United Order of Tents of J. R. Giddings & Jollifee Union
The S. M. calls the Tent to order. Singing and Prayer.
The M. of C. will read a portion of Scripture.
The Officers will take their stations.
S. M.: For what purpose have we assembled?
J. M.: For the temporal and spiritual good of each other.
S. M.: How shall we best accomplish this purpose?
J. M.: By proceeding to open a Tent of the J. R. Giddings and Jollifee Union.
S. M.: Tyleress, what is your duty in the Tent?
Tyleress: To guard the door and permit none to enter without the pass unless by permission of the J. M.
S. M.: Usheress, what is your duty in the Tent?
Usheress: To receive the pass-word from the members when the Tent is about to be opened; to receive and conduct the candidates for initiation; take charge of the regalia; see that the members are properly clothed, and obey your further orders.
S. M.: M. of W., what is your duty in the Tent?
M. of W.: To take charge of the Tents, put them up at each meeting, have the room open and clothed in time for meeting, and obey your further instructions.
S. M.: R. S., what is your duty in the Tent?
R. S.: To keep a correct entry of the minutes of this Tent, to have my books always ready for inspection, and obey the S. M. or the will of the Tent.
S. M.: F. S., what is your duty in the Tent?
F. S.: To receive all moneys due the Tent, keep a strict account of the same, and pay it over to the M. of K., taking her receipt for the same and to make quarterly, reports of the state of the finances.
S. M.: M. of K., what is your duty in the Tent?
M. of K.: To receive all moneys belonging to the Tent from the F. S., give a receipt for the same, pay all bills duly passed for payment, and keep my books always ready for inspection.
S. M.: J. M., what is your duty in the Tent?
J. M.: To have charge of the door and see that none are permitted in the Tent without the quarterly key except our own members, or members in good standing from our sister Tents, on being properly vouched for, and assist in the ceremonies of the Tent.
S. .M.: M. of C., what is your duty in the Tent?
M. of C.: To read a portion of Scripture when the Tent is about to be opened, sing and pray or cause it be done.
The S. M. directs the Usheress to receive the word from each member and report. The Usheress on reporting says: S. M., I have attended to my duty and find the sisters in possession of the pass.
S. M.: Thank you, sister.
The members will now regail themselves.
The S. M. declares the House open and ready for business.
The general business of the Tent is then attended to.
The S. M. directs the Usheress to ascertain if there are any candidates for initiation and report. If there should be any candidates the F. S. will proceed to the ante-room and receive the initiation fee. The S. M. then appoints one P. S. M. to assist the Usheress in preparing the candidate for initiation.
The Usheress blindfolds the candidate, advances to the door and gives two raps.
The Tyleress shall answer her with two raps from the inside and say: Who comes there?
The Usheress will answer and say: A stranger journeying eastward wishes to be admitted under our covering.
The Tyleress reports the same to the S. M.
S. M.: Admit them.
The Tent is then called up with three raps.
The Usheress marches the candidate around the room (singing the following hymn) and stops at the chair of the J. M.
Grant me within Thy court a place,
Among Thy Saints a seat;
Forever to behold Thy face
And worship at Thy feet.
In Thy pavillion to abide
When storms of trouble blow,
And in Thy tabernacle hide
Secured from every foe.
The Tent will now be seated.
Usheress: J. M., I present to you this candidate who wishes to add another link to our chain of love.
J. M.: And they dwelt in the land of Canaan near the plain of Jordan, and sojourned eastward and pitched their tents toward Sodom They arose and walked through the land, in the length and breadth of it, and the Lord said:
I will give it unto you. They removed their tents and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar. You will now be passed to the M. of C. to hear the lesson.
The M. of C. reads the 7th chapter of Revelation from the 9th to the 17th verses. "After this, I beheld, and lo a great multitude." Lesson ended.
The S. M. shall require the Usheress to erect the altar directly opposite the S. M.'s Tent. The Usheress shall then bring the candidate to the altar, when she shall bow on her knee in the attitude of prayer with the right hand placed on the left breast and the left hand raised above the head.
Let Us Pray
M. C.: Almighty and everlasting God, who by thy Holy Spirit didst preside in the Council of the blessed Apostles, and has promised through thy Son Jesus Christ to be with thy people to the end of the world; we beseech thee to be with these candidates and this Tent here assembled. Save us from all error, pride and prejudice; so guide and govern the minds of these Thy servants, that they may be enabled to accomplish much work in building up thy kingdom on earth, and spread the noble work of our Sisterhood. We beseech thee to direct and guide us in all our work by the mighty power of the Holy Ghost, so that we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in our fraternal bonds of Union, Liberty and Fidelity. Grant, we pray thee, that we may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Tent is now called up.
The S. M. then directs the sisters to assemble in a circle around the candidate, forming the link by joining the little fingers, and asks the questions: Have you been made acquainted with the Rules of this Order?
Candidate: I have.
P. S. M.: Our reason for blindfolding you was to impress upon your mind the gross darkness which surrounds the unprincipled portion of our race, and it teaches us that we should feel a deep and abiding interest in those who may have erred from the precepts of virtue and good morals, and we must feel that we are bound in duty and honor, by relations we hold this Tent, to render every possible aid we can to restore them to virtue and good morals.
S. M.: Are you willing to unite with us in carrying out these principles?
Candidate: I am.
A sister shall stand behind the candidate, and as the S. M. says, "Restore you to sight," remove the blindfolds. The sisters give one stamp with the right foot.
S. M.: And we restore you to sight to impress upon your mind your duty to others.
The S. M. then asks the candidate: Are you in love with the sisters present?
S. M.: Can you give all present the right hand of fellowship?
S. M.: Will you help us to relieve the wants of the needy, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the stranger and the out cast. Reading the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, always doing to others as you would wish others do to you?
The Candidate answers: I will, the Lord being my helper.
The candidate will now arise.
S. M.: Sisters, break the link with your hands and receive the candidate in the consolidated link, the arms linked and hands clasped close to the breast, with thumbs upright. . . . . . .
While in this position the following hymn is sung:
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea
And rides above the storm.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste;
But sweet will be the flower.
The S. M. takes her stand in the center and asks: Have any of you sisters anything against the candidate?
The S. M. shall then proceed to read the lesson: And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, get you up this way southward and go up into the mountain and see the land, what it is and the people that dwelleth therein. And Moses arose and went to Dothen, Elriam, and the Elders arose and followed him; he spake unto the congregation saying, Depart I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs lest ye be consumed in your sins.
The Usheress will now clothe the candidate with a white scarf.
S. M.: Now dear sisters, as those who inhabit the blessed mansions of Heaven are clothed in white robes, which is emblematical of purity and peace this white scarf is to teach you that in order to be happy both in this world and the world to come, you must keep yourself unspotted from the world that you may endeavor to promote harmony, love and friendship among the sisterhood and the world at large, and I earnestly hope you will never be found unworthy of wearing it. This union of hands you see, is a type of the union of our hearts. We have now added you as an additional link in our great chain of love and affection; this links together the hearts of all who belong to our honorable sisterhood. May the Great Giver of all good so lead and direct you in the paths of virtue and peace that your life may be one of usefulness and happiness, and when called to go hence forever, you may receive a happy admission into the family of Heaven.
The Lesson being through, the link will be broken and the members seated
The M. of C. will read the 20th Psalm.
The Usheress will march the candidate around while the following hymn is being sung:
O God of Bethel, by whose hand
Thy people still are fed;
Who through their weary pilgrimage
Hast all our fathers led.
Through each perplexing path of life
Our wandering footsteps guide;
Give us each day our daily bread
And all our needs provide.
The fundamental principles of this Order are founded on the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. First, in speaking of the Tents, how Godly are the Tents, O Israel. A mountain on the east of Bethel and pitched their tents; having Bethel on the west and Hai on the east, and there built an altar unto the Lord, calling on the name of the Lord, and they journeyed from the South even to Bethel, unto the place where their tents had been at the beginning, and dwelt in the city of the plains and pitched their tents toward Sodom; they removed their tents and came and dwelt in the plains of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and there built an altar unto the Lord, and the Lord appeared unto them as they sat in the tent door in the heat of the day, they lifted up their eyes and lo! three men stood by and they ran to meet them from the Tent door and bowed themselves toward the ground and said: I pray thee a little water be brought and wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree and I will bring you a morsel of bread and comfort ye your hearts, after that ye shall pass on. And Sarah hastened into the tent and made ready quickly three measures of fine meal, kneaded it and made cakes upon the hearth, took butter and milk and dressed the calf and set it before them, and they stood under the tree and ate; Sarah stayed in the tent.
You see it is not enough for us to dwell in tents, but we have a work to do, this work is feeding the hungry, entertaining the strangers, and placing ourselves as tabernacles, as St. Paul tells us when this earthly tabernacle be dissolved we have a building, not made with hands as the stakes of the tent, they were drawn up when they were to be removed from place to place, so will death remove us and we shall be folded up and laid in the house appointed for all living where no mortal eye ever penetrated, but the eye of God alone will watch the inmates of that house until He shall bid it rise and join the tabernacle above.
This tabernacle shall be concentrated into the Grand Tent above never to be taken down.
Explanation of the Emblems
Deal justly, do to others as you would have them do to you, that when we come to be weighed we shall not be found wanting. Use the sword of justice, be pointed truthfully, cut at everything that is wrong, be sharp to understand, to divide matters, close your eye to everything wrong, look inward and see if all be right home.
We can now recommend to you the Star of our redemption, keep it in view as did the wise men of the east, and do not go astray but find the place where our Saviour dwells.
Sister, we have Signs and a Grip to this Order which I will explain to you: When you wish to enter the Tent, on coming to the outer door you will knock twice and you will be answered from within by the same number of knocks, when you will be required to give the Tyleress (in a whisper) the password which I now give you, when you will be admitted. You will then advance to the center of the room and give this sign to the S. M., who sits in the chair: Place your left hand on your right breast, your hand raised even with your head, forefinger pointing upward; you will then turn and give the same sign to the J. M., who sits opposite. They will answer you in like manner.
This sign shall remind us to keep sacred within our own bosoms the secrets of this Order, and also that from our hearts spring all our benevolent feelings for each other. The sign of recognition is to enable us to know each other though we be among strangers. Should you at any time wish to ascertain if there any Tent sisters present, you can, in a careless manner, stand up and fold your hands against your breast, fingers interlocking; this is asking the question; any one recognizing you will at once come and greet you in the same manner, asking these questions:
Q. How many friends have you?
A. Three that I can trust.
Q. Will you name them to me?
A. UNION, LIBERTY and FIDELITY.
The candidate will be seated in the center of the room.
The S. M. will call up the Tents and request the sisters to form a line of march and extend to the candidate the right hand of fellowship.
Singing the hymn:
Us unto Thy protection take,
And gather with Thine arms;
Unless the fold we first forsake
The wolf can never harm.
O do not suffer him to part
The souls that here agree;
But make us of one mind and heart,
And keep us one in Thee.
Together let us sweetly live,
Together let us die;
And each a starry crown receive,
And reign above the sky.
The Usheress will now instruct the candidate how to work her way in and out of the Tent.
The Tent will then close in due form.