Updated: Feb 22
Instituted July 10, 1903 with 31 members, Queen Esther Chapter No. 7 is part of an international fraternal organization of both men and women and is a part of the family of Freemasonry. We are dedicated to charity, truth and loving-kindness through fraternal, social and other activities which support local and national charities, scholarship programs and community service.
Our source of income is through annual dues, donations and fund-raising activities. They may be dinners, bake sales, yard sales, craft/vendor sales and raffles. Our efforts support a small budget and Community Service Fund.
Annually, we select recipients to receive our monetary donation. Because our membership consists of Sisters and Brothers from Waterbury/Duxbury and Mad River Valley, we contribute to both areas. In our communities we have given monetary gifts to the volunteer fire departments, ambulance services, Masonic Lodges, Senior Centers, and purchased children’s books for the libraries. Additionally, we have also contributed to Revitalizing Waterbury Railroad Station Restoration, Waterbury Historical Society, Mad River Health Center and Habitat for Humanity.
When fires, flooding and illness have affected our Chapter members, we have assisted in meeting some of their needs. Those families in need, both in our Chapter and locally, have also been provided help at Christmas with food, clothing and gifts. Contributions have been made to the VT Food Bank, VT Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, VT Visiting Nurse Association, VT Veterans, Camp Ta Kum Ta, Camp Thorpe, Make A Wish Foundation and Special Olympics. We include the annual VT Grand Chapter projects of the OES Home Benevolence Fund, Angell Scholarship Fund, E.S.T.A.R.L. (Eastern Star Training Awards for Religious Leadership), Cancer, and Rainbow and DeMolay youth.
Queen Esther Chapter has been honored by those women who have served as Worthy Grand Matron of Vermont: Sisters Orris M. Joslyn (1943-44); Susan D. Ocker (1991-92); Elizabeth H. Bordeaux (1994-95) and Patty R. Backus (2011-12). Currently, Jacqueline M. Shiner is serving as Worthy Grand Matron. One Brother, Richard K. Backus, served as Worthy Grand Patron (2011-12). Sister Elizabeth H. Bordeaux was appointed Worthy Grand Chaplain of the General Grand Chapter (2009-2012). Appointed as a member of a General Grand Chapter Committee have been Sister Patty R. Backus, Committee on Public Relations (2012-2015) and Brother Richard K. Backus, Committee on Registration (2015-2018).
Happily, the Chapter observed its 100th anniversary in 2003 with an open house. We have had several members reaching the age of 100 years.
Twenty years ago, our membership was 95. As of this writing, we have 44 members. We have escaped a fire and flooding. Now we are coping, along with humanity, to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been restricted by the General Grand Chapter from holding meetings; our last meeting was held in January 2020. We do not know when we might be allowed to meet once again. This restriction has prevented us from fundraising efforts causing us to be concerned about planning ahead.
Our hope for the future is to continue to survive in order to continue to make a small difference in our communities and to help those in need. Perhaps this is a lofty goal with declining membership and aging of our members. However, we shall do as much as we can for as long as we can.