Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the Order of the Eastern Star?
A. The Order of the Eastern Star is a social, charitable and Fraternal Organization to which both women and men can belong. There are approximately 48,000 members throughout the State of New York. The Order of the Eastern Star is comprised of 395 Chapters and is divided into 39 regional Districts within the State of New York. The regional Districts are usually comprised of one or more counties.
Q. What are the requirements for membership?
A. 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 their 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.
Q. What Masonic affiliation is required for a woman to become a member?
A. None. In NYS a woman does need to be Masonically affiliated to join Eastern Star.
Q. When was the Order of the Eastern Star formed?
A. Robert McCoy conceived the Order of the Eastern Star in 1850.
Q. What is the basis of the Order of Eastern Star?
A. 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.
Q. Is the Order of the Eastern Star a religion?
A. 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 do come from all denominations.
Purposes And Goals
Q. What are the purposes and goals of the Order of the Eastern Star?
A. 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 mankind throughout the world.
How Does One Belong?
Q. How may I express a desire to join the Order of the Eastern Star?
A. 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 York, (71 West 23rd St., New York , NY 10010 (1-212-675-0090)) for the name, address, and phone number of a Chapter in your area to express your desire for additional information.
Q. What procedure should I follow when I have decided that I would like to join a chapter?
A. 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.
Q.What happens after I submit my petition?
A. 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.
Q.What will be the next step?
A. 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.
Q.How long after the election will that be?
A. 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.
Q.What happens at Chapter Meetings?
A. An Eastern Star Chapter meets once or twice a month to conduct its business and to confer Eastern Star degress. If no initiatory work is being performed, the meeting will include a program of interest or entertainment. Refreshments are almost always served.
OES - A Way Of Life
Q.Just what is Fraternal Life?
A. 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.
Why Should I Want To Join
Q.What does the Eastern Star have to offer that other organizations do not?
A. Each of us has an inner need to do something for others and 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.
Q.Is there any social involvement?
A. 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.
Q.Is there any Fraternal friendship?
A. 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.
Q.Will I become a better person?
A. 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.
Q.Does the Order of the Eastern Star give support to any affiliated youth groups?
A. Yes. The Order of the Eastern Star provides support to members of the Rainbow for Girls, Constallation, and Triangle who 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 also sponsor DeMolay for Boys (ages 13 through 21). Further information can be found on the Youth Groups page.
Q.Does the Order of the Eastern Star have any special projects?
A. Yes. The Order of the Eastern Star membership supports many charitable organizations and programs. In New York State, some of the programs supported include Emergency Relief Fund, Social Service, Cheer Fund, volunteer service to Veteran's Hospitals, and Education Assistance. Also supported is an Eastern Star Home for its senior members in Oriskany; an Assisted Living Home for its members who are semi-independent; a Day Care Center in Oriskany; and an after-school Latch Key program. Many local charities benefit from Eastern Star donations.
Q.Is the Order of the Eastern Star a secret society?
A. No. Secret societies are underground and hard to find. We are easily found within the community; but, we do enjoy a distinctive means of identifying each other. Only members are allowed in a closed meeting.
Q.Can I afford membership in the Order of the Eastern Star?
A. Yes. Financial position is not considered in the Order. Members come from all economic stations of life.
Q.Is my religious faith allowed in the Order of the Eastern Star?
A. Yes. Members of all religions may belong to the Order of the Eastern Star. We only require a belief in a Supreme Being.
Q.Is the Order of the Eastern Star time consuming?
A. After your Initiation into our Order during a regular meeting, you may attend as your time permits.
Q.Is there any memory work?
A. 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. A short proficiency examination is strictly voluntary, but encouraged.
Q.Is the Order patriotic and democratic?
A. 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.