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Eastern Star has long tradition of fellowship and service

Quesnel's Eastern Star chapter installed new officers.

Lynn Schwehr and Alice Mathews are best friends and they owe it all to the Eastern Star organization.

Celebrating its 100th birthday, the B.C. Order of the Eastern Star has been connecting men and women across the province in serving others and fellowship within the Masonic family.

The fraternal organization (the largest of its kind in the world) is open to men who are Master Masons in good standing and women who are related to a Master Mason in specific ways such as wife, daughter, granddaughter, mother, sister, and various other relations.

Eastern Star welcomes members of all faiths, all they require is a belief in a supreme being. Contrary to popular belief, the Order of the Eastern Star is not a secret society. They can be easily found within the community. However, they enjoy a distinctive means of identifying each other and only members are allowed in a closed meeting.

The Masonic Family includes Masons, Shriners, Order of Demolay (male youth) and Job’s Daughters (female youth.)

Worldwide, there are approximately one million members under the General Grand Chapter.

Quesnel’s first Eastern Star chapter formed in October 1951.

Lynn joined Quesnel’s Job’s Daughters (Bethel 57) in 1971 at the urging of her mother Freda Weber who joined the Eastern Star chapter in 1959. In 1969 Freda was installed as the chapter’s Worthy Matron.

“Joining Job’s Daughters gave me an opportunity to go beyond myself and help others,” Lynn said.

“And there’s a vibrant social aspect to belonging, you’re part of a family.”

She was installed as the first chartered Honoured Queen and has remained a member, first Job’s Daughters and now Eastern Star for 40 years.

She was recently installed as the Worthy Matron of Quesnel’s Eastern Star chapter by visiting Eastern Star member from Langley, Arlene Hallam.

Arlene was also the installing officer when Lynn first became Honoured Queen in 1971.

Lynn now bears the distinction of the first Job’s Daughters Honoured Queen from Quesnel to become the Worthy Matron of the Quesnel Eastern Star chapter.

Alice paralleled Lynn’s Eastern Star journey in many ways.

She joined Job’s Daughters in Burnaby at the age of 12 in 1955, also at her mother’s insistence.

“At that age you do as your told,” she said with a laugh.

“But I loved it. We shared common interests and it was fun.”

Alice’s mother remained a member until she died in 2006.

Alice also became Honoured Queen of her chapter at the age of 19 and the following year received her majority degree which allowed her to attend any Job’s Daughters event, anywhere in the world.

Alice didn’t move from the youth organization to Eastern Star until many years later.

Widowed and living in the Okanagan, she attended a Job’s Daughters installation and connected with the Eastern Star chapter members. One of the women put a petition for membership in front of her.

“It was a sense of relief, someone wanted me to belong to them,” she said.

“Those members are still close friends.”

Relocating to Quesnel, Alice joined the chapter here.

“That opened the doors to new friendships, a new family,” she said.

That’s where Lynn and Alice formed a friendship that has grown and strengthened over the past two years.

The Quesnel chapter concentrates on two primary charitable activities, collecting used stamps as a fundraiser and making dressings for cancer patients which are given free to patients through cancer centres and medical staff.

Twice a week members get together and cut and fold stacks of dressings.

Currently, Quesnel doesn’t have a Job’s Daughters chapter but the Eastern Star members would love to see one start again.

“Right now we’re in a rebuilding and redefining phase and are looking to attract younger members and fresh ideas,” Lynn said.

There are 24 active members in the Quesnel chapter but they welcome inquiries about new membership.

For information on the Quesnel Eastern Star chapter, call Lynn 250-747-3860.