Sunday, April 22, 2007

Official Visit – Lachute Chapter #56

On April 4th, we had our Official Visit to Lachute Chapter. The weather in the city was rainy, with a mixture of wet snow and a touch of freezing rain. As I drove to Lachute, the weather got worse as the snow started coming down heavier. Where in the city there was nothing on the ground except rain, Lachute had about 5-6 cms of snow. Of course I, along with many other members coming from the city, did not have any boots on! I even got stuck in the parking lot!!

Even though the weather turned bad, there were still about 50 members present for the Visit. The Worthy Matron had an honour program for the Worthy Grand Patron and I before the meeting began. It was a special candle ceremony incorporating my Watchwords – Faith, Hope, Peace and Love. It was beautifully done and very touching.

At every meeting, as part of my inspection, I have been asking the chapters to exemplify some sort of ritual work for me. This night I had asked for the Star Point Electa’s initiatory work to be done. It was very nicely done by Sister Linda Roger. I’m kind of partial to the Station of Electa as this was my first office as well as being Grand Electa. Congratulations Sister Linda! I also presented a Certificate of Appreciation and special gold Thistle pin to Brother Calvin Atkin who is the chapter’s Marshal – my Honour Station.

Lachute Chapter was also celebrating their 35th Birthday. There were seven charter members to receive their 35-yr pin and five of them were at the meeting. I had the pleasure of “pinning” the four ladies present, Sisters Freda Gordon, P.G.M., Linda Roger, Dorothy Ellis and Elaine Wilson, and Brother Bill, WGP “pinned” Brother George Gordon, P.G.P.

After a delicious social of sandwiches and birthday cake, I made my way home (or maybe I should say crawled home). The snow had stopped in Lachute, but was now headed for the city – just my luck! I’m sure I didn’t drive more than 80 kph all the way home. I even had to do a double take when I saw an 18-wheeler in the ditch! By the time I got home there was about 7 cms of snow on the ground.

Chapter Talk - The True Story of ESTARL:

Worthy Matron, Worthy Patron, WGP, all Distinguished Guests, Sisters & Brothers. Thank you Worthy Matron for the warm welcome this evening. As always, it is a pleasure to be here tonight. Tonight I want to tell you the true story of ESTARL.

ESTARL. We all know what it means, but where did it come from? What are the roots of this fine scholarship program sponsored by the Order of the Eastern Star? Tonight, thanks to exhaustive research through archives, files, and informational repositories of unbelievable antiquity you will hear for the first time, the “true” story of how ESTARL came to be.

The ESTARL Scholarship Fund was formally established on April 1, 1939, in Morton’s Grove, New Jersey by Fred and Wilma E’Starle as a special study fund for wayward girls.

Several years before Ophelia Edwina Starbuck, O.E.S. for short, was one such “wayward girl.” Tired of the unfortunate stigma attached to her “wayward girl” status, Ophelia developed a great desire to attend seminary to be a religious leader, shedding forever the terrible stereotype that had always followed her.

But, alas, poor Ophelia had great difficulty being accepted into any of the finest institutions of religious training. She sent hundreds of applications all over the country, only to be rejected at every turn. At long last Ophelia was accepted at a small, little known, but very fine institution, the Overton Evangelical Seminary, O.E.S. for short. Ophelia was very happy. Almost instantly, however, her hopes were dashed. Poor Ophelia had no money. She could not attend without the money for tuition, books and fees. Ophelia was crushed.

Enter Fred and Wilma. The E’Starles had always been fond of Ophelia. They decided to help Ophelia financially. It was at that exact moment that Fred and Wilma noticed the most amazing coincidence. Ophelia’s initials, O.E.S., and the seminary’s initials, O.E.S., were the same as their beloved Order of the Eastern Star, O.E.S. for short. It seemed only logical that the Eastern Star should also help in some way.

Fred and Wilma asked their O.E.S. chapter to help sponsor Ophelia. The Chapter loved the idea. They adopted Ophelia’s plight as their own special philanthropy. When visiting Star members heard the reports of the fund raising committee, they asked questions about this religious scholarship for wayward girls. All liked the idea, and soon Chapters all over were starting their own scholarship programs. As the program spread to more and more Chapters, it became necessary to standardize the way in which Chapters were involved. By-Laws were written so that each Chapter would contribute at yearly intervals and would determine a “usual amount” to be given at that time. That “usual amount” was constant and could not be changed without a ¾ majority vote of the total membership of a Chapter. To this day, when chapters are asked to contribute to this, and many other charities, you will hear someone stand and say, “I move we give the usual amount!” Now you know where that phrase came from!

But what of the name ESTARL? Where did that come from?

Once again we go back to Fred and Wilma. The E’Starles’s Chapter wanted to name the scholarship after them. It was to be called “The Fred And Wilma E’Starle Fund for the Financial Assistance of Wayward Girls in Transition to Acceptance Within the Community,” F.W.E.F.F.A.W.G.T.A.W.C. for short. But Fred and Wilma were modest folks. They asked to remain anonymous. In keeping with their wishes, the Chapter dropped the last letter of the E’Starle’s name leaving just the letters E,S,T,A,R and L. That would work to disguise the origins, but confusion reigned. The letters had to stand for something.

Eugene Suffered Terrible Amnesia Regarding Latvia.


Edward’s Sister Trudy Arrived Real Late. Well Sister fit, but the rest of it didn’t mean anything.

Exceptional Secondary Teachers Always Read Latin. LATIN! They were getting close. At least Latin had something to do with religion. RELIGION! That was it! That’s what this scholarship program was about in the first place. It soon became official. The name of the scholarship program would be “EVERYONE SHOULD TACTFULLY ADOPT RELIGIOUS LADIES.”

On the more serious side, ESTARL is one of the most significant philanthropies we have. This really is the gift that “keeps on giving.” The students we sponsor go on to help hundreds of others, perhaps inspiring a new applicant for the ministry to begin the cycle all over again.

Not long ago, there was a Grand Master who encouraged his membership to increase their usual amount of giving. A lodge secretary was asked when was the last time the “usual amount” had been raised. Without hesitation he answered, “since before time began.” How long has it been in your Chapter?

Inflation, increased tuition costs and a decline in the number of chapters have all taken their toll on the monetary significance of the “usual amount”. I urge you to consider the motion to contribute to the ESTARL fund and increase your “usual amount” this year. It really doesn’t take a ¾ majority vote.

I want to thank you Worthy Matron, for allowing my Bible to rest on your Altar tonight. As you all know, this is the Bible that was presented to me by Sister Marion Loffelmann, P.G.M., at my Installation. She in turn received it from Sister Alta Fowler, P.G.M. At the end of the meeting, I would like you and the Worthy Patron to both sign it. The beautiful Bible marker was hand painted by Sister Louise Wilkinson, P.G.M. I hope everyone takes a chance to have a look. I also want to thank you Worthy Matron for using my gavel tonight. This is the gavel that was presented to me by the WGP, Brother Bill and Sister Fabienne on my Installation as Worthy Grand Matron last October.

I would also ask that after the meeting the Chapter Officers and the Grand Officers remain for pictures.

Thank you again, Worthy Matron, for all your courtesies tonight and for your wonderful donation to my Special Project. It is very much appreciated.

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