Royal Neighbors of America



Regular Opening
Previous to the opening of the Camp it is the duty of the Marshals to see that Ode cards and song leaflets have been distributed. At the time fixed by the By-laws for the opening of the regular meeting of the Camp, a quorum being present, the Oracle shall give one rap of the gavel and instruct the officers to assume their respective stations. If any officer is absent the Oracle shall appoint a member to fill such office pro tem. This part of the ceremony should be open to the public and doors should not be closed.
At special and adjourned meetings the regular opening except collecting of password need not be observed if, in the judgment of the Oracle, the time can be used to better advantage. A prudent presiding officer will find such occasions extremely few.
It is not necessary for the Oracle to remain standing during the entire Camp meeting, only when addressing the Camp
During Initiation, when other officers are delivering their charges the Oracle may remain seated, except when instructing the Marshal to proceed to next station, and when addressing the Camp.
This ceremony may be made as elaborate and formal as desired.
ORACLE: Vice-Oracle, are there any visitors to be welcomed?
VICE-ORACLE, rises : Oracle, a visitor (Or visitors) awaits your pleasure. Is seated.
ORACLE: Marshals will retire to the reception room to present the visitors. The Camp will prepare to welcome the visitor(s).
Marshalls advance in regular line of march to foot of altar, and retire single file to stations of Past Oracle or Chancellor, then shoulder to shoulder to reception room. After heartily greeting the visitor, they enter the room in single file, Marshal leading. The Oracle stands and gives three raps when the Marshals appear with the visitor or visitors. Music until the Oracle is addressed. They advance by way of the Past Oracle’s or Chancellor’s station to the foot of the altar.
MARSHAL: Oracle, I have the honor of presenting Neighbor ...
When Oracle says: “Present the Neighbor(s) to my station,” proceed to station of Oracle by way of the Chancellor’s or Past Oracle’s station, Marshal leading.
The Oracle descends from her station, greets visitor or visitors, gives grip, then says: “You will please face the Camp.”
ORACLE: Officers and members of ... Camp, No ..., I have the honor of introducing Neighbor (or Neighbors) ... Neighbors unite with me in extending to our visitor (or visitors) the Grand Honors.
All untie in giving the Grand Honors.
Oracle gives one rap and has visitor or visitors seated at her right or Left.
If the rostrum does not afford sufficient room or there are a number of visitors, the Marshals are directed to seat them at the head of the room. After seating visitors Marshals will return to their stations.
Presentation of Flag
The proper place for the American Flag in the Camproom shall be at the head of the room. The Flag Bearer’s station shall be at the Marshal’s right, with Flag at the right of the Flag Bearer’s chair. At the time this ceremony is being observed only our Nation’s Flag shall be presented. It is recommended that flags of standard size (3 x 5 feet) shall be used by Camps for the Flag Ceremony. The Neighbor acting in capacity of Flag Bearer may be robed as the “Goddess of Liberty” or in any appropriate costume, white preferred. Flag Bearer must be in readiness to enter Camproom when Oracle assumes her station.
There should be no rap of the gavel when presentation of the Flag is announced by the Oracle. All officers and members rise when the Flag Bearer enters the Camproom. While the Flag is being presented members should stand at attention, hands empty, arms at side of body, until salute is given. Flag Bearer who is appointed by the Oracle, may be a man or woman.
ORACLE: The Flag of our Country will now be presented.
To patriotic music (other than the Star Spangled Banner) regular four-four time or slower pace, the Flag Bearer shall enter from the reception room, carrying the Flag on the right side of the body with the right hand at or near base of the staff, left hand supporting staff at right shoulder. The flag staff will be carried at a very slight angle so that the Flag will fall in front of the body in natural, graceful folds. The Flag Bearer advances to the head of the Camproom in a direct Line with her station. When the anteroom is located at the right of the Vice-Oracle, the Flag Bearer will advance in front of the Vice-Oracle’s station to a point directly in line with her station, then turn and advance to the head of the Camp-room in direct line with her station as stated above. Upon reaching her station the Flag Bearer will turn right and face the Camp, bolding Flag in same position.
ORACLE: All will unite in salute and pledge allegiance to our Flag.
Salute to the Flag—Stand erect, left hand and arm in a straight position to the side, heels touching, eyes directed toward the Flag. Place the right hand over the heart and repeat the following Pledge. Flag Bearer will join in the pledge.
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation under God indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
The right hand should be held in position of the salute while the pledge to the Flag is being repeated. After the last word of the pledge has been spoken the right hand should be dropped to the side and members will remain standing at attention until the Oracle seats the Camp.
After completion of this part of the ceremony the Flag Bearer places the Flag in the standard (while patriotic music is continued) steps back two steps, salutes the Flag, steps to her station turning toward the Flag and remains standing until Oracle seats the Camp. (One rap.)
A song may be used after the Flag Bearer has saluted the Flag and stepped to her station.
ORACLE: The Officers will retire and prepare for formal entry. Two raps. Retiring March.
Marshal and Assistant Marshal should take one step out from their stations, make square turns, marching to outside of Camproom. As they pass, Faith and Modesty, Unselfishness and Endurance, should take one step out from their stations and step in line. Marshals meet at Vice-Oracle’s station. Inner Sentinel and Courage, Outer Sentinel and Vice-Oracle, take one step out from their stations and step in line. Continue march by twos to altar. Marshals lead right and left to outside of room where Past Oracle and Chancellor step In line. Continue march up outside of room, Recorder and Receiver step in line, meet at Oracle’s station, that officer steps out to line. Down center by twos, separate and circle around floorcloth. When Oracle reaches the floorcloth she should pause, giving the officers sufficient time to form the avenue. March open rank to Vice-Oracle’s station, halt, face inward forming avenue. Oracle circles floorcloth and passes through avenue. When officers follow Oracle through the avenue they should step forward, turn shoulder to shoulder and proceed by twos to reception room.
Managers should be seated near the Recorder’s station.
Graces carry banners in right hand at all times.
When “Degree Staff” is ready to enter, chairman of Managers of Camp will give three raps from Recorder’s station. (All rise.) Musician plays march, degree staff enters. The Past Oracle and Chancellor walk together in the formal entry, the Past Oracle carrying the Altar drape over her left arm, the Chancellor holding the closed Bible in her right arm. Having made a circuit of the room and reached the station of the Vice-Oracle, march up center by twos to base of floorcloth. When Marshals reach this point, the Musician will play sacred music softly and slowly. There officers divide in two files, one following the Marshal and the other the Assistant Marshal. Circle on margin of floorcloth, stopping, one officer on each inward point. When encircling the floorcloth, each officer will stop at the indentation. When Oracle reaches margin of fioorcloth, this should be a signal for all officers to face the altar, officers holding banners in right band and staffs well in front, ends of staffs resting on the point of indentation. (Musician continues to play sacred music very softly.) The Past Oracle advances slowly in direct line to left center of altar, draping altar toward Oracle and Vice-Oracle’s stations (lettering toward the Oracle’s station when on one end of drape only), then clasping her hands, steps slowly backward to position. Chancellor advances slowly, reverently placing Bible on edge of altar facing her station, opens the Bible to the Tenth Chapter of St. Luke, then with clasped hands steps slowly backward to position Marshals turn, and continue march in open rank to Oracle’s station. (Musician continues to play sacred music in a louder tone until the Oracle reaches her station and faces camp.) Form avenue by facing inward, banners and staffs to be held in front of officers, all staffs resting on floor. Oracle remains in position on floorcloth until avenue is formed, then turning to right follows in line of march around floorcloth, through avenue to her station. (Musician plays march until all officers are seated.) Marshals now lead their respective lines down outside of room to the station of the Vice-Oracle, (seating the officers).
Oracle, Vice-Oracle, Past Oracle and Chancellor always enter stations on right and leave on the right side.
Returning up the room from the station of the Vice-Oracle, the Marshals and Graces march by twos to foot of altar, then right and left in single file to their respective stations. When Courage and Inner Sentinel reach their stations they should pause until Vice-Oracle has entered her station, then both enter stations at the same time, and in turning should face toward the Vice-Oracle.
When the other Graces reach their stations the same instructions should be observed. Inner Sentinel, Unselfishness and Modesty change banners and staffs as they enter their stations so that banners will be on the outside when Graces turn facing the Camp. Inner Sentinel and Courage change positions depending on reception room door.
Marshals pause, changing their staffs, before entering their stations. Both enter stations at the same time and in turning face toward the Oracle.
After one rap of the gavel, seating the Camp, staffs and banners are placed in standards at the side of officers’ stations, after officers are seated.
ORACLE: Officers and Neighbors we surround this altar, not for mere idle purpose, but for the advancement of our cause and the promotion of fraternal love. It is the duty of every member to be orderly and attentive, and to guard at all times the sacred obligation taken at this altar. If there be any present who are not entitled to meet with us in this degree, they are kindly requested to retire to the reception room.
The Sentinels (will rise when addressed) will secure the doors and allow no one to enter until this Camp shall have been opened for business.
All candidates, visitors (who are not members of the Society) and children six years of age or over, should retire when the Oracle requests, “Any present who are not entitled to meet with us in this degree” to “kindly retire to the reception room.” If candidates retire, deputy or deputies should retire with them and help to act as hostess.
The sentinels will then secure the doors and allow no one to enter until the Camp shall have been opened for business.
Inner Sentinel should carry staff at all times when performing the duties of her office The Inner Sentinel advances to the inner door (using shortest route and observing square corners, carrying staff on outside at all times) and ascertains that the Outer Sentinel has assumed her station and the outer door has been closed. The Inner Sentinel will then secure the inner door, return to her station on left (or right) of Vice-Oracle and report from her station. (The Inner Sentinel will use the speaking salute when addressing the Vice-Oracle to report members desiring admittance to the Camproom after Camp is in session.)
INNER SENTINEL: Oracle, the outer and inner doors are secured.
At this time no solute should be given.
ORACLE: The Marshals, rise when addressed will proceed to collect the password and grip and report whether all present are qualified to remain. Take staffs.
During this ceremony the Musician should play music softly. Marshals turn facing the Oracle and give password and grip to Oracle. Marshal holds staff in left hand when she gives password and grip to Oracle, changes staff to right hand before she continues down the Camproom Marshals pass down the Camproom in direct line from their stations, advance to foot of altar, turning square corners, continue down the room (shoulder to shoulder to Vice-Oracle’s station) where Marshal changes staff to left hand, and collects the password and grip. Marshal shall collect password from Inner Sentinel or Courage, Assistant Marshal beginning with Vice-Oracle. Marshals stay in line of march while collecting passwords Everyone present must be in possession of the semiannual password or prove her right to be instructed in same. If the person challenged is without the password or gives it incorrectly, the Marshal or Assistant Marshal will report as follows:
MARSHAL, no salute given at this time: Oracle, Neighbor ... surname ... is without the password.
Oracle shall Inquire of Recorder if member is in good standing. If Recorder reports member in good standing, Oracle will direct Marshal to instruct in current password.
A visiting member without the password must present a receipt from her Camp showing that she is in good standing and entitled to the current password and a seat in the Camp-room. When such receipt is presented, the Marshal will report to the Oracle, “The Neighbor is without the password, but her receipt shows that she is in good standing.” The Oracle will then request the Marshal to instruct the visitor in the password.
In collecting the password the Marshals should never step out of regular line of march, and should never face toward the members, but stop directly in front of, and within two steps of the person challenged, who must rise, step forward, and give the Marshal, or her Assistant, the grip, and whisper to her the semiannual password. When Inner Sentinel has communicated to Marshal, she will take staff and retire without form to reception room and assume the duties of Outer Sentinel while that officer enters Camp room and gives password and grip to Marshal (Outer Sentinel retires, Inner Sentinel enters.) The Marshal who completes her side or the room first, must wait at the head of the room, for the other. When both Marshals reach the head of the room, the Assistant Marshal shall change her staff to right side. Both proceed to foot of altar together (meaning lower corners of the altar), and not standing behind the altar. Both Marshals will carry staffs toward the inside of the room at this time, so that staffs will be on the outside when lower corner of altar is reached. Staffs should never be changed at the altar. Marshals (ground staffs) salute the Oracle (behind staffs) using the speaking salute (no salute is given previous to this time) and report in the following manner:
MARSHAL, speaking salute: Oracle, all on your right are qualified to remain.
ASSISTANT MARSHAL, speaking salute: Oracle all on your left are qualified to remain.
ORACLE: Then light our Campfire and return to your stations.
After reporting, Marshals will proceed to light the Campfire, both Marshals assisting in the ceremony. They should then step backward to lower corners of the altar, salute the Oracle (silent salute) and return to their stations and are seated.
ORACLE: The Chancellor will invoke the Divine Blessing. Three raps.
CHANCELLOR, folds her hands, raising them slightly: Our Father, we thank Thee for the opportunity of meeting here again. Lead us to do Thy will. Be Thou our guide. We desire to walk in righteousness before Thee, our Father, and we wish to be Neighborly in this needy world; teach us so to walk and to work.
Be very gracious to our absent Neighbors and all who are dear to us by any tie. Bless those who have no home, the neglected, the wretched, the castaways.
O Thou, who are the Father of us all, bless all according to our necessities. This we ask for the honor of Thy Holy Name.
All present should join with a hearty “Amen”. During the opening and closing prayers, all officers and members should stand in prayerful attitude with hands clasped right over left at the waistline, drop hands as they say “Amen!”.
ORACLE: Let us unite in singing our Opening Ode.
(Tune—Printed music or “What a Friend We have in Jesus.”)
Neighbors here in faith united,
We around our campfire stand,
Pledging to each other ever
Labor for our social band.
Here in confidence we gather
Joyously our work to do—
May our Heavenly Father help us
To be loving, kind and true.
May true courage never fail us;
May we be our Neighbor’s lamp,
Shining bright in this world’s darkness,
From this Royal Neighbor Camp.
When the night of death shall hover
O’er some nome where one lies dead,
There with kindest deeds of mercy,
We the light of love will shed.
ORACLE: I now declare ... Camp, Number ... Royal Neighbors Of America, opened and ready for business. The Sentinels will govern themselves accordingly. One rap.
When the Inner Sentinel informs the Outer Sentinel that Camp is open and ready for business, she should not retire from the room, but should open the inner door and distinctly speak the words as given in the Ritual, closing the door and returning to her station.
INNER SENTINEL, opens the door and says to Outer Sentinel: The Camp is opened and ready for business. All members in waiting may be admitted.
If there are no visitors to be welcomed or candidates to be initiated, the Outer Sentinel will at this time step inside and be seated. Outer Sentinel steps inside, Inner Sentinel closes the inner door after the Outer Sentinel has entered. Then the Outer Sentinel follows Inner Sentinel, observing square corners to station. If visitors or candidates are present Outer Sentinel will remain in ante-room until after they are admitted to the Camp room.
ORACLE: Are there other visitors to be welcomed, other than those already introduced?
Before the Camp is called to order, the Outer Sentinel, who is the Camp Hostess, should ascertain if visitors are present. She will greet visitors, obtaining the number and location of their Camp, and report same in writing to the Vice-Oracle. When Oracle inquires from Vice-Oracle if any visitors are to to be welcomed, the Vice-Oracle will announce names of visitors reported by the Outer Sentinel.
When visitors are seated in the Camproom, the Oracle will request the visitor or visitors to rise, extend a hearty welcome, then call up the Camp to extend the grand honors of the Society. All visitors should be recognized and given a hearty welcome. The formal introduction should always be used to Introduce Supreme Officers and distinguished guests.
ORACLE: The Recorder will now call the Roll of Officers.
Recorder remains seated, calls roll. Officers rise, answer present and remain standing. The Outer Sentinel should remain in the outer room and the Inner Sentinel should answer for her “Present” or “Absent” as the case may be. When an officer is absent the member acting in her place will rise, answer “Absent” then give her own name with the title of office and add the words “pro tem”.
Outer Sentinel may answer Roll Call if she is in Camproom at this time.
RECORDER, rises and salutes: Oracle, the roll is called. The Oracle then gives one rap, seating officers.
Each officer will rise and give speaking salute, but does not wait for recognition from the Oracle before stating her duties. Each officer should be seated after she has repeated the duties of her office. That charge should be memorized and repeated without referring to the Ritual.
ORACLE: Vice-Oracle, what are your duties?
VICE-ORACLE: Oracle, it is my duty to assist the Oracle in conducting the business of this Camp, and to act in the absence of that officer; also to assist in making visitors feel welcome to our Camproom.
ORACLE: Recorder, what part of this work is in-trusted to you?
RECORDER: Oracle, it is my duty to collect and receipt for all moneys and to transfer same to the Receiver, as specified in the By-laws of this Society, also to keep accurate minutes of all meetings and transactions of this Camp.
RECEIVER: Oracle, it is my duty to account for the funds of this Camp, to deposit same in bank and to pay out moneys only upon orders authorized by the Camp and signed by Oracle and Recorder.
ORACLE: Marshals, what are your duties?
MARSHALS, both rise, Marshal salutes and reports: Oracle, it is our duty to test all present with the passwords and grip, and guide candidates through the mysteries of our degree.
ORACLE: Inner Sentinel, what are your duties?
INNER SENTINEL: Oracle, it is my duty to guard the inner door, admitting no one without the proper passwords and grip, allowing only those to retire who have received permission from the Vice-Oracle.
ORACLE: Inner Sentinel, retire to the reception room and request the Outer Sentinel to enter.
Inner Sentinel retires without form and requests Outer Sentinel to enter. Music at this time.
ORACLE: Outer Sentinel, what are your duties?
OUTER SENTINEL: Oracle, it is my duty to guard the outer door, and to extend a cordial welcome to members and visiting Neighbors.
Outer Sentinel retires and Inner Sentinel enters and assumes her station. The Outer Sentinel may remain in Camproom when no candidates or visitors are in waiting. Music at this time.
ORACLE: Managers, what are your duties?
MANAGERS, managers rise, Chairman salutes and reports: Oracle, it is our duty to see that the Camproom is properly prepared for formal opening, to audit the books of the Recorder and Receiver semiannually, and perform all other duties required by the By-laws of the Society.
In Camps where no custodian is employed, it is the duty of the Managers to see that the floorcloth and all other paraphernalia — not otherwise provided for — is in place for formal opening, and returned to proper place at the close of the meeting.
ORACLE: I trust that each officer will perform her duty and that the members will be strictly attentive to the business of the meeting.
ORACLE, gives one rap: We will now hear the reading of the Minutes of the last regular meeting (and of special or adjourned meetings, if any).
Recorder rises, gives speaking salute and reads Minutes. No Minutes are ever read and approved at a special or adjourned meeting. The Minutes should be written with ink in a book provided for that purpose. They are read, corrected and approved one meeting ot a time. If corrections are to be made, they should be written on the margin or immediately following the original entry. The presiding officer should not permit trivial or irrelevant changes to mar or burden the records, only necessary and important changes should be entertained. After the minutes of a meeting have been read, the Oracle proceeds as follows.
ORACLE, one rap: You have heard the Minutes of our last regular meeting (or special or adjourned meeting). Has any member any corrections to offer? Slight pause. If none, the Minutes stand approved as read (or as corrected). One rap.
The Marshal and her Assistant should have everything in readiness so that no awkward delays or interruptions mar the initiation ceremony. Remember that a candidate’s first impression is lasting. Always have seats for new members in front rows.
ORACLE, one rap: Has the Recorder any applications which have been accepted by this Camp?
RECORDER, rises, and salutes: Oracle, I have ... (the number) applications, ... (reads the names), who are eligible to be initiated, all fees have been paid. Pass list to Oracle.
ORACLE: Inner Sentinel, are there candidates in waiting?
The Inner Sentinel rises when addressed, takes bar staff when the Oracle has finished speaking, advances to the door and after inquiring will return to her station, changing staff always at each turn so it will be on the outside of the room.
INNER SENTINEL, reporting from station, speaking salute: Oracle, there are candidates in waiting. Is seated.
ORACLE: The Marshal will inquire how many of these candidates are ready to be formally received.
The Marshal advances in regular line of march to foot of altar. Inner Sentinel will rise and go to the door at this time so she may open the door for the Marshal, and remains at the door until the Marshal returns, then is seated. Marshal salutes the Vice-Oracle and retires to the reception room by way of the station of Past Oracle or Chancellor, according to location of door; checks the names of those present and ready to be formally received, returns to the Camproom, advances to the altar in same line of march, salutes Vice-Oracle (silent salute), then salutes Oracle with speaking salute and reports as follows:
MARSHAL: Oracle, I find in waiting and ready to be formerly received  ... (reads number she has checked) ... candidates.
Marshal salutes Oracle again (silent salute) returns to her station and passes the list of names to the Oracle.
ORACLE, one rap: The Marshals will retire to the reception room, instruct, prepare, and present the candidates for initiation.
The Marshals take staffs and advance in regular line of march, meet at foot of altar, turn stand shoulder to shoulder, salute the Vice-Oracle and retire single file hy way of station of Past Oracle or Chancellor, according to location of door, and upon reaching station march in twos to reception room. (Inner Sentinel takes staff and opens door for Marshals, and returns to her station.) Arriving in the reception room, the Marshal addresses the candidates as follows:
MARSHAL: Ladies (and gentlemen, if any) do you believe in Almighty God, that He is the Infinite Father of us all and that we are all members of one great family?
They should each answer: “I do.”
You will be at liberty at any time, prior to taking the obligation, to retire and proceed no further if you do not approve of our principles and teachings. With this assurance, are you willing to proceed?
They should each answer in the affirmative. When the Marshal is preparing the candidates for Initiation, she will ask that they leave their handbags or any other objects they may be carrying, in the custody of a friend in the Camproom, the Outer Sentinel or Deputy who should be with them, to be returned immediately alter the Initiation has been completed. Marshal will then direct the candidates to give any number of raps on the door.
When the Inner Sentinel hears the raps at the door, the ceremony proceeds as follows:
INNER SENTINEL, quickly rising: Oracle, speaking salute there is an unusual alarm at the door.
ORACLE: Inquire the cause immediately!
INNER SENTINEL, advances to door, opens the wicket or door and inquires: What is the cause of the alarm?
MARSHAL: The alarm was given by a candidate desiring admittance.
INNER SENTINEL, advances diagonally to point halfway between door and floorcloth: Oracle, gives speaking salute the alarm was given by a candidate in charge of our Marshal, desiring admittance.
ORACLE: Inner Sentinel, open wide the door. Three raps.
The Musician will sound one chord at the piano, before beginning the Initiation Ode.
The Initiation Ode should be sung while candidate is being conducted around the room.
Initiation Ode.
(Tune — Printed music of Opening Ode or “What a Friend We Have In Jesus.”)
Neighbors, hither comes a stranger,
Seeking for our mystic rites,
Let each one assistance render,
As we see her move in sight.
Here the stranger stands surrounded
By the Neighbors kind and true,
And with faith and courage ever,
Pledge the Neighbor’s work to do.
Fail not, falter not, dear stranger,
We entreat you to be brave,
And with modest deeds of kindness,
Strive each stricken soul to save,
Bring with you no strife or malice,
Throw all selfishness aside.
And with Neighborly communion,
May you long with us abide.
During Initiation the Musician should play sacred music, stopping when an officer begins to speak and continuing as soon as the officer ceases speaking. When Oracle says “Open wide the door,” the Marshals and candidates enter, march in single file by way of the Past Oracle’s station once around the room. When Marshal reaches Vice-Oracle’s station, having made a circuit of the room, she proceeds to a point halfway between the altar and the Past Oracle’s station, turns and proceeds until center of line of candidates is opposite altar, halts the candidates facing altar, with line formed halfway between the altar and the Past Oracle’s station.
ORACLE, one rap, Chancellor remains standing: You will hear a lesson from the sacred writings.
CHANCELLOR, advances to the altar, takes Bible and reads from Tenth Chapter of St. Luke, beginning with the 25th verse: “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him, saying: Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
“He said unto him: What is written in the law? How readest thou?
“And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.
“And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live.
“But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my Neighbor?
“And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
“And by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
“And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him.
“And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
“And on the morrow when he departed, be took out two pense, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
“Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?
“And he said, he that shewed mercy on him. “Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”
Chancellor replaces Bible, turns slowly to the right until facing her own station, and remains standing until Marshals and candidates have passed Chancellor’s station: then returns to her station. When Assistant Marshal passes the Chancellor’s station the Chancellor should be facing the station and will return to same. Chancellor does not drop hands from folded position, until she reaches edge of floorcloth.
ORACLE: Marshals, you will conduct the candidates to the altar for obligation.
By way of stations of Oracle, Chancellor, Vice-Oracle and Past Oracle to foot of altar.
Hymn may be sung by soloist.
ORACLE: My friends, you have just heard certain great and sacred laws prescribed by Holy writ for Neighborly conduct. We, as Royal Neighbors of America, teach and exact the strict observance of these principles among our members. You are about to assume the solemn obligation of this Society. In it, you will declare your belief in, and determination to henceforth practice in your daily life, the sublime precepts that will be uttered for your instruction while making the several circuits of this room. This obligation you will take upon your sacred honor and every Neighbor will expect its fulfillment. Are you willing to proceed? If so, answer “I am.” Three raps. Each of you will repeat after me:
“I do—upon my most sacred honor—and in the presence of Almighty God and these witnesses,—solemnly promise—to obey all the laws—rules and regulations— of this Camp—and the Society Royal Neighbors of America.—I will protect and defend—the honor and reputation of this Camp,—the Society generally—and its members universally.—I will keep forever secret— all that is said or done within this Camp,—and never disclose—the confidential words or acts—of this Camp,—the Society,—or any member of the same.—I will endeavor with all my power—to be a good Neighbor,—and daily to live in accord—with the teachings of this hour.—All this,—I voluntarily pledge myself to keep and to do.”
ORACLE, one rap: The Marshals will conduct the candidates to the station of the Past Oracle. Past Oracle rises.
Marshal leads by way of stations ot Chancellor and Oracle.
MARSHAL: Past Oracle, I present these friends to receive your beautiful teachings in this degree.
PAST ORACLE: My friends, it affords me great pleasure to welcome you among us. It is intended that in all its departments, the ritualistic work of this Society shall reflect the beauty, the reality and sincerity of a noble life. We have no unreal or mythical hero or heroine whose name or exploits we desire to emulate or glorify. Our mission is to unite in the amiable bonds of fraternal confidence and affection, certain acceptable persons; to improve and aid them socially, morally and intellectually. This work we entrench in secrecy only to the extent necessary to protect ourselves against imposition; to move toward this noble goal in an orderly, unaffected and successful manner, is one of the objects of our Society. In the Camp, in the home, out under the wide spreading sky, anywhere, everywhere, may the thought, word and deed of every Royal Neighbor be as generous and fruitful as bounteous Nature herself, her soul as pure and spotless as an April snowflake; her sympathy as broad as the bending sky above us; her conscience as tender as a drop of dew in the heart of a violet. In closing we ask you to keep ever before you the principles of our Society:
Faith, Courage, Modesty, Unselfishness and Endurance, and in moments of doubt or weakness remember the lines of the poet:
“Thou must be brave thyself,
If thou the truth wouldst teach.
Live truly, and thy life shall be
A great and noble creed.”
Past Oracle remains standing until eand4dates and Assistant Marshal have passed her station.
ORACLE: The Marshals will conduct the candidates to the Oracle’s station to be instructed by the Graces in the principles of our Society.
By way of stations of Vice-Oracle and Chancellor. When Marshals and candidates have reached the Oracle’s station, Oracle calls up Graces in following order: “Faith, Courage, Modesty, Unselfishness and Endurance. As Endurance is called all take banners at same time. With banners held well in front in right hand, staffs perpendicular, bar about on line with shoulder, Faith and Modesty lead down outside of Camproom, followed by Unselfishness and Endurance, meet at Vice-Oracle’s station, Faith leading out. Unselfishness and Modesty, Courage and Endurance march by twos to base of floorcloth, Graces circle right and left around floorcloth, stopping on center scallop of their respective colors, toes on edge of scallop, holding banners in right hand away from the body, the staff grounded on the point of indentation at the right of the scallop upon which the Grace is standing.
Principles of the Society
For line of march in introducing candidates to Graces, Marshal carries staff in right hand, Assistant Marshal changes staff to Left hand the first time she stops, for Faith’s lecture. Neither Marshal will change staff again during lectures. When Marshal introduces candidates to the Graces, the Marshals together with the candidates should be arranged to form a semicircle with the Graces so that the Altar is between the candidates and Grace delivering lecture. Marshals and candidates should not step in line with the circle made by Graces.
MARSHAL: Faith, teach us to believe in Almighty God and in the wisdom of His guidance.
FAITH: Faith is one of the great principles of our Society. We teach that God is infinitely wise and good and just; we believe that in spite of the existence of sin and wrong, of ignorance and vice, of death and sorrow,—He still leads the human race to ultimate victory and to final perfection. The Father of the human family neither sleeps nor slumbers,—the Judge of all the earth can do no wrong. With us, therefore, Faith becomes a hidden chain that binds and holds us fast to God,—a bridge that spans the gulf of death, an inspiration that tempers life’s worst bitterness.
“We know not where His islands lift Their fronded palms in air;
We only know we cannot drift
Beyond His love and care.”
MARSHAL: Courage, help us to be brave and to overcome evil.
COURAGE: Courage is that quality of the soul which enables one to meet and overcome danger, physical or moral, with calmness and firmness for a righteous purpose. True courage is generosity of the highest order, for none but the really brave give so lavishly of their best and richest possessions. True courage is not blind to danger,—it calmly looks upon and overcomes it. True courage is always quiet and thoughtful, never saying or doing anything in haste or anger; it is the sublime resolve of virtue and of reason.
Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might; clothe yourself in the garment of truth; sandal your feet with the gospel of peace; put on the whole armour of God and the helmet of salvation; buckle on the shield of faith and unsheath the sword of the spirit which is the word of God.
MARSHAL: Modesty, teach us the noble virtue of humility.
MODESTY: Modesty is a noble virtue and constitutes the silent, irresistible power in every well-rounded life and character. It is the expression of a fine sense in thought and feeling and conduct. What shading and unseen colors are to a masterpiece of painting, modesty is to true merit.—It develops and magnifies every excellence. Modesty knows when not to speak and yet be eloquently silent; it knows when not to move and yet achieve. Modesty endureth much and remains kind, it trusteth, believeth, hopeth all things.
MARSHAL: Unselfishness, help us to forget self in the interest and well-being of others.
UNSELFISHNESS: Unselfishness is one of the lofty eminences to which a mortal can attain. Those who serve mankind most and best are the unselfish who find the abundant life in sacrificing the present with its transient delights and comforts on the altar of humanity. To forget self in a noble interest in the well-being of another is one of the divine attributes. Humanity will never weary bringing garlands of gratitude and affection to the resting places of those noble unselfish spirits.
MARSHAL: Endurance, teach us patiently to bear the burdens of life.
ENDURANCE: Endurance is one of the cardinal virtues or principles upon which this Society is founded. To bravely endure and uncomplainingly bear the burden of life is characteristic of every noble soul. The world honors those who have the abundant Faith, the true Courage, the humility of Modesty, the charity of Unselfishness and the divine power of Endurance to meet temptation and not be overcome.
While Marshals conduct candidates to Oracle’s station, Graces turn facing Oracle’s station when Assistant Marshal leaves the floorcloth, banner staffs perpendicular, end of staff resting on point of indentation. Forth and Unselfishness step back and support banner with left hand, the other Graces support banner with right hand.
At this time red light should be used, if possible, making an effective tableau.
The Musician plays and all present sing to the tune of ‘Dennis”, the following lines:
“We share our mutual woes
Our mutual burdens bear,
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.”
Graces, carrying banners in right hand, march to station of Vice-Oracle, Faith makes a left turn until she is in position to march out on Past Oracle’s side, march in a half circle to the base of the floorcloth, with the line of march on the emblems of the floorcloth.
The other Graces will march on the outer circle of the floor-cloth up to Faith’s color—blue, when they will make a complete turn and march in a half circle to the base of the floorcloth on emblems, where they meet and march two by two, Faith leading, to the Vice-Oracle’s station and right and left up outside of the Camproom to their respective stations. All Graces will start march at the same time, with Faith passing Modesty and Endurance as she marches to the base of the floorcloth, while those Graces are proceeding to the edge of Faith’s color—blue, before making a complete turn to retrace their steps. Graces will hold banners directly in front.
Oracle will seat the Graces and Marshals will continue.
ORACLE: Marshals, you will conduct the candidates to the Vice-Oracle to receive her instructions. Vice-Oracle rises.
Marshal leads by way of Chancellor’s station.
MARSHAL: Vice-Oracle, I am instructed by the Oracle to present to you these candidates, that they may receive your lecture of this degree.
VICE-ORACLE: My friends, you are now a part of the Fraternal chain which binds us together as Royal Neighbors of America. Fraternity is built upon the foundation of Faith, Faith in our Society, in our officers and in each other. We urge you to clearly comprehend the responsibility that rests upon you. To live well, to set a lofty example is the richest bequest one can bestow upon humanity. If you fulfill the Sacred Law according to the Scripture, “Thou shalt love thy Neighbor as thyself” you do well. This truth which comes from the Apostle James illustrates our motto “Through Faith We are Strong.” As Neighbors, we greet you and pledge to you our protection through life, and when life is over that same protection we pledge to your loved ones.
ORACLE: Marshals, you will present the candidates to the Oracle’s station for closing instructions.
The Marshals will conduct the candidates by way of Past Oracle’s station to the Oracle for Instruction in the Secret
Oracle now gives Secret Work.
Marshal reports according to Secret Work after candidates have signed membership roster.
MARSHAL: Oracle, speaking salute candidates have now signed membership roster and are legal members of this Camp.
When Grand Honors are given new members — Oracle will seat the Camp as soon as Marshals are instructed to seat the new members.
ORACLE: Marshals, you will seat the new Neighbors and return to your stations. One rap.
Marshals seat new Neighbors, advance to altar and salute Oracle [silent salute] and return to their stations in regular line of march.
Oracle now resumes regular Order of Business.
Regular Closing
Extinguishing of the Campfire
ORACLE, three raps, all rise and remain standing until meeting is closed: Let us unite in singing our closing ode.
Closing Ode
Adieu, dear Neighbors of our Camp,
We can not longer stay;
Then let the lessons taught us here
Be practiced every day.
Earnestly doing all we can
To magnify our Camp;
Let Faith, Endurance, Modesty
Shine ‘round us like a lamp.
Deny not those who seek our aid,
Unselfish let us live;
With Courage vanquish every ill,
Till God shall victory give.
ORACLE: The Chancellor will now invoke the Divine Blessing.
CHANCELLOR, advances to altar, clasping her hands and raising them slightly: Our Heavenly Father, before we pass the portals of this Camp we linger a moment to ask Thy blessing. Give us grace to be just and upright in all our dealings. Let us part in peace, and as we go, may we, by faith and courage, modestly teach the unselfish principles of our Society, remembering they that endure to the end shall receive the reward.
And unto Thee, who giveth us all the blessing of life, be honor and praise, now and evermore.
At the time the Chancellor is closing the Bible, close with both hands, then raise slightly and place on Altar, and during the time she is advancing to the altar and returning to her station, sacred music should be played and the music “Sweet hour of Prayer” is suggested. Red light at this time is very effective. Chancellor steps back to edge of floorcloth before turning. All keep hands in folded position until Chancellor reaches her station.
ORACLE: Let our Campfire be extinguished.
Suggested Solo: “Now The Day Is Over.”
The Marshals salute Oracle (silent salute) march down their respective sides of Camproom collecting Ode cards, song leaflets, etc., meet at Vice-Oracle’s station where Ode cards, song leaflets, etc., should be left in receptacle in charge of the Inner Sentinel. Advance to altar, extinguish Campfire, then step backward to the side of the altar.
The Flag Bearer will pick up the Flag as soon as the Marshals salute the Oracle, and will ground staff on the right side until the Marshals have extinguished the Campfire and have stepped back to the side of the altar. Flag Bearer furls Flag. The Marshals then turn toward each other, the Assistant Marshal slowly picking up the Bible, the Marshal slowly picking up the altar drape, then step slowly back to the corners of the altar, salute the Oracle and return to their stations, always using square corners.
During this entire ceremony, Musician should softly play sacred music.
ORACLE: I now declare ... Camp, No ... Royal Neighbors of America, closed until its next regular meeting. One rap.