Worthy Matronís Speech
This year we have much to celebrate in our Eastern Star world and here at Nesika.†
The first would be the change in our membership requirements. We, as members of Eastern Star, have long acknowledged that one of the most pressing issues for our organization has been our declining membership.† General Grand Chapter in October 2000 opened a door for us that has long been closed and we are now able to initiate majority members of Rainbow into Eastern Star.†
For Nesika Chapter Ė we are starting our second decade with this, its 101st year. As our year begins, Iíd like to see us focus on increasing our membership as well as the excitement and participation of all members.
With new beginnings there are, of course, endings.
I joined Eastern Star some 25 years ago when I was 19 years old.† Although Iíve been in Star that long; I feel like a new kid on the block and with that I want to say to each of those members who has held an office for so many years Ė Mary Spunaugle, Velma Weber, Sally Jones, Alma Michelsen, Florence Morris - please, please keep coming Ė we need you as much as we have in the past Ė no less than we did yesterday not as much as we will tomorrow.† These ladies have graciously agreed to continue to work on behalf of the Chapter and I thank each of them for their contributions on our behalf.
On a larger front, Eastern Star itself is changing.† For the past 75 years, Eastern Star has sponsored Rainbow Assemblies all over the world in keeping with the principles of our order.† The reward for the tireless efforts of those countless Eastern Star members who worked as Rainbow advisors was only the assurance that they were guiding young women of their communities toward womanhood inspired by the combined teachings of Eastern Star and Rainbow.
In October 2000, the General Grand Chapter voted an immediate change to the membership requirements of Eastern Star members.† A change that was long awaited and over due.†
Iíd like to share a story with you about two young women.† This story begins February 18, 1993.
These two young women joined Rainbow together one night.† They didnít know each other, they came from different communities, and they attended different schools.† One was 11 and the other 13.† Over the years they went to car washes, sleep overs, camp outs, did service projects in their communities, they studied ritual together, competed together at Grand Assembly, they became friends and they became sisters.† Eventually, the older girl became a Grand Officer and received Grand Cross.† Then the younger girl also received Grand Cross and became a Grand Officer.
These two young women were devoted and loyal members of their Rainbow Assembly and grew into fine young women.
As time does, it passed and the girls turn 20 and 18.† The older girl took majority at Grand Assembly.† She had no affiliation that would allow her to become an Eastern Star member, but she hears that this could change.† She is well aware that she has cannot go on and this causes her sadness and a sense of loss because Rainbow has been such a solid and good place in her life.
This too, made the younger girl sad for she knew as did her Rainbow sister, that this will change their lives.
The younger girl is eligible to join Eastern Star because she is the daughter of a Mason, the granddaughter of a Mason, and the sister of a Mason. If only she could share this with her Rainbow sister too.
Today we can celebrate twofold.† First, our investment of time as advisors to these young women assures us we are providing a service to our community that will afford them skills and abilities to face their future as strong, confident leaders who have as their foundation the teachings of Rainbow. Secondly, because at the end of their time in Rainbow, our investment in working with these young women give us the opportunity increase the membership of Eastern Star and continue our relationships built over the span of years.†
How many young women did we lose in the last 75 years? How many can we find and bring back into this close circle of friendship?†
For these two young women there is a happy ending.† Because on March 9, 2001, Amanda Holler & Nicole Turner were initiated into Eastern Star together and tonight were installed as Adah and Ruth.
I urge each of you to seek out former Rainbow girls, majority members that youíve met over the years, wear some sort of Rainbow or Eastern Star insignia and talk to people you meet about both organizations.
Letís shoot for the moon! And even if we fail, weíll land amongst the stars!