Improved Order Shepherds & Daughters of Bethlehem
Initiation Ritual


The Presiding Shepherd takes his (or her) place and gives three raps and says:
Vice-Shepherd, see that the Portal is closed and guarded by the Porters.
Presiding Shepherd, the Porters are guarding the Portal
Vice-Shepherd, you will please collect the password from the members of the Fold.
Vice-Shepherd performs duty and reports as follows:
All present are duly initiated into the mysteries of the Fold.
Brother (or sister) Staff Supporters, please clothe the officers with regalia.
They perform task and report:
Vice-Shepherd, instruct the members of this Fold as to what the principles of this Organization are.
They are Honesty, Faithfubiess and Devotion.
Presiding Shepherd:
Brothers (or sisters), so let us live that we may prove to the world daily that we possess these virtues. To live an honest, faithful, devoted life is the duty of every true Shepherd and Daughter of Bethlehem.
Give three raps, and all rise and sing.

Opening Hymn
While Shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground.
The Angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around. .
"Fear not," said he: for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind:
Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind.
To you, in David's town this day,
Is born of David's line,
The Saviour, who is Christ, the Lord,
And this shall be the sign:
The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands
And in a mauger laid.
Thus spake the seraph; and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of Angels, praising God, and thus
Addressed their cheerful song:
All glory be to God on high,
And to the earth be peace;
Goodwill henceforth, from heaven to men
Begin, and never cease!
Presiding Shepherd:
Brother (or sister) Staff Supporters, are there any sbeep to enter the Fold?
The Supporter salutes the Shepherd of Signs and retires to the outside, returns and reports, if there are any, as follows:
Staff Supporters:
Respected Presiding Shepherd, there are one or more lost sheep who desire to enter our Fold.
Presiding Shepherd:
Recording Secretary, are these candidates worthy?
Recording Scribe:
They are.
Presiding Shepherd:
You will go out and prepare them for en trance into this Fold.
The Recording Secretary retires and fills out the application blank furnished the candidate. If all answers are correct the entrance rap is given at the door.
Inside Porter:
Who alarms this Fold?
Outside Porter:
A Shepherd; with a lost sheep seeking shelter in our Fold.
Inside Porter:
I will report the case to the members of the Fold.
Inside Porter:
Worthy Presiding Shepherd, our Outside Porter asks shelter in this Fold for a worthy lost sheep.
Presiding Shepherd:
Is he qualified? If so, admit them.
The Inside Porter opens the door and admits the candidate blindfolded. All rise and sing a verse of some hymn. The Degree Shepherd then takes the Degree Ritual and places the member in possession of the degrees, signs, grips and pass-words.

Presiding Shepherd calls the house to order. The Secretary reports for the evening. The officers and members. join hands and sing the closing hymn.
For a season called to part,
Let us now ourselves commend
To the gracieus eye and heart
Of our ever-present Friend.
Jesus, hear our humble prayer:
Tender Shepherd of the Sheep,
Let thy mercy and thy care
All our souls in safety keep.


In thy strength may we be strong,
Sweeten every cross and pain;
And our wasting lives prolong,
Till we meet on earth again.