The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world to which both women and men may belong. Worldwide, there are approximately 1 million members under the General Grand Chapter.
There are currently 23 Chapters across New Hampshire that serve many communities from all ten counties in the state.
When was the Order of the Eastern Star formed?
Dr. Rob Morris, the poet laureate of Masonry, conceived the Order of the Eastern Star in 1850.
Is it a religious organization?
No. 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.
What We Do
What does the organization do?
The stated purposes of the organization are: Charitable, Educational, Fraternal and Scientific; but there is so much more to it than that!
In New Hampshire, we hold a variety of programs and events to support charities each year, both on the State and local level. In our organization, we have projects we raise money for each year, which include:
E.S.T.A.R.L (Eastern Star Training Awards for Religious Leadership);
Educational Scholarship awards;
Ferguson-Sawyer Benevolent Fund for the relief of qualified indigent and distressed members or Chapters;
Grace Morrison Cancer Research Fund;
We also devote much of our time and effort to many other philanthropic endeavors in the state, such as:
Cancer Research, Arthritis and Rheumatism, Heart Fund
Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Shrinerís Hospitals, Scottish Rite Masonic Learning Centers for Dyslexic Children \Scottish Rite Language Disorders Center, Parkinsonís Disease Alzheimerís Disease, Juvenile Diabetes, State Hospice, American Heart Association, Breast Cancer, Ovarian Cancer Research, Disaster Relief Fund, YMCA Sexual Assault Crisis Center,Hospital Funds, American Red Cross, Diabetes Foundation, Child Identification Programs, Youth Groups, Special Olympics, Ronald McDonald House, Davidís House, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, The Jimmy Fund, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Education Funds, Salvation Army, NH MasoniCare (formerly the Masonic Home in Manchester, NH);
With so many Chapters in New Hampshire, our vast membership allows each Chapter to raise funds and awareness for local and state programs that affect many of the citizens in New Hampshire. Members have the opportunity to interact with each other and their community in projects to assist others and bring awareness to special causes.
What is the basis of the Order of Eastern Star?
Dr. Rob Morris founded the Order using the beautiful and inspiring Biblical examples of heroic conduct and moral values centered around the lives of five women: Adah, Ruth, Esther, Martha, and Electa. Each of these Biblical examples stands for one of the tenets of the Order. They are Fidelity, Constancy, Loyalty, Faith and Love. These are the noble principles which should adorn the personal lives of Eastern Star members. Eastern Star strives to take good people and through uplifting and elevating associations of love and service, and through precept and example build an Order which is truly dedicated to charity, truth and loving kindness.
Can any woman or man belong?
No. Only women with specific Masonic affiliation may become members, and men who are Master Masons are eligible. A petitioner must be of good moral character, believe in a Supreme Being, have attained the age of 18, believe in the laws of the United States of America, be willing to assume the obligation of the Order, be able to participate in the Ceremony of Initiation, and be a resident of the State for the last 6 months (exceptions can apply).
What Masonic affiliation is required for a woman to become a member?
She must be the wife, daughter, legally adopted daughter, mother, widow, stepmother, sister, stepsister, half-sister, granddaughter, or stepdaughter of a Master Mason as well as grandmother, great granddaughter, niece or daughter-in-law, mothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and daughters of sisters or brothers of affiliated Master Masons.
Must the Master Mason, whom a woman might be using for her affiliation, belong to the Eastern Star before she can become a member?
May a woman use, as her affiliation, a Master Mason who has died?
Yes. Provided the Master Mason was a member in good standing at the time of his death. A letter of verification from the man's Lodge will be required before the Degrees of the Order of The Eastern Star may be given.
How to Join
How may I express a desire to join the Order of the Eastern Star?
If you are not familiar with anyone in a Chapter in your area, you may contact the Grand Secretary of the Grand Chapter of New Hampshire, for the name, address, and phone number of a Chapter in your area to express your desire for additional information.
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 the Chapter Secretary, as soon as possible, with the appropriate fees.
What happens after I submit my petition?
Your petition will be 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, (3) To provide you an opportunity to ask and receive answers to any additional questions that you might have, and (4) To verify your Masonic affiliation. The information that the Investigation Committee receives will be reported to the Worthy Matron who presides over the Chapter.
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. This will be between one week and not later than 60 days.
A Way of Life
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 Brothers in the Order of the Eastern Star, but to ourselves, our Country, and our faith. In addition, it enters us into a way of life that all of us inwardly want for ourselves and our families.
What does the Eastern Star have to offer that other organizations do not?
Each of us has an inner need to do something for others. Sometimes it is difficult to determine just how to begin. The Order of the Eastern Star offers that guidance and provides an outlet as well as serving as a resource center and support group.
Is there any social involvement?
Yes. The Chapter has numerous activities for all members and their family and friends.
Is there any Fraternal friendship?
Both women and men join a Fraternal Order to make friends and enjoy the fellowship that is displayed. Members and their families can enjoy interacting with others who share their beliefs.
Will I become a better person?
Yes. 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.
Does the Order of the Eastern Star give support to any affiliated youth groups?
Yes. The Order of the Eastern Star in New Hampshire generously supports members of the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls (ages 11 through 21) and The International Order of DeMolay (ages 13 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.
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. We do enjoy a distinctive means of identifying each other. Only members are allowed in a closed meeting.
Can I afford membership in the Order of the Eastern Star?
Yes. Financial position is not considered in the Order. 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. However, the more you become involved with the activities of the Chapter, the more you will get out of being a member of the Order of the Eastern Star!
Is there any memory work?
There is no mandatory memory work except the means of making yourself known if you wish to visit a Chapter or if you become an officer. Holding an office is strictly voluntary, and most Chapters have Instruction Committees and assistance available from veteran members to help you should you choose to take an office and learn the Ritual and Floor work.
Is the Order patriotic?
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.
Excerpts from: "The Eastern Star 'A Way of Life'"
Printed in 1991 by the Grand Chapter of California, Order of the Eastern Star
16960 Bastanchury Road, Suite E
Yorba Linda, CA 92886-1711