After 20 years of being in the midst of obscurity, one of Turlock’s original clubs is ready to make a triumphant return to its community.
The Order of the Eastern Star club is the largest fraternal organization in the world to which both men and women may belong. Worldwide, there are approximately one million members under the General Grand Chapter.
The chapter started officially as the Wisteria Chapter in Turlock on Sept. 24, 1910, while the Smyrna Chapter was instituted on Aug. 18, 1923. The two chapters later consolidated in 1993, to become the Ceres chapter.
“There hasn’t been a (local) chapter since Turlock consolidated with Ceres,” said OES member Katie Nielsen. “In April we will become an official chapter in Turlock and we would love to invite former and new members to be a part of this amazing organization.”
Years ago the Masons mostly attracted affluent people in the community. Today, however, persons from all walks of life and social status are members.
“As a member of the OES, our main purpose is to help the community through our philanthropic efforts,” said Nielsen. “As members we make mastectomy pillows, lap robes, slippers and hats for cancer patients at cancer patient comfort stations. We also provide scholarships for the youth and help our own members through benevolent funds.”
In order to become a member of the OES, one must either be a Mason or have a Masonic family connection.
“Members must believe in a supreme being in order to join OES and be at least 18 years of age,” said OES member Yvette Elness.
Eastern Star is a social order comprised of persons with spiritual values but it is not a religion.
“OES gives members a way of life,” said Nielsen. “It gives you an extended family. I’ve been through some real traumas in my life and if it hadn’t been for the OES I don’t know where my life would be.”
For more information on OES contact Katie Nielsen 599-9530.