This is Your Life
By Peggy Stocks, PHQ
On May 10, 1956, twenty nine young ladies were initiated into the International Order of Job's Daughters. These girls were initiated by the members of Bethel #12, but they would not be active daughters in that Bethel; these girls wanted to start a Bethel of their own.
Bethel #12 of South Norfolk, Virginia, came to Great Bridge Masonic Lodge #257 on the night of May 10, 1956, to instruct these 29 daughters in the lessons and teachings of Jobe. Their Honored Queen led a meeting that would begin the new bethel's task of organizing a brand new bethel of their own. The coin march collected a total of $13.00, which the members of Bethel #12 voted to give to the new bethel to get them started. The librarian read a report entitled "It Couldn’t Be Done", but the members that were starting the bethel at Great Bridge knew very well that with a little work and determination, anything could be done. When the meeting closed that evening, the new initiates looked forward to the opening of their own bethel, and they committed themselves to making their bethel the best it could be.
On May 19, 1956, at 7:30 p.m., the new bethel was instituted as Bethel U.D., Great Bridge, Virginia. The meeting was opened by Mrs. Daisy Butts, Bethel Guardian of Bethel #12, and Mr. Stanley Wagner, Associate Bethel Guardian of Bethel #12. Honored Queen, Glenda Bates, also of Bethel #12, presided at the meeting. The instituting officers came from the Bethel's #3, #5, #11, #12, #15, #17, #28, and #33. Miss Virginia S. Dodge, Grand Guardian of the Commonwealth of Virginia, presided during the installation of the first bethel council. Mrs. Tillie Fussell became the first Bethel Guardian, and Mr. Hugh N. Olds became the first Associate Bethel Guardian.
A huge crowd of people filled the sidelines. Many visiting Jobs Daughters attended, as well as many visiting council members. The Grand Guardian and the Associate Grand Guardian attended, and they brought many members of the Grand Guardian Council along with them. The Supreme Guardian and the Associate Supreme Guardian, though unable to attend, sent their warmest congratulations to the newest bethel in the State of Virginia.
On the same evening, immediately following the institution, the first bethel installation was held for Bethel U.D., Great Bridge, Virginia. Kay Hudgins was installed as the first Honored Queen. She had a full core of officers, along with a few pages and choir members. She chose her colors to be purple and lavender. Her aim was "To Make Good Better and Better the Very Best". Her motto was "God First, Others Second, Self Last". All of the visitors brought their best wishes, and many visitors brought gifts for the new bethel. Bethel #12 gave them their old capes and a gift of money. Bethel #1 gave them a dove, and Bethel #20 gave them a gavel block. Bethel #3 gave them a Bible for the Anteroom, and the Associate Grand Guardian gave them an American flag, a staff, and a stand. Many monetary gifts were also received. The outpouring support and generosity assured the girls that they had the full support of the State of Virginia.
The new bethel began working hard to start off right. They ordered material to make robes. They began memorizing their parts and studying the ritual. The visited other bethels and worked to gain a good sense of just what being a Jobie was all about.
On September 1, 1956, Bethel U.D. was presented with their charter, along with the title of "Bethel #37". They were again visited by many people, and the excitement was obvious. They were allowed to hang the charter above the piano, and the new bethel was happy to have a real identity.
They quickly began to participate in many Jobe functions. They did service projects and held fund raisers. They sold Christmas cards and candy. The masons of Great Bridge Lodge #257 even offered to pay the girls $5.00 each month if they would clean the lodge, and the girls agreed to do so. Bethel #37 was well on its way to becoming an outstanding bethel.
Now, over 40 years later, as we look at the beginning of our bethel, we see how hard the first members worked to start a bethel of their own. We, as members of Job's Daughters, should appreciate the dedication of those 29 young ladies, for they gave us the bethel to which we belong. We continue to work hard to achieve many of our goals, but in a day and age in which membership is declining we must overcome many barriers that are members of yesterday did not have to face. We, however, do work hard to keep our bethel strong, and though we will probably see a bethel instituted, we should sincerely thank the charter members for giving us a bethel that we can be proud to belong to.
With the recent closing of the bethel that worked so hard to help us get started, Bethel #12, we learned that without the support of the Masons, the Eastern Star, and our parents, our bethel would not be thriving as it is today. The history of our bethel is an important story of how such support and dedication can help people to overcome hardships and reach their goals. The next time you mention being a Job's Daughter, be proud to say that you are from Bethel #37, for our bethel truly is great in our eyes, and the memory of the good times we have shared together should always remain in our hearts.