Nearly 100 people gathered at the Waynedale Masonic Temple, 7039 Elzey Street, on Saturday, May 8, 2021, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Waynedale Chapter #600, Order of the Eastern Star.
For this festive occasion, members of Waynedale Masonic Lodge #739 provided a luncheon featuring smoked Chicken Cordon Bleu. The day included the dedication of the Lodge kitchen in honor of deceased Eastern Star member Ethel Sklenar, who lovingly served up many a meal at Waynedale and at the Masonic Temple in downtown Fort Wayne. Also, Waynedale Chapter #600 member James Gordon was presented an Award of Gold for his membership of 50 years in the Order of the Eastern Star. Past Grand Patron of the Indiana Grand Chapter, O.E.S., Ronald Stabler, bestowed the honor.
The celebration included time for reminiscing. Forming an O.E.S. Chapter was one of the priorities of the Master Masons who founded Waynedale Masonic Lodge #739, according to Lodge meeting minutes from the 1950’s. The men moved on that vision as soon as the new temple building neared completion in 1970.
On March 9, 1970, a large turnout of women and men eligible for Eastern Star membership attended a meeting to show their interest in the creation of a Chapter. Not long after, plans were readied and the first officers of Chapter #600 were selected. The Chapter was “constituted” in a ritualistic ceremony held in the Commandry Room at the Fort Wayne Masonic Temple on June 19, 1971. 700 invitations were printed for that event, at a cost of $32.05.
At the 50th Anniversary celebration, Chapter 600 charter member Diana Smith, now of Roanoke, shared her memories of the early days. She recalled that the first leaders of the Chapter, Worthy Matron Leona Walker and Worthy Patron Ernest Walker, held many practices to ensure the beautiful Eastern Star ritual was perfectly recited.
The current Worthy Matron of Waynedale Chapter #600, Linda Buskirk, was delighted that the celebration guests included many Waynedale Masons and spouses.
“What a joy it was to see the members of our Chapter and the Masons of Waynedale Lodge #739 working together, eating together, and celebrating together,” Buskirk said. “It was a grand opportunity to highlight the fraternal love and benefits of membership in our Order.”
The Order of the Eastern Star is an appendant body of Freemasonry. It is a philanthropic, charitable organization based in Christianity founded on the principles of brotherly love, relief and truth. Membership is open to Master Masons and their wives, daughters, mothers, widows, and sisters.