Odd Fellowship is one of the oldest of fraternities, its history dating back to earliest times when it becomes lost in the fogs of antiquity and legend. The American or Independent Order of Odd Fellows was founded in Baltimore, MD. on 1819 when Washington Lodge No. 1 was organized with five members.
In 18th century England, it was odd to find people organized for the purpose of giving aid to those in need and pursuing projects for the benefit of all mankind. Those who belonged to such an organization were called “Odd Fellows.” Odd Fellows are also known as “The Three Link Fraternity” which stands for Friendship, Love, and Truth.
It received its charter from Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows in England. Today, Odd Fellow Lodges may be found everywhere and the membership runs into millions. The idea of Odd Fellowship is mutual relief and protection. It addresses itself in aid of the moral as well as the physical man. Odd Fellowship is a moral, not a religious, organization. In Odd Fellowship, men of many sects and creeds cordially cooperate and labor upon common ground, for the relief of human suffering.
All the oracles and instructions in Odd Fellowship find their warrant and authority in the divine law, under the inspiration of which it proclaims the Golden Rule as the most sublime illustration of the law of love. In Odd Fellowship, the brotherhood of man is taught as the inspiration of Deity and the first law of nature.
Today, the Odd Fellows is a worldwide fraternal Order having over 5,000 lodges in 26 countries. We are actively involved in a variety of civic and philanthropic efforts on a local, national, and international level.
ODD FELLOWSHIP IS the strongest fraternal society on the contingent and a great world-wide united brotherhood. It’s a fraternity founded on the basis of universal brotherhood and based on the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
More than a century old as we know it on the continent, Odd Fellows is endowed with the intellectual vigor, elasticity, adaptability, and freshness of perpetual youth. They are the foe of selfishness and ignorance which is based upon the purest principles of equality.
Odd Fellows is non-political and non-sectarian, a source of comfort in times of trouble and adversity. As a world-wide force, it stands for all that is noblest and highest, as well as, an everyday guide for conduct, a mantle that should be worn always.
Odd Fellows is an organization that favors no man for his wealth and frowns on none for his poverty. This alone is an ideal that exists in the heart and mind of every genuine Odd Fellow and fulfilling a mission the world which no other institution has successfully attempted. A vitalizing, sympathetic, and actuating influence in the lives of all its real members. It ministers to the spirit succoring the needy, cheering the despondent, and protecting the helpless as a handmaiden of virtue and religion. It was founded on the inspired word of God as revealed to man in the Holy Bible.
- Wise and serious truths and opens up before its members opportunities for useful service.
- Belief in a Supreme Being, the Creator and Preserver of the Universe.
- The lesson of fraternity, that all are of one family and therefore brethren.
- The importance of the principles of Friendship, Love, and Truth.
- The privilege and duty of individual sympathy, mutual assistance, and every-day service to one’s fellows.
- The humanity was intended to be one harmonious structure.
- That each individual is a unit in that God-made temple. Its members learn how to stand on their own feet, yet walk in step with their neighbors.
- The difference between right and wrong.
- That it is more blessed to give than to receive.
ODD FELLOWSHIP AIMS to impress upon its members a real sense of their obligations to others and to improve and exalt the character of man. It imbue him with a proper conception of his capabilities for good and helps to enlighten his mind, to enlarge the sphere of his affections and to promote the general good of mankind.
Odd Fellows spread abroad the light of morality and fraternalism and eliminates false distinctions among men. It teaches to the cultivation and extension of true fraternity and establish peace on earth and good will among men.
The Odd Fellows Lodge #141 continued to grow and interest started to increase on having a Rebekah Lodge back in Leesport again. On January 24, 1970, Lady Colfax Rebekah Lodge was re-instituted using the same name and number. The charter members who are still living are: Judith Wert, Sandra Oesterling, Shirley Meck, Reta Kunklemen, John Kunkleman, and Avalion Bossler.
Lady Colfax Rebekah Lodge #182 is the last Rebekah Lodge in Berks County. At one time there were numerous lodges, such as Ester #4 of Reading, Lady Elizabeth #48 of Morgantown, Barbara Fritchie #138 of Shillington, Lady Bird #150 of Birdsboro, Clemintine Lodge #571 of Hamburg, and Laura Lodge #593. As the new age of technology happens, so did loss of values and interest in our organization. The young people have many things going on in their lives and lots of women must work outside the home today.
The Rebekah must look for ways to stimulate and increase interest in our order so that the organization can grow and continue to do the good works. The Good Works qualifications for a Rebekah are the following: male or female, eighteen years old, believe in a Supreme, Intelligent Being, and who wishes to help others. The age has changed to sixteen years old now, but the other qualifications still stand. Would you not like to belong to this great organization that was created by Sovereign Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in September 1851?
Who Are We?
We are a branch of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
We are a fraternity: a world-wide sisterhood with members in 19 countries.
We meet in groups or “lodges” on a regular basis, usually twice a month. Each meeting night includes a social hour – sometimes a program or entertainment – and usually refreshments.
We come from all walks of life and from different faiths. We do not, and should not, take the place of your Church or Synagogue.
We have, in common, a belief in a Supreme Being, a love and loyalty to our country, and a desire to aid and support each other and those around us in affliction or distress.
We follow a ritual which was first established in 1851. This ritual includes passwords and secret work which are not intended so much as to set us apart from the uninitiated, as to give our membership a sense of solidarity – a sense of belonging.
We feel as much at home in any Rebekah Lodge as we do in our home Lodge.
What Do We Do?
We support each other emotionally, physically, if necessary, and even financially on occasion through special funds.
We work together to raise money through various projects, events, or sales to support our benevolences, special projects, and special activities.
Each local lodge and each State of Jurisdiction has its own special projects. Most jurisdictions maintain and support a home for their aged members who are in need of this type of care in their golden years.
Projects and benevolences supported by our world-wide Order include:
- World Eye Bank & Visual Research
- Arthritis Foundation and other Health Care Agencies
- U.N. Pilgrimage for Youth
- Youth Camps & Recreational Facilities
- I.O.O.F. Educational Foundation
- Scholarship Programs
- Youth Programs
- World Hunger and Disaster Fund
- International Youth Exchange
- Rose Parade Float
Why Join Rebekahs?
As a shield against loneliness. There may come a time in life when friends and family are elsewhere and you crave companionship.
To reap the benefits of fraternity: group support, close friendships, and the good feeling that comes from cooperative work.
To enjoy the social aspect of meeting night, and especially the special evenings when members of neighboring lodges visit and are entertained, or those very special evenings when formal gowns are worn. These gowns need not be expensive. Some clever Rebekah sister may be willing to sew one for you.
To be a part of a great organization doing good for others.
Because we need you and want you!!!
The Patriarchs of Earl R. Leiby Encampment believe that the watchwords of our Order: Friendship, Love and Truth, are stronger when supported by Faith, Hope and Charity.
The Odd Fellows Encampment is a higher branch in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Membership is open to all Third Degree members in good standing. The branch aims to further the work of Odd Fellowship. The Degrees in the Encampment are:
- Patriarchal Degree – Aims to teach the lessons of transparent honesty, domestic purity, genuine hospitality and unfeigned righteousness.
- Golden Rule Degree – Aims to teach good will, tolerance, and true brotherhood. It also teaches that members should unite with the virtuous and good irrespective of country, religion, or politics in the discharge of duties which all agree are paramount to universal peace and cooperation.
- Royal Purple Degree – Aims to teach alertness and determination as basis for a possible success in the journey called life.
The Ancient Mystic Order of Samaritans, while not a legal branch of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, restricts its membership absolutely and exclusively to Odd Fellows in good standing. The local subordinate bodies are called “Sanctorums“. They are governed by the Supreme Sanctorum which meets annually in a Convention City selected each year by the delegates.
Primarily, it is a social organization for the purpose of uniting Odd Fellows in a given area into one organization that they become better aquainted. Its Motto is “A Mile of Smiles“.
The Ritual is original, unique, and mysterious with Eastern Atmosphere. It breaks down the barriers of reserve and makes us all laugh like boys unburdened with care.
Hence it is known as the “Playground for Odd Fellows“. Our Ritual also teaches a serious lessons which lingers with the initiate. It instills a more kindly feeling for his brother man and it encourages him to renewed interest in his subordinate lodge.
While fun and frolic may prevail at our Ceremonials, we studiously avoid anything that would detract from the useful and sublime lessons taught by the I.O.O.F.. It cannot be denied that Sanctorums throughout the United States and Canada have done and are doing wonderful work.
In our membership will be found Past Sovereign Grand Masters and many other Past and Present Grand Lodge Officers of all branches. If you are an Odd Fellow in good standing, you are eligible for membership in this organization. As we have something worthwhile for every Odd Fellow, we extend to you an invitation to become a member of the Samaritans and to enjoy its social and fraternal activities.
The Aims of The Ancient Mystic Order of Samaritans
- To have good clean enjoyable fun, pranks and relaxation at the meetings for its members.
- On an International scale through our Supreme Sanctorum, the raising of funds for the aid of Mentally Retarded Children and Adults is our main project in all Jurisdictions.
- To boost and help the I.O.O.F. Lodges.
- To help those who cannot help themselves.
- To participate in Local, Civil, and Community Programs with Special emphasis on Mentally Handicapped Assistance in Areas covered by each Sanctorum.