Karsceal Turner – I Got NEXT!
October 16 and 17th heralded the mid-year annual workshop for members of the Order of the Eastern Star, State of Florida, Prince Hall affiliated. The event was held at the Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at Sea World, located at 10100 International Drive, in Orlando.
The workshop convenes each year in effort to enrich and enlighten members with proper conduction of chapter business, tighten up skills of current members, and educate newly inducted members to the practices of the order.
On tap for the weekend beginning Friday were bestowals of Queen of the South and Amaranth degrees. Respectively. Unbeknownst to some readers of this column, those two degrees complete the degrees, which make up the whole of the Eastern Star.
Saturday was kicked off with various breakout sessions, which were position-specific and focused on enriching chapter officers in proper performance of their duties. Each breakout session was conducted twice to allow members an opportunity to cross-train. Additionally, the workshop included a presentation from the Masonic Educational Institute under the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Florida, followed by question and answer session and lunch.
Greatest Pep Rally Ever!!!
Daytime activities continued with an Eastern Star Pep Rally, the likes of which Florida has never seen. The sisters of the order cut loose with their ensembles and outfits. One sister was adorned from head to toe in Eastern Star paraphernalia. The pep rally also included cheers, chants song and testimony. I believe I shot hundreds of pics and regret that I’m unable to run them all.
Later Saturday evening, members attended the annual Charity & Awards Banquet, a formal/semiformal gala where each chapter across the jurisdiction shared their various community service initiatives. In addition, a special salute was dedicated to all senior O.E.S. members from District Deputy Grand Worthy Matrons and their assistants.
Speaking of grand officers, many if not all were present including the 18th Most Worshipful Grand Master most worshipful grand master Walter Gulley Jr.
“We are a jurisdiction who believes in educating, empowering, and engaging its members. We will keep the Grand Architect of the Universe at the forefront of all of our endeavors, recognizing his plan for our lives and this great fraternity of ours,” Gulley Jr. said.
Also in attendance was the Associate Grand Worthy Patron Bro. Rev. Ronald E. Williams Sr., who conducted a workshop dedicated to educating brothers who are Patrons or Associate Patrons within chapters across Florida. I also had the chance to rap briefly with Grand Associate Patron Raymond Cromartie, who also gave great points during the workshop and lent some much needed clarification.
Reason for the occasion
The main focus of the O.E.S. revolves around five heroines, four of which are mentioned at some point in the bible: Adah, the daughter, Ruth, the widow, Esther, the wife, Martha, the sister, and Electa the mother. Each member of the organization is charged with trying their best to practice the virtues exemplified by each of the five heroines to include: honor, fellowship, courage, faith, and love.
On January 1, 2009 Jerusalem Grand Chapter was formed by Most Worshipful Grand Master Reverend Dr. Michael R. Moore. This occurred after the MWUGL withdrew recognition and the charter of Bethlehem Grand Chapter. Within five months, Jerusalem Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star had grown to over 2000 members and 95 subordinate chapters. Today it is still growing.
The Grand Worthy Matron, Dr. Tracy A. Thomas could scarcely contain her enthusiasm as she participated in her first annual workshop in her newly elected position. She could be seen listening in on multiple breakout sessions in addition to pushing raffle tickets good for life membership in the order and serving as facilitator for the Pep rally. The Grand Worthy Matron, who is a Florida A&M graduate made it her business to give a shout out to the Rattlers, many of which are also FAMU graduates.
As she spoke, one could hear and feel the grumbles from the Bethune-Cookman University graduates and students, who are also a part of our order. Yours truly, the author of this piece is a B-CU graduate in addition to serving as Patron of Serenity Chapter #118 located in Ormond Beach. I attended in working capacity. Think I wouldn’t shout out my chapter if you want to.
The camera also caught Past Grand Worthy Matron Patricia Stafford as she parlayed at a table outside the hotel in the cool shade. Although she left office last April, she returned to show love to her former protégée and the order as a whole. I was happy to get a hug from her and our current Grand Matron so I slung my camera to the side to receive that love. As a matter of fact, I met sisters from throughout Florida and a multitude of men who proudly claim the title of Eastern Star. Yes, a man can become an Eastern Star. Our numbers are small, and rightfully so.
Grand Worthy Matron Thomas said she was pleased with the attendance and outcome of the workshop. “This workshop afforded us as an order to fellowship, love one another, grow and continue to set the standard of the star. It truly is our time to shine,” she remarked.
Biketoberfest couldn’t stop my flow
In addition to our Annual workshop, this was also Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach. Motorcycles everywhere. It stung that I couldn’t enjoy the wind on my shiny head while cruising but duty called. You can’t imagine the gridlock but I was able to breeze back and forth back and forth twice. I missed all the accidents as I split time between the workshop and my lodge’s (Boaz Lodge #212) fundraising in Daytona Beach. I find myself multiple places at the same damn time. However, first and foremost, I give personal kudos to my sister stars in form of this column.