WHAT IS THE ORDER OF THE
The Order of the
Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world to which both
men and women may belong.
Eastern Star is a
social order comprised of persons with spiritual values but it is not a
religion. Its appeal rests in the true beauty of the refreshing and
character-building lessons that are so sincerely portrayed in its ritualistic
work. A deep fraternal bond exists between its members. It is the wholesome
relationship of sisterly and brotherly love brought about through high
principles exemplified in our lives which makes us near and dear to each other.
While this is an
Order composed of people of deep spiritual convictions, it is open to all
faiths, except no faith. The personal welfare of our members is vital to all of
those in the Eastern Star and it is considered a privilege to help another
member whenever we can.
HISTORY OF THE ORDER
The Order of the Eastern Star
is an adoptive rite of Freemasonry with teachings based on the Bible and
objectives that are charitable and benevolent. The founder of the Order was Dr.
Robert Morris, a lawyer and educator from Boston, Massachusetts, who was a
Master Mason and Past Grand Master of Kentucky. Dr. Morris intended his creation
to become a female branch of Freemasonry, but he failed to overcome the great
opposition this idea engendered. After his first published ritual in 1849-50, he
became associated with Robert Macoy who wrote and published a ritual based on
Morris' in 1867. The first Grand Chapter was organized in Michigan in the same
year. (There is evidence for an organization of the same name founded variously
in 1788 or 1793, but this group was defunct by 1867.) Subordinate (local)
chapters operate under charter from state level grand chapters which are
responsible to the General Grand Chapter at the International Eastern Star
temple in Washington, D.C.
Each chapter has eighteen
officers, some elected and others appointed. Two offices are specifically male
(Patron and Associate Patron) while nine offices are specifically female
(including Matron and Associate Matron). While the Worthy Matron is considered
to be the presiding officer of the chapter, the degrees cannot be conferred
without a presiding brother in good standing (hence the Patron and Associate
Each chapter retains the right
to decide who shall be a member of the organization. Election to the degrees
must be unanimous, without debate, and secret. The successful candidate must
profess a belief in a Supreme Being and is initiated in five degrees, which are
conferred in one ceremony. (When Eastern Star was created, it was intended to be
the first of a three degree series. The second and third degrees were Queen of
the South and the Order of the Amaranth, respectively.)
Interestingly enough, The Order
of the Eastern Star requires only the belief in a Supreme Being even though the
degrees are based in both the Old and New Testaments.