A Day to Remember in Waterwood (Huntsville), Texas
Under The Hospitality of Bishop George Haw Russell and his Benevolent Family
February 24, 2007

On Saturday, FEB 24, 2007, Ervad Peshotan J. Unwalla, and I (Jehangir K. Shroff) left Houston by car at around 9:30 AM for a trip to The Universal “Ethician” Church – Holy Trinity Wilderness Cathedral, FM 135 Waterwood, Texas. 77340. Via IH-45 North the distance is around 95 miles (&Mac197; 2 hours), and via US-59 North the distance is around 125 miles (&Mac197; 2 _ hours).

We traveled on IH-45 North from Houston, exited @ Exit 116 (Huntsville / Livingston) went east on SH 190 (&Mac197; 16 miles) passed tiny Hamlet of Oakhurst (blinking yellow light) Ë turned left on Waterwood Parkway ((&Mac197; 1 mile) Ë Traveled (&Mac197; 7 miles) to FM 980 (Farm To Market Road) Ë Passed FM 980 and entered WATERWOOD (Community) Ë Deplaned at WATERWOOD Fire Station on the right along with sales offices of Waterwood Community Ë Met Bishop George H. Russell (GHR) in the Fire Station parking lot Ë Then we traveled in his red Jeep.

First place of stop was at The Universal Ethician Church – Holy Trinity Wilderness Cathedral. It is a cute little hut-like rustic place with the nativity scene showing Baby Jesus in a manger along with the 3 Wise Men offering Myrrh, Frankincense and Gold to Baby Jesus (History in-the-making). There Bishop GHR questioned if we wanted to be inducted as Ethician Zoroastrians – To which we spontaneously responded “YES.” Upon which we were given a plain tikka (without any material – just his thumb rubbing over our forehead), and an embrace. [Ethician = a person respecting the creations of God, including nature, plants, animals, birds, reptiles, insects, etc.]

From there we proceeded into Bishop GHR’s “Holy Trinity Wilderness Cathedral” site of 716 acres dedicated specifically to preserve the natural habitat in an environmentally safe manner. GHR owns approximately 2,000 acres of wilderness. The remainder would be sold as small parcels of land to individuals and companies, for very low density residential and recreational developments, that are in tune with his philosophy of preserving the wilderness. Of the 716 acres, 10 acres have been deeded to Pelican Sanctuary exclusively for the use of disposal of the deceased only in a natural form. In other words, NO artificially embalmed human bodies can be disposed off in this wilderness cemetery. The deed encourages the following natural forms of disposal of the deceased human beings of any race, culture or religion: Green Burial without expensive caskets (typically in biodegradable material such as card boxes, etc.); Dispersal of Cremains (burial of ashes after cremation); Sky Burial (one “Dokhma type Chotra” or Zoroastrian Tower of Silence, and another Tower of Silence for non-Zoroastrians); Sunset Services (on Sabbath Saturdays, once a week); Spiritual Retreats (any community); Nature Study and other Benign Activities permitted by the Russell Family.

Possible location of the proposed ZARATHUSHTI TOWER OF SILENCE (ZTOS) “DOKHMA” and an associated “BUNGLI.” Bishop GHR showed us one possible location where we could build our ZTOS and a Bungli. The ZTOS at this location would be located on a little elevated (&Mac197; 3 to 5 feet) ground approximately 150 to 200 feet inland from Lake Livingston (under the jurisdiction of the Trinity River Authority of Texas). The associated Bungli could then be built right at the water front, or slightly inward. Both these structures are located approximately between the survey coordinates of N 73008’27” and S 57005’01”. This portion of land jets out into Lake Livingston. The water was a little murky (probably due to some recent thunderstorms) – However, the vast expanse of the lake gave it a majestic tranquil appearance. The area is wooded with Oak, Pine and other species of trees and brushes. The area originally was a campground. There is NO electricity, municipal water or sewer system available. The nearest electricity transmission line is approximately a few hundred yards away. We would have to dig a tube well for water, and a septic tank system for wastewater. Alternately, Portable Johnnies could also be installed at the site for ablution purposes. There are a few Vulture, Black Eagle, Turkey Eagle and Crow habitats in the vicinity. THE PLACE IS SO METICULOUSLY MAINTAINED IN IT’S NATURAL HABITAT…THAT ONE CAN WITHOUT FEELING OF GUILT CLASSIFY IT AS “PARADISE ON EARTH.”

From there we went to a nearby location of pre-planned Russell Family Cemetery (also a part of the Pelican Sanctuary) where Bishop GHR was in the process of digging and loosening the earth for a green cemetery combined for his Father, Mother, His Wife and Himself. Bishop GHR would himself like to be Sky Buried in a non-denominational Tower of Silence. Here we also saw a PYRAMID like structure built out of tiles with crossed openings trimmed in glass and a skylight. This was initially planned to be for the green burial of his father…However, this plan was later changed to a normal Green Burial. Adjacent to this location is a little pad of concrete with tables and chairs, where the once a week non-denominational Ethician Sunset Services are held by the water front. Ervad Peshotan J. Unwalla washed his hands with water from the lake and performed his Kusti Padiyab facing the sun and water.

Our next move was towards the Waterwood Country Club where we were treated as guests of Bishop GHR. Upon completion of a sumptuous meal, we proceeded towards Bishop GHR’s parent’s house also by the water front. We met his daddy – a jolly good, happy-go-lucky individual, 95 years old with whom we had an interesting conversation. Unfortunately, we were unable to meet his mother who was in the hospital in ICU. Our prayers are for her. Then, we proceeded to an adjacent house where Bishop GHR’s second office is located. Climbing up spiral stairs, on the second floor was his office with approximately 8 huge drafting-like tables laid out in a U-shape, with large drawings and Survey sheets of his property spread out. We also noticed several Site Plans pasted on the walls surrounding the tables. Bishop GHR appears to have a aster mind for master planning his gorgeous sanctuaries and natural habitats. May he be blessed by the Almighty. The ceiling had a Cathedral (A-frame) shape, giving his office a magnificent look.

Thence, we proceeded to Bishop GHR’s house, including his main office facing the water of the Lake. We met his daughter visiting from Dallas, Texas with her two children. Upon leaving we were offered some home-made chocolate-chip cookies to take with us for snacking on our journey back to Houston.

On return to the Fire Station, we passed by Eagle’s sanctuary, saw an eagle’s nest (way up on a tall tree). We passed by Frog’s sanctuary, and sanctuaries of beaver, wild hog, deer, coyote, etc. Upon return to the Waterwood Fire Station, we exchanged greetings with Bishop GHR, and took a trip back via US 59 South, slightly longer route, but scenic since we drove over Lake Livingston, and an extra wide body of water called Chickapoo Creek (named after an American Indian Tribe).

Ervad Peshotan J. Unwalla, and I (Jehangir K. Shroff) stopped by at McDonalds for some drinks, ate the cookies, and returned home around 6:30 PM.

Our impression of the entire site of the “Universal Ethician Church – The Holy Trinity Wilderness Cathedral”: A pristinely maintained natural habitat, where elements of nature such as living organisms including humans, animals, birds, plants, trees and micro-organisms RECYCLE back into mother nature – “From Earth, Back to Earth.” An ideal location for Zoroastrian Tower of Silence (Dokhma) and it’s associated Bungli, including Avan-Nu-Parab ceremony.