Prior to the mid-1990s, any woman interested in being a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, a Free Mason organization open to women, had to be a blood relative or wife of a Master Mason. Since then, the organization periodically relaxes the rules, allowing independent women to join with sponsorship from a Master Mason.

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Patricia Young is the first woman, without a familial affiliation, to be placed in a leading position in the Masonic organization. (Courtesy photo)

Several years ago, Patricia L. Young joined the Eastern Star when sponsored by her minister, Apostle Herbert Whitner of the United House of Prayer for All People located in Baltimore. On Jan. 7, both Young and the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia made history when she was elected Grand Worthy Matron, the first that started as an unaffiliated member.

Prior to her speech during the inauguration ceremony, Whitner sang a solo. During her remarks, Young said, “I am the first Grand Worthy Matron from the Window of Opportunity which means that I had no Masonic affiliation that allowed me to come in.”

Ricardo A. Montague was inaugurated as the Grand Worthy Patron of the Georgiana Thomas Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Stars Prince Hall affiliation. However, the highlight of the morning ceremony was the inauguration of Phillip L. David as the 85th Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. David is an engineer, husband, and father of two girls.

David started his address with a prayer, saying, “When times become hard and decisions will be tough, please direct me in the right way to make the correct decisions for the betterment of this jurisdiction.”

Past Master Alton Roundtree, author and editor of the Masonic Digest, said Young and David will lead a group of approximately 4,000 men and women. David has plans to retain and increase lodge membership, to get members more involved in the District’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC), and to seek new partnerships through the commissions to reestablish a relationship with the community.

Young unveiled a similar agenda, that includes retaining and increasing membership and involving lodge members in community service that includes a new project with St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis.