A ritual not done in decades in the Lakeland has been reborn, marking an important chapter in the history of the Freemasons youth organization Job's Daughters.
Three girls were initiated into the organization, which describes itself as sisterhood teaching young women leadership skills based on biblical teachings from the Book of Job, at the Cold Lake lodge on Nov. 28. It was the first time an initiation into Job's Daughters took place at the Cold Lake Masonic Lodge since the last chapter there was closed in 1981.
Each individual chapter, known as a bethel, is numbered sequentially according to when it was chartered in its jurisdiction. Most chapters are based out of Masonic Lodges.
“It's very emotional because this has been 40 years in the making,” said Lana Goguen, who will be the guardian of the bethel once it is restarted. “They investigated the possibility of opening it back in 2003 but they just didn't have the girls.”
Bethel 22 was based out of the Cold Lake lodge between 1964 and 1981, when it was closed because there weren't enough girls with Masonic ties. Goguen saw an opportunity to revive the bethel after a recent ruling allowed girls without Masonic ties to join Job's Daughters.
Now, with seven girls initiated, a few adult volunteers at hand, and a space for meetings provided by the Masons, Goguen can go ahead and file for a dispensation to run the bethel in conjunction with the St. Albert bethel for a year. After being reviewed at the end of that year, the Bethel can receive their charter back to run independently.
“This new amendment has just opened everything up and now we're starting to reopen the old bethels, get it going again,” Goguen said, adding that she plans to submit an application for special dispensation in January.
Only four out of 29 bethels remain operational in the province. Many closed their doors over the years, as there weren't enough girls to keep them operational.
In addition to parents of the teenagers being initiated and members of the lodge attending, there was also a special guest at the lodge for the initiation.
“I didn't realize I was going to be that emotional until I got up to speak and it's amazing,” said June Carr, who was guardian of Bethel 22 in Cold Lake from 1970 to 1972.
“It's very nice to see something you know…is coming back. It's to help (the girls) through their years until (they reach the age of) majority.”
Carr also lauded the recent amendment to allow girls with non-Masonic ties to join Job's Daughters. Although the Job's Daughters will remain part of the Masonic family, now any girl can join the organization regardless of family ties to Masons.
“It feels cool because now I have like other friends instead of the ones at school,” said Jade McMillan, 13, of Cold Lake, who was one of three new inductees. “I just wanted to try something new because I like taking that opportunity.”
Ethel T. Wead Mick in Nebraska founded Job's Daughters in 1920. Lana Goguen said its creation was part of the suffragette movement, giving young women important life skills.
“They should be able to balance a budget, (and know) how to get up and do public speaking which was very forward thinking at the time,” Goguen said. “It teaches them fiscal responsibility, something they're going to need everyday in life.”
In conjunction with the St. Albert bethel, the Cold Lake bethel will be organizing a Christmas party for sick kids at the Stollery in the upcoming weeks. The group has also raised $5 million for the H.I.K.E (Hearing Impaired Kids Equipment) charity through a variety of fundraising initiatives including bottle drives.
The group meets every first and third Friday of the month at the Cold Lake lodge. For more information on Job's Daughters, visit www.jobsdaughtersinternational.org. For more information on the local bethel Goguen is looking to reopen, contact Lana at 780-573-8276.