Odd Fellows, recognizing the need for a woman’s touch and her helpfulness in carrying out the principles of Odd Fellowship, brought into being the Rebekah degree, founded upon the principles of faithfulness, hospitality, purity and dedication to the principles of the Order as portrayed by women characters of the Bible.
The degree of Rebekah was accepted in 1851 as written by Schuyler Colfax.
The degree was originally written for Brothers to confer on their wives and daughters and was considered an “Honorary Degree”. The degree could only be conferred at a special meeting and Brothers could also receive the degree, much the same as today.
Later the Sisters were allowed to confer the degree on other Sisters, a ritual was adopted with the Sisters taking the parts. Rebekah Lodges were instituted and have continued to flourish.
This ritual has changed very little since 1851. It includes lessons from the biblical stories in the Old Testament of the women of the Bible.
We use emblems teaching lessons that are invaluable to be a Rebekah. The beehive, representing associated industry and the result of united effort. The moon and seven stars which teaches us the value of regularity in all our work. The dove, the beautiful emblem of peace. The white lily, a symbol of purity.
I AM A REBEKAH: I believe in the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of man, and the Sisterhood of woman. I believe in the watch-words of our Order – Friendship, Love and Truth. Friendship – is like a golden chain that ties our hearts together. Love – is one of our most precious gifts, the more you give, the more you receive. Truth – is the standard by which we value people. It is the foundation of our society. I believe that my main concern should be my God, my family and my friends. Then I should reach out to my community and the World, for in God’s eyes we are all brothers and sisters. I AM A REBEKAH!