Who is Rebecca Chapter No. 23?
Rebecca Chapter No. 23 is a Prince Hall Affiliate Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star that was chartered on May 31, 1915 under Most Worshipful Grand Master George E. Marshall, Grand Worthy Patron Robert R. Johnson III, Grand Worthy Matron Araminta Taylor, Associate Grand Matron Octavia Giles, Worthy Matron, Thelma Woods, Worthy Patron Thomas Lofthouse and Associate Matron Alice Rogers. Rebecca Chapter No. 23 is under the auspices of Eureka Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star of the State of New York, Prince Hall Affiliation.
Rebecca Chapter No. 23 meets on the first Friday of the month at 7:00 pm at 454 Prince Hall Plaza (West 155th Street) New York, NY 10032.
Our current Worthy Matron is Chandra Y. Flemming, and she has established the following to represent the spirit of her administration for the ensuing year:
Motto: If Lanes are Maintained, then the Roles are Known!
Theme: Pray and Be Humble
Scripture: Deuteronomy 31:6
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you;
he will never leave you or forsake you.”
Color: Purple – representing wisdom, dignity, devotion, peace, pride and of course wealth and royalty.
Symbol: The Elephant – representing strength, power, longevity, a cooperative spirit and loyalty.
Song: It’s the God In Me by Mary Mary
What is the Order of the Eastern Star?
The Order of the Eastern Star is a social, charitable and Fraternal Organization to which both women and men can belong. 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 OES was Dr. Robert Morris, a lawyer and educator from Boston, Massachusetts. After his first published ritual in 1849-50, he became associated with Robert McCoy who wrote and published a ritual based on Morris’ in 1867.
What is the basis of the Order of Eastern Star?
Mr. McCoy created the Degrees of the Eastern Star around the lives of five Biblical women. They were Adah, Ruth, Esther, Martha, and Electa. The reason was that each of these Biblical examples stands for one of the tenets of the Order. They are Fidelity, Constancy, Loyalty, Faith and Love.
Is the Order of the Eastern Star a religion?
No. The Order of the Eastern Star is not a religion, even though we are religious in character. It does not pretend to take the place of a religion, or serve as a substitute for the religious beliefs of its members. Our members come from all denominations.
What are the purposes and goals of the Order of the Eastern Star?
To provide an organization where women and men with high moral and social character, can join together and contribute time, energy and wisdom to our Order with Charity, Truth and Loving-kindness for the good of all humanity throughout the world. The Order of the Eastern Star takes good citizens and makes them even better. We continue to be central in the development of the American promise of human opportunity and personal fulfillment. The Order of the Eastern Star offers guidance and provides an outlet, as well as serving as a resource center and support group.
Does the Order of the Eastern Star have any special projects?
Yes. The Prince Hall Order of the Eastern Star in New York supports many charitable organizations and programs, The NAACP Legal Defense fund, American Cancer Society., Prince Hall Plaza (an assisted living housing for seniors), A Child Daycare Center and Camp Eureka (a sleep away summer camp for girls & boys). Many local charities also benefit from Eastern Star donations.
Is there any social involvement?
Yes. The Chapter has numerous fun activities for all members and their family and friends. Usually, the Worthy Matron has a number of social events to supplement her planned activities.
Is there any fraternal Interaction?
Both women and men join a Fraternal Order to make friends and enjoy the fellowship that is displayed. Masons and Eastern Stars work together on several projects, activities and events.
Does the Order of the Eastern Star support any affiliated youth groups?
Yes. The Order of the Eastern Star sponsors youth groups whose members are ages 11 through 21. The purpose of these youth groups is to train these fine young citizens to be leaders in the community and to be future members and leaders in the Order of the Eastern Star. The Masons sponsor the Knights of Pythagoras for young men ages 11 through 21.
Is the Order of the Eastern Star a secret society?
No. Secret societies are underground and hard to find. We are easily found within the community; however we do practice distinctive means of identifying each other and only members are allowed in our closed meetings.
Can I afford membership in the Order of the Eastern Star?
Yes. The membership fees are modest. Members come from all economic stations of life.
Is my religious faith allowed in the Order of the Eastern Star?
Yes. Members of all religions may belong to the Order of the Eastern Star. We only require a belief in a Supreme Being.
Is the Order of the Eastern Star time consuming?
After your Initiation into our Order during a regular meeting, you may attend as your time permits.
Is the Order patriotic and democratic?
Yes. Members are taught an allegiance to preserve the good order of their country. We strongly support the government of the United States of America.
What are the requirements for membership?
Membership in the Order of the Eastern Star is open to women 18 years of age or older, as well as Master Masons in good standings in their Lodges. A candidate may make application through a Masonic Relationship or by being sponsored by a member of the Order of the Eastern Star who is a Master Mason. A belief in a Supreme Being is also required.
What Masonic affiliation is required for a woman to become a member?
Wives; widows; sisters; daughters; mothers; granddaughters; step-mothers; step daughters; step-sisters; and half-sisters, nieces, daughters-in- law, and grandmothers.
The Birth of the Eastern Stars among Women of Color
On August 10, 1874, Thornton Andrew Jackson received the several degrees of the Rite of Adoption of the Order of the Eastern Star from Brother C.B. Case, a Deputy and agent of Illustrious Robert McCoy 33, Supreme Patron of the Rite of Adoption of the World. In addition, Thornton Jackson also received a letter from Bro. C. B. Case granting him the authority to establish chapters of the Eastern Star among eligible black women. In obedience to the authority granted by William H. Myers, Grand Master, Union Grand Lodge, Jurisdiction of the District of Columbia, Bro. Jackson established the first Eastern Star Chapter among black women in the United States.
On December 1, 1874, Queen Esther Chapter No. 1, Order of the Eastern Star, was established at 708 – O Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. in the home of Mrs. Georgiana Thomas. The first Worthy Matron was Sister Martha Welch and the first Worthy Patron was Bro. Thornton A. Jackson.
During the year 1875, Pythagoras Lodge No. 9 presented the officers of Queen Esther Chapter No. 1 with their first badges which were known as Rosettes. This presentation was made by Worthy Patron Thornton A. Jackson who wished the chapter success and prosperity in the work upon which they were entering. He admonished the officers to wear the Rosettes with dignity keeping ever before them the memory of the five (5) Heroines: Adah, Ruth, Esther, Martha and Electa. In closing, Brother Jackson stated “To you Queen Esther and Associates, the representatives of the rays of the Beautiful Star and from whom comes the most charming, the most prophetic and the most instructive lessons of the Old and New Testaments. May you always throw an air of beauty and solemnity around all that you bring thousands to worship Him.” This has been our charge as bona fide members of the Order of Eastern Stars from 1875 to this present moment in time.
And so it was one hundred years after the founding of the first Black Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, Queen Esther Chapter No. 1, Order of the Eastern Star, was officially instituted in the City of Washington in the District of Columbia.
What procedure should I follow when I have decided that I would like to join a chapter?
The Chapter you intend to join will provide you with a Petition, which you must fill out completely. It should be returned to your sponsor as soon as possible, with the appropriate fees.
What happens after I submit my petition?
Your petition will be read at a Chapter meeting and submitted to an Investigation Committee composed of members of the Chapter that you wish to join. Shortly thereafter, the members of the Investigation Committee will contact you individually to set up a time and place for a meeting.
This is done
(1) To ask a few very simple questions,
(2) To provide you an opportunity to meet some of the Chapter members, and
(3) To provide you an opportunity to ask and receive answers to any additional questions that you might have.
The information that the Investigation Committee receives will be reported to the Worthy Matron.
What will be the next step?
If all of the information is in order, the report of the Investigation Committee will be submitted to the Chapter members at a stated meeting and a vote will be taken. If favorable, you will have been elected to receive the Degrees of the Order of the Eastern Star. The Secretary will notify you of the results of the election and arrange for you to be initiated into the Order.
How long after the election will that be?
Each Chapter attempts to plan the events of each meeting for the entire year. That usually includes some flexibility to accommodate Degree meetings for new members; however, in some instances very special plans cannot be interrupted, so the Degrees will be given at the first possible date.
What happens at Chapter Meetings?
An Eastern Star Chapter meets once or twice a month to conduct its business and to confer Eastern Star degrees. If no initiatory work is being performed, the meeting will include a program of interest or entertainment.
Just what is Fraternal Life?
The Order of the Eastern Star provides us with a means of compassion and concern, not only for our fellow Sisters and for Brothers in the Order of the Eastern Star, but to our Country, our fellowman, and ourselves. In addition, it enters us into a way of life that all of us inwardly want for our families and ourselves.