United Order of Ethiopia
Working Ritual


Opening the Lodge

As the members arrive at the hall, each shall give the Inspector at the door the current password before being allowed to enter the Lodge Room. Should any member be unable to do so, the Adjutant will find out his (or her) standing in the Lodge, and if he find that the member is in good standing he will escort him (or her) to the president to be given the password.
Members not in good standing cannot have the password, or be allowed to enter the Lodge unless it is to comply with the laws of the Lodge and Order, and to put themselves in good standing with the Lodge and Order they must pay up all their indebtedness to the Lodge and Grand Lodge and show the body that they intend to do better in the future.
At the proper opening time, the President will take his station, which should be in the rear end of the Lodge Room facing the door of the ante-room of the main entrance to the hall, and give one loud rap of his gavel. At this signal officers will take their stations and members will find seats, but none will sit down until the Lodge is duly opened and the President give one rap of his gavel.
This Lodge will open with prayer by the Chaplain for the welfare of … Lodge No. … and its members.
After the prayer, President will say:
We will join in singing:
Pass us not, O gentle Saviour,
Hear our humble cries;
While on others Thou art smiling,
Do not pass us by.
Chorus: Saviour, Saviour,
Hear our humble cries;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass us by.
Let us at a throne of mercy
Find a sweet relief;
Kneeling there in deep contrition,
Help our unbelief
Trusting only in Thy merit,
Would we seek Thy face;
Heal our wounded, broken spirits,
Save us by Thy grace
Thou the Spring of all our comfort,
More than life to us;
Whom have we on earth beside Thee?
Whom in Heaven but Thee?
Officers and members, again we have the pleasure to meet together for the purpose of transacting the business of this Lodge. I want each of you to bear in mind the objects that have brought us together under the banner of the United Order of Ethiopia, and that these objects may be more thoroughly impressed upon your memories we will now repeat the Ten Commandments upon which this Order is founded.
Exodus XX
"And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
The Lord Jesus Christ also said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the Prophets.
Let us all try to keep them, and draw on them daily in our fight against sin, and doing so we will be helping others while helping ourselves. "United we stand, divided we fall."
The President will now give one rap of his gavel; at this signal the Lodge will be seated. He will then take up business.

Initiation Ceremony
For all Candidates, male and female, and no Candidate will legally be a members of a Lodge of this Order until they have gone through this ceremony at a regular or special meeting in the hall of a Lodge in good standing with the Grand Lodge.
The Adjutant will please assemble the Candidates for initiation in the ante-room. Inspector will please get their names and report to the Adjutant, and shall then arrange for the opening of the ceremony.
Mr. President, I find in waiting the following candidates who wish to become members of this Lodge and Order. They are … (Mr., Mrs. Or Miss, as the case may be).
Financial Secretary, have all these Candidates for initiation this evening been duly elected to membership in our Lodge and Order, and has the full required fee been paid for each Candidate?
Financial Secretary:
Officers, take your stations; Members will take their seats, and the Escort will retire to the ante-room and assist in blind-folding each Candidate. Before blindfolding them, each Candidate should be well searched, and if they have anything dangerous they shall give them up until after the initiation.
The Escort will now retire to the ante-room for the Candidates, and will march them around in the hall three times. As the Candidates enter the hall all members will join in singing: "We’re marching to Zion."
The Candidates in waiting being duly and regularly qualified to undertake the sacred obligations and secret work of our beloved United Order of Ethiopia, the escort will please form and introduce them to the Lodge.
The introductory song this evening will be … Give name of song.
Officers and members will rise to their feet and begin the song as soon as the Candidates enter the door of the hall, and will continue to sing until the Candidates have been marched around in the hall three times and formed in front of the President’s station.
The Second Vice-President will now step down from her station in front of the Candidates, and after warning them of the danger of living false to their obligations.
All members will repeat three times:
Strangers be warned!
She will now put the following questions to the Candidates, which is to inform them of their greatest duties in the Lodge and Order. The President must see that each Candidate answers "Yes" or "No".
Second Vice-President:
Strangers, are you willing to visit the sick and helpless members of this Lodge and Order, and aid them when in need by giving what you can?
Are you willing to help care for the widows and orphans, and help prepare homes and schools for the latter?
Are you willing to do what you can for the uplift and advancement of your down-trodden race, and teach and live the principles of Charity, Moral Uprightness and Christianity?
Are you willing to protect our honest women and girls from being imposed upon by immoral men of other races, as well as of our own?
Are you willing to do all you can to put an end to the low, and must degraded habit of a very large number of our women, who be-little the race by allowing the men of other races to use them for immoral purposes?
Have you been taught the laws of God? Can you repeat the Ten Commandments? Do you know that this Order is founded upon them?
The Chaplain will now read the Commandments, which all the Candidates will repeat after him. After a short lecture, he will read to the the Second Chapter of I John; then he will return to his station.
The Escort will please march the Candidates to the ante-room, and await further instructions from me.
The Inspector in the ante-room will now give three quick knocks midway of the door from the ante-room to the hall. No answer is made to this knocking. The Inspector knocks again after three minutes, this time he will give one light rap at the bottom of the door, one rap halfway up the door and one loud rap at the top of the door. He will wait another three minutes, and will then give one loud rap at the top of the door, one half-way down the door, and one at the bottom.
If the Inspector makes these knocks correctly, the Adjutant will answer, otherwise, the Inspector will keep knocking until he gets the knocks correct.
The Adjutant will answer in a loud voice:
Who dare to disturb the peace of the Lodge with such unseemly and ghostly noise?
The Inspector answers, loudly:
I have in waiting … number of Candidates worthy Candidates who seek to enter the mystic circle of the inner life of this Lodge.
The Adjutant will answer, loudly:
I am now afraid to trust you, sir, and doubt very much whether they are worthy of being admitted into the mystic circle of our inner life.
Does anyone here care to vouch for these Candidates?
The Inspector replies, loudly:
I will vouch for them.
The Adjutant will answer in a loud voice:
That is not sufficient, as your association with these strangers may have led you astray from our best interest. Is there any one else to vouch for them?
The Financial Secretary, speaking in a loud voice:
I will vouch for them. These new Candidates are worthy indeed, of becoming members and helpers in the great United Order of Ethiopia, work of progress, unlift, protection and fraternity. Yes, I vouch for them in all ways and trust that you will not delay further their entrance in this great work.
The Adjutant answers loudly:
Very good, sir. Inspector, you may now bring them in, without further delay.
The Adjutant gives command: Froward―March.
The Candidates shall not be blindfolded.
The Escort will march the Candidates into the hall, when the President will start the song. The Escort will march the Candidates three times around in the hall; he will then stop in front of the President’s station, and with the aid of the Inspector he will line them up facing the President. The Adjutant will stand on the right of the Candidates, the Escort on the left, and the Inspector in the rear.
Mr. President, I take great pleasure in introducing these Candidates, who wish to become members of this Lodge.
At this point President will step down from his station in front of the Candidate nearest to the Adjutant.
As soon as the singing is over:
The Adjutant turns to this Candidate and says:
Mr. (or Mrs./Miss as the case may be) …, this is our President Mr. … give President’s name.
The President shakes hands with the Candidate, and makes remarks of welcome. This introduction is repeated with each Candidate, after which the President will return to his station.
The Chaplain will now read Psalm 1.
My friends, are you now aware of the fact, that to be a member of this most noble Society, that you are expected to live a life by keeping God’s Laws, and give your local support in making our Race what it should be?
My friends. It gives me great pleasure to greet you here this evening. You have made it plain to this mystic circle of inner life that you are willing to join us to improve yourself, to improve the conditions under which you live, to assist in the uplifting of your family and your fellow-man and to obtain all the liberty and prosperity our co-operative efforts will produce, to the end that we may all live happy and contented lives and be useful and progressive citizens.
As the presiding officer of this Lodge, I want you, my dear friends, to study carefully the plans and objects of this great "Ethiopian Society" that you may help in every way in your power, and benefit yourself, your neighbor and your race thereby in the fullest extent.
In justice to the Grand Lodge, and our Lodge and your fellow members, an Oath of Fidelity and Loyalty is required from each of you, but I assure you that this oath contains nothing contrary to your civil or religious belief, but on the other hand, it is founded upon principles, giving freedom and justice to all who believe in God. With this assurance on my part, are you willing to take this oath?
Each Candidate should answer:
I am willing.
Now take this small Bible in your right hand, and raise it above your head, and hold your left hand over your heart, and repeat after me this most solemn obligation:
I, repeat your name, in the presence of all these living witnesses and in the full knowledge that my right hand with the word of God in it, is raised in appeal to Almighty God to record this oath of Fidelity and Loyalty and to help me faithfully keep it, I swear that I will obey the laws and regulations of the Grand Lodge of the United Order of Ethiopia and of the Lodge―as now in force and as they may be hereafter amended.
That I will guard as a sacred trust, the degrees, the signs, the grips and all other secret doings of the Order, and that I will never communicate any of the same to anyone not a member of the Order, or to members not in good standing of this Lodge and Order.
That I will never belittle my Lodge and Order for any unjust cause whatever, nor will I allow or cause same to be done in my name or by anyone acting as my agents.
That I will strive at all times for the building up of the black race of men, and also for the betterment of all humanity regardless of race or color.
That I will strive to keep the Ten Commandments and teach others to do likewise.
That I will never make it a practice to try to pull down anyone who may be advancing upward and onward.
To the faithful performance of all which I pledge my sacred honor; so help me God.
The President will now proceed to give the Candidate the Secret Grips, Signs and Words, which should be committed to memory by the President, if possible, so that he can thoroughly impress it upon the new members.
The Secret Grip is given by grasping the right hand of a fellow member with your right hand and give … distinct pressures with the …. The member challenged will answer by giving … distinct pressures with his or her ….
This grip is used by all members of the Order, when greeting each other, and can be used for good advantage in a challenging manner when shaking hands with strangers. The pressures should not be so hard that non-members would take notice of it, but just hard enough to be felt and recognized by a member.
The Secret Sign is given by clasping the fingers of both hands, as though you were fixing to draw to your chest, you will raise them clasped to your …, with your elbows pointing straight out from your shoulders. The answer is given by the challenged person making the same signal, but will raise the signal to the …; the meaning being: we are united in doing good.
The sign can be used as a signal to challenge persons when at a long distance, or when sitting so that words cannot be passed between each other. When calling for help are the same signal, but this time turn the … of the hand to yourself, meaning: I need help for I am in trouble. The answer is given by placing your right hand to your right … and your left hand to your left …, meaning: I hear, and I will help you in the right. The person as called shall go to his or her assistance immediately and find out the cause of the trouble, and if your brother or sister is in the right, do a brother’s or a sister’s part.
The United Order of Ethiopia salute is given by placing the … hand over the …. The answer is given the same way. This should be done quickly, but not so quick as to draw attention of non-members who may be looking on. This signal is used extensively as a means of greeting each other when passing on the thoroughfare, or when at a distance.
The Secret Words are given only when necessary, and as a last measure to ascertain if the person addressed is a member of the United Order of Ethiopia. The challenging person will speak these words loud enough to be heard: Faith with Hope. The answer to this is given by the challenged person, if a member, who will say: Charity, greatest of the three.
The Secret Distress Signal is for use when a member is in deep distress and needs immediate help, and cannot use their hands to signal with or give the secret signs. This signal is given by speaking softly or loudly, as the occasion may require, these three letters: F―H―C. This meaning, I have Faith in my God, and fellow members―Believe me. Any members of the United Order of Ethiopia hearing will then immediately answer these letters in a tone loud enough to be plainly heard: H―C, which means: Help is Coming.
The Reading of the Button: the letters U.O. of E. mean United Order of Ethiopia (United Order of Colored People), and are read by members as follows:
Any members seeing on the coat or clothing of another person a button bearing such letters will advance, and take hold of it, and say "I approve of that." The person wearing the button will then reply "United we stand," to which the first person again will say: "Divided we fall." The challenging person will again say "What’s your colors?" to which the challenged person will reply "Black to brown, what’s yours?" The challenging person will say: "Am I red or yellow?"
If the button is read correctly this way, it proves the membership of both persons, and explains the letters on the button.
Any person caught wearing one of these buttons, who cannot satisfactorily establish his or her right to wear it, shall be forced to remove it by the challenging member of the U.O. of E.
The Night Signal is used at night, or when one person cannot see another plainly. It is done by letting both arms down full length , and clasp them together twice in quick succession, softly or loudly as the occasion may require. The answer to this will be as above, but with only one loud clap, with the words "Look for me."
The Lodge Room Entering Signs: in the hall there are three Altars. They are the Altar of Faith, which is the Chaplain’s station, which will be between that of the President in the rear of the hall, and that of the Second Vice-President in the front end of the hall, about 15 feet from the President’s station; the Altar of Hope. The Altar of Charity is the station of the Second Vide-President.
Members entering the hall will march from the ante-room to the Altar of Faith directly in front of the Altar of Hope. Upon the Altar of Faith rests an open Bible. When members march up to the Altar they will place the right hand over the heart, and extend the left hand, palm downward over the open Bible, thus signifying obedience and full faith to, and in the Almighty and His Law, the Ten Commandments in the Book.
When this is done correctly officers and members will place their right hand over their heart and nod. The member will then turn and face the Altar of Charity, with both hands extended upwards, will march up to the Altar, will then drop the hands down and deposit in the contribution box one penny or more as they feel like giving, then he or she will be seated.
This habit must be kept up from time to time and every member should keep pennies on hand for this particular purpose. This collection is a free gift to your Lodge by you. When you visit the Altar of Charity (Love) and deposit the penny in the contribution box, you will remember your greatest duty to your fellow-man when in need of your help and also your oath of Fidelity and Loyalty to fellow-members, and the strongest link in the order―Charity.
The Lodge Room Leaving Sign. Members desiring to leave the hall before the close of the meeting, will walk up to the Altar of Faith, which is directly in front of the President’s station, the Altar of Hope, places the forefinger of the right hand across the lips, signifying that nothing learned at the meeting will be told; the left hand will be extended palm downward over the open Bible, signifying trueness of heart and obedience to the Commandments of God.
The presiding officer recognizes this by raising his right hand to his right eye. The member is then entitled to leave the hall, and only members leaving thus shall be allowed to depart by the Inspector at the door.
The Pass-Word is never spoken aloud, and is only to be used by members of the Order in good standing in gaining admittance to the Lodge Room. No member is allowed to give it to another. Only the President will be allowed to give it to the members of his Lodge.
The Password is changed whenever the Grand Lodge desires to do so.
It is binding on all members to not misuse these Secret Signs, Grips and Passwords. Members doing so will be fined or expelled from the Lodge and Order.
The Adjutant will now address the Candidates as follows:
My friends, I will now give you instructions and show you how to be admitted to the Lodge Room. After you enter the ante-room you must give … raps on the inner door like this: … Adjutant will give the raps on the door. When this is properly done the Inspector opens the wicket, or the door, and you will then give him your name and the current password. He will report you to the President, who will instruct him to admit you to the hall. Then you will march straight to the Altar of Faith; you will then be facing the Chaplain and the President at the same time. You will now give the entering signs, as you have already been instructed; you will now turn back and march up to the Altar of Charity, give your mite and then take your seat. The Altar of Charity (Love), must be honored by each member each meeting, and members failing to do so will be subject to a fine by the President.
Should you wish to leave the hall before the meeting is closed, you will advance to the Altar of Faith, and give the leaving signs as you have been instructed, after which you will be at liberty to leave the hall.
The Adjutant will now conduct the Candidates to the Financial Secretary, and see that their full names and correct mail addresses are entered upon the roll book of the Lodge.
And the Financial Secretary is hereby instructed to send these new members’ applications to the Grand Lodge at once with the Grand Lodge Membership Fee for each member initiated, so that their Membership Cards may be returned to us by our next regular meeting, at which time these new members are hereby instructed to be present and receive them.
The President will now step down from his station and introduce to each of the new members the officers and members of the Lodge.
At this point, all officers and members will advance to the Altar of Faith.
Worthy Friends, you have now passed through the Ceremony of Initiation and you are now members of this Lodge and Order. I trust that you will remember what you have seen on your way here, and will also remember well the objects of our beloved Order. Our motto "Onward and Upward" should always guide your steps. Be true to yourself, your family, your neighbor, your Lodge and Order and above all else, to your God.
We all heartily welcome you to our mystic circle of inner life, in the United Order of Ethiopia, and will do all in our power to make you feel perfectly at home as long as you remain true to your obligations, and will help you realize and obtain all the advantages the United Order of Ethiopia offers to its members.
All officers and members will now greet the new members and return to their stations in the Lodge.
We will now close by singing … name song.
Closing Ceremony

If there be no more business all members will be standing until this meeting is closed.
As we bring this meeting to a close, I wish to thank each of you for your attendance here, and trust that you have enjoyed it, as I have. It is a great pleasure, indeed, for me to meet so many of my friends here in the interest of race.
I desire to impress upon your minds the importance of being present at all our meetings and of taking active part in all our deliberations. I want each of you to bear in mind your sacred obligation to your Lodge, and your promise to God to keep his Commandments upon which this Order is founded, and remember that all business transacted here is secret and must not be told outside the Lodge under any circumstances whatever.
I want each of you to be true to yourself, to your family, to your neighbours, to your Lodge and Order, and above all, to God.
We will now close our meeting by singing:
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Benediction by Chaplain