What is Eastern Star?
The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world to which both men and women belong. It is NOT a religion, but rather an organization of “believers” in a way of life to further enhance our own religious beliefs. This organization was formed to protect the widow and orphan, comfort and sympathize with those in need and in sorrow, and through social enjoyments and cheerful companionship increase the happiness for ourselves and others. We are dedicated to faith, hope, charity, love and the promotion of good will to all mankind. We have ongoing special programs, entitled ESTARL (Eastern Star Training Awards for Religious Leadership). An Education Loan Program, our grants are awarded to those seeking to serve in full-time religious service. (Applicants need not be related to or be members of our Order to apply or receive one of our awards.) We also have educational loans available for students of Eastern Star families. We support the Order of Rainbow for Girls, the Iowa Job’s Daughters, and the Order of De Molay (for young men). Our Eastern Star – Masonic Home at Boone and the Mathilda A Barthell Eastern Star Home at Decorah are two special Residential and Health Homes that we are proud to be associated with. These Homes have a Board of Directors, comprised of our members, to oversee and supervise the affairs of the Homes.
The Grand Chapter of Iowa, Order of the Eastern Star is the name of our state organization in Iowa. It is composed of approximately 11,600 individuals who are members in about 120 local chapters. Our national organization is called the General Grand Chapter. There are Grand Chapters in 50 states, all seven provinces of Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam, Japan, China, the Philippines, Republic of Panama, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Bermuda and Okinawa. The Grand Chapter of Scotland has jurisdiction over the chapters in the United Kingdom. Grand Chapters of New York and New Jersey have jurisdiction over chapters in their respective states. Headquarters for our General Grand Chapter are house in The International Temple in Washington D. C. If you are a member in good standing in the Order of the Eastern Star, you may visit any local chapter or Grand Chapter in these areas.
Becoming a member is easy.
You must have a belief in a Supreme Being.
Who may join: Only men who are Masons are eligible and only women with
specific Masonic affiliation may be members. These affiliations include:
Affiliated Master Masons in good
legally adopted daughters
And daughters of sisters or brothers of affiliated Master Masons in good standing, or if deceased in good standing at the time of their death; as well as members – either active for three (3) years or majority – of the International Order of Job’s Daughters or of the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, each of whom having attained at least the age of eighteen (18) years, are eligible to membership in the Order of the Eastern Star.
How to join: To inquire about membership, talk to a current member, or contact a local chapter. To find chapters in your area, contact the Iowa Grand Chapter Secretary (see complete contact information below). Petitions are carefully read, eligibility investigated and election to membership must be by a vote of the Chapter. The Order strives to select persons of mental, moral, and spiritual quality who will work together in harmony to perform its objectives.
There are many personal rewards of membership in the Order of the Eastern Star, such as:
- Chapter meetings are open to all members, not just the officers or delegates.
- Social hours and refreshments at the meetings.
- Opportunity to help others through volunteer service in the community each year, adopting and helping to support “State Charitable Projects” and striving State-wide to make meaningful contributions. (Examples of projects supported: Cancer, Arthritis, Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Heart and Eye Banks, Mobil Meals, Make-A-Wish, Autism and funded the purchasing of major medical equipment for research and use at the University of Iowa Hospitals.)
- Lasting friendships.
- Travel – visiting other chapters! Enjoying old and developing new friendships. Additionally, members may attend the Grand Chapter Session which is usually held the last week in October with some of the sessions and social events open (to which you may bring non-member friends and/or family). Along with the business meetings, there are many social events you may attend. The same applies to our General Grand Chapter which holds its session triennially (every 3 years).
- Inspiration of the ritual. The founder and author of our Ritual (the book that defines, explains and clarifies our Organization) was written by the late Dr. Rob Morris. Dr. Morris, a successful lawyer, lecturer and instructor in Masonry, based our Ritual on the teachings of the Holy Bible. He wrote the Ritual in 1850 to provide the female relatives of Masonic Brothers a way in which they could share the same inspirations that prompted men to noble deeds of Benevolence and Charity. The Ritual is written in English, Spanish, German and Italian languages.