Equitable Fraternal Union
Ritual of the Adoption Ceremony for the Initiation of Men and Women
PRESIDENT, *: Inner and Outer Guards, you will approach the altar.
If one or both are absent, the President will make temporary appointments, and the Secretary will enter the name or names of those appointed, in the minutes.
As we are about to open this assembly for the regular transaction of business, it is our first duty to see that the doors are properly closed and guarded.
Friend Outer Guard, on retiring you will close the outer door and request all members in the anteroom to enter the assembly hall. You will then give four raps on the inner door, to which, Friend Inner Guard, you will respond by four raps, after which you will permit no one to enter until the assembly has been regularly opened. You will now retire and begin the active discharge of your duties.
The Inner and Outer Guards retire to their respective stations, and when they have complied with their instructions, the Inner Guard will say:
INNER GUARD: Friend President, your instructions have been obeyed, and the doors are properly closed and guarded.
PRESIDENT: Friend Warden (If there is a large gathering the President will appoint an assistant Warden), you will communicate to me the semi-annual and permanent passwords, and receive them from all present, reporting to me the names of those who are not in possession of the same. Members when giving the passwords will rise in their places and give the grip to the Warden.
The Warden will then comply and receive the passwords from all present, reporting such as are not in possession of them as soon as the fact is discovered, and if they are entitled to the passwords, the President will request them to approach his station and receive the same. Those not entitled, he will ask to retire. The Warden, when he has completed his duty, will advance to the front of the altar, salute the President and say:
WARDEN: Friend President, I have received the passwords from all present. If some have been reported without them, he will add: except those I have reported to you.
PRESIDENT: Warden, you will unfurl the flag of our country.
The Warden then advances to the Vice President's station and receives from him the American flag, mounted on a pole, and carrying it unfurled to the President's station, places it in a receptacle prepared for it at the right of the President. When done the President shall say:
PRESIDENT: Friends, you will join me in a salute to the flag of our Country.
All respond with a military salute, and say:
ALL: Emblem of Liberty, we salute thee, and will cherish and defend thee, while life shall last.
PRESIDENT: Friends Past President, Adviser, and Vice President, you will assist me in preparing our altar.
The President carrying the Golden Circle of Unity, the Past President the segment of Equity, the Adviser the segment of Security, and the Vice President the segment of Fraternity, then advance from their stations to within four feet of the altar. The Past President will then advance to the altar, deposit his segment and deliver his address, after which he returns to his position. The others follow in the order named, each returning to position after delivering address. When the President has concluded his part and returned to his position all will return to their stations at the same time.
PAST PRESIDENT: The Scales represent Equity and teach us to deal honorably with all men, ever remembering the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would they should do unto you."
ADVISER: The Golden Key represents Security, and symbolizes the security of the funds we are providing for our loved ones in the hour of need.
VICE PRESIDENT: The Clasped Hands represent Fraternity, the greatest power on earth for the uplift of mankind and the relief of the sorrow stricken and the distressed.
PRESIDENT: With this Golden Circle that represents Unity, typifying strength, I bind together the symbols of our order into a beautiful emblem that stands for the protection of the home and loved ones of the Equitable Fraternal Union.
All return to their respective stations.
PRESIDENT: Friends, what is the motto of our order?
ALL: Not for self, but for each other.
PRESIDENT: In the spirit of our motto, let us join in singing the opening ode
Here we meet tonight as brothers
Bound by friendship's sacred tie,
Working for ourselves and others,
And the coming by and by.
Life is like a morning vapor,
Or the blossoms of a day,
When the evening lights its taper
Mist and flowers have passed away.
Let us then remember, brothers,
That the time to work is now;
Kindly words and deeds for others
Warm the heart and clear the brow.
Pledge again our vows fraternal,
Linking hearts and lives for good,
And the smile of the Eternal
Be upon our brotherhood.
PRESIDENT: I now declare Assembly No. regularly opened for the transaction of such business as may lawfully be brought before it. Inner Guard, inform the Outer Guard that the assembly is now regularly opened, and you may now admit all who are qualified to enter.
INNER GUARD, opens the door and says: Outer Guard, the assembly is now regularly opened and we may admit all who are qualified to enter.
INNER GUARD: Friend President, I have informed the Outer Guard that the assembly is now regularly opened.
PRESIDENT: Warden, kindly retire and ascertain if there are candidates awaiting initiation.
Warden advances to the altar, salutes the President and retires to the anteroom, secures the names of all candidates, returns to the altar, salutes and says:
WARDEN: Friend President, I find in waiting to complete his membership by initiation.
The President at this time will inquire of the Secretary if the fees due the Assembly from any awaiting initiation have been collected, and if not, the Secretary and Warden will be requested to retire and collect them. While this is being done, if the Assembly is provided with officers' robes, the President will declare the Assembly at ease while the officers put them on, after which he will call the Assembly to order, * and says:
PRESIDENT: Warden, you will again retire and introduce the candidate.
Warden salutes the President, retires, and when ready to introduce the candidate will give two raps on the inner door. The Inner Guard will open the wicket (or door) and inquire:
INNER GUARD: Who seeks admission here?
WARDEN: The Warden of this Assembly with a candidate for initiation.
INNER GUARD: Friend President, the Warden of our Assembly, accompanied by a candidate for initiation, seeks admission.
PRESIDENT: Inner Guard, open wide the door and bid them enter.
INNER GUARD, opens door: By direction of our President you will enter.
PRESIDENT: * *.
Warden, leading the candidate by the right arm, enters the Assembly hall and marches once around the hall, so that the candidate will be between the Warden and the members, stopping at the President's station, during which the initiatory ode is sung.
Welcome, Friend, who comes to join us
In the work we strive to do
For each other and our loved ones:
We have need of such as you.
There is work for those who seek it
Here in our fraternal band;
Bring we to its doing, brothers,
Willing heart and ready hand.
Welcome, Friend! There's strength in union.
Hand in hand and heart to heart,
Let us stand, determined ever
Each to bravely do his part.
Not for self, but for each other
Be the motion of our band.
Welcome, friend and fellow-worker,
Heres a loyal comrade's hand.
WARDEN: Friend President, before you stands a candidate for initiation.
PRESIDENT: I welcome you most cordially in the name of the Equitable Fraternal Union, of which you desire to become a member. This fraternity exists for the protection of the home and family from the ill-fortune which often comes upon those near and dear to us when we are taken from them by death, and for the promotion of that fraternal spirit which should exist between all. In doing this, we believe that we are doing the duty we all owe to those whose welfare has been entrusted to our keeping.
You have applied for membership in this Assembly, have been duly elected and have presented yourself for initiation, but before you can become one of us, you must take upon yourself a solemn and binding obligation one we have all taken, and by which we are bound, as loyal members of this great order. It is an obligation which will not conflict with your religious or political beliefs, or your duties to your family, to your country or to yourself. With this assurance on my part, are you willing to take our obligation?
CANDIDATE answers: .
PRESIDENT: Warden, the candidate having signified his readiness to assume our obligation, you will conduct him to the altar, where the Adviser will administer the obligation.
The Warden and candidate will march to the Vice President's station and from there direct to the altar. The Adviser will take a position between the altar and the President's station. When in position, and before the Warden has delivered his instructions to the Adviser, the following takes place.
PRESIDENT, * *: Friends, form the Circle of Unity around our altar while the Adviser administers our sacred obligation.
If possible a march is played, and all members form a circle around the altar, and so remain until after the singing of the obligation verse.
WARDEN: Adviser, by direction of our President, I present this candidate for obligation.
ADVISER: You will place your left hand over your heart, extend your right arm, resting your right hand, palm down, on the emblem of our order, and repeat after me:
I solemnly promise, of my own free will and accord, in the presence of the members of this Assembly, that I will strictly comply with the laws, rules and regulations of the Supreme Assembly, and of this, or any other Assembly of the order, to which I may at any time belong.
I further promise not to reveal any of the signs, grip, tokens, or unwritten work of the order to any person, except such as I know to be a member of the order in good standing, and I will not communicate the passwords of the order to any person, except to the ones authorized to receive the same in an Assembly in session.
I further promise that I will never wrong or defraud any department of this order, or any member thereof, or take part in any unlawful use or disposition of the funds, moneys, or other property belonging to the order, and will do all in my power to prevent any such unlawful action.
I further promise that in my actions and discussions as a member of this order, I will be governed by a spirit of courtesy, respect and friendship for my fellow members, and will ever strive to advance the principles of Equity, Security, Fraternity, and Unity, upon which this order is founded.
I further promise and agree that whenever I may, for any cause, cease to be a member of this order, the obligation I have here assumed, shall remain binding and in full force, and all my right, title and interest in and to any property, funds or benefits of this order, except as may be specifically provided for in my benefit contract, shall thereby terminate and become absolutely void.
To the faithful observance of all these things I pledge my sacred word of honor.
ADVISER: Friends, do you accept the pledge made by our newly obligated member?
Members all answer: We do.
Lights may be turned low and the following or some other appropriate verse sung by all, or by a choir in the distance, after which the lights will be turned up.
Blest be the cord that binds
Our hearts in friendship's tie;
Fraternal love of kindred minds
Shall last until we die.
PRESIDENT: *. All members march to their seats.
ADVISER: Now that you have been properly obligated, you are entitled to be addressed as Friend, as this is the term by which all regularly made members of the order are designated. You are also entitled to learn the lessons of Equity, Security, Fraternity and Unity, together with instruction in the unwritten work of our order. The Warden will now conduct you to the Past President's station, that you may receive the lesson of Equity.
WARDEN: Past President, by direction of our Adviser, I present this Friend for instruction in the lesson of Equity.
PAST PRESIDENT: My Friend, the first basic principle of the Equitable Fraternal Union is Equity, without which no human association can long endure. It means simple justice and impartiality; equal burdens and equal benefits. In its broader sense, it is the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you." By strict adherence to the principles of Equity we have become one of the strongest organizations in America, possessed of a mighty power for the care of the widow and orphan, and the relief of the sorrow stricken and distressed.
With us, Equity is symbolized by the Scales of Justice. Let Equity and Justice be your watchwords to govern your actions in all your dealings with Friends in the Equitable Fraternal Union, and you will be an honored and respected member in this great brotherhood.
Warden, conduct our Friend to the station of the Adviser for instruction in the lesson of Security.
WARDEN: Adviser, by direction of the Past President I present this Friend for instruction in the lesson of Security.
ADVISER: My Friend, you have listened to words of wisdom by our Past President concerning Equity. It is my duty to impress upon your mind another important principle of our order, Security, which is the condition or quality of being secure, freedom from care or anxiety; in other words, confidence inspired through safety.
There can be no real Equity where one's investment is not first made secure. You are becoming a member of this order that you may secure to your loved ones when life's short day for you is done, a substantial sum of money to protect them against want and suffering. We, therefore, pledge you through the principle of Security, the assurance that your confidence has not been misplaced, for every safeguard has been thrown around this order, and, through Security, symbolized by the Golden Key, you may rest secure in the promises of our order.
Warden, conduct our Friend to the station of the Vice President for instruction in the lesson of Fraternity.
WARDEN: Vice President, by direction of the Adviser I present this Friend for instruction in the lesson of Fraternity.
VICE PRESIDENT: My Friend, you now stand before the Station of Fraternity, which we symbolize by the Clasped Hands. Fraternity means the brotherhood of man. It teaches us to be sympathetic, kind and loving, and should animate the heart of every Friend in our order. As true Fraternalists, we should perform our duties with pleasure and make sacrifices with cheerfulness. Let Fraternity dwell in your heart, and it will drive out envy, hatred and malice, and bring to your mind a priceless contentment which all the pomp and power of earth cannot bestow.
By acts of love and sympathy you can make others happy. You can minister to the sick and unfortunate and bring joy to the hearts of the discouraged. You can comfort the grief stricken, heal the broken hearted, lighten the shadows of the tomb, and hold out hope and protection from a cold and cruel world.
Be a true fraternalist, say the kind word, do the kind deed, now, ever remembering that flowers on the casket cast no fragrance backward o'er the weary way.
Warden, conduct our Friend to the station of the President for instruction in the lesson of Unity, and the unwritten work of our order.
WARDEN: Friend President, by direction of the Vice President, I present this Friend for instruction in the lesson of Unity, and the unwritten work of our order.
Note: If a Drill Team is used, the President, if it is desired, will seat the candidate while an exhibition drill is given, after which he will proceed.
PRESIDENT: My Friend, I bid you a hearty welcome, to our fraternal ranks. You have listened to the counsel of Equity, Security and Fraternity. I now call your attention to one other very vital principle of our society, which is Unity. The circle woven about you at our altar, and represented here by this Golden Circle, is symbolical of Unity, which represents great strength. Unity means union. A large body of men and women, united as we are, becomes a mighty tower of strength for the relief of sorrow, sickness and distress. It is only by such a union that we can preserve the blessings of fraternal association―make provision for the future of loved ones, and be held in sweet memory by those for whom we made provision while yet the end of earthly life seemed to us afar off.
You now become a part of this great order, and having confidence in your integrity and strength of character, I will now instruct you in our unwritten work.
We have two passwords, three signs and a grip.
The first password is called the semi-annual password and is changed twice during each calendar year, a new one being received during the months of January and July.
It is used at the outer door to gain admission to the anteroom when the Assembly is in session, and is also to be given to the Warden at the opening of the Assembly.
Should you desire to gain admittance to your Assembly after it has called to order, and be without the semi-annual password, you will so inform the Outer Guard, who will inform the Inner Guard, who in turn will inform the President. If you are found to be in good standing, the Outer Guard will be instructed to permit you to enter the anteroom, and immediately on entering the assembly hall you will approach the President and receive from him the word.
You can receive this word only from the President of the assembly to which you belong or from the President of any other assembly of the order to whom you present your receipt for assessment and dues, showing you to be in good standing in the order. The semi-annual password for this term is whispers the word.
The second password is called the permanent password, and is never changed. It is used at the inner door to gain admission to the assembly hall. It is also to be given to the Warden at the opening of the assembly. The permanent password is whispers the word.
You will remember that both passwords are always to be given in a whisper.
After the assembly has been called to order and you desire admission, you will make your presence known by any alarm at the outer door. The Outer Guard will open the wicket, through which you will give the semi-annual password. You will then be admitted to the anteroom, when you will approach the inner door and give four raps, by twos, thus: * * * *. The Inner Guard will respond in like manner and open the wicket, through which you will give the permanent password. You will then be admitted to the assembly hall when you will advance to the altar and salute the President with the first sign of the order, which is the sign of salutation, and is made thus . The President will recognize you in like manner, when you will be at liberty to be seated.
Should you wish to retire before the assembly is closed, you will approach the altar and salute the President with the same sign as on entering. If the President returns your salute, you may retire. If not, you will return to your seat.
In rising to address the assembly, you will salute the President with the sign of salutation, and say, Friend President, and when the President has recognized you by the same sign, you may proceed with your remarks.
At the opening of the Assembly, when the flag of our country is unfurled, you with the other members will salute the flag with the sign of salutation and say: "Emblem of Liberty, we salute thee, and will cherish and defend thee while life shall last."
The second sign of the order is the sign of sincerity and is made thus . It is used in taking the obligation, and may also be used as a sign of recognition outside of the assembly, the person making the sign indicating, I am a member of the Equitable Fraternal Union. The person seeing and recognizing the sign, in like manner indicates, So am I.
The third sign of the order is the voting sign, and is made thus , the same sign being used to indicate an affirmative or negative vote, as the case may be.
The grip is made thus .
The motto of our order is: "Not for self but for each other."
In conducting the business of the assembly one rap of the gavel calls the assembly to order or seats the members if standing. Two raps call the members to their feet.
All members of the order are known as Friends, this being the term by which you will address them while the assembly is in session.
My Friend, you are now in full possession of all the unwritten work of our order. As long as you remain faithful to the obligations you have here assumed, you will be entitled to all its rights, privileges and benefits, together with all the honors it can confer upon its members.
You have become a member of this order with this thought foremost in your mind: To protect those near and dear to you should the hand of death be suddenly laid upon you.―That this thought may be carried to its final completion, let me charge you with one thing. Be prompt in paying your assessments and other financial obligations to the order. The service of this order to you and yours is valuable only when you fully discharge every obligation thereto which you have here assumed.
PRESIDENT, * *: Warden, you will face our newly made Friend to the assembly.
Friends of Assembly No. , I take pleasure in introducing to you our new Friend who has completed his initiation, and is now in full membership with us. May the benefits to be derived from our order be a help and assistance to him and those dependent upon him, and may our friendship endure to the end of life.
You will all join in singing our closing initiatory ode.
The chain is one link longer
That binds us each to each,
And friendship's tie is stronger
Fraternal truths to teach.
Join hands tonight, my brothers,
The old friends and the new,
And pledge we to each other
A love that's strong and true.
PRESIDENT: I now declare the assembly at ease, that we may welcome our newly made Friend.
PRESIDENT, * *: As our labors are now concluded, we will proceed to close. All join in forming the Circle of Unity around the altar while we sing our closing ode.
The Circle of Unity is formed with the President, gavel in hand, inside the circle at the altar and the Warden in front of the altar. All other officers will join with the members in forming the circle, except the Inner and Outer Guards, who will remain at their respective stations.
Good Night, dear friends, our work is done,
Then happy let us be
O'er times thus spirit for good intent
In peace and harmony.
And as we go, let's not forget
The lessons taught us here:
To labor for humanity
And those we hold most dear.
Give thanks to Him, the greatest Friend,
For wisdom, truth and light;
Depart in peace, joy and content;
Good night, dear friends, good night.
PRESIDENT: Warden, you will collect the rituals and badges, and remove the emblem from the altar.
WARDEN: Friend President, I have complied with your request and have in my possession rituals.
PRESIDENT: Friends, as we depart from this gathering, may the lessons taught us by the cardinal principles of our Order be and abide with us until we meet again. I now declare this Assembly duly closed. Inner Guard, inform the Outer Guard that the Assembly is closed.
* upon the Altar.