item on the agenda was a presentation of the first draft of STERA, Inc.'s official access policy that will establish the procedure to eventually allow qualified researchers direct physical access to various STERA materials. Board member Bill Meacham created the first draft and the board members will now review it and make any necessary corrections or additional suggestions. These will be compiled into what will become our "official" policy and voted on by the Board of Directors at our next meeting, to be held in July or August 2012. Once formalized, a set of STERA, Inc. Access Guidelines will be published on the website.

Next on the agenda was an update on the STERA, Inc., archiving project. We currently hold the collections of a number of STURP team members and other noted Shroud researchers, including Ray Rogers, Bob Dinegar, Mark Evans, William Mottern, Jean Lorre and Rev. Albert "Kim" Dreisbach, Jr. among others, and our goal is to digitally archive all of those materials and ultimately make them available on shroud.com. This was followed by a comprehensive report on our end-of-year fundraising efforts.

We then discussed the design and use of the new STERA, Inc. Flyer, which is now available as a free download to the general public as part of today's update. This was followed by a review of the changes being made to the design and navigation of the website that would comprise this, our 16th anniversary "facelift." Finally, I presented our 2011 Financial Report, after which the meeting was adjourned.

Barrie M. Schwortz
President


November 1, 2011

We are honored to announce that Dorothy Carter, widow of Shroud researcher Giles Carter (who passed away in 2010), recently donated her husband's Shroud materials to STERA, Inc., where it will be permanently designated as the Giles Carter Collection and become part of our permanent archives. A complete inventory has not yet been taken but the collection includes books, papers, articles and letters. Of course, STERA, Inc. continues to work towards archiving all of the materials in our various collections (including those of STURP team members Ray Rogers, Robert Dinegar, William Mottern, Mark Evans and Jean Lorre and Shroud scholar Rev. Albert "Kim" Dreisbach, Jr.), and the Giles Carter Collection is a welcome addition. Our deepest appreciation to Dorothy for choosing STERA, Inc. as the repository for her husband's Shroud research.

On August 7, 2011, the STERA, Inc. Board of Directors held one of their two annual board meetings. Due to the long distance (and number of time zones) between members, our meetings are done via telephone using the FreeConferenceCall.com system. It actually allows us to record the meetings as mp3 audio files, creating a permanent and accurate digital archive and eliminating the need for note taking. Each member of the board can download a copy of each meeting as soon as the meeting has ended.

On the agenda for this meeting were a number of important items. The first was the acceptance of the Giles Carter Collection materials (as mentioned above) and of course, the board approved unanimously. We then had a lengthy discussion about the development of our grant proposal for the archiving of our various collections. It was determined that a preliminary overview of all the materials had to first be created before the grant development process could begin and that this would be totally dependent on future funding and fund raising efforts. That was followed by a discussion regarding the formal creation and establishment of a STERA, Inc. "official policy and guidelines" for allowing researchers direct access to Shroud materials in our various collections. Board member William Meacham took the responsibility of writing a preliminary draft of the document, which I just received recently and which I will put before the board at our next meeting for further discussion and revision. That was followed by a financial report from the President and an even more in-depth discussion about fund raising, the results of which can be found elsewhere in this update. Our next Board of Directors meeting will be held in December.

Barrie M. Schwortz
President


July 18, 2011

As I mentioned in my introduction to this update, I was honored to have several noted Shroud scholars pay me a visit here in Colorado. First to arrive and stay here for five days was my dear friend Kevin Moran, well known to those in the Shroud world as an optical engineer and researcher who has devoted over 30 years to his Shroud studies. I took the opportunity to sit Kevin in front of my video camera and record two hours of high definition video conversation with him for the STERA, Inc. permanent archives, in which he discussed his research, his motivations and his beliefs about the Shroud and its image.

My next visitor was Joe Marino, known to everyone in the Shroud world for his work with his late wife, Sue Benford, that led Ray Rogers to reexamine his conclusions about the 1988 radiocarbon dating. Of course, Joe also serves as a member of STERA, Inc.'s Board of Director's so it was a double honor to have him visit with me. I also planted Joe in front of my video camera and got several hours of conversation with him as well, again, for the STERA, Inc. permanent archives. I learned long ago that getting people to discuss their work and the impact it has had on their lives in their own words can be of critical value for both historians and scientific researchers alike.

We were also scheduled to have a STERA, Inc. Board of Directors meeting in June, but I had to postpone it due to my busy schedule, so we'll have that meeting in the next few weeks and I'll report on it in my next website update in the fall. The agenda for that meeting will include the development of a set of research guidelines and the establishment of a formal procedure for requesting access to STERA, Inc. resources. The board will also vote to accept the contribution of a recently deceased Shroud scholar's papers into the STERA, Inc. archives. As you can see, there is a lot on our agenda and things are very busy.

Since we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, fund raising will also be on the agenda. At this moment, STERA, Inc. is supported by the sales of materials from the Website Store page, the licensing of images from the various STERA Inc. collections, the honorariums received when I lecture and of course, your generous and much needed contributions. I think it is quite evident that the website has grown and blossomed under STERA's guidance and this update is a perfect example of the quality content we strive to deliver. If you wish to support this website and the work of STERA, Inc., you can safely make online contributions using the Secure Contribution Form or by mail using the MAIL a Tax Deductible Contribution to STERA, Inc. form. With all the ambitious goals we are trying to achieve, we could really use your assistance and support

Barrie M. Schwortz
President


January 21, 2011

On New Years day 2011, STERA, Inc. celebrated its 1st Anniversary, as we originally started operations on January 1, 2010. On November 28, 2010 STERA, Inc. held its annual Board of Directors meeting and one of the first orders of business was to hold an Election of Officers. Barrie Schwortz was elected as President, Joe Marino was elected a First Vice-President/Treasurer and Larry Schauf was elected Second Vice-President/Secretary.

Other items on the agenda included the formal establishment of the Editorial Review Committee, that will review all papers submitted for publication on this website. It was unanimously agreed that the committee would remain anonymous, as is typical with most journals and publications. Four new highly qualified researchers were selected and approved as members of the committee. The meeting topics also included a discussion of the STERA, Inc. Archiving Project and the development of a Grant Proposal to fund the work. Other ongoing projects that were approved included the new STERA, Inc. Image Library page (premiering in today's update) and the editing and completion of the Ray Rogers In His Own Words interview videos that will allow the creation of a two disc DVD set of the Complete Interviews (hopefully before Christmas 2011).

Since we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, fund raising was also on the agenda. At this moment, STERA, Inc. is supported solely by the sales of materials from the Website Store page, the licensing of images from the various STERA Inc. collections, the honorariums received when I lecture and of course, your generous and much needed contributions. I think it is quite evident that the website has grown and blossomed in the past year under STERA's guidance and this update is a perfect example of the quality content we strive to deliver. If you wish to support this website and the work of STERA, Inc., you can safely make online contributions using the Secure Contribution Form or by mail using the MAIL a Tax Deductible Contribution to STERA, Inc. form.

Barrie M. Schwortz
President


September 7, 2010

I am very happy to report that STERA, Inc. has been operating with great success since it formally began on January 1, 2010. This year, in association with Canterbury Tours, a professional pilgrimage tour company, and many of you, our website viewers who took those special tours, we successfuly completed our first official fundraising effort. Our sincere thanks to those of you who participated (and you know who you are)! I met several hundred of you there, and it was a truly wonderful opportunity to get to know some of our website viewers better.

However, fundraising is an ongoing process for every non-profit organization, and we are no exception (especially in such troubled financial times). Now that the Shroud is no longer in the news, we still need your participation and support to continue the work we have begun. And of course, we still need your fully tax deductible contributions. As many of you already know, you can safely contribute online using our Secure Contribution Form. And, in taking a lesson from the Public Broadcasting System here in the U.S., and as an encouragement for your support, we are now offering a range of gifts for those of you who make contributions to STERA, Inc. Much like PBS, these are offered on a sliding scale, based on the size of your contribution:

Contribution - - - - - - Free Gift
$100.00 - $299.00 - Double sided Sepia Shroud Poster
$300.00 - $599.00 - Full Color Shroud Lithographic Poster
$600.00 - $999.00 - Both Posters
$1000.00 (or more) - All the above plus Miniature Shroud Replica on Cotton

Probably the most exciting news however, is the next project we have planned, which we are simply calling our Archiving Project. As most of you know, the operation of this website and keeping it free of any advertising is not the only work supported by STERA, Inc. One of our major goals is to begin the archiving of the important collections that have been donated to STERA, Inc., including the materials of STURP researchers Raymond Rogers, Robert Dinegar and William Mottern. In addition, we have the extensive collection of Fr. Albert "Kim" Dreisbach, Jr., a world renown Sindonologist and Shroud scholar until his untimely death on April 29, 2006. Fr. Dreisbach's collection alone includes nearly one hundred and fifty boxes of books, correspondence, papers, articles and other Shroud related materials. And of course, my own collection of photographs and other Shroud materials is also rather extensive.

Our goal is to digitally scan and archive all of the important materials in these collections and ultimately make them available via a special gateway page and searchable database we will create on shroud.com. Our hope is that in the future, these important scientific and historic materials will be readily accessible to Shroud scholars around the world. To support that effort, we are in the preliminary stages of developing a grant request that will be submitted to the appropriate funding entities so the project can move forward simultaneously with maintaining the website, etc. We anticipate that the Archiving Project alone will be a 3 to 5 year effort. I feel very fortunate to have working with STERA, Inc. a wonderful Board of Directors that includes Shroud scholars, historians, academics and scientists. With their help and your support, I believe we will realize our goals and then some!

Barrie M. Schwortz
President


January 21, 2010

On January 1, 2010, STERA, Inc. assumed complete legal ownership of this website. This will ensure the continuity of www.shroud.com into the future. All of my legal interests and intellectual property rights in the Barrie M. Schwortz Collection (and all other Shroud related collections) have been formally transferred to STERA, Inc., which is now the permanent administrator and owner of all the copyrights and other materials, including all Shroud photographs, papers, correspondence and other research materials.

Also effective on January 1, 2010, all proceeds from the sale and/or licensing of Shroud photographs, DVD's and other materials from the Barrie M. Schwortz Collection currently being sold on the Website Store page of this site will go solely and directly to STERA, Inc. There is now a Secure Contribution Form where viewers can securely use a credit or debit card online to make tax deductible contributions directly to STERA, Inc. Contributions can also be made by mail. Use the link below for instructions on how to do so. The future of this website is now in your hands and your support will make it possible for the site to grow and flourish.

Over the next few months, as we create the structure of the organization and make it work, this page will be updated to keep you abreast of our progress.

Barrie M. Schwortz
President

Important Links:



The Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, Inc. (STERA, Inc.), a non-profit corporation registered in the state of Colorado and a tax exempt public charity granted 501(c) (3) status by the Internal Revenue Service. Contributions are tax deductible as allowed by section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code.



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