It is usually said that the three Home Gls, UGLE, GL of S, GL of I, all act in concert with each other and if one permits or proscribes a particular group then that goes for the others.
If that is so then why is it that O.E.S. is perfectly acceptable, as to my mind it ought to be, as far as the Grand Lodge of Scotland (and I think many GLs in the USA are concerned) for attendance by Freemasons under that GL and many husbands of OES women attend in a Fraternal capacity , yet it is proscribed by UGLE for their Brethren to attend? (Come to that why do we not have "De Molay" and "Daughters of Job" for our kids as the Yanks have? In these days something decent for teenagers etc to belong to with a moral basis would be a great idea)
Is there a sensible reason for this ban South of the Border, or is this UGLE being its usual self "We have always done it that way!" or "We give then a nice Ladies Night every year, what more do they want?"
Personally, I feel that OES would bridge the gap between Co-Masonry which many Traditionalist Brethern simply would not like, and the current situation. Anyway, it seems to work in Scotland, etc, so why not here in England, are we that different South of the Tweed and the Solway?
I'd like to think that it is because while Dr Morris was starting the OES in the US (1850), Adoptive Masonry in Europe was taking a very different route which of course lead to the innovation of Co-masonry and then on to Women Freemasons. These Orders negated the need for a woman to have a "masonic" relative (sponsor) in order to partake of Freemasonry. It also meant that women went through the "actual" degrees rather than what could be considered a condescending derivative.
However, the particular reason that UGLE clings to is the fact that OES is quasi-masonic, In that it requires a Freemason to be present, acting as a Freemason at its ceremonies. The happy conclusion is that by banning UGLE members participation in OES Women in England and Wales are not deterred from joining the Orders mentioned above.
The Order of the Eastern Star is also permitted here in permitted (and even encouraged by some) here is Victoria.
However, I personally do not consider that it in the least has any 'bridging' quality to Co-Freemasonry: this latter is a Masonic group, the OES is not, but rather requires Masonic qualitfications for its masculine membership.
The only thing it perhaps does is show the futility of the argument that men and women cannot be in one temple at the same time... but then, religious temples and churches have already for millenia shown this.
From the Oz-Mason email list, posted by Bro. K Walker of NZ on 3 August 05 : -
"OES was investigated by UGLE in 1921. They do not condone any organisation that makes association with Freemasonry a test of memmbership whilst admitting persons who are not qualified to join a Freemason's Lodge. This report was adopted in 1921 and the Grand Lodge of Ireland took a similar view in 1922. In the same year the Grand Chapter of the OES approached the GL of Scotland to find a basis for avoiding similar action in Scotland. A Committee of the GLof S visited a Chapter of OES and viewed its Ritual. Following negotiations and suggested changes to the Constitution and Ritual being adopted by OES, the Committee reported that " The Constitution and Ritual have been altered and as now in use in Scotland, these contain nothing associating or claiming to associate or connect the Order with Freemasonry". This report was adopted in 1929. Up to the present time there has been no change in the attitude of the Grand Lodges of England or Ireland."
Thanks Ricardo, whilst I do not agree with the opinion underlying this decision made so long ago in that far off country known as The Past, I now known why the GL of S has a far more accomodating attitude towards OES than its two sibling UK GLs.
"In the evolution of human society it was no accident but an inspired incident that led the founder of the Order of the Eastern Star, an American – Dr. Robert Morris- to select this luminary as the emblem of the Order and to discover in its 5 points the characteristics of those who should be its heroines throughout the ages. Since joining the Masonic Order, Dr. Morris believed that the tenet of Charity could not be possible without the influence of woman in her motherly, sisterly or wifely estate. Dr. Morris believed that the hand that rocked the cradle was the same hand that fashioned and glorified mature life.
The Order of the Eastern Star began in America and grew out of a number attempts to form an organization of adult women, composed of wives, daughter, mothers and widows of Master Masons. For many years Dr. Morris studied the scriptures for inspiration and in 1850 at last chose Five heroines of the Order and from there built up the ritual of the Eastern Star, as we know it today. However, it must be remembered that in the USA the Order of the Eastern Star cues under the patronage of the Masons. We in this country had to break that connection.
In 1874 a deputation came from America to Greenock to initiate six Brothers in the Star. These brothers then returned to their homes in Glasgow and immediately initiated their wives, mothers, sisters and daughters, and from this action the first Chapter in Scotland was formed – Victoria No. 1. At this time the press (even then) got hold of the story and reported in their headlines "Lady Masons come to Scotland". I need hardly say so, but do emphasize very strongly that we are not Lady Masons and do not purport to be so.
In these early years Chapters and membership sprang up phenomenally, both in Scotland and overseas, and in 1904 Scotland was granted autonomy from the Grand Chapter of America. The Supreme Grand Chapter of Scotland was born. Australia came under the direct supervision of Scotland until 1985 when they were also granted autonomy. However, the Grand Chapter of America is still the governing body of the Order. In 1904 when the SGC was formed there were three rituals being used in Scotland – Morris, McCoy and the Aberdeen Crombie. Finally the Morris ritual used by the Supreme Grand Chapter had to be modified because of the ban placed on the Eastern Star by the Grand Lodge of England and Northern Ireland.
The Grand Lodge of Scotland was invited to witness an initiation ceremony to prove that it contained nothing whatsoever "Masonic" and this they accepted, always provided that no reference was ever made to Freemasonry. The Grand Lodge of England refused the invitation and Supreme Grand Chapter has since tried many, many times to try and break the ice, but to no avail. As recently in 1965 three Brothers from SGC went to Grand Lodge in Edinburgh to see Dr. Buchan, the Grand Secretary before approaching England and Northern Ireland, and were politely told to put their own house in order as it was brought to their attention that we were still emphasizing the Masonic relationship (known as qualification). Our Petition Forms were then altered with the qualification removed, although this is still endorsed on a blank piece of paper. I am sorry to say that the position with the Grand Lodge of England remains the same.
In these early days, as said before, the progress of the Order was phenomenal and has now grown into a worldwide organization, and we who are privileged to attend Supreme Grand Chapter meetings are so very proud to meet out Sisters and Brothers from all different lands and nationalities. I am sorry to say that in today’s modern age membership seems to be declining and we have seen a large number of Chapter closing. We must be positive and recognize that quality counts more than quantity.
Our aims and objectives are still the same. The Order of the Eastern Star is intended to benefit those who are near and dear to its members, so that being united in one common bond of fellowship, they become true companions in the pilgrimage of life."
Whilst I am fairly certain that this would not appeal to She Who Must Be Obeyed, there would be many other ladies who would find this a highly enjoyable and beneficial experience
PM Hamlet of Van Lodge 8334 UGLE (Caerphilly - South Wales); J Hamlet of Van Chapter 8334 SW, Caerffili MMM 1348; PCN, Caerffili RAM 1348; St Teilo Chapter A&AR 789 Brangwyn SRIA 75; Castell Caerffili OSM 466; Fforest KT 582: Merthyr Tydfil R&SM 120, Penychen - Athelstan 53, RCC 295; KTP 100; OSC 21 TI
This GLoS/UGLE distinction on this issue confused me for years. But I am beginning to get it. UGLE just has one way of doing things, to suit its own members. And as long as UGLEs policies remain relevant to the aspirations of its members and not contrary to positive changes in society then there is no problem.
Thanks Mr Mason for that very useful piece of information.
It annoys and saddens me greatly that UGLE didn't attend the invitation to see for themselves, unlike GL of S who did attend and asked for some changes to be made which satisfied their objections and paved the way for acceptance by them of OES as far as matters North of the Border are concerned.
It is probably too much to hope that things will change down here as whilst the older types pass on they have ensured that there are plenty of "Young Foggies" with the same entrenched opinions to take their place and perpetuate their attitudes. Some would claim, "That's what UGLE Brethern want, no association with the likes of OES" Really? Nobody ever asks us, the ordinary Brethren in the seats, and I doubt that the mechanism even exists to do so. In my 17 years in The Craft I have not yet received any questionaire, survey or poll asking my views on such matters , in stark contrast to many other bodies I belong to.
I was at my Chapter last night and asked one of our members about joining our local Eastern Star Chapter. He informed me that some were trying to start a debate to see if the order should restructure it's masonic joining qualification, i.e do away with it. This however seems not to be the way ahead as many believe that if the qualification is removed then it will spiral into nothing more than a club.
I am interested on this subject on the historical side :
from the HFAF website : "The HFAF is a fraternity for women and organised by women. It was founded in 1913 and membership is open to women of any race or religion, who are able to profess a belief in a Supreme Being."
and : from HFAF website's FAQS:
" What does UGLE think of Women's Freemasonry? * UGLE issued a newsletter in March 1999, in which they stated that whilst they could not "recognise" us, they nevertheless considered us to be regular in our practices. [...] * There is a lot of contact between UGLE and HFAF on matters of mutual concern."
So the HFAF founded undoubtedly with the help of UGLE freemasons was founded 10 years BEFORE the EOS try to create a chapter in UK.
May this be the real reason why the UGLE refuse to consider the OES ?
I am new to the forum and have a question. I wish to join the Order of Eastern Star and I am almost sure I had some male relatives who were Freemasons: however none of them ever talked about it. I have my family geneology (on my mothers side...both grandparents but I am still working on my Fathers geneology) and I can give any Freemason the male names of most of my male relatives dating all the way back to as early as 1792. However I know of no other way to prove that I am a female decendent of a freemason. I really think the Order of Eastern Star is a good place for me to begin the next chapter of my life as I just was medically retired from the military and I feel I can be of great assistance especially in the area of disaster relief. I also wonder why is this such a restricted membership to only those who are descendents of Freemasons? I mean I am just curious because there are those females, like myself, out here who are just as curious and willing to learn about the moral mental and physical strengths that seem to be associated and learn from being a member of such an organization. Thanks for listening.
"Personally, I feel that OES would bridge the gap between Co-Masonry which many Traditionalist Brethern simply would not like, and the current situation. "
Taylorsman as female who wants to join co-masonry or female masonry. I once thought that to but then I read on a blog that one state in the U.S. Georgia has put a ban on eastern star members from joining co-masonry. Any member of co-masonry would be asked to resign from one or the other. I think this will spread to other states in the U.S., matter of fact it probably already has.
While there are many positive things to say about the OES, perhaps the UGLE is concerned that it might lead to a similar situation as exists in the United States, namely, that of appendant orders that are independent of the Grand Lodge organization, and frequently draw resources away from the craft lodges.
In the U.S. there have been occasional conflicts between the appendant bodies and the Grand Lodges. I feel that the UGLE has shown wisdom in not allowing such a system to develop within its own jurisdiction.
I am sitting here simply stunned and wondering what to say, but feeling sure that I should be able to say something of importance in this conversation. I come from a family with many masons in it, and was myself a Rainbow Girl in my youth. I am currently a member of the OES and looked forward to the opportunity of meeting with other OES members when I visited in England. I am stunned and saddened at what seems to be a complete misunderstanding of the role of OES and other masonic supported groups such as DeMolay, Rainbow Girls, and Jobs Daughters, all of which are sponsored by Masonic lodges. In fact, about half of the women in our Eastern Star chapter were not related to masons, but were in fact, Rainbow Girls growing up. The same thing can be said of the masons and DeMolay. Rather than taking away resources, these attendant orders are considered to be a resource in and of themselves, and a means of enhancing and supporting the values and goals of the Lodges. I was discussing this issue with one of our masonic brethren recently, and he told me an interesting story. He said that there had been some discussion a few years back in his lodge as to whether they wanted to continue to support one of the youth groups, and he said, "I stood up and asked if every member of the lodge who had joined due to their participation in a youth group, or that of their children being involved in them would stand up." He said that over half the lodge stood up and that ended the conversation! I know that when I received my majority, a member of the OES was there to invite us to continue our association in the masonic family by joining the OES, and I was so thrilled to know that just because I had aged out of Rainbow, I could still continue the associations and fellowship that the OES offered me, and its lessons of kindness, fellowship, and charity continue to enhance my life. While I am sure that their actions are well intentioned, there is an ignorance, intransigence, and blindness demonstrated by the English powers that be that are robbing all of them, their extended membership, and their families from building on and enjoying the opportunities that come from the attendant masonic orders including OES. It is very sad.