Foresters Group

An amazingly adaptable group of orders which in North America evolved from the Ancient Order of Foresters which in turn evolved from the British Royal Order of Foresters.  Included in the family are the Canadian Order of Foresters, the Catholic Order of Foresters, the Independent Order of Foresters, Foresters of America, Companions of the Forest (or of Foresters) and several lesser Forester orders.  All of the major American and Canadian branches of the order were founded in the 1870’s and in keeping with the times were fraternal benefit societies offering life and disability insurance to their members.  Over the years, the insurance business gained dominance over the fraternal aspect of the orders.

Survivors include the Independent Order and the Catholic Order www.catholicforester.com .  The Ancient Order survives in England  www.aof.co.uk  

Foresters as a group appear to have been somewhat more affluent than most fraternal benefit societies.  Nine of the pieces shown here are gold.  Because of the stag featured on many of the pieces, they are often confused with Elk and Moose jewelry.

An Early Foresters Membership Certificate

A special "Thanks" to Samuel Sade for submitting the above pictured Forester's membership certificate.  He writes that he bought it at a yard sale for $8.00 and that it was not printed on acid-free paper so it has darkened over time.  It measures approximately 16 by 20 inches and is in wonderful shape for its age.  Thanks Samuel for giving us lore lovers a view of the past!

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Early Foresters Lodge Charter

Pictured above is an original signed Charter of the Independent Order of Foresters for the Vancouver B.C. Canada Court "Stanley Forest" No. 4985.  It was signed on April 21, 1909

A special "Thank You" to John Mallory of Vancouver B.C. Canada for submitting the above photo of his Foresters Charter!
 

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Early Foresters Banner

This banner was the property of Foresters of America, Court Fordham No. 451.    The banner has absolutely beautiful embroidery on it.

A special "Thank You" to Ellen Gregory for submitting the picture of this banner!

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Ancient Order of Foresters

Initiation Ceremony

This ritual is from 1907.

When a Candidate is to be initiated, who has been duly approved by the Medical Examiner, favorably reported on by the Investigating Committee, and regularly accepted by ballot, he shall attend a regular meeting of the Court. At the proper time, the J.B. shall report to the S.B. and the S.B. to the C.R. that a Candidate, Mr ..., is outside the portal seeking to obtain light upon the mysteries of Ancient Forestry.
The C.R. shall therefore give *, which shall be similarly responded to by the S.C.R. The C.R. and S.C.R. thereupon arise the C.R. saying: Officers and Brothers, Mr. ..., a Candidate for initiation into the mysteries of Ancient Forestry, is outside the portal of this Court. Worthy Sub-Chief Ranger, can you assure the brethren that he is a sober and discreet person that he has no affiliation with any illegitimate Society claiming to work under the name of the Ancient Order of Foresters in any guise, and that he is, so far as your knowledge extends, eligible to be initiated a member of this Court.
After having examined the application, the S.C.R. says: Worthy Chief Ranger, the Physician of this Court has carefully examined the Candidate as to his physical condition, and has certified that he is eligible to membership. The brethren have exercised their prerogative, and you have examined the result of their ballot, and certified the same to be favorable. I therefore take pleasure in assuring you that the Candidate is worthy of admission.
The C.R. gives *, seating the S.C.R.
C.R.:
My Brothers: You have heard our worthy Sub- Chief Ranger certify that the Candidate in attendance is worthy to associate with you on equal terms in this Court. But I now ask as a final safe-guard against the introduction of unhealthy or unworthy persons into the Order if any member knows of any circumstance which would debar the candidate from becoming a worthy and beneficial member of this Court and of the Order, that he forthwith proclaim the same or forever hold his peace.
Should any objection be raised, its merits must be discussed at once, and a vote taken upon its validity. A majority vote shall determine whether the Candidate should be initiated.
Should no objection be raised, the C.R. will proceed as follows: Officers and Brothers: The Candidate will be brought into the room blindfolded, and I bespeak for him your utmost courtesy and consideration. Remember that he is your guest, and in order that he may be properly impressed with the mysteries on which he is about to receive light, I particularly request that all private discourse cease, and that you devote your whole attention to the ceremony of initiation. The Secretary will retire and collect the balance of the initiation fee.
The Secretary salutes and retires, collects the balance of the initiation fee, returns, salutes, and reports at the altar.
After everything is in readiness, the C.R. calls to order. *
C.R.: Worthy Sub-Chief Ranger, is the Court prepared to proceed with the initiation?
S.C.R: It is.
C.R: Worthy Sub-Chief Ranger, you will now retire with the Woodwards and introduce the Candidate.
The S.C.R. and the Woodwards, with their battle axes drawn, advance to the altar, salute and retire. They repair to the ante-room and divest the Candidate of his coat and vest, blindfold him and tie his hands behind his back. The S.C.R. addresses the Candidate: Sir, I have been authorized by our Worthy Chief Ranger to enquire of you your name.
The Candidate replies.
S.C.R.: And likewise your place of residence.
The Candidate replies.
S.C.R.: I have further to enquire whether you have previously been a member of the Order, or proposed to become a member in any other Court?
If the Candidate should say he has, his answer must be at once reported to the Court, and his initiation not proceeded with until Rule 124 of General Laws has been complied with. If the answer of the Candidate is in the negative, the Sub-Chief Ranger will address him as follows: Sir, at your own request, you are about to be made a member of the Ancient Order of Foresters. It will be required of you that you solemnly affirm that you will divulge none of the secrets or mysteries you are about to be intrusted with, and that you will implicitly follow the instructions you will be given. For the Court which you are about to join, I can say, that no pledge will be required of you which will conflict with any of the duties you owe to yourself, your fellow man, your country, or your God. There is yet time to retire if you so wish. Are you willing to enter and conform to the laws and customs of Ancient Forestry?
If the answer is satisfactory, the S.C.R. takes the Candidate’s left arm. The Woodwards fall in behind. The S.C.R. gives *,
responded to by the S.B. throwing a chain against the inside of the door four times and * * by the S.C.R. and C.R.
S.B.: There is an alarm at the portal, Worthy Chief.
C.R.: An alarm! Who seeks to penetrate the glades of Sherwood Forest at this unseemly hour? Ascertain the case, good Will Scathelocke.
The S.B. opens the door and says: Our Chief Ranger, Robin Hood, bids me inquire the cause of this unseemly commotion in the glades of Sherwood Forest! What seek ye, and whom would ye find?
S.C.R : I am little John, and back of me are Will Scarlet and Midge, the Miller’s son. While wandering in the forest we happened upon a stranger, who could give no good account of himself, and we straightway seized and bound him, and have brought him hither, that Robin Hood, our Worthy Chief, might see and question him.
S.B.:  Has he a name?
S.C.R.: He has, but he refuses to give it!
S.B.: Wait ye outside the threshold until I have informed Robin Hood of his tale, and get his answer.
The S.B. leaves the door open and addresses the C.R.
S.B: Worthy Chief Ranger, the commotion outside the portal is caused by Little John, our Sub-Chief Ranger, and Will Scarlet and Midge, the Miller’s son, our Woodwards, who, finding a stranger in the glades of Sherwood Forest, have brought him hither to be interrogated.
C.R.: A stranger, and in Sherwood Forest! Bring him in that we may hear what tale he has to tell!
S.B.: By command of our Chief Ranger, Robin Hood, you will advance over the threshold three steps.
The S.C.R., the Candidate and the Woodwards advance over the threshold three steps. The door is closed. The S.C.R. and the Woodwards fall back one step. The J.P.C.R. steps up lightly, places his left hand on the Candidate’s right shoulder and says: My friend, you are now just over the threshold of a Court of Ancient Forestry. You have come here fettered and half clad, and are now about to act a part in a drama which actually took place over seven hundred years ago, when Ancient Forestry had its practical inception. The explanation will be furnished to you in due season. So far as it lies in my power, I will befriend you, and will answer such questions as may be put to you. Be of good courage!
The S.C.R. and the Woodwords resume their positions beside the Candidate, the J.P.C.R. grasping his right arm. They walk slowly around the room twice to a slow march by the organist, and halt in front of the C.R.’s chair.
C.R: How now, Little John? Who is this stranger whom ye bring into the glades of Sherwood Forest? He is hot one of our band, and for aught we know, may be a spy sent by the Sheriff of Nottingham to pry into our affairs. Where found ye him, and what does he seek?
S.C.R.: Worthy Chief Ranger, while wandering and seeking news of Will Stutley, who, as you well know, went forth in search of adventure some two days ago, we fell across this stranger. He refused to give his name, but said he was seeking Robin Hood, and thinking he might be a spy, we bound him and brought him here that you might question him.
C.R.: You did well, Little John, to bring him here! Addressing Candidate: You seek Robin Hood, the out-law, you say? Know, then, that I am Robin Hood, and all around me are the Merry Men who have thrown off the thraldom of servitude, and the overweening oppression of feudal lords and purse proud prelates in civic courts, that they might enjoy the free air of heaven in these true Courts of Sherwood Forest. What do you seek with Robin Hood? Speak truly and fully, and if your mission be for good, so harm shall befall you!
J.P.C.R., speaking for the Candidate: As Little John has truly said, Will Stutley, one of your Merry Men, set out in search of adventure two days ago. He donned the gown of a curtial friar, and was sitting apparently in meditation at the door of the “Blue Boar” Inn, when a band of the Sheriff of Nottingham’s retainers stopped at the hostelry. By accident, they discovered his disguise, and not-withstanding that he made a vigorous resistance, they made him prisoner, and carried him off to Nottingham town. The Sheriff has sentenced him to be hanged by the neck when the clock strikes eight tomorrow morning, and unless he is rescued before that time, he surely will die on be gallows. It was to tell you this that the stranger cane here, and now that his tale is told, he fain would depart in peace.
C.R.: If this news he true, then indeed is poor Will Stutley in a serious plight. What shall we do, my Merry Men? Shall we go to Nottingham and beard the Sheriff in his den and take his prey away? Will Stutley, next to Little John, is the best bowman we have, and even if his rescue were impossible, we can ill afford to lose him. In unity there is strength, and with seven score good yeomen such as you are, banded in ties of unity that draw us together, there can be no such word as failure. What say you? Is Will Stutley to hang?
Members: No! No!
C.R.: Then get ye ready, and we shall go to Nottingham town at break of day, and save poor Will Stutley from the gallows.
S.C.R.: Gently, good master, gently! There is no man that I love more than Will Stutley, and I gladly would peril my own neck to save his; but what assurance have we that this stranger tells the truth? It may be that this is a photon the part of the Sheriff to beguile us from the recesses of Sherwood Forest, in order that he may be better able to set his minions upon us and do us damage. The stranger may be, and, indeed, looks honest enough, but, if he be speaking truthfully, why did he refuse to give his name, and why did he attempt to escape when Will Scarlet, Midge, the Miller’s son and I called upon him to halt? Methinks he is but a retainer of the Sheriff who to curry favor with our arch-enemy, has laid this plot that we might be taken unawares. If ye would take my advice, good master, ye would hang him from the limb of yonder tree as a spy, nnd here is the rope to do it.
Chorus of Members: Hang him! Hang him!
The S.C.R. and the Woodwards grasp the Candidate, and throw over his head a rope, provided with a running noose, and a knot at a proper distance to prevent it from being pulled too tight, They pull it tout, so that the Candidate may feel the strain upon it, and proceed to pull him off. The Officers must use cautious care and common sense at this part of the ceremony, so as to avoid causing injury or offence to the Candidate, and with practice and skill this scene can be acted in an entirely effective but perfectly unobjectionable manner.
J.P.C.R.: Hold! Would you hang a man who is not only innocent, but at great personal risk to himself has brought you word of the danger in which one of the chiefs of your band is placed? This stranger’s name is of no moment, and his running away when observed can be accounted for by his belief that you were the King’s Rangers. When he saw who you were, he came with you peacefully enough, did he not? Then why talk of hanging him? Time enough for that when you know he is a spy. Would it not be better policy to keep him here until you return from rescuing Will Stutley at Nottingham, and in the meantime, if he be willing, enlist him as a member of the band?
C.R.: Well said, good brother! Never shall it he said that Robin Hood permitted a defenceles man to be hanged as a spy without evidence that he is such. If he be willing to pledge himself to us, then will he prove himself a true man. What say you, straiger? Are you willing to take the obligation which hinds us here as brothers?
Candidate: I am.
C.R.: What say you, brothers? Are you satisfied that this stranger shall bind himself to us and our cause by the vow that we all have taken?
Members: We are.
C.R.: Then will Little John and our Woodwards conduct the stranger to the spreading oak, where allegiance to the band is taken, and place him in position to assume the formal obligation.
C.R., S.C.R., Woodwards and J.P.C.R. accompany the Candidate to the altar where he kneels on his left knee. The S.C.R. removes the bonds binding the Candidate’s hands, and the Candidate places his right hand on his heart, the index finger of his left hand pointing upwards. The S.C. R. holds the rope so that the Candidate may still feel the strain. The Candidate repeats after the C.R. as follows:
Candidate: I, do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare, in the presence of the assembled brethren, that I will give a willing and implicit obedience to the laws which govern this fraternity and this Court that I will at all times yield a ready compliance with the orders issued by the Chief Ranger, so far as they are consistent with the laws of Ancient Forestry and the will of the majority of the members of this Court; that I will do all in my power to further the objects for which we are united, and will never attempt to sow dissension or create discord among the members, but, on the other hand, will do my utmost to preserve the harmony and brotherly feeling which are the chief support of the institution; that I will never reveal to any person not a member of the Order, any of the signs, signals, grips, passwords, or test words, by which Ancient Foresters are recognized, either by word, sign, or writing, and that I will use the utmost caution in ascertaining the Forestric standing of any stranger, before imparting to him any part of the written or unwritten work of the Order. To all of which, I do most solemnly and sincerely pledge the honor of a man who respects the value of truth and the sacredness of a promise.
The Candidate rises.
C.R.: Worthy Sub-Chief Ranger, if you are now satisfied that this stranger is sincere in his promises, you will withdraw the cord which is still about his neck.
S.C.R.: Worthy Chief, if it is your command that the cord be taken off, it shall be done, but as the stranger is to accompany us to Nottingham at daybreak to assist in the rescue of Will Stutley, will it not the better serve him as a reminder of his oath, that he should wear it about his neck, and will it not suit our purpose better, that, if he should prove a traitor, we can the more readily hang hun on the spot.
C.R.: As you will Brethren, the eastern sky is rosy with the promise of sunrise. See to your arms, that we may start for Nottingham.
Ode
Tune: “God Save the King”
Armed with a righteous cause,
Spurning oppressive laws,
Freemen are we.
When danger or distress,
Or tyrant’s hands oppress,
For wrongs we seek redress
In unity.
At this point the members pass about the room as if preparing for a start. The J.P.C.R takes hold of the rope and the Candidate’s right arm, and walks him slowly around the room (see diagram A) saying as they go:
J.P.C.R.: My brother, you have taken an obligation which satisfies me that you are an honest man. It is not enough, however, that I should be satisfied, but each brother in the Court must have his every doubt removed. We are now at the market place in Nottingham, and it lacks but three minutes to eight o’clock. Robin Hood and his band are prepared to effect the rescue of Will Stutley, and
I will leave you here, where the battle will rage the thickest, in the hope that, your story being true and your promises sincere, we shall meet again in the shades of Sherwood Forest, Farewell!

The Candidate is left standing between the altar and the J.P.C’s. station, facing the altar. (See diagram A) A bell strikes eight. The members constituting the Sheriff’s party begin to march slowly round the room, beginning at the door an going round by way of the Physician’s station, passing behind the Candidate, Will Stutley being in the centre, between two members, his hands loosely bound behind his back. He soliloquizes as follows:
Will Stutley: Alas and alack! I fear this is the end of poor Will Stutley. Yonder shines the sun which I am now to look upon for the last time. There stands the grim gibbet upon which I am to hang like a dog: I, who but a few short hours ago, stood a Saxon freeman in the glades of Sherwood Forest, breathing the free air of heaven, and owing allegiance to no one but God and my conscience. Struggling with his bonds. Oh ! had I but the strength to break these bonds, to throw off these cursed shackles, and stand for one short moment in the strength of my manhood, I would show these caitiff knaves that Will Stutly is a worthy disciple of Robin Hood. Ceases his struggles. But, no, I cannot break them!
Procession stops opposite the Candidate, between the altar and the Physician’s station.
Will Stutley: And now stand on the gallows alone! Yonder comes the hangman with his black mask and sable cloak! A few short moments, and I shall be swung into eternity. Farewell, sun! Farewell, green trees and verdant fields! Farewell, my companions of sweet Sherwood Forest! Oh! If ye did but know to what straits poor Wil Stutley is reduced, ye would be here and sweep these minions of an unjust law before you like chaff before the wind. Ah! who is that standing yonder at the foot of the gallows? A mist fills my eyes and I cannot see. Surely it is, it is Little John.
The C.R. blows a horn.
Will Stutley struggles with his bonds. There is commotion in the room as Robin Hood’s men engage the Sheriff’s party. Cries, shouts, etc., arise, the Candidate being jostled about in the centre. The battle surges over the room, the Candidate being carried with it. The Sheriffs men seem to prevail, and they finally lay hands on the Candidate, the leader crying:
Sheriff: Here is the robber; here he is! See, he has the rope still about his neck! Hang him, quick!
They pull him off round the room, followed by Robin Hood’s men. After considerable jostling the Candidate is rescued by Little John and his men.
Great caution must again be used, so as not to injure or offend the Candidate. The C.R. must see that the Candidate is not handled roughly. Any officer or member who handles a Candidate roughly in any part of the initiation ceremony, may be dealt with according to General Laws, for conduct unbecoming a member of the Order.
The commotion in the room ceases and the Candidate is led to the front of the J.P.C.R.’s station. Little John removes the bandage and says:
S.C.R: My brother, you have had a narrow escape from death at the hands of the Sheriff’s retainers. It will please you to know that we rescued Will Stutley, and that we no longer doubt your courage, or honesty of purpose. Your story was true in every detail, and the doubts which we entertained of your sincerity were unfounded. As I placed the noose around your neck, I as publicly remove it, and welcome you as a worthy member of our band. Removes the noose and shakes his hand. I will now conduct you to our Worthy Chief Ranger who will instruct you in the principles of Unity.
Conducts the Candidate in front of the C.R., where the S.W. has already placed a chair.
C.R.: My brother, for such I may now call you; you have acted your part nobly well, and have proved yourself worthy to associate with us, and receive still further evidences of our confidence. You have taken part in a drama which, seven hundred years ago, actually took place. Will Stutley, one of the lieutenants of Robin Hood, was captured by the Sheriff of Nottingham and condemned to be hanged. Robin and his rangers, to the number of seven score, repaired to Nottingham, and put to flight ten tunes that number of the Sheriff’s retainers by the sheer force of discipline and unity. The lesson to be drawn from the scene which has just been enacted is, that “in Unity there is Strength.” Sometimes this precept is illustrated by exhibiting a bundle of sticks, exhibits a bundle of sticks where one may easily be snapped in twain, but where the strength of Hercules would be insufficient to break the united bundle. The purpose of this object lesson us to teach you that concerted action is the key-note to success. As a Court, we can know no prosperity, can make no progress, unless our members work in unity and harmony for its best interests, and bear with each other’s faults and shortcomings which are the common inheritance of all mankind. In the Order, as a whole, each Court must work in harmony with every other Court in spreading the beneficent works of Forestry to the uttermost ends of the earth, so that all mankind, irrespective of creed, color or nationality, may finally be embraced in its membership, and call their fellows brothers. Worthy Sub-Chief Ranger, you will now conduct the Candidate to the Past Chief Ranger, who will instruct him in the principles of Benevolence.
Ode.
Tune: “Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys are Marching.”
To the members of our band, we extend a helping hand,
Blending sympathy with truest common sense;
And we strive to do what’s right, working thus with all our might,
Shunning charity, to show Benevolence.
Then learn well what the Order teaches:
Keep its lessons in your mind;
No false charity we preach, no excesses do we teach,
But a ready, helping hand you’re sure to find.
The S.C.R. conducts the Candidate around the room while the ode is being sung, finally placing him in front of the P.C.R.
S.C.R.: By command of Robin Hood, I present Bro. ... to be instructed in the principles of Benevolence.
P.C.R.: My brother, as you are doubtless aware, Robin Hood is regarded as the founder of Forestry, and with good reason. The moral principles which he practised in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries were crude in their conception, and somewhat harsh in their execution, but the cardinal doctrine of his motives and methods was to help the poor, to cheer and protect the unfortunate, to relieve and provide for the widow and the orphan, and to aid and assist the members of his fraternity when they were in need of succor. In these days of modern civilization, Robin Hood’s practice of taking from the rich to give to the poor would be called robbery, but in the feudal times in which he lived the emancipation of men from oppressive laws was still in its infancy and justice was hardly to be obtained. Robin Hood was therefore the apostle of a new philanthropy. Outlawed for his opposition to the tyrannical customs which prevailed, he proclaimed by his actions, right in the teeth of those who had cut him off from communion with his fellow men, the doctrine of the brotherhood of man, which Robert Burns, the ploughman poet, has so finely expressed in the sublime lines:
Then let us pray. that come what may,
As come it will for a’ that
That sense and writh o’er a’ the earth.
May bear the gree and a’ that;
For a’ that and a’ that,
It’s coming yet, for a’ that,
That man to man the world o’er,
Shall brothers be for a’ that.
With the emancipation of mankind from the thraldom of feudalism, with the development of Christian civilization and the march of liberty and fraternity, have come the opportunities of self help. It has been truthfully said that nothing is more uncertain than the proportion of sickness and death which falls to the lot of the individual, but that nothing is more certain than die percentage of sickness and death among a multitude of men. As a multitude of men, seeking to help each other, and to bear one another’s burdens, the Ancient Order of Foresters exists and has existed from time immemorial. It assumes the individual’s inevitable liability for sickness and death, and distribute it among a number of his fellow members, who willingly bear their share, knowing that their own turn will come in time.
This, then, is Benevolence: the refined robbery of Robin Hood, The word “Benevolence” is derived from two Latin words signifying good will, and is synonymous with benignity, humanity, tenderness and kindness. It does not mean charity: for charity, while a worthy virtue, and the corner stone of many societies, has no place in the Forestric vocabulary. We do not dispense charity. Whatsoever our members may receive, they obtain as a matter of right, for which they have paid, and for which they are expected to pay.
As a Forester, therefore, we expect you to display this most excellent teaching of our profession: the exercise of Benevolence toward your fellow members and their families.
P.C.R.: Worthy Sub-Chief Ranger and Woodwards, you will conduct the brother to the preparation room, and clothe him suitably to receive further light in Ancient Forestry.
The Candidate is prepared by taking off his coat and vest. His left arm is bared to above the elbow. He is not hoodwinked or bound. It is necessary that all the lights in the Court-room be put out. At the altar will be placed two alcohol asbestos lamps, one at each side, filled with a preparation, for which the recipe will be found on the instructional pages of this ritual. The members must be grouped in horse-shoe shape round the altar, facing the S.C.R.’s. station, and must remain perfectly stilt while the Candidate is introduced and takes the obligation. The spirit lamps must not be lighted until the door is about to be opened to admit the Candidate. The C.R. stands ot the altar, within the horseshoe, facing the S.C.R’s. station.
So soon as the Woodwards have the Candidate ready to enter, the S.C.R. says: My brother, you are now about to be presented to Robin Hood, our Worthy Chief Ranger, for the purpose of taking a further solemn and binding obligation. Are you ready and willing to enter? The Candidate replies.
The S.C.R gives * * * * * on the inner door. When the members are ready at the altar, the S.B. will respond with * * * * *. The S.C.R. will then respond with * * and the S.B. with * *, whereupon the C.R. will silently swing open the door, and the S.C.R. holding the Candidates left arm and followed by the Woodwards will march in file to the altar, where they will stop (See diagram B).
C.R.: Bro. ...,if you are willing to take the obligation you will kneel at the altar on both knees, Candidate kneels place your right hand on your heart Candidate and all present do so, and raise your naked left arm with the index finger pointing upward, all present do so, as you see those around you do, and repeat after me.
I, ..., of my own free will and accord in the presence of the assembled brethren, do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare, in addition to the obligation heretofore taken by me, that I will conform to all the laws and obligations, now in force or hereafter to be enacted, by which the Ancient Order of Foresters as regulated and controlled, or in default thereof will submit to the penalties therein contained; that I will further so far as in me lies the purposes for which the Order is constituted, and that I will not make known its signs or passwords, either by word, sign or writing, except to the Brotherhood or in Courts legally assembled. Furthermore, I will to the best of my ability, so far as my means will permit and the circumstances of the case will warrant, exhibit in a practical way the principle of Benevolence towards distressed members of the Order, and will by all legitimate means at my command see to it, that no undue advantage is taken of any member, his wife, widow or orphans, in pecuniary matters, connected with the Order or out of it. I make this pledge upon the honor of a man who respects the value of truth and the sacredness of a promise, in the presence of the assembled brethren, and under the all-seeing eye of the Supreme Chief Ranger of the Universe.
C.R.: My brother, having taken this obligation, you will arise and be taken whence you came, and there further prepared to receive more light on the mysteries of Forestry.
The S.C.R. takes the Candidates left arm and conducts him from the room without saluting, followed by the Woodwards, the Officers and members remaining around the altar until they have retired. The J.P.C.R. thereupon follows him out.
The S.C.R. hoodwinks the Candidate and ties his hands behind his back and removes his shoes. When the Court-room has been lighted and is prepared for the Candidate’s reception the S.C.R. hands him over to the J.P.C.R., who says: My brother, you will remember that on a former occasion I befriended you, and answered for you questions which you could not answer yourself. So far as the usages of the Order will permit, I will perform a similar office for you again, but it will largely depend upon your own conduct how far I may be permitted to befriend you in your coming emergencies. I counsel you to submit yourself to whatever may be done to you, and if you will bear in mind that we are your friends and not your enemies, your reasoning powers will prompt you to acquiesce willingly in whatever ordeals may be necessary to bring you to a full fellowship with us. Are you ready to enter?
The Candidate replies.
The J.P.C.R. gives * * * * * on inner door. When the Court is ready the S.B. replies with * * * * *. The J.P.C.R. then gives * * and the S.B. * *. The door is swung open The J.P.C.R. and the Candidate enter, the J.P.C.R. on the Candidate’s left. The S.B. closes the door, and when the Candidate is three or four steps over the threshold, the S.B. seizes him by the shoulders during the colloquy. (See Diagram C)

S.B:
Hold! By what right do you seek to gain admission to the secret swainmote?
J.P.C.R: Be still, and let us pass.
S.B. : Pass, you cannot, until you give me the word that gives you the privilege. Have you the Word of a Forester?
J.P.C.R.: I have.
S.B.: Advance and pledge it.
The J.P.C.R. gives word in a whisper with the grip.
S.B., releasing the Candidate: The Word is right! Pass on!
The J.P.C.R. and the Candidate pass around the room by way of S.C.R.’s. station, where the latter is standing. He grasps the Candidate by both shoulders, and shakes him, bringing him to a sudden stop.
S.C.R.: Hold! Who seeks to travel the road that leads to the secret swainmote? Have you the Word of a Forester?
J.P.C.R.: I am deputed to pass a stranger through the recesses of Sherwood Forest.
S.C.R., shaking the Candidate: Answer my question!
J.P.C.R.: I have the Word.
S.C.R.: Advance and pledge it.
The J.P.C.R. gives the word.
S.C.R.: The Word is right and you can pass on, but the stranger cannot pass until he, too, has given the Word of a Forester.
J.P.C.R.: He has it not, but will be in possession of it on his way back, and you must needs let him pass.
S.C.R.: Pass, he shall not, without the Word! Shakes the Candidate Give me the Word of a Forester!
J.P.C.R.: He has it not, but comes here by express command of Robin Hood himself.
S.C.R.: I care not for that! Shakes the Candidate Give me the secret Word, or it will be the worse for you!
J.P.C.R.: He cannot give it! He has it not!
S.C.R.: Then he must die! For the third and last time, with this instrument of death at his throat, pressing the back of a knife to his throat, I ask him for the Word of a Forester, without which none can pass in either direction.
J.P.C.R.: Nay, him you shall not slay, for I am his friend, and have brought him here! I shall defend him. Attempt to block our passage, and you shall be successful only over my body! Unhand him, I say!
The S.C.R. and J.P.C.R. struggle together. Finally the S.C.R. falls to the ground at the Candidate’s feet, where he lies still.
J.P.C.R., taking the Candidate’s left arm again: My Brother, before passing you through the portal of the Court, I promised to befriend you to the extent of my ability. The proof of my sincerity lies at your feet! His refusal to recognize a higher authority has laid him low. We are now about to pass into the presence of one whose power in the present emergency is supreme, and to whatever he may do, you and I must bow in submission, if we value our obligations. We will now step over this body, they step over S.C.R., and we are now approaching the spreading oak which forms a canopy to shelter from the bent of the sun and the inclemencies of the weather, the hind to which you have hitherto sworn fealty. Robin Hood himself is in the centre, and gathered around him are his followers. Listen!
The following ode may be sung by all the members in the Court-room, but a more pleasing and impressive effect would result if it were sung in the ante-room, by a complete quartette.
Ode.
Tune: “Royleston”
Blest be the tie hat binds
Our band of brothers here,
By acts of friendship true we work
In Unity sincere.
 
To cheer the widow’s heart,
We ask no recompense;
The orphan’s tears we wipe away
By true Benevolence.
 
No strife demeans our Court,
We work with one accord,
To cheer the sick and aid the weak,
While dwelling in Concord.
 
That Court is doubly blest,
Which keeps these precepts three,
And crowns its efforts for mankind
By truest Sympathy.
 
The Candidate and the J.P.C.R. pass once round the room and halt in front of C.R’s station. (See diagram C). As they walk the J.P.C.R. says.: A few steps farther, and we will be in the immediate presence of Robin Hood! I counsel you to be of good courage!
C.R : Who comes here?
J.P.C.R.: One who has a right to come, accompanied by a brother who has been duly instructed in the principles of Unity and Benevolence, and who seeks light in the principles of Concord.
C.R.: Are you in possession of the Word of a Forester?
J.P.C.R.:  I am.
C.R.: Advance and pledge it. Word is given by J.P.C.R. in a whisper with the grip. The Word is right! Has the stranger the Word?
J.P.C.R.: He has it not.
C.R.: Then how did he gain admittance?
J.P.C.R.: Through the courtesy of the Senior Beadle at the outer portal and by disabling the Sub-Chief Ranger at the inner portal when he sought to block his passage.
C.R.: By what means did this stranger, bound and blinded as he is, succeed in doing this?
J.P.C.R.: Through the readiness of a friend to relieve him in his distress and by that friend’s exemplification of the Word of a Forester.
C.R.: Do you claim the tight for him to sit in this secret swainmote?
J.P.C.R.:  I do!
C.R.: By what token do you ask this right?
J.P.C.R.: By the tokens of Unity, Benevolence and Concord, and because be has taken the solemn and binding obligations of the Order.
C.R.: Stranger, do you ask this privilege for yourself?
Candidate: I do!
J.P.C.R.: And I vouch for us worthiness!
C.R.: Then let the bandage be taken from his eyes that he may see what will befall him, should he violate his obligations.
At this point the Secretaries and Treasurer present their spears at his breast, the Woodwards at each side poise their axes as if to strike, the C.R. and the S.C.R. draw their bows and point the arrows at his heart, the C.R. from the front and the S.C.R. from the back, and the Beadles raise their bludgeons in the act of bringing them down on his head.
The J.P.C.R. removes the hoodwink from the Candidate’s eyes, and steps back so that the Candidate stands alone. The Officers maintain their positions during the following colloquy.
C.R.: Behold the penalty of transgression! In view of the vows you have already taken, do you promise to be faithful to all your obligations on your journey with us through the forest of this life ?
Candidate: I do!
C.R.: It is well!
All the Officers withdraw their weapons and remain standing around him.
C.R.: Worthy Junior Past Chief Ranger, you will release the Candidate from his bonds, and reconduct him whence he came; that he may once more be properly clothed; after which you will return him to this station for further instruction.
All other Candidates who were merely obligated and have witnessed the conferring of this degree upon the Condidate, will here be placed in line by the S.C.R.; then the J.P.C.R and Candidates retire, without saluting, followed to the door by the other Officers in double file, as follows: S.C.R., Treas., Sec., Sub.Sec., S.W. J.W. (See diagram D).
When in readiness they will return to the room where the Candidates are stationed in front of the C.R. The first verse of the Initiation Ode is sung:
Ode
Tune: “God Save the King”.
Brothers! attention keep,
Whilst our Host Worthy Chief
Gives you the charge.
Bords of society
Friendship and Sympathy;
Honor and Secrecy,
Let all Unite.

C.R.: I am now authorized to address you by the name of Brother, and to welcome you, on behalf of this Court, into our honorable Order. You have bound yourself to us by a solemn obligation which demands reverence and respect. It becomes you, therefore, from the present hour, to honor our principles by an unblemished course of conduct, whereby you will reflect credit upon your own character as a man, and add to the dignity and stability of an Order with whose progress your own interests are now associated.
I shall now proceed to make you acquainted with the Grip, Word, and Signs o the Order.
The Grip of a Forester is given thus ....
Here the C.R. shall give the Grip.
It is intended as a memorial of the dependence upon each other of our first parents, who, when expelled from the Garden of Eden, through the sin of disobedience, became, in more than a figurative sense, the first Foresters; the wilderness of the world before them, with all its dangers, difficulties and temptations. We are taught by this to recognize the duty of walking hand in hand through the forest of this life, and of helping each other to surmount its struggles, and to bear up under its disappointments.
The Word of a Forester is symbolized in the letter S * * * and points to it. The three colors, Scarlet, Gold and Lincoln Green, typify the virtues inherent in Forestry, namely, Unity, Benevolence, and Concord, and the letter stands for the word of a Forester, which is the corner stone on which the whole structure is reared. The Word is .... It expresses the active interest we take in the welfare of our brethren, and our readiness to share their burdens and relieve their distresses. It is the same the world over, and is never changed. *.
The Salutation Sign of a Forester is given thus, ....
The Woodwards will here takes one step backward, and after the sign has been exemplified, they will resume their position near the Candidate.
C.R.: It is emblematic of the act of our first parent, Eve, in plucking, eating and offering to Adam the forbidden fruit, and is intended to remind us of the duty of obedience and submission, and the penalties of transgression.
It shall be imperative upon the C.R. to give the correct sign.
The Password for the current quarter, which is always given in a whisper, accompanied by the Grip, thus, is ....
The C.R. will here give to the Candidate the current quarterly Password.
C.R.: In addition to the Salutation Sign, and Grip, we have other Signs of Recognition with which I will now acquaint you. Should you at any time when among strangers, desire to ascertain if there is a brother Forester present or near you, you are at liberty to make this sign, .... Should your challenge be recognised by an Ancient Forester, he will answer you thus, .... You will then advance toward each other, when you will say to him, ...? He will respond, .... You will then ask him, ...? He will reply ..., and extend his hand, which you will accept and permit him to give you the grip of a Forester, which, if correct, you will return.
C.R.: I now present you with a copy of the General Laws, also the By-laws of this Court, which I trust you will study carefully, so as to be conversant with the Laws of the Order.
I will exemplify this work with the Sub-Chief Ranger, for your benefit.
The C.R. leaves dais, and he and S.C.R . stand in front of the Candidate and exemplify the work.
C.R.: You will notice that the sentences begin with U., B., C. and S., which refer to the three virtues of the Order, and the symbolic letter S. Worthy Sub-Chief Ranger, you will invest the Brother with the apron and teach him its symbolism.
S.C.R., facing Candidate and holding the apron before him: As the Grip in which you were heretofore instructed is a symbol of the dependence upon each other of our first parents, and the Salutation Sign reminds us of the penalties of transgressing the commands of the Divine Creator, so is the apron, with which I am now about to invest you, symbolical of the aprons of fig-leaves with which Adam and Eve clothed themselves when the sin of transgression made them self-conscious of their nakedness. The apron is in the shape of an inverted triangle, and is formed of four lesser triangles. Those on the corners in Scarlet, Gold, and Lincoln Green represent the virtues of Unity, Benevolence and Concord, while the triangle in the centre contains the symbolic letter S in gold upon white or silver field. This apron you will wear only in the Court-room. Its symbolism will ever remind you of the obligations you have taken, and that, as a Forester, we expect you so to conduct yourself that no reproach may be brought upon the Order, and no contempt upon yourself.
Invests the Candidate with the apron.
From this point the ceremony may he concluded by some Past Chief Ranger or superior Officer who is present, provided always, the Chief Ranger is disposed to depute such duty to another.
C.R.: Brother, you have been invested with the apron of Forestry and are now admitted as a member of our Society, and entitled to the privileges of the Order. On behalf of this Court I offer you, then, the right hand of fellowship.
Here repeat the Grip.
C.R.: From you we expect in return, a ready compliance with our customs, and an honest obedience to our laws. We are united together, not only for the wise purpose of making provision against those misfortunes which befall all men, and of assisting those who require our aid, but for the moderate enjoyment of friendly intercourse, and the temperate interchange of social feeling. We look, therefore, to find exemplified in you a strict regard for all the obligations of life: that you should be charitable in judgment, forbearing in temper, and lenient in condemnation: knowing that, in return, these qualities will draw forth our esteem and awaken our regard. We encourage no excess in our meetings, and enforcing no creed in religion, or code in politics, we permit neither wrangling nor dissension to mar our harmony, or interrupt our proceedings. In your outward acts and dealings as a Forester, we expect you to be sober, upright and conscientious: willing to help, ready to relieve, obedient to the laws of our country, and respected in the circles in which you move. In your domestic relationship we look to find you: if a husband, affectionate and trustful: if a father, regardful of the moral and material well being of your children and dependents: as a son, dutiful and exemplary, and as a friend, steadfast and true. These qualities will command the admiration of mankind, and in you, as a member of our Society, they will dignify our Order, consolidate its power, and extend its benign influence.
We welcome you among us, then, upon the principles of Unity, Benevolence and Concord, and we trust that in your future course through life you will be impressed with a due sense of the expectations we have formed of you, and of those duties and obligations which it should be the aim of every member of the Order to recognize and fulfill.
Worthy Sub-Chief Ranger, you will now conduct the brother to the worthy Junior Past Chief Ranger for further instruction and examination.
The S.C R. and Woodwards will then proceed with the Candidate to they P.C.R., the S.C.R. saying: Worthy Junior Past Chief Ranger, by direction of our worthy Chief Ranger, I herewith present to you Brother ... for further instruction and examination.
J.P.C.R.: Brother, I will now examine you in the Salutation Sign, Recognition Sign, Countersign, Grip, Word, and Password.
Thus having been done, the J.P.C.R. proceeds: In addition to these, we have Signs and Signals of Distress, in which I will now instruct you. Should you be in danger or distress, and need the help of a Brother Forester, you may use the Distress Sign, which is made by .... The answer to this sign is made by .... Should you be unable to attract attention by the use of this sign, you may use these words, .... Should this sign be observed, or these words be heard and understood by a true Ancient Forester, he will answer you either by sign or in these words, ..., and immediately go to your assistance. Should your attention at any time be attracted by this sign or these words I charge you in the name of friendship and Forestry, go quickly to the assistance of your brother in danger, and render him such aid as may be within your power.
I will now instruct you how to enter or retire from the Court while in session.
You will advance to the inner door and give * *     * * , and to the Senior Beadle give the Password for the current quarters you will then enter the room and advance to the centre and salute the Chief Ranger, giving the Salutation Sign, thus ..., using the words “Worthy Chief Ranger” and if correct, he will answer it, and you will be at liberty to take your seat. If you wish to retire before the Court is duly closed, you must salute the Chief Ranger in the same manner as on entering.
The Voting Sign of a Forester is given thus, ....
I will also exemplify to you the use of the Gavel, the symbol of authority’. One Rap (*) calls the Court to attention, or seats it when standing. Two Raps are for the Officers to assume a standing position (* * Officers arise). Three Raps will summon the whole Court to arise (* * *, Court arises and remains standing until the Candidate has left the room.)
With the various tests now in your possession, you will experience no difficulty in proving yourself an Ancient Forester, or in gaining admission into a Court of Ancient Forestry.
The Woodwards will accompany the S.C.R. and the Candidate as far as the portal, and then return to their stations.
The new brother having been instructed by the S.C.R. in the ante-room, the caution being taken that no strangers are present or within hearing, he will give the usual alarm, etc. for admission. On being admitted, he will salute the C.R. and remain standing at the altar in the centre of the room. The S.C.R. will be admitted at the same time the Candidate is and follow a few paces in the rear, and slightly towards the left of the latter, saluting the C.R. at the same time as the Candidate. The S.C.R. will then proceed to the right side of the Candidate, and thus remain until the circle is formed.
Ode
Tune: “God Save the King.”
Brothers I have nought to fear
True honor’s court is here,
Love, truth and joy!
Benev’lence here abounds,
Concord our evening crowns,
While every heart resounds,
God bless our cause.

S.C.R.: My brother! We are not associated here merely to glorify and do honor to each other, but to cement still firmer our fraternal relations, and so unite our influence, that while our social pleasures are increased, and our individual security against adversity augmented, we may also exert a combined influence in elevating the character and exalting the dignity of the human race.
In your intercourse with us, remember that brotherly love is the pervading spirit of our institution. In discussion, let your language be temperate; in demeanor, let your conduct be respectful. Let your whole deportment be an example of moderation and good behaviour, without which no institution can permanently prosper; and in the fraternal interchange of deeds and sympathies, may we ever have cause to look upon you as a true Ancient Forester, standing among us and walking before the world with all the excellence of an upright man.
The J.P.C.R. and the C.R. will here enter the circle.
J.P.C.R.: This circle which surrounds us is a type of our endless bond of brotherhood. Now let us add our new brother to our fraternal circle, placing the new brother in the circle line with the other members, directly opposite the J.P.C.R.’s chair, with the hope that be will remain faithful to all our obligations on his journey with us through the forest of life.
Response by the officers: Be faithful!
C.R.: This is our fraternal circle, and I cannot look upon these goodly pillars, and doubt the stability of our noble Order. Brothers: Let our emulation be: Who shall prove the most upright pillar, the staunchest support and the brightest ornament in our Forestric band!
Response by all: So let us strive!
Welcome Ode
Tune: “Nettleton,” 8s and 7s.
Welcome, brothers, welcome ever,
To our Court in Friendship’s name;
Here we greet you kindly, brother,
Trusting you will do the same.
 
All our hopes are one in union
All our strength may we unite;
Then let us meet in sweet communion,
Ready ever to do right
 
Here we meet in joy and gladness
May we always happy be,
Free from sorrow, grief and sadness,
In the bonds of Unity.
 
May our Order always prosper;
Grow in strength and common sense
Help the sick, that none may suffer
While we have Benevolence
 
May our Courts prove always blessings,
To each brother thus afford
Peace instead of wanst distressing,
While we dwell in sweet Concord.
 
During the singing of the Ode, the Officers of the Court in the following order, viz , J.P.C.R., C.R., S.C.R., Treasurer, Secretary, S.W., J.W., and S.B., followed by visiting Officials will march pass the new member, each one extending his hand, giving the new member the Grip of a Forester and expressing a welcome greeting to him. The Officers and visiting officials, after greeting the candidate, will proceed to their respective stations in the foregoing order, and remain standing until the singing of the Ode is finished; the circle of the members of the Court meanwhile remaining intact. The ceremony having been concluded, all the members and visitors will remain standing, while the C.R. proceeds as follows:
Foresters’ Fire (nine only)
C.R: Brethren: The ceremony of Initiation having been concluded, you will please become seated, and resume the business of the Court. *.

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Ritual of the Independent Order of Foresters

 for Subordinate Lodges

Canada, 1986

General Instructions
 
Presiding Officer: In the absence of the C.R., the Junior P.C.R. shall preside; if the Junior P.C.R. be absent, then the P.C.R. present who was most recently the C.R. shall preside; if no P.C.R. be present, then the V.C.R. shall preside; and if the V.C.R. be absent, the officer of the Court who is next highest in rank shall preside. If no officer of the Court be present, and providing there is a quorum of five beneficiary members, any member may call the Court to Order, and a Chief Ranger pro tem. be chosen, who shall preside until an officer of the Court arrives.
Absent Officers: In the case of officers being absent the Presiding Officer shall fill the chairs by pro tem. appointments from the members of the Court. Whenever a regular officer arrives he shall take his chair.
Voting: The Presiding Officer shall not be entitled to vote when the voting is by sign vote, but shall give the casting vote on such occasions in the event of a tie. When the voting is by ballot the Presiding Officer shall cast his ballot the same as the other members, and shall not in that case be entitled to give the casting vote in the event of a tie. In case of a tie in the election’ of an officer or a delegate a new ballot shall be taken. In other cases the motion is lost.
Balloting: If a ballot is necessary, the procedure shall be as follows: the CR. shall instruct the S.W. to prepare the ballot-box. The C.R. shall then appoint 2 Tellers and the V.C.R. shall appoint 1. The C.R. will then say to the Court, “We are about to ballot on ...”
The S.W. will then present the ballot-box to the V.C.R., and the Tellers who will inspect it to see that there are no ballots in the compartment into which the ballots are to be cast; it will then be presented to the CR., who will also inspect it, and, close the box. The S.W. will then place the ballot-box on the pedestal and return to his station. The C.R. will then direct the members to vote, one at a time. When all have voted who wish, the C.R. will say, “Have all voted who wish? If so, I declare the balloting closed.” The Tellers shall count the ballots and report the number of legal votes cast and the number of spoiled ballots. The presiding officer shall then declare the results.
The black * * * indicate the number of raps of the Gavel to be given by the Officers for calling up, seating, or calling the Court to order; in certain cases they also indicate the knocks to be given on the inner door of the Court room. Three raps of the Gavel call up the whole court; two raps seat the Court; one rap calls to order; in the hands of the V.C.R. one rap calls to order and two raps is a signal to the Senior Beadle to attend to any alarm.
In the Ritual, wherever the masculine or singular form is used it may be transposed into the feminine or plural form. When necessary the word “Companion” may be substituted for the word “Brother”.
 
 
Opening Ceremony

C.R., *:  I am about to open Court ... No. ... for business: if there are any persons present who are not members of the Court, or otherwise entitled to be present, will they please retire.
The Officers will assume their accustomed stations in the Court.
I appoint ... pro tem., respectively to the vacant offices.
The Woodwards will see that all present are entitled to a seat in the Court and report to the Vice Chief Ranger.
The Woodwards will report to the V.C.R.
V.C.R.: Chief Ranger, all present are entitled to a seat in the Court.
C.R.: Brethren, all present being recognized, I request your assistance in opening this Court. * * *
C.R.: Vice Chief Ranger, officers and members, I welcome you to this meeting and urge you to give your careful attention and best judgment to such matters as may be submitted for consideration. Keep in mind that we are gathered to advance the welfare of our Order by the practice of its principles at all times. Let us seek the opportunity to be of service to others by protecting their liberty and treating them with tolerance, understanding and justice. May we be moderate in all things and strive to promote concord among our fellowmen regardless of creed or nationality.
C.R.: We will sing one verse of the National Anthem. This may be omitted at the discretion ol the C.R.
C.R.: Will the Woodwards please present the colors. This may be omitted at the discretion of the C.R.
C.R.: The Orator will now deliver the invocation. * * *
Orator:
Great and Merciful God, we humbly invoke Thy blessings not only upon the members of this Court but upon Thy people everywhere. Incline our hearts to do Thy will; teach us to be wise, moderate and just in all our actions and courteous and forgiving to one another. Inspire us to make truth, justice and charity, the foundation of all our acts; and to Thee be ascribed all the glory and praise, now and evermore.
All members: Amen.
V.C.R.: All present will join me in saluting our Chief Ranger. Left hand over heart with the left foot slightly advanced.
C.R.: I now declare this Court duly and legally opened for the transaction of business. * *
 
Order of Business
1. C.R.: Recording Secretary call the roll of Officers.
2. The Chief Ranger will welcome any visiting dignitaries and invite them to a seat on the dais.
3. Minutes of previous meeting. C.R.: Recording Secretary, please read the Minutes of the previous meeting.
4. Communications. C.R.: Are there any communications?
5. Report on Applications for Membership. C.R.:  Are there any application(s) for membership?
(Recording Secretary reads names of applicants.)
6. C.R.: “Will the Court deal with the application(s) by standing vote?”
(If open vote is approved, C R. will say: “All those who are in favor of these applicants being admitted to membership in this Court please stand ... Contrary if any”)
7. Initiation.
If the applicants are waiting the Initiation ceremony will now be proceeded with.
8. Bills or Accounts. C.R.: Are there any bills or accounts?
9. Treasurer’s Report.
10. Reports of other Officers as occasion requires.
11. Reports of Committees.
(Under this order of business the Court Committee, the Sick Committee, Finance Committee, Special Auditing Committee and all other special committees will report when occasion requires.)
12. Election of Officers (the C.R. may invite a visitor of rank to preside.)
13. Installation of Officers.
14. Unfinished and General Business.
15. New Business.
16. Good and Welfare.
(Remarks by visiting dignitaries and announcements.)
17. Closing Ceremony.
 
C.R.: We have concluded the business of this meeting. I thank you for your attention and assistance and I look forward with pleasure to our next meeting which I trust you will attend.
The Orator will invoke the divine blessing. * * *
Orator: Great and Merciful God, we bow again in humble submission before Thee. We implore Thy direction and blessing upon all our efforts to advance the principles of our Order, and we earnestly beseech Thee to grant to all Foresters, but especially to all members of this Court, wisdom and strength to walk in the paths of peace, virtue, and morality. Guide our footsteps in safety to our homes, through the journey of life ever lead us, and finally, through Thy infinite mercy, bring us to Thy Heavenly Court above, and to Thy Holy Name be all the glory and praise now and evermore. Amen.
C.R.: Will the Woodwards please retire the colors. (Again this may be omitted).
V.C.R.: Brethren, join me in saluting our Chief Ranger.
C.R.: I now declare the Court duly and legally closed. *
 
 
Initiation Ceremony
 
C.R.: Will all members who are here for initiation please retire to the ante-room.
C.R., *: Senior Woodward, retire to the ante-room, and if there are any candidates awaiting initiation, please report their names to the Court.
S.W.: Chief Ranger, I find awaiting initiation ...
C.R.: Recording Secretary, (have) the candidate(s) been duly proposed and regularly elected for membership in our Order, and conformed with all other requirements of the Constitution and Laws, rules, and usages of the Order?
R.S.: Chief Ranger, all requirements have been met.
(In case one or more of the candidates have not complied with the requirements, his or their initiation will be postponed, and the others who have qualified may be initiated.)
(If the Court has a Guard of Honour, the guard should retire with the Woodwards and stay with the Woodwards and candidates during initiatory ceremony.)
C.R.: The Senior and Junior Woodwards will retire to the ante-room to prepare and introduce the candidates.
J.B.: * * *
S.B.: Vice Chief Ranger, there is an alarm at our inner door.
V.C.R.: Ascertain the cause thereof.
S.B., * * *, opening door: Who comes?
J.B.: The candidates under escort of the Woodwards, seek admission to the Court to obtain the benefit of initiation into our great Order.
S.B.: Vice Chief Ranger, the alarm was given by the Senior Woodward who asks for the admission of the candidates for Initiation.
V.C.R.: Chief Ranger, the candidates under escort of the Woodwards seek admission for Initiation.
C.R.: Admit them.
V.C.R.: Senior Beadle, by command of the Chief Ranger, you will admit the Woodwards and direct them to conduct the candidates to the Chief Ranger.
S.B., * * *:, opening door: Senior Woodward, you are permitted to enter the Court with the candidates whom you will present to the Chief Ranger.
The Senior Beadle opens wide the door and the Woodwards with the candidates march slowly around the Court to the station of the Chief Ranger
C.R.: My friends I extend to you a cordial welcome into our Court. In order that you may know of our history and purpose I will now instruct the Senior Woodward to escort you to the Past Chief Ranger who will address you.
The candidates will be conducted to the P.C.R the S.W. proceeding as follows.
S.W.: Past Chief Ranger, by direction of the Chief Ranger I present these candidates for instruction.
P.C.R.: My Friends our Motto consists of the words, “Liberty, Benevolence and Concord,” which are represented by the letters, “L. B. and C.”
LIBERTY is used by Independent Foresters in its best and noblest sense. The Order recognizes the right of its members to enjoy freedom in all things. It does not assume to judge between creeds, but accords to everyone civil and religious liberty, so sacred to all.
The second word of our Motto: BENEVOLENCE brings before us our responsibilities to our neighbours. It seeks to broaden our minds and to enlarge our sympathies, to widen the circle of our friends and to free us from the confining influences of selfishness.
The last word of our Motto: CONCORD suggests to all Independent Foresters the imperative duty we owe to our beloved Order to zealously promote within our fraternal circle that mutual respect which begets Concord in all our acts.
You will now be conducted to the Vice Chief Ranger for further instruction.
The Woodwards will conduct the candidates around the Court once, halting before the V.C.R.
S.W.: Vice Chief Ranger, I present the candidate(s) for further instruction.
V.C.R.: I will now explain briefly the origin and objects of The Independent Order of Foresters.
As to its Origin
“Forestry” was suggested by the romantic and historic story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men of Sherwood Forest. In the twelfth century these men banded themselves together for mutual aid and protection. There in the forest they practised their “Swain Motes”, and shared the joys and sorrows incident to the life of every one. Though centuries have passed since their time, their deeds of bravery, their skill in Forestry, and their acts of charity are still the theme of many a song and story. The simile is this, “The Forest was their world, to-day the world is our Forest”.
Qualifications of Membership
Moral courage, physical fitness, and stability of character were their essential qualifications. The aims and objects of our Order are also in a measure akin to theirs, to assist each other in health and sickness, and to provide for our loved ones when the axe of time shall fall in our Forest.
Our Aims and Objects
From time immemorial this world has been likened unto a Forest. As every tree in the Forest has its own particular sphere of usefulness, I would urge you as Foresters journeying through the Forest of Life to leave a trail of kindly deeds, and charitable acts, so that when it shall please the Supreme Ruler of the Universe to summon you to the Heavenly Court above, you may prove worthy to hear the words: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy Lord.”
The Woodwards will now conduct you to the pedestal for obligation.
The Woodwards will conduct the candidates around the Court, hailing below the pedestal facing the C.R.
S.W.: Chief Ranger, the candidates are at the pedestal to take the obligation.
C.R., * * *:  Let the circle of concord be formed.
All members will form a circle surrounding the candidates , Woodwards and Orator, who will give the Obligation.
C.R.: My Friends, membership in The Independent Order of Foresters is entirely voluntary, its principles are to believe in the existence of God, to cherish and protect each other in every laudable purpose and undertaking, to visit the sick and attend to their wants, and to constrain no one in his political or religious convictions. Thus, you see, the Brotherhood of God and the brotherhood of man is the foundation upon which the Order is established, and the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would they should do unto you,” is the standard of all our actions.
C.R.: The Orator, Brother ...,will now ask you to pledge your observance and loyalty to our Order and its principles. This pledge contains nothing of a secretive nature and does not conflict in any way or manner with any duty you may owe to your religion, your country, your family or to yourself. Are you willing to make such a pledge?
The Orator will administer the pledge * * *.
Orator: My friends, place your right hand over your heart as a token of your sincerity and answer the following questions by saying, “I do”.
1. Do you believe in God, the Creator and Ruler of our Universe?
2. Do you promise to give true allegiance to the Supreme Court of our Order and to be governed by its Constitution and Laws, its rules and usages now in force and any which may hereafter be enacted or established?
3. Do you agree for (yourself) (yourselves) and on behalf of your beneficiaries that in the event of your ceasing at any time to be (a member) (members) in good standing of the Order (as defined in the constitution and laws of the Order) all your rights, title or claim to or interest in any property, funds, privileges or benefits either of this Court, the High Court or the Supreme Court of The Independent Order of Foresters shall thereby terminate and become null and void?
4. Do you promise to do your best at all times to be a good member of society in general, honoring all forms of government properly created by the will of the people and to render true allegiance to the laws of the land?
5. Lastly, do you promise to do your best to alleviate the needs and protect the honor of every member, and to advance the welfare of this Order?
C.R. * *. All return to their seats except the Woodwards and candidates.
C.R. *: The Woodwards will present the candidates to the Vice Chief Ranger for instruction in Private Work.
S.W.: Vice Chief Ranger, the candidates ... are before you for instruction in the Private Work of the Order.
V.C.R.: My friends, I congratulate you upon being admitted as members of this court. Having taken our obligation, we are about to entrust you with the private work. It is divided into three sections, the first of which describes our signs, passwords, grip, and the use of the gavel as follows:
V.C.R. will then demonstrate.
 
First Section
The First Sign is called the Entersign, and is given thus: Left Hand Over Heart.
The Countersign, or answer to it, is given by the Chief Ranger or Past Chief Ranger in a like manner.
The Sign of Recognition is given thus: Draw Fingers of Left Hand Across Your Forehead.
The Sign of Distress is given thus: Raise Your Right Arm Straight Up Above Your Shoulder, Palm Of Hand Open And Outwards.
The Countersign, or answer to it, is given thus: In Same Manner With Left Hand.
The Words of Distress are as follows: Will No One Help Me.
The Token is given thus: Raise Your Right Arm, Palm of Hand Outwards Bending Arm At Elbow And Bringing Up Close To Side With Tips Of Fingers At Level With Shoulder.
The Voting Sign is given thus: Raise Your Right Hand in Front Of your Face, Palm Inwards And Ten Inches From Your Face. When you are requested to give this sign in voting you will Look Into The Palm Of Your Hand signifying that you make your decision with an open and unbiased mind.
The Grip is given in this manner: Clasp Hands As In Ordinary Clasp But With Point Of Index Finger Placed Lightly Upon The Pulse Of The Member You Are Greeting, (indicating that the hearts of all Foresters should beat in unison.)
In the hands of the Chief Ranger, three raps * * * of the gavel call up the whole Court; two raps * * seat the Court; one rap * calls to order.
In the hands of the V.C.R. one rap * calls to order and two raps * * is a signal to the S.B. to attend to any alarm that may be given.
The Woodwards will conduct you to the Orator, who will instruct you in the Second and Third Sections.
 
Second Section
S.W.: Orator, by command of the Vice Chief Ranger, I present the candidate(s) for instruction in the Second and Third Sections.
Orator: To enter a Court while in session, proceed as follows: At the outer door give any usual alarm. This will admit you to the ante-room. There clothe yourself in the proper regalia. At the inner door give * * and to the officer in charge give the permanent Password Liberty. This will admit you to the Court. Advance to the centre of the Court, below the Pedestal, and, facing the Past Chief Ranger, give the Entersign. He will answer you by giving the Countersign, when you will take your seat.
If not in order for you to be admitted at the moment of giving alarm at the inner door, (and it is not in order for you to be admitted during the Opening, Closing, or Initiatory Ceremony) the Senior Beadle will answer your alarm by giving * on the door, in which case you will wait; and when the ceremony for which you are thus detained is completed, the Senior Beadle will give * * on the door, when you will be admitted on your giving the proper Password.
If you desire to, address the Court, rise, face the presiding officer and raise your right arm, bent at the elbow, and say, “Chief Ranger”. When you are acknowledged, proceed with your remarks.
If you desire to retire before the Court is closed, proceed in the same form.
 
Third Section
The Honors given to Visitors of Rank are as follows: To Chief Rangers and Past Chief Rangers, thus: Left Hand Over Heart And Left Foot Slightly Advanced.
To an Officer of a High Court thus: Left Hand Over Heart And Old Entersign Given thus: the Old Entersign is given by placing the tips of the fingers of the right hand touching the right shoulder with the elbow extended level to the shoulder.
To an Officer of the Supreme Court other than the Supreme Chief Ranger thus: Interlock Fingers Of Both Hands In Front Of Body In Form Of a C representing The Circle of Concord. Bring The Hands Together Locked Up Over Your Head In The Form Of an A representing The Act Of Benevolence And Then Drop Your Arms Quickly By Your Side, Signifying That They Are Again At Liberty.
To the Supreme Chief Ranger the Royal Salute, thus: The same salute is given, but is repeated twice and the Hands Are Brought Down With Some Force At Your Side.
The Woodwards will conduct you to the Chief Ranger.
S.W.: Chief Ranger, the candidates have been instructed in the proper Signs of the Order and are before you for the final act of reception.
C.R.: Brother(s), Companion(s), I am now authorized to address you by that term, and in Liberty, Benevolence and Concord extend to you a hearty welcome into our Order. You have bound yourself / yourselves to us by a tie which all upright persons respect; it becomes you, from the present hour, to follow our principles by leading an honorable life, whereby you will reflect credit upon the Order with whose progress and prosperity your interests are now identified.
I now take pleasure in presenting to you your membership pins bearing the colors of this degree. I trust that each of you will wear it with dignity and with credit to Court ... No. ...of The Independent Order of Foresters. * * *
If membership pin was presented with certificate this paragraph may be omitted.
Now by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Laws of the Order, I proclaim each of you a Forester, entitled to all the rights and privileges of membership in The Independent Order of Foresters.
Foresters join with me in extending a cordial greeting to our newly initiated member(s). * *
Applause is permitted.
The Chief Ranger may declare a short intermission to welcome the new member(s).
 
 
Installation Ceremony
 
The Officers who are entitled to install are: Supreme Chief Ranger, Elective Officers of the Supreme Court, Past Elective Officers of the Supreme Court, a High Chief Ranger, the members of any High Standing Committee and the Past Elective Officers of any High Court within its own High Court jurisdiction, Court Deputies and District Deputies commissioned by the Supreme Chief Ranger The officer conducting the Ceremony of Installation shall at all times during the ceremony be addressed by his proper title, as Supreme Chief Ranger, High Chief Ranger, etc., as the case may be. In public Installations, employ four raps for calling up and three for seating the Court The High Chief Ranger or other Installing Officer will proceed as follows:
H.C.R.: Chief Ranger, your officers having been constitutionally elected, and the Court having made the necessary reports and remittances to the Supreme Court and to the High Court, it is my pleasure that the Installation of the officers-elect be proceeded with; for which purpose you will direct the present officers to vacate their respective stations.
C.R.: Officers of Court ..., No. ..., by command of the High Chief Ranger, I direct you to relinquish your stations so that your successors in office may be duly installed.
H.C.R.: Chief Ranger, in recognition of your eminent services, it is my desire that, on this occasion, you occupy the post of honor upon my right as Junior Past Chief Ranger of the Court.
If the C.R has been re-elected, then the above will be addressed to the P.C R. who shall be requested, to occupy this position at the dais after the C.R. has been conducted to the pedestal. The Installing Officer will then appoint a High Marshal and Conductor or Conductress, as the case may be. The H.M. and H.C. will arrange the Regalia.
H.C.R., *: The High Secretary (or Officer appointed by I.O.) will call the roll of the officers to be installed. These officers will remain standing until they are escorted to the pedestal to receive the obligation.
The High Marshal and Conductor will suitably arrange the officers to be installed just below the pedestal facing the presiding officer.
H.M.: High Chief Ranger, the officers to be installed are at the pedestal ready to take the Obligation of office.
H.C.R., * * *:
Each of you will say “I”, pronounce your name in full, and repeat after me the
 
Obligation of Office
I, (name in full), in the presence of these witnesses, / do most solemnly and sincerely / promise and declare / that I will, / to the best of my knowledge and ability, / honestly and faithfully perform / the duties of the office / to which I have been elected or appointed.
I will act with strict impartiality / in all matters connected with my office, / and see that all members have their just dues. / I will enforce / the Constitution and Laws / the Rules and Regulations / and the Ritual of the Order / and be governed by the same. / I will pay due respect and obedience / to my superiors, / and treat with kindness and consideration / those who are my subordinates in office. / I further promise and declare / that I will safely keep and preserve / the Charter / books / papers / regalia / all other property and effects, / and the funds of this Court, / and of the Order, / which may come into my possession or custody, / and use them / solely for the benefit / of The Independent Order of Foresters. / At the close of my term of office, / I will safely transfer / and deliver them / to my successor in office, / or at any time / upon the demand of the Supreme Chief Ranger, / to him personally, / or to anyone whom he may designate / to receive the same.
For the faithful observance / of each and all of these several promises, / I pledge my most sacred honor. * *
The officers just obligated will remain standing below the pedestal, and the High Marshal will present them to the H.C.R. for investiture, in the following order:
Trustees and Members of the Finance Committee
H.M.: High Chief Ranger, I present to you the Trustees and Members of the Finance Committee for installation.
H.C.R.: (Brother) Trustees you have been elected by the Court to be the Trustees for all the property of the Court, together with the Chief Ranger, Vice Chief Ranger and Recording Secretary. I am persuaded that you will so discharge all of your duties as to merit the still further confidence of your court.
H.C.R.: (Brother) Finance Committee Officers, you shall examine all bills or accounts presented and report upon their regularity and correctness.
At the close of each quarter or at any other time when ordered by the Court, you shall audit the books of the Financial Officers of the Court and report the result in writing; Such report shall include a duly prepared income statement for the preceding period and a balance sheet.
The High Marshal will now invest each of you with your badge of Office, and the High Conductor will escort you to your respective post, where you will at once enter upon the discharge of your duties.
Beadles
H.M.: High Chief Ranger, I present to you the Senior and Junior Beadle for installation.
H.C.R.: (Brother) Senior and Junior Beadles, you will faithfully guard the doors, and allow no one to enter the Court Room without permission of the Chief Ranger unless the proper passwords are given; and in all things strive to promote the welfare and harmony of your Court.
The High Marshal will now invest each of you with your badge of office, and the High Conductor will escort you to your respective post, where you will at once enter upon the discharge of your duties.
Woodwards
H.M.: High Chief Ranger, the Woodwards are before you for installation.
H.C.R.: (Brother) Senior and Junior Woodwards, it will be your duty to see that all present at the opening of the Court are entitled to a seat in the Court, to visit the sick and attend to their wants. You shall take charge of and carefully keep all the property of the Court, and at the end of your term of office hand the same over to your successors in office; and perform such other lawful duties as may be ordered by the Chief Ranger, or by the Court.
The High Marshal will now invest each of you with your badge of office, and the High Conductor will escort you to your stations in the Court to enter upon the discharge of your duties.
Organist
H.M.: High Chief Ranger, I present to you the Organist for installation.
H.C.R.: (Brother) Organist, you are to superintend and conduct the musical services of the Court, and perform such other duties as may be assigned to you by the Court. Yours is an important position in the Court, for by the proper performance of the functions of your office, you can add materially to the effectiveness of the ceremonies and the interest and pleasure of the meetings.
The High Marshal will now invest you with your badge of office, and the High Conductor will escort you to your station in the Court.
Promotor of Junior Work, Promotor of Fraternal and Social Work
H.M.: High Chief Ranger, I now present to you the Promoter of Junior Work and the Promoter of Fraternal and Social Work for installation.
H.C.R.: (Brother) Promoter of Junior Work, the department assigned to you is deserving of your best energies. I trust that during your term of office we shall have flourishing Junior activities under your care and promotion.
(Brother) Promoter of Fraternal and Social Work, it will be your duty to design Fraternal and Social programs that will uphold the dignity of the Court and assist in fulfillment of its purpose.
The High Marshal will now invest each of you with the badge of your office, and the High Conductor will escort you to your respective station in the Court.
Orator
H.M.: High Chief Ranger, I now present to you the Orator for installation into office.
H.C.R.: (Brother) Orator, you have been chosen to fill an honorable position in the Court. I trust you will always perform the duties of your office with due solemnity and dignity; and that our humble prayers, to our Creator, will be rendered by you, with all reverence and devoutness.
The High Marshal will now invest you with the badge of your office, and the High Conductor will escort you to your station in the Court.
Public Relations Officer
H.M.:  High Chief Ranger, I now present to you the Public Relations Officers for installation and presentation of his commission.
H.C.R.:  (Brother) ..., upon the recommendation of this Court, you have been selected to be commissioned as the Public Relations Officer. Your duties will be to provide maximum public awareness of Court activities, submit all reports required and perform such other duties as the Court may require. The proper public recognition of the fraternal and community activities of this Court will rest upon the diligent performance of the functions of your office.
The High Marshall will now invest you with your badge of office, following which you will be conducted to your station in the Court by the High Conductor.
Treasurer, and Financial Secretary
H.M.: High Chief Ranger, I now present to you the Treasurer and the Financial Secretary for installation.
H.C.R.: (Brother) Treasurer, your duties are to maintain such books and records as required by the constituted authorities of the Order and to safely keep the funds of this Court, and to pay all legal orders drawn upon you out of such funds. The great importance and responsibility of the office you have assumed will always admonish you to hold untarnished the honor you have just pledged to the Court.
(Brother) Financial Secretary, it will be your duty to keep accurate accounts as requested by the Court and pay over to the Treasurer any funds in your hands, taking his receipt for the same; you shall also perform such other duties assigned to you by the Chief Ranger or by the Court.
The High Marshal will now invest each of you with the badge of your office, after which the High Conductor will escort you to your stations in the Court. (You will enter upon the discharge of your duties as soon as you shall have given the bonds required by the Court.)
Recording Secretary
H.M.: High Chief Ranger, I now have pleasure in presenting the Recording Secretary for installation.
H.C.R.: (Brother) Recording Secretary, you will keep accurate minutes of all meetings of this Court; you will conduct all the correspondence of the Court and make true and correct reports to the Supreme Court and to the High Court; you will read to the Court at each meeting all communications received from the Supreme Court or the High Court since the last meeting; sign all orders voted by the Court and none other, unless otherwise provided for in the Constitution and Laws of the Order; and perform such other lawful duties as may be ordered by the Chief Ranger or by the Court.
The High Marshal will now invest you with the badge of your office, and the High Conductor will escort you to your station in the Court, and you will at once enter upon the discharge of the duties of your office.
Vice Chief Ranger
H.M.: High Chief Ranger, I have pleasure in presenting to you the Vice Chief Ranger for installation.
H.C.R.: (Brother) Vice Chief Ranger, it will be your duty to aid in preserving order; and in the absence of the Chief Ranger and the Past Chief Rangers of the Court, to perform to the best of your ability, the duties of. presiding officer; and to strive by all lawful means to advance the welfare of the Court. You will perform such other lawful duties as may be required of you by the Constitution and Laws of the Order, or by the Court.
The High Marshal will now invest you with the badge of your office, and the High Conductor will escort you to your station in the Court to enter upon the discharge of your duties.
Past Chief Ranger
H.C.R.: (Brother) Junior Past Chief Ranger, it affords me much pleasure to have the privilege of decorating you with this badge of honor. May this Court and the Order long enjoy the benefits of your wise counsel and experience. You will now be escorted by the High Conductor to your post.
Court Deputy
H.M.: High Chief Ranger, I have now the honor to present to you for investiture with the badge of his office, Brother ..., who has been commissioned as Court Deputy of this Court.
H.C.R.: (Brother) ..., you have been recommended to the most honorable position in the Court. It is your duty to exercise a general supervision over the work of the Court; to give decisions on points of law whenever an appeal is made to you; to enforce a strict adherence to the requirements of the Constitution and Laws, Rules and Regulations of the Order; to install the officers of this Court in the absence of superior officers; and to perform such other duties as may be required of you by the Constitution and Laws, or by the constituted authorities of the Order. I have every confidence that you will discharge the duties of your office faithfully and efficiently.
I now invest you with the badge of your office, and your Commission which has been duly signed. You will now take your seat on the left of the Chief Ranger’s chair and will enter upon the discharge of your duties.
Chief Ranger
H.M.: High Chief Ranger, I have now the honor to present to you Brother ..., the Chief Ranger of this Court, for investiture and induction.
H.C.R., * * *: (Brother) ..., you have been elected to the highest position in the gift of your brethren. As Chief Ranger of the Court, your duties will be many, and at times very onerous, requiring from you great patience and tact. As chief executive officer, you should hold the interests of the Court, and of its members, of paramount importance. Ever strive to promote harmony among the members; rule with justice; reprove in kindness; and, above all, set an example of promptness and regularity in attending the meetings of the Court, and of loyal obedience to the Constitution and Laws of the Order. I now invest you with the badge of your office (does so), in the full confidence that it will be handed to your successor in office as unsullied as you now receive it, and I welcome you to your post of trust and honor. Take the Constitution and Laws and the Ritual of the Order as your guide and instructors. I commit to your keeping the Charter of this Court; may you ever cherish and defend it as the Magna Charta of your Forestric liberties and privileges; and may God protect you in health, and give you wisdom to govern this Court with honor to yourself and prosperity to our beloved Order. I have great pleasure in seating you in your official chair and I proclaim you the Chief Ranger of this Court.
H.C.R.: High Marshal, it is my pleasure that you proclaim the officers of Court ..., No. ..., duly and legally installed.
The H.M. will stand immediately in front of the Chair, below the Dais, face the Court and make proclamation as follows: By command of the High Chief Ranger, and in Liberty, Benevolence and Concord I proclaim the officers of Court ..., No. ..., of The Independent Order of Foresters, duly and legally installed; and may peace, harmony and good-will ever reign in this Court.
H.C.R.: Chief Ranger, I now surrender to you this gavel, the emblem of your authority; enter upon the discharge of your duties by seating the Court.
C.R.: *  *.
 
 
Instituting Ceremony
 
The ceremony of instituting a new Court shall be conducted by the Supreme Chief Ranger, or, in his absence by an authorized Officer When everything is ready and the doors properly tyled or secured, the Instituting Officer shall, if there are other Foresters present, appoint an acting Secretary and a Marshal to assist in the ceremony. After which the Instituting Officer will proceed as follows:
Instituting Officer: We are about to institute a new Court of The Independent Order of Foresters.
I.O.: The names of Charter Applicants have been noted for the records of the Court.
I.O.: The Marshal will now present the Charter Applicants for obligation.
The Marshal having arranged the Charter Applicants in a semi-circle below the Pedestal, the Ceremony will be proceeded with as follows: The Instituting Officer must here, and to the end of the Ceremony, be addressed by his correct title as Supreme Chief Ranger, High Chief Ranger, District Deputy of the Supreme Court, etc., as the case may be.
M.: Supreme Chief Ranger, I have the honor to present the Charter applicants who have petitioned for a new Court of The Independent Order of Foresters. They have all signed the required Applications and they are now ready to take upon themselves the Obligation. of the Order.
The S C R. will conduct the ceremony, and administer the Obligation. The members will then be seated.
If the name has not already been selected, it will then be done, care being taken not to select the name of a living person, nor the name of an existing Court in the same High Court. It is always advisable to select two alternative names, giving the order of preference.
I.O.: We have selected ... as the name for the new Court. The number has been assigned by Supreme Court.
I.O.: I will now appoint a Committee to recommend a staff of Officers to serve until their successors are installed following this institution.
When the Committee has made its selection, and if the selection meets with the approval of the Instituting Officer, he will, on behalf of the Executive Council, appoint them as the first staff of Officers and proceed to install them.
 
Installation of Officers
 
I.O.: Brethren, on behalf of the Executive Council of the Supreme Court, I will now install as the Officers of this Court the members whose names have been reported by the Committee.
I.O.: The Secretary will please call the names of the staff of Officers selected by the Committee, commencing with that of the Chief Ranger; and the Marshal will please place them before the pedestal for installation.
M.: The officers to be installed are at the pedestal ready to take the Obligation of Office.
I.O.:
Each of you will say “I”, pronounce your name in full, and repeat after me the

Obligation of Office


I, (name in full), in the presence of these witnesses, / do most solemnly and sincerely / promise and declare / that I will, / to the best of my knowledge and ability, / honestly and faithfully perform / the duties of the office / to which I have been elected or appointed. / I will act with strict impartiality / in all matters connected with my office, / and see that all members have their Just dues. / I will enforce / the Constitution and Laws / the Rules and Regulations / and the Ritual of the Order / and be governed by the same. / I will pay due respect and obedience / to my superiors, / and treat with kindness and consideration / those who are my subordinates in office. / I further promise and declare / that I will safely keep and preserve / the Charter / books / papers / regalia / all other property and effects, / and the funds of this Court, / and of the Order, / which may come into my possession or custody, / and use them / solely for the benefit / of The Independent Order of Foresters. / At the close of my term of office, / I will safely transfer / and deliver them / to my successor in office, / or at any time / upon the demand of the Supreme Chief Ranger, / to him personally, / or to anyone whom he may designate / to receive the same. /

For the faithful observance / of each and all of these several promises, / I pledge my most sacred honor.
The Officers just obligated will remain standing below the Pedestal and the Marshal will present them to the I.O. for investiture, in the order shown in the Installation Ceremony.
I.O.: Marshal, it is my pleasure that you proclaim the officers of Court ..., No. ..., duly and legally installed.
The M. will stand in front of the Chair, below the Dais, lace the Court and make proclamation as follows: By command of the Supreme Chief Ranger, and in Liberty, Benevolence and Concord, I proclaim the officers of Court ..., No. ..., of The Independent Order of Foresters, duly and legally installed; and may peace, harmony and good-will ever reign in this Court.
I.O.: Your Officers having been duly installed, I congratulate you on the successful performance of a most important ceremony :  the institution of a new Court. It is by such inauguration as this that our Order will extend throughout the length and breadth of the whole land. May the establishment of this Court bind its members in acts of brotherly love, practical fraternity and good-will to mankind, and in perpetuating the blessings of social union to the remotest time.
And now, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Laws, as (give title), I declare that Court ..., No. ... of The Independent Order of Foresters is duly and legally instituted for the objects and purposes recognized by the Constitution and Laws of the Order now in force, or that may hereafter he enacted; and I declare each and every one of you entitled to all the rights and privileges due to all worthy Foresters by the Constitution and Laws, Rules and Usages of the Order.
Chief Ranger, you will now enter upon the discharge of your duties by seating the Court..
Where it is possible to have a Guard of Honor to assist, they will conduct the Charter Members (candidates) to the Altar for obligation.
 
 
Reception Ceremony for Visiting Officers
 
J.B., * * *, gives the S.B. the name and rank of the visitor.
S.B.: Chief Ranger, I have the pleasure of announcing that Brother ... (rank) is in the ante-room for the purpose of visiting our Court.
C.R., *:  The Woodwards will retire to the ante-room and escort the visitor into the Court room, halting immediately in front of the pedestal. The Court will rise at the sound of the gavel and assist me to receive and salute our distinguished visitor with the honors due his rank.
The members will remain at the salute until the visitor is seated.
The C.R. will then address a few words of welcome to the visitor, after which he will instruct the escort to conduct him to a seat on the dais.

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Independent Order of Foresters
Exaltation of a Royal Forester  

This ritual is dated 1892.

Opening ceremony
 
Ill. Com.: Ill. Captain of the Guard, what is the first charge of an Encampment of Royal Foresters?
Ill. C. of G.: Ill. Commander, to see that we are duly guarded.
Ill. Com.: Attend to that charge.
Ill. C. of G.: Ill. Guards, *, to your posts, and guard well this Encampment of Royal Foresters.
As soon as the Ill. Gs have taken their posts the Ill. I.G. will give three loud knocks upon the door, which will be answered by three loud knocks upon the door given by the Ill. O.G.
Ill. C. of G.: Ill. Commander, the Encampment is duly guarded.
Ill. Com.: ’Tis well. Ill. Lieut. Commander, *, what is the next charge of an Encampment of Royal Foresters?
Ill. Lt. C.: To see that all present are Royal Foresters.
Ill. Com.: Direct that that duty be performed
Ill. Lt. C.: Ill. Sword Bearers, *, examine all present in the Countersign and Pass, and make due report.
The Ill. Sw. Bearers will examine in the current S.A. Pass, and in the Countersign and Pass of a Royal Forester; after having examined all present, except the Ill. Com., the Ill. Lt.C. and any distinguished visitors near the Throne, the Ill. Sw. Bearers will report to the Ill. Lt. C.
1st Ill. Sw. B.: Ill. Lieut. Commander, all on your right have given the Countersign and Pass of a Royal Forester.
2nd Ill. Sw. B.:  Ill. Lieut. Commander, all on your left have given the Countersign and Pass of a Royal Forester.
Ill. Lt.C.: ’Tis well. Ill. Commander, all present are Royal Foresters.
Ill. Com.: ’Tis well. Ill. Lieut. Commander, are you a Royal Forester?
Ill. Lt.C.: I am, Ill. Commander; try me and prove me.
Ill. Com.: How will you be proved?
Ill. Lt.C.: By my Signs, Ill. Commander.
Ill. Com.: Advance the Signs.
Ill. Lt. Com.: I will, Ill. Commander, with the assistance of the Ill. Knights and Sir Knights present.
Ill. Com.: Let it be done in due form.
*  *     *     *  *.
Ill. Lt.C.: Ill. Knights and Sir Knights, attend to giving the Signs.
All, then, in conjunction with the Ill. Lt.C., give the Countersign and the Salutation Sign.
Ill. Com.: Ill. Knights and Sir Knights, I perceive that you have all been advanced to the Exalted Degree of a Royal Forester; but, before I declare this Encampment duly opened, let us look to God for His blessing.
Ill. C.: Almighty and Everliving God, in whom we live, and move, and have our being, we pray Thee to look with favor upon this assembly of Royal Foresters; endue each of us with a competence of Thy divine wisdom, so that we may ever walk before Thee with acceptance; and to Thee, Immortal, Omniscient, and Omnipresent Father, be all the glory, might, majesty, and dominion now and evermore. Amen
Ill. Com.: Ill. Orator, what is the next charge of an Encampment of Royal Foresters?
Ill. O.: To display God’s Holy Book of the Law, Ill. Commander.
Ill. Com.: Attend to that charge.
The Ill. O. then proceeds to the Altar, opens the Sacred Volume, returns to his post, and says as follows: Ill. Commander, that duty is performed.
Ill. Com.: Ill. Lieut. Commander, what is the next duty?
Ill. Lt. O.: To see that the Guards are alert and at their posts, Ill. Commander.
Ill. Com.: Perform that duty.
Ill. Lt. C.: *   *.
Ill. Lt.C.: *.
Ill. O.G.: *   *.
Ill. Lt. C.: The Guards are alert and at their posts, Ill. Commander.
Ill. Com.: Then, by virtue of the powers vested in me, I declare this Encampment of Royal Foresters duly and legally opened.
*  *     *     *  *.
 
 
Ceremony of Exaltation
 
Each Sir Knight should he clothed in full uniform if practicable. Those who are not provided with the uniform should at least wear a black suit, with sword belt and sword. Every Officer should know his part thoroughly by heart. The chairs and ballustrade, if any, at the Royal Line should be removed.
Ill. Com., *:  Ill. Archivist, you will retire to the outer anteroom, ascertain if there are any suppliants in waiting who have been duly elected to membership in this Encampment, and report to me. The Ill. Inner Guard will permit the Ill. Archivist to retire.
The Ill. Arch. does as directed, and on his return will enter in the usual way, and proceed as follows:
Ill. A., salutes: Ill. Commander, I find in waiting Bro, ... of Court No. ... who has been duly elected to membership in this Encampment, has paid the required fees, and now desires to be advanced to the Exalted Degree of a Royal Forester.
Here and throughout the ceremony, if there be more than one suppliant, the necessary words must be changed accordingly, as “have” for “has,” and “desire” for “desires,” etc.
Ill. Com.: Thank you, Sir Knight. Ill. Lieut. Commander, I will thank you to attend to the admission and examination of the suppliant.
Ill. Lt. C.: Ill. Marshal, repair to the Outer anteroom and bring the suppliant before me for examination.
The Ill. M. salutes and retires, sees that the suppliant wears the badge or emblem of the Order, conducts him to the inner door, and gives three loud knocks.
Ill. I. G.:  Ill. Captain of the Guard, there is an alarm at the inner door, but not that of a Royal Forester.
Ill. C of G.: Inquire who comes.
Ill. I. G., opens the wicket, if there be one, and says in a loud voice: Who comes here ?
Ill. M., loud enough to be heard within: A suppliant who humbly seeks advancement to the Exalted Degree of a Royal Forester.
Ill. I. G.: Ill. Captain of the Guard, the alarm was caused by the Ill. Marshal who stands at the inner gate, accompanied by a suppliant who humbly seeks advancement to the Exalted Degree of a Royal Forester.
Ill. C. of G.: Open wide the door and let them enter.
Ill. I. G. does so and closes the door again. As they enter the Ill. C. of G. will proceed as follows:
Ill. C. of G. to Ill. M. and suppliant: Halt! Sir Knights, attention! A stranger is within the Encampment; let the Royal Line be formed.
Whereupon a line will be formed right across the room, at the Royal Line, each facing the Ill. Lt C. The Ill. C. of C. meets the Marshal and suppliant, and proceeds as follows:
Ill. C. of G.: Ill. Marshal what do you know of this suppliant? What claim has he for advancement?
Ill. M.: He is a worthy Forester, a member in good standing in his Subordinate Court, recommended as worthy of Exaltation by Sir Knights of the Royal Degree.
Ill. C. of G.:  Conduct him to our Ill. Lieut. Commander, and report to him.
The Ill M. conducts the suppliant directly to the front of the Ill Lt. C’s. seat.
Ill. M.: Ill. Lieut. Commander, by direction of the Ill. Captain of the Guard, I bring before you this suppliant. He is a worthy Forester, a member in good standing in his Subordinate Court, recommended as worthy of Exaltation by Sir Knights of the Royal Degree.
Ill. Lt. C.: Has he, by faithful discharge of his duties, as a man, as a citizen, and as a Forester, fairly merited the honor he seeks?
Ill. M.: The members of this Encampment have so adjudged by their unanimous vote for Exaltation.
Ill. Lt. C.: Before he can be advanced, he must prove his knowledge of the work of our Order. You will examine him in the Semi-annual Password and the Grip of a Forester.
The Ill. M. does so, requiring the suppliant to give the S. A. P. W. in a whisper, and to begin the Grip, and reports to the Ill. Lt. Commander as follows:
Ill. M.: Ill. Lieut. Commander, I find the suppliant to be a worthy Forester.
Ill. Lt. C.: Thank you, Ill. Marshal. Addressing the suppliant: My brother, attend to the following questions:
The Ill Lt. C. then addresses the suppliant. The first three questions may be put to one, two or more of them in turn, the remaining questions are addressed to all, a pause being made for the reply in each case. If the Ill. Lt. C. is not satisfied with the examination of any suppliant, he may require him to withdraw and wait until the next convocation.
Ill. Lt. C.: 1. What is the entering signal at the inner door of a Court Room?
2. What further is required in order to pass the inner door?
3. On being admitted to the Court Room; what do you do?
4. You will (each) give me the Entersign.
5. Show me the Foresters’ Sign of Recognition and its answer.
6. Give the Warning Sign and Danger Signal.
7. Give the Sign of Distress, and the answer to it.
8. What are the Words of Distress?
My Brother, you have passed our scrutiny thus far, but before you can gain advancement you must undergo a further test.
Do you still desire to proceed?
Suppliant answers.
Ill. Lt. C.:
Do you promise to submit to all the established usages of the Royal Foresters ?
Suppliant answers.
Ill. Lt. C.:
Do you pledge your word that you will never improperly reveal any of the ceremonies or other secrets of this Encampment?
Suppliant answers.
Should any suppliant decline to answer any of these questions in the affirmative, the Ill. Lt. C. will direct the Ill. C. of G. to conduct him beyond the outer door. If the answers are all satisfactory, he will rise and proceed as follows:
Ill. Lt. C.: It gives me pleasure to reward your apparent devotion to our Order, by communicating to you one of the secrets of this Exalted Degree, namely, the esoteric significance of the letters on our emblem. To all who see them, they express the name and motto of our noble Order,
Independent Order of Foresters
Liberty, benevolence and Concord.
Pointing to the initials on a badge or on a chart or banner.
But to us they signify that which you will find to be true of those who meet within the sacred walls of an Encampment of Royal Foresters,
Rnkpmgf okp Mdqpfu oqh Xenquguv Lhgnnqyujkr.
Bear in mind that this phrase is never to be uttered in the hearing of any person whom you do not know to be a Royal Forester, unless it be as at present uttered in presence of one who is about to become a Royal Forester. Before you can fully attain to this Exalted Degree, it will be necessary for you to pass the Royal Line and take a solemn obligation at our sacred altar. You will now retire in charge of our Ill. Marshal that you may be duly prepared.
The Ill. M. conducts the suppliant to the outer anteroom, the Ill. I. G. allowing them to pass, and the door being closed after them. The Sir Knights in the Royal Line then resume their ordinary places.
Ill. Lt. C0., standing: Ill. Commander, the suppliant has been duly admitted and examined, and has now retired to be prepared for the final ordeal.
Ill. Com., seated: Thank you, Ill. Lieut. Commander. Guards, attend to your duty. Let the “triangle of steel” be formed.
The Ill. Sw. Bs arrange themselves about six feet from the door, and about eight feet apart lacing each other. The Ill. C. of G. stands about four or five feet farther from the door and facing toward it; each points his sword straight before him. The Ill. M. meanwhile conducts one of the suppliants into the inner anteroom blindfolds him securely, and then places him close to the inner door. The Ill. O. G. keeps the outer door closed.
Ill. Com.:  Let the signal be given.
The Ill. I. G. gives one loud rap on the door.
Ill. M., to suppliant in a low voice: Until you see again, beware! Raise not a hand except as directed; just before you is a door; give two knocks, and when you hear the signal answered, give two more knocks.
The Ill. I. G. answers with one rap, and as soon as the signal is repeated by the suppliant, the Ill. I. G. opens the door wide.
Ill. I. G.: Who comes here?
Ill. M., standing behind suppliant: A suppliant, who has undergone the scrutiny, and been found worthy of advancement, and is prepared for the final ordeal.
Ill. I. G., in a low voice: Enter, but beware! Swerve not!
The Ill. M. places his hands on the suppliant’s shoulders, and causes him to go forward three steps, counting “One—two—three.” This should bring the suppliant directly between the Ill. Sw. Bs.
Ill. M.: You are now in a perilous position. On either side the way is hedged with points of steel. The Ill. Sw. Bs here touch his arms with their swords. Before you the way is guarded, and you go forward at the peril of your life. Backward alone the path stands open; would you escape peril, you must retreat; but bethink you! If you turn back now, your advancement to the Royal Seat is for ever barred. Will you retire or go forward?
Suppliant answers for himself.
Ill. M.: Then advance!
The Ill. C of G. receives the suppliant upon the point of his sword, carefully pointed to his breast.
Ill. C. of G.: You have advanced upon the point of a sword, and thus given proof of your courage and determination. Of such stuff worthy knights are made! But the end is not yet. Be patient!
If there are other suppliants, the one just received should be conducted to a seat near by, to wait until all have been separately received in like manner. The Ill. M. will then arrange the suppliants near the Ill. Lt. C.’s station. facing the Royal Seat. While he is doing this, the following movement will take place.
Note: Should the number of Knights present not be sufficient to form the Royal Line effectively, this order and its execution will be omitted. also the words of the Ill. Com. from “But behold,” down to “inner sanctuary” inclusive; and the giving of the C. S. and P. will be omitted.
*  *     *     *  *.
Ill. Com., standing: Sir Knights, to your places in the Royal Line.
All the Sir Knights present, except the Ill. Com., the Ill. M , and the Ill. Gs., silently and quickly form a line or lines across the room below the altar facing the suppliants, each with a sword pointed forward from his breast. In order to present a good appearance, the Sir Knights should be arranged according to height, the tallest in the middle. One-half may be in command of the Ill. Lt. C. and the other of the Ill. C. of G. If the Ill. St. Bs can be spared from the line, they may remain at their posts and display the standards when the line opens. If the Sir Knights are not in uniform, then they will hold out their arms as if they were holding out their swords.
Ill. Com., seated: My suppliant brother, you have been tested and tried and found not wanting. Your fidelity and devotion heretofore warrant us in believing you worthy of advancement. You will now be restored to light, after which you may, if you will, pledge your vows at our sacred altar, thence to be conducted to the Royal Seat. The Ill. M. removes the blindfold, or request the wearers to remove them, assisting them if required.
But behold, the way is guarded; yet fear not; go forward without flinching.
The Ill. M, if necessary, prompts them to advance in line, he keeping near them on their right. When within three or four short paces, the Ill. M. gives the C. S., and begins the P.: “Hkp Tvtwvj.” The Sir Knights all wave their swords aloft and exclaim, “Aku Ovjg Prqygt,” upon which the Ill. M. concludes the P.: “Wqh Hhtkgpfujkr.” The line then opens in the centre and each section wheels backward till the sections are parallel, facing the altar.
Ill. Com., seated: Behold the power of the Royal Foresters’ Pass to open the way to our inner sanctuary.
Ill. Marshal, you have my command to proclaim the suppliant.
Ill. M., standing in front of the suppliant, facing the altar: Hear ye, Ill. Knights and Sir Knights, and give heed! By command of the Ill. Commander, I hereby proclaim that Bro. ... has been tested and proved to be a Forester, faithful and true, a man courageous and zealous, and worthy to be advanced to the Exalted Degree of a Royal Forester. If any Ill. Knight or Sir Knight present can show cause why this should not now be done, let him speak forth, or for ever afterward hold his peace.
If objection is made against the advancement of any suppliant, he must retire to the anteroom, whereupon the validity of the objection must be forthwith decided by a majority vote of the Encampment, without debate. If there are no objections raised, the Ill. Com. will proceed.
Ill. Com.: Ill. Marshal, place the suppliant at the altar, and thereon lay this sword.
Hands his sword to the Ill. M., who places it on the open Bible, after which he arranges the suppliants before or around the altar.
Ill. M.: Your commands have been executed, Ill. Commander.
Ill. Com.: ’Tis well! Ill. Standard Bearers, take your positions near the altar.
The Ill. St. Bs. station themselves on the right and left of the altar, with standards displayed, or if there are no standards, with drawn swords. In the absence of the Ill. O. the Ill. Com. may administer the obligation, in which case the necessary changes will be made in the directions given.
Ill. Com.: The Ill. Orator will take his position at the altar. Ill. Knights and Sir Knights, attention!
The Ill. Knights and Sir Knights will then draw their swords. The Ill. O. will pass to the side of the altar nearest the Royal Seat and will uncover his head, if chapeaux or fatigue caps have been worn. The ranks will at once close up the gaps left by the Ill. Officers.
Ill. Com., standing: The suppliant will place his left hand on the sword resting upon Gods Holy Book of the Law, and repeat after the Ill. Orator the Sacred Obligation of a Royal Forester.
Ill. O.: You will each say “I,” and then pronounce your own name in full and repeat after me the


Sacred Obligation of a Royal Forester

I, ..., in the presence of High Heaven, and before these Ill. Knights and Sir Knights, do most solemnly and sincerely promise and declare, upon my sacred word, and upon the sword, the symbol of honor, and upon Gods holy Book of the Law, that I will never reveal any of the secrets of or pertaining to a Royal Forester, unless it shall be to a worthy Knight of this degree whom I certainly know to be such, or to a brother duly qualified to receive the same within the sacred walls of an Encampment of Royal Foresters, or as I may be instructed, for the purpose of mutual recognition.
That I will take as the rule of action and the guide of my life the Divine Law, “Do unto others as ye would they should do unto you.”
That I will acknowledge a Royal Forester at all times and in all places, and will visit him in sickness, succor him in distress, and assist him at all times to the full extent of my power.
That I will not speak ill of a Royal Forester, nor suffer others to do so without protest from me; but will, as far as in me lies, protect and maintain his character and honor as I would my own.
I further promise to be an exemplar of temperance, virtue and honor, and to be at all times a true and law-abiding citizen.
And I further promise to cause the mortal remains of a deceased Royal Forester to be decently interred, even at my own expense.
To all and each of these several points I do hereby pledge my sacred word and honor. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Ill. Com.: Ill. Knights and Sir Knights. Present arms!
As a token of your sincerity, and to seal your vows, you will kiss God’s Holy Book of the Law.
When each suppliant has done so, under the guidance of the Ill. M., the Ill. Com. will continue: Ill. Knights and Sir Knights, Order arms!
The suppliant will now be conducted, under royal escort, to the foot of the Throne. The Ill. Knights and Sir Knights will resume their accustomed places.
The Ill. M. will arrange a procession as follows: 1st, Ill. M. with sword at shoulder; 2nd, Ill. St. Bs. with Standards displayed; 3rd, the suppliants in single file or in pairs, and the Ill. Sw. Bs. one on each side of the leading file of suppliants, with swords at shoulder. In this order they will march once or oftener around the room, past the Ill. Com., O., Lt. C. and P. C., wheeling squarely at the corners, to the front of the Throne—a grand march being played, if practicable. The Ill. M. then passes to the rear of the suppliants, the Ill. St. Bs. stand on the right and left of the Ill. Com., upon the dais; while the Ill. Sw. Bs. conduct the suppliants, not more than three at a time, to the foot of the Throne and cause each to kneel on both knees.
Ill. Com., standing: By virtue of the high powers in me vested, and in the name of the Independent Order of Foresters, I do hereby proclaim (each of) you a Royal Forester. * Rise, Sir Knight .... The last words are repeated for each one, when all have been Knighted, the Ill. St. Bs. and Sw. Bs. will take their respective stations; the Ill. M. will arrange the newly made Knights in a line for instruction and may then take his seat.
Ill. Com., standing: As you have now taken upon yourself the sacred obligation of a Royal Forester, and been duly advanced to this Exalted Degree, you are entitled to be instructed in our secret work.
The Ill. Com. gives full instructions as to the C. S. and P., the G. and the manner of entering and leaving the room when the Encampment is in session. He will then continue: You will now be conducted to the station of the Ill. Past Commander, who will further instruct you in the significance of the emblems of our Order, our Signet and Token.
Ill. M.: Ill. Past Commander, by command of the Ill. Commander, I present before you this Sir Knight for further instructions.
Ill. P. C.: In a former part of these ceremonies, you were informed that the letters on the emblem or badge of our Order signify to us who have been ADMITTED to an Encampment of Royal Foresters, RECEIVED on the point of the sword, and KNIGHTED at the Royal Seat, that we are ....
These letters form the SIGNET of a Royal Forester, In testing a person who claims to be such, ....
The TOKEN is used by the Ill. Commander only in acknowledging the Royal Salutation, and is given thus, ....
The Moose’s Head, depicted upon our emblem or badge, is significant of the origin of the Foresters brotherhood. The Moose is a lordly ranger of the forest, a king of his kind, and his head is to us a symbol of excellence, and should stimulate us to try and excel in all good works, but especially in those connected with our Order.
The two Female Figures represent Liberty and Benevolence, while the clasped hands symbolize the Concord which should ever exist amongst Foresters.
Upon the seal of an Encampment of Royal Foresters appear the following symbols:
1. The Crossed Swords: emblematical of knightly honor and chivalry;
2. The Crown; appropriate to our ancient title of Royal Foresters;
3. The All-seeing Eye; reminding us of the loving care exercised over us by an Omniscient and Omnipresent God, and of our duty to be ever watchful over the welfare of our brethren.
Brother and Sir Knight, it is now my pleasure to congratulate you upon having attained to this Exalted Degree in our Order, and having been made acquainted with its secret working. The vows you have taken at this time are of a very solemn character, and impose upon you new and increased obligations. Ever be watchful, lest you inadvertently violate any of them.
Ill. Com.: The Sir Knight will be escorted to the Ill. Orator for further instructions.
Ill. M.: Ill. Orator, by command of the Ill. Commander, I present before you this Sir Knight for further instructions.
Ill. O.: Sir Knight I congratulate you on having attained to the Royal and Chivalric Degree of our Order.
As a Forester, you should henceforth be more than ever devoted to the Order. Any society worthy to exist, will grow and prosper in proportion to the interest its members take in its working. We belong to a society of whose principles and of whose history we need not be ashamed.
As a Sir Knight of the Royal Degree, it becomes you to cherish in your heart, and exemplify in all your conduct, those high principles of chivalry and honor, unflinching courage in support of the right, and self-sacrifice on behalf of the weak or distressed, which characterized the noble knights of the olden time. By such qualities as these, the early forest rangers, known in English legends as “Robin Hood and his merrie men”, —robbers and outlaws though they were,— won the admiration of the country folk.
“The ideal Robin Hood is the knight-errant of the lowly, a chief among free men united against despotism, and rejoicing in the virgin freshness and gladness of unsubdued nature. The kindly woods and secret-keeping mountains of all lands with a long history, have sheltered fugitives from injustice, and avengers of wrongs, whom popular love and fancy and faith have transformed and glorified into objects of enthusiastic admiration.”
We modern Foresters, far from being outlaws, are bound by our obligations to be law-abiding citizens. But in all good ways we should emulate our ancient brethren, whose haunts were in the leafy depths of the forest. And not least of all should we imitate their love of Nature, that our more enlightened minds may be led up to Nature’s God. Let us not forget that
“The groves were God’s first Temples Ere man framed
The lofty vault, to gather and roll back
The sound of anthems; in the darkling wood,
Amid the cool and silence, he knelt down,
And offered to the Mightiest solemn thanks
And supplication. Ah why
Should we, in the world’s riper years, neglect
God’s ancient sanctuaries?
Be it ours to meditate,
In those calm shades, His milder majesty,
And to the beautiful order of His works
Learn to conform the order of our lives.”
Ill. Com.: The Ill. Sword Bearers will conduct the Sir Knight to the altar, after which the Ill. Marshal Knight will proclaim the exaltation of the Sir Knight.
*  *     *     *  *.
The Ill. M. having previously provided himself with a list of the names, will proceed to the foot of the throne, stand facing the altar and make proclamation, the new Knights standing in line.
Ill. M.: Hear ye, Ill. Knights and Sir Knights, and take heed! By command of. the Ill. Commander, I hereby proclaim that Bro. ... has been admitted, received, and advanced to the Exalted Degree of a Royal Forester, and is now entitled to the honors, privileges and immunities of that distinguished rank.
Ill. Com.: The new Sir Knight will now be welcomed by his older brethren, after which he will proceed to the table of the Ill. Archivist, where he will subscribe his name on our roll.
 
 
Closing Ceremony
 
Ill. Com.: Ill. Lieut. Commander, *, I am about to close this Encampment of Royal Foresters: what is the first charge?
Ill. Lt. C.: To see that all present are Royal Foresters, Ill. Commander.
Ill. Com.: Ill. Lieut. Commander, are you a Royal Forester?
Ill. Lt. C.: I am, Ill. Commander; try me and prove me.
Ill. Com.: How will you be proved, Ill. Lieut. Commander?
Ill. Lt. C.: By my Signs, Ill. Commander.
Ill. Com.: Advance the Signs.
Ill. Lt. C.: I will, Ill. Commander, with the assistance of the Ill. Knights and Sir Knights present.
Ill. Com.: Let it be done in due form.
*  *     *     *  *.
Ill. Lt. C.: Ill. Knights and Sir Knights, attend to giving the Signs.
All then, in conjunction with the Ill. Lt. C., give the Token and then the Salutation Sign. The Ill. Com, will then give the Countersign and proceed as follows:
Ill. Com.: Ill. Knights and Sir Knights, I perceive that you have all received the Exalted Degree of a Royal Forester; but, before I declare this Encampment duly closed, give ear to the words of the Ill. Orator.
The Ill. O. then returns his sword and proceeds to the altar and takes his position just below the altar, facing the throne.
Ill. Com.: Ill. Knights and Sir Knights, attention!
Present Arms!
Ill. O.: And now, to God, the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, be accorded all might, majesty, and dominion now and for ever. Amen.
Ill.. Brethren.: Amen. Amen. Amen.
Ill. Com.: Order Arms!
*.
The Ill. Brethren “return” their swords.
Ill. Com.: Ill Orator, what is your next duty?
Ill. O.: To close God’s Holy Book of the Law, Ill. Commander.
Ill. Com.: Perform that duty.
The Ill O. closes the Bible, and after reporting to the Ill. C. as under returns to his post.
Ill. O.: Ill Commander, that duty is performed.
Ill. Com.: Thank you, Ill. Orator.
Ill. Lieut. Commander, what is the next duty of an Encampment of Royal Foresters?
Ill. Lt. C.: To see that all present have received justice, tempered with fraternal love.
Ill. Com.: Ill. Marshal, you have my command to make the closing proclamation.
Ill. M.: Hear ye, and take heed! By command of the Ill. Commander, if any Ill. Knight or Sir Knight present has not received that justice which is due from one brother to another, let him now make known his grievance.
A slight pause takes place, and if any grievance is laid before the Encampment, it must be attended to before closing the Encampment; but if no grievance is laid before the Encampment, the Ill. Lt. C. proceeds: Ill. Commander, every brother present has received his just dues.
Ill. Com.: Ill. Lieut. Commander, what is the last duty of an Encampment of Royal Foresters?
Ill. Lt. C.: To see that the Guards are alert and at their posts.
Ill. Com.: Attend to that duty.
Ill. Lt. C.: *   *.
Ill. I. G.:  *.
Ill. O. G.:  *   *.

Ill. Lt. C.: Ill. Commander, the Encampment is duly guarded.
Ill. Com.:
Then, by virtue of the powers in me vested, I declare this Encampment of Royal Foresters duly and legally closed.
*  *     *     *  *.

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Ceremonial of the Catholic Order of Foresters

 
Revised and approved by the High Court, 1926

 
Opening Ceremony
 
Promptly at the appointed hour, or as soon thereafter as a quorum is present, the Chief Ranger (or in his absence the Vice Chief Ranger) must call the members to order by giving a series of raps with the gavel. As soon as there is sufficient silence for him to be heard, the Chief Ranger, standing, orders: The members will please come to order and the officers will take their respective stations.
One rap.
The stations of the officers are shown in Fig 1. The Outside Sentinel’s place is in the ante-room.

The Chief Ranger must then note whether any of the officers be absent, and if so, appoint temporary ones and bid them to take the respective stations.
In making such appointments the Chief Ranger must select only members who thoroughly understand the duties of the offices they are to fill, and in case there be no such members present, he must instruct the appointees in their duties. This applies especially to temporary Conductors and Inside Sentinel, who should be acquainted with most, if not with all, the members of the Court.
The Conductors must see to it that the officers are provided with badges and, if the attendance be small compared to the seating capacity of the hall, assign the members to seats about equi-distant from each other, so that no parts of the hail will be crowded whilst others are deserted.
The Chief Ranger then orders:
Inside Sentinel, lock the door and allow no one to enter and make no announcement until ordered to do so. Do you understand your duty?
The Sentinel locks the door and answers: I do, Chief Ranger.
C.R.: Conductors, come forward.
The Conductors go to the center pedestal, salute the Chief Ranger with the sign and await his instructions.
The Chief Ranger then proceeds: Conductors, all the members of this Court are in good standing and are entitled to seats in this meeting, provided they have the grip and the password. You will now give me the grip and password and then examine every one in the hall. Do you understand you duties?
The Conductors answer: I do, Chief Ranger. and then go to the Chief Ranger, exchange the grip with him and give him the password, and proceed to examine every person in the hall (Catholic Priests excepted), the Senior Conductor beginning at the left of the Chief Ranger and continuing along the left side of the ball, the Junior Conductor taking the opposite side.
If either Conductor finds anyone whom he does not know personally, though he have the grip and password, the Conductor must obtain his name and the name and number of his Court, and before proceeding any further report to the Chief Ranger thus: Chief Ranger, Brother ... of this Court or Brother ... of ... Court No. ... as the case may be, and await the Chief Ranger’s instructions.
If the person in question be a member in good standing of the Court, or if he be a visiting member known to the Chief Ranger to be in good standing in the Order the Chief Ranger declares: Brother ... is entitled to a seat in this meeting.
But if the person in question is not known to the Chief Ranger, the latter must first assure himself of such persons good standing in the Order before declaring him entitled to a seat.
The Chief Ranger, in his discretion, may accept the assurance of any officer or member of the Order as to the good standing of a visitor, or he may accept the latters receipt book, showing him to be paid up to date, as evidence of the visitors good standing in the Order. In case a delegation from a Court visits another Court, either one of the officers of the visitors Court or the leader of the delegation should be prepared to vouch for all the members of the delegation.
If either Conductor find anyone not in possession of either the grip or the password, the Conductor must request him to go to the Chief Ranger for instruction.
The Chief Ranger must wait until the Conductors have examined all in the hall before instructing those not in possession of either the grip or the password, and must direct such applicants to form in single file to his left, and have their financial standing vouched for by the Financial Secretary.
The Conductors will then go to the Chief Rangers station, where one of the Conductors, standing to the left of the Chief Ranger, must detain each successive applicant four to five feet from the one the Chief Ranger is instructing, whilst the other Conductor, standing to the right of the Chief Ranger, examines each member after he has been instructed.
It is imperative that the Chief Ranger must under no circumstances give either grip or the password to any person whom he does not personally know to be a member in good standing of the Court and he is empowered to give the grip and password to a visiting member only upon the presentation by such member of a valid traveling card or a written request for the grip and password from his Chief Ranger, such request being authenticated with the seal of his Court.
A visiting Chief Ranger is empowered to give the grip and password to a member whom he knows to be in good standing in his Court.
Any person found not be entitled to a seat in the meeting must retire from the hall before any further procedure.
After the Conductors have examined everyone in the hall and found them in possession of the grip and password, and to be otherwise qualified to be present, they proceed to the center pedestal, and after saluting, report—each in turn—thus: I have examined all on this side of the hall indicating the side with the hand and find them properly qualified and entitled to seats in this meeting.
C.R.: Senior and Junior Conductor, you will bring forward and place upon the Center Pedestal the Cross and the Flag, the standards of the order, to remind us of our duties to God and Country.
The Conductors will salute, secure cross and flag, and place them upon the Center Pedestal, the cross to the right, the flag to the left of the Chief Ranger. The crucifix should face the meeting. In bringing them lorward the Junior Conductor should bear the cross, the Senior Conductor the flag. After they have been properly placed the Senior Conductor will report: Worthy Chief Ranger, your orders have been obeyed.
C.R.: Resume your stations.
The Conductors salute and proceed to their stations, and the Chief Ranger requests: The Reverend Spiritual Director will please say the opening prayer.
Three raps. All rise and remain standing during prayer.
If the Spiritual Director be absent, the Chief Ranger must, in the same form, call upon either the Past Chief Ranger or the Vice Chief Ranger to say the prayer.
The opening and closing prayers, like the other parts of the ceremonies, should be memorized.
 
 
Opening Prayer
 
Come, Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Thy love. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created, and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth. O God, who hast taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of Thy Holy Spirit, grant, us by the same Spirit, to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in His consolation through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
R.: Amen.
Our Father, etc. Hail Mary, etc.
Seat of Wisdom. R.: Pray for us.
C.R.: We will now sing our National Anthem.
At the conclusion of the song the Chief Ranger formally opens the meeting, thus: Brothers, I declare that ... Court No. ... Catholic Order of Foresters, is now in session for the transaction of any and all business that may be brought before it in accordance with the laws, rules and regulations of the Order. Please bear in mind that we meet for our mutual benefit and for that of our families and dependents; let this be the key to all our acts. We also meet as Catholics; let this be the reason for conducting our deliberations in a manner becoming intelligent gentlemen.
In the case of a special meeting of the Court the following form is to be used: Brothers, I declare that ... Court No. ..., Catholic Order of Foresters, is now in special session for the purpose of state the purpose or business for which the meeting was called, in accordance with the laws, rules and regulations of the Order.
The Chief Ranger gives one rap and then orders: Inside Sentinel, you may now, as well as later on, announce any member seeking admittance.
The Sentinel must obtain the name of any member in waiting and, if he be a visitor, the name and number of his Court. He must also ask the applicant for the password and then make his announcement in one of the following forms, whichever will suit the case:
1. Chief Ranger, Brother ... of this Court, with the password.
2. Chief Ranger, Brother ... of this Court, without the password.
3. Chief Ranger, Brother ... of ... Court No. ..., with the password.
4. Chief Ranger, Brother ... of ... Court No. ..., without the password.

If, in the first and second cases, the member be in good standing in the Court, and if, in the third case, the visiting member is known to the Chief Ranger to be in good standing in the Order, the Chief Ranger orders: Admit him
But if, in the third case, the visiting member is not known to the Chief Ranger, the latter must first assure himself of such members good standing in the Order before ordering him admitted.
In the fourth case the Chief Ranger is empowered to order the admission of the visiting member only when the Chief Ranger of such members Court is present and gives his consent, or if such member has either a valid traveling card or a written request for the grip and password from his Chief Ranger, such request being authenticated with the seal of his Court.
The Sentinel, having been instructed by the Chief Ranger to admit a member in waiting, opens the door and, as the member enters, exchanges the grip with him.
If a member so admitted is without either the grip or the password, one of the Conductors must accompany him to the station of the Chief Ranger and, after the latter has instructed the member, take the grip and password from him.
If no members are seeking admittance, or when all in waiting have been disposed of as explained above, the Chief Ranger proceeds with the Order of Business as prescribed in the laws of the Order.
If any member seeks admittance during the course of the meeting he must be treated in the same manner as explained above, but he should not be admitted, nor should the Sentinel announce him, when it would disturb any of the business of the meeting.
To save time and annoyance when a large number of members seek admittance at the same time, the Inside Sentinel should step into the ante-room and obtain the required information from those in waiting and then return and announce all such members to the Chief Ranger.
At Roll Call of Officers the Senior Conductor must stand at the center pedestal and answer present or absent as the Recording Secretary calls the names, which should be called in the following order: S.D., C.R., V.C.R., P.C.R., S., R.S., F.S., T., Ts., S.C., J.C., I.S., and O.S.
In calling the roll both the title and name of each officer must be called; for example: Chief Ranger, Thos. B. Blank; Recording Secretary, Thos. F. Blank; Trustees, J. F. Blank, Phil J. Blank, E. S. Blank.
At Roll Call of Members each member answers present for himself when his name is called.
In lieu of calling the names at roll call the members may write them on cards, which the Conductors must collect and hand to the Recording Secretary, or a special registration book may be placed on the Recording Secretaries table, or some other convenient place, where members can register; or each member in turn may be bidden to rise and give his name, which the Recording Secretary must note.
After the entire Order of Business has been gone through, or after the business of a special meeting has been transacted, a motion to proceed to close the meeting will be in order.
 
Order of Business for Subordinate Courts
Every Subordinate Court shall conduct its meetings in accordance with the following
Order of business.
1. Opening ceremony, as per Ritual
2. Roll call of officers.
3. Reading of minutes of last regular meeting, and of any special meeting held thereafter.
4. Initiation.
5. Installation of officers.
6. Reading and disposing of transfer cards.
7. Reading and disposing of applications for reinstatement.
8. Reading and disposing of communications from the High Court, State or Provincial Court and Subordinate Courts,  and any authorized letters or circulars.
9. Reading and. disposing of propositions for membership.
10. Reports of Investigating Committees.
11. Balloting on per sons proposed for membership.
12. Reading and disposing of reports of the Visiting Committee and the Medical Examiner.
13. Reports on members who are in distress or out of employment.
14. Reading and disposing of bills.
15. Reading and disposing of report of the Auditing Committee.
16. Report of the Committee on Good of the Order and of special committees
17. Reports of officers of any official act per formed since previous meeting; suspensions, etc.
18. Reports of change of occupations, residence or address of members.
19. Roll call of members. (Collection of assessments and dues and delivery of benefit certificates to members.)
20. Unfinished business. (Any matter deferred from a previous meeting.)
21. New business. Election of officers and appointment of standing committees, and any other new matters.
22. Report of suspensions incurred by members, and on members who have withdrawn, resigned or forfeited their membership.
23. Good of the Order (Secret work drill, if there was no initiation; new password,, and presentation of names of eligible prospects which should be noted by R.S. and referred to membership committee, etc.)
24. Adjournment. Closing ceremony, as per Ritual.
The foregoing order of business shall not be changed, but the ceremonies of installation of officers and initiation of candidates may be deferred, and, by general consent or by two-thirds vote, any order of business that has been passed may again be reverted to.
 

Initiation Ceremony

 
Initiations may be held either at a regular meeting of the Court or at a special meeting called for that purpose, but must in the case of candidates for regular membership be held within forty-five days after the High Medical Examiners approval. Joint or class initiations can be held more satisfactorily at special meetings.
If there be any candidates—cardinals, bishops or priests—whom the laws of the Order exempt from undergoing the ceremony of initiation, they should, before the ceremony begins, be caused to sign the obligation of the Order and to pay the prescribed fees and dues, and then be introduced to the Court, unless they express the desire to go through the ceremony with the other candidates.
 
Preliminary
As soon as the candidates arrive, they must be taken in charge by the Outside Sentinel, or by a member appointed for that purpose, who must care for their hats, overcoats and other superfluous garments; acquaint the candidates with each other and see to it that they are made comfortable. This is a very important function and should not be underestimated. It is the first real contact between candidates and the Order and the aim should be to make the first impression most favorable. The Chief Ranger should see that the Outside Sentinel is duly instructed. Members must not be allowed to remain with the candidates or engage them in conversation.
When Initiation in the Order of Business has been reached the Chief Ranger will say: Recording Secretary, are there any candidates whose medical examination has been approved by the High Medical Examiner. If so, you will please read their names.
Recording Secretary rises and reads names and addresses of candidates and presents list to Chief Ranger.
C.R.: Is there any brother present who knows of any valid reason why any of these candidates should not be admitted? If so, let this be made known privately to me now.
Pause.
C.R.: If not, let there be no objections raised later.
If objection be made to anyone the initiation of such one must be deferred until the next meeting, during which time the matter should be investigated. A special committee of three members should be appointed to investigate and report at next meeting. If an adverse report be presented, the Court shall reconsider its previous action and reballot on the application as per laws of the Order. The Chief Ranger will then proceed: Financial Secretary, proceed to the ante-room and collect the prescribed fees and dues from the candidates and cause them to sign the obligation of the Order.
The Financial Secretary proceeds to the center pedestal, salutes the Chief Ranger and then goes to the anteroom taking all necessary blanks and writing materials with him.
C.R.: Initiating officers, you will now robe and take your respective stations.
C.R.: The Senior Conductor will appoint necessary assistants and arrange the hall for initiation.
The initiating officers then proceed to invest themselves with their gowns. The Chief Ranger should request two brothers to occupy the seats of the Conductors during initiation.
He also appoints a banner bearer and two brothers to act as cross and flag attendants. The latter are to be seated in front of the Chief Rangers station; one on each side. The cross to the right of the Chief Ranger, the flag to the left.
The Chief Ranger then directs the removal from the pedestals and from the backs of the officers chairs of everything not belonging there, and the placing and arranging of all appurtenances in orderly and proper position.
Unless special musical program is arranged the Conductors must distribute the Initiation Song Cards; and provide the Vice Chief Ranger with a sufficient number proposition blanks and copies of the laws and by-laws for the candidates.
Unless special singers are provided it is a good plan to distribute amongst the other members, those who are able to lead in singing, instead of having all the good singers together.
After all is in readiness for the initiation, the Chief Ranger will call the meeting to order and deliver the following charge, Chief Ranger should use singular or plural depending upon the number of candidates.
C.R.: Brothers, we are about to initiate state number candidates. We desire to make a most favorable and lasting impression upon those to be inducted into our Order. The Officers alone cannot do this. They need your cooperation and for this I ask at this time.
Conduct yourselves throughout the ceremony in a dignified manner. Please do not indulge in smoking, talking or in anything else that might distract the candidates. Do not stare or smile at them or give them the slightest sign of recognition. Please give the most respectful attention to the work in hand. Listen most attentively to all spoken. To hear again the obligations taken; the instructions given and the wonderful lessons of the Order dwelt upon, can only be of profit to you and to the Order. You know how easily we forget. Do not leave your places or retire while the initiation is in progress. When there is singing in unison, let all join and sing whole heartedly and pronounce plainly.
When the candidates are announced I will give the signal to rise. Please remain standing until the signal is given to be seated.
Brother Inside Sentinel! Should a brother ask for admission after the ceremony has begun, you may admit him quietly provided he has the proper password and his entry will not disturb the ceremony.
If the number of candidates be large and therefore considerable time be required for the collection of prescribed fees and dues from the candidates, the Chief Ranger may proceed with the Order of Business.
When the Financial Secretary returns from the anteroom he proceeds to the center pedestal and reports in this form: Chief Ranger, I have collected the prescribed fees and dues from the candidates, and they have signed the obligation of the Order.
F.S. salutes and retires.
C.R.: Senior Conductor! Senior Conductor and assistants and banner carrier will come be fore the center pedestal and salute; the banner bearer standing back of the Conductors.
C.R.: Senior Conductor, I present to you this list of candidates. You and your assistants will proceed to the ante-room and prepare the candidates for initiation.
The Conductors salute the Chief Ranger, and preceded by the banner carrier will retire to the anteroom. The musician for the instruction of the members (unless special music is provided), plays the initiation ode, which should be in slow, march time. The ode should be rehearsed before candidates are brought in.
The accompanist should be instructed that in case the candidates do not reach their positions by the time the singing is concluded he must continue to play either the ode or an appropriate interlude until one rap of the gavel is given by the Chief Ranger.
The Senior Conductors part in the ceremony is a most important one, and he must undertake its performance with perfect confidence in himself and in a manner that will at once command the respect and attention of the candidates. He must give the instructions and directions in a dignified, clear and unmistakable manner. He must not allow the candidates to indulge in pleasantries or levity, and, if they persist, he must not hesitate to reprimand them and to inform them that the initiation they are about to undergo is not a frivolous but a serious matter.
As soon as the Conductors arrive in the ante-room, the Senior Conductor requests the candidates to rise and form in line as he calls their names. He then proceeds to call the names of the candidates—those for honorary as well as those for regular membership. The Junior and the Assistant Conductors then arrange the candidates in single file in the order of their height, the shortest one at the forward end of the file; and, if not already done, request and assist the candidates to lay aside their hats, overcoats and other superfluous garments, all of which must be cared for by the Outside Sentinel or by a member appointed for that purpose. The Junior Conductor then assumes position at, the forward end of the file and an Assistant Conductor at the rear end; the other Conductor or Conductors should take positions on the side of the candidates. The banner carrier should march back of the Junior Conductor.
Before marching into hall the Senior Conductor must instruct the candidates in about the following form, speaking slowly and in a conversational tone: Candidates, please give me your attention. During the course of the initiation ceremony you will be given various commands which I will now explain, and which you must endeavor to execute promptly and properly. When I command Attention! you will fold your arms and when I command Forward—march! you must start out with the left foot at the word March, thus exemplifying, and while marching keep your arms folded and step to the music and maintain a uniform space of at least eighteen inches between each other. At the command Candidates, halt, you must come to rest promptly at the word Halt and remain in your positions until I give the command, Left face, which is executed by turning to the left, thusly exemplifying. Upon command Hands down, you will drop your arms at your side.
Before resuming the march I will give the command, Candidates, fold arms, Right face, which is executed by turning to the right, thus exemplifying. You will also be asked several questions, which you must answer by responding I do, I am, I did, or I will, as the question may indicate; you must not answer yes, sir or no, sir; please remember this. When making the answers and repeating the Obligation of the Order you must speak distinctly, moderately loud and in unison with each other. Please pay close and respectful attention to everything that is said and done.
The Senior Conductor, having assured himself that all preparations in the ball are completed, orders candidates to fold arms and then proceeds to the inner door and announces himself with candidates to the Inside Sentinel.
S.C.: The Senior Conductor with candidates asks to be admitted.
During the ceremony the Senior Conductor has entire charge of the floor; he directs the marches and acts as commandant.
 
 
The Ceremony
 
The Inside Sentinel announces: Chief Ranger, the Senior Conductor with candidates seeks admittance.
The Chief Ranger gives three raps and then orders: Admit the Senior Conductor with candidates.
The singing of a song or of the first stanza of the Initiation Ode, or march music, is at once begun and the Sentinel opens the door.
The Senior Conductor commands: Candidates, forward—march.
The Junior Conductor, under the direction of the Senior Conductor, leads the candidates to the station of the Chief Ranger over the line of march shown in the diagram, Fig. 2, by broken lines, the direction of the march being indicated by the arrows.

At this station, and at each succeeding one, the candidates resting position should be twelve to fifteen feet from the respective officer, and in the form of a semi-circle, as shown in the diagram, wherein the positions of eight candidates are indicated by light circles; the heavy circles, a, b, and c, showing the positions of the Senior, Junior and Assistant Conductors, respectively. In case the number of candidates be very large, it may be necessary to place them so as to form a large circle or several circles, one behind the other. Where this is necessary, the candidates should be divided into sections and a Conductor placed at the head of each section.
The Senior Conductor must take up a position from which he can observe the progress of both the front and rear ends of the file of candidates, and as soon as the latter have reached the positions forming a symmetrical semi-circle in front of the Chief Ranger he commands: Candidates, halt.
He then awaits the conclusion of the singing if the latter has not already been reached.
The speed at which the candidates should be marched must be regulated in accordance with the size of the hall and the number of candidates, so that the completion of the march and the singing will, as nearly as possible, coincide.
In case the candidates have not reached their resting positions when the singing of the stanza is concluded, the accompanist must continue to play either the Ode, song or an appropriate interlude.
As soon as the singing is concluded and the candidates have been halted, the Chief Ranger gives one rap. The members take their seats, but the Chief Ranger remains standing.
The Senior Conductor commands: Candidates, left face, hands down.
After seeing to it that the candidates are in orderly position, and standing about midway between the candidates and the Chief Ranger, he salutes the latter and introduces the candidates thus: Chief Ranger, I present candidates for initiation into the Catholic Order of Foresters.
The Chief Ranger inquires: What assurance have you that they are worthy of membership in our Order?
The Senior Conductor responds: They have been recommended by two of our members, have been duly elected to membership and have otherwise qualified as required by the laws of the Order.
The Senior Conductor then salutes and assumes position at the side of the Junior Conductor, as indicated at a, in the diagram.
The Chief Ranger then proceeds to question the candidates, speaking slowly and distinctly, thus: Candidates, do you say, each one of you, that you desire to be initiated into the Catholic Order of Foresters? Then answer—I do.
The candidates must answer I do and if they fail to respond promptly the Chief Ranger must request them to answer.
The Chief Ranger then continues, giving ample time for the candidates to answer after each, question: Are you—each individual one—a practical Roman Catholic? Then answer—I am.
Will you—each individual one—solemnly promise to remain true to the church and faithful in the practice of her teachings? Then answer—I will.
Are you now sixteen or over and under fifty years of age? Then answer—I am.
Will you always be temperate in your habits, clean of tongue and gentlemanly in your conduct? Then answer—I will.
Will you practice the principles of our Order with your brother members to the very best of your ability? Then answer—I will.
Will you do all in your power to promote by word and deed the best interest of your Court and of the Order and refrain from all captious criticism and fault-finding either of the Order, its officers or its members? Then answer —I will.
Have you been sick, or have you consulted a physician for any personal physical ailment since your examination by the Medical Examiner of the Court? Those who have not will please answer—No. 
After candidates have answered
Those who have will please answer—Yes.

If any candidate answers yes to the foregoing question he should not be initiated until the matter has been first referred to the High Medical Examiner and initiation approved.
Are you now prepared to take the binding obligation of the Catholic Order of Foresters? Then answer—I am.
The Chief Ranger, turning towards the Senior Conductor, then orders: Senior Conductor, present the candidates to the Past Chief Ranger, who will administer the obligation of the Order.
The Senior Conductor steps forward to about midway between the candidates and the Chief Rangers station and after saluting the Chief Ranger, commands: Candidates, fold arms, right face.
The Chief Ranger gives three raps, the members rise and then the Senior Conductor commands: Candidates, forward—march.
At the latter word of command the singing of the second stanza of the Ode begins, or the musician plays a march.
The Junior Conductor leads the file of candidates over the line of march, shown in diagram, to the station of the Past Chief Ranger.
In case of a narrow hail, where there is insufficient space between the Past Chief Rangers station and the center pedestal the Senior Conductor should circle candidates back of center pedestal.
The Past Chief Ranger, the Vice Chief Ranger and the Treasurer remain standing after the completion of the singing when the candidates are at their station.
The candidates, having reached their positions in front of the Past Chief Rangers station, and the singing or playing being concluded and the members seated, the Senior Conductor salutes the Past Chief Ranger and then introduces the candidates thus: Past Chief Ranger, I present candidates who desire to take the Obligation of the Catholic Order of Foresters.
The Past Chief Ranger then proceeds, slowly and impressively, thus: Worthy candidates! This is the station of the Past Chief Ranger. Its emblem is the Cross, symbolic of the virtue of Faith. Faith—that gift of God which unites man with God, and causes man to recognize most clearly the relations and obligations existing between men.
This Order has as one of its objects the strengthening of faith in God and the development of faith in the brotherhood of one another. You were presented here to assume the obligation of the Order; thus to dedicate yourselves in special and solemn manner to the work of Catholic Forestry.
Worthy candidates, the obligation which you are required to take is a comprehensive one. In taking it, however, you will not assume anything in conflict with your duty to church, country, home or loved ones, but you will be bound to render strict obedience to the laws of our Order, both in letter and spirit. With this understanding, are you willing to take the obligation? Then answer—I am.
If the candidates fail to respond promptly they must be required to answer, and having answered, the Past Chief Ranger proceeds: Then raise you right hands exemplifying with the hand open and fingers together and repeat after me.
The Chief Ranger gives three raps and, when the members have risen and all is orderly, the Past Chief Ranger, holding his own right hand in a raised position and speaking slowly, distinctly and impressively, administers the following obligation, division by division, giving the candidates ample time to repeat after him:
 
 
Obligation
 
I solemnly promise that I will remain faithful to holy church, devoted to home and loved ones and true to my country. I promise that I will earnestly endeavor to live up to the highest ideals of the Order.
I promise that I will respect and uphold the constitution and laws of the Catholic Order of Foresters and obey all commands of the High Court of the State (Provincial) Court and of the Subordinate Court of which I am a member provided such commands do not conflict with my civil liberty or the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church; that I will never use for any purpose or communicate to any person except as prescribed in the ceremonial and the laws, rules and regulations, any of the signs, grips, passwords or business affairs of the Order; that I will not defraud or wrong any member or department of the Order or suffer it to be done by others if in my power to prevent; that I will not tolerate anything of a political nature at any meeting of the Order; that I will not disparage any member because of his nationality, color or race; or engage in captious criticism or fault-finding or idle and hurtful gossip; that I will be clean of tongue; gentlemanly in my conduct; temperate in my habits and just in all my dealings; that I will assist a member or his family, when in distress, so far as charity requires and my circumstances permit; and that I will do all in my power to promote the best interests and welfare of my Court and of the Order.
And I further promise that should I violate in letter or spirit any part of this obligation or the form subscribed by me, I hereby agree to be expelled and should I be expelled or leave the Order, I will consider this obligation still binding. To all of which I pledge my word of honor as a man and a Catholic.
At the conclusion of the obligation the Chief Ranger gives one rap and, when the members have taken their seats, the Past Chief Ranger continues: Senior Conductor, you will now present the candidates to our worthy Treasurer for further preparation. Senior Conductor, proceed.
The Senior Conductor proceeds as before. The Chief Ranger gives three raps, the members rise and at the command Forward, march the singing of the third stanza of the Ode or music begins. Upon arrival at the Treasurers station, the candidates being in proper position, the Senior Conductor, saluting the Treasurer, says: Worthy Treasurer, upon direction of the Past Chief Ranger, I present candidates for further preparation.
The Treasurer proceeds, speaking plainly and impressively: Worthy candidates, this is the Treasurers station. Its emblem is the heart, emblematic of that greatest of all virtues—Charity. You have subscribed to the high ideals of our organization and have obligated yourselves in solemn manner to the fulfillment of the duties and obligations of membership therein. It is my duty now to call your attention to one of the essential obligations. With the ideal, this Order unites the practical. To talk charity—brotherly love—affection for home and loved ones is one thing. To practice these things by making substantial provisions, is another. By their fruits, ye shall know them, said the Master. So, by our work, not our words—will our Order be known and will we individually gather spiritual treasures for the world to come and build enduring monuments for ourselves in the hearts and memories of those near and dear to us. Before the station of the Past Chief Ranger you severally and collectively pledged devotion to home and loved ones; you pledged that you would assist a member or his family when in distress so far as Charity requires and your circumstances permit. You sealed this obligation with your word of honor as men and Catholics.
Worthy candidates, that there may be no misunderstanding, permit me to ask you at this time, did you each fully understand this part of the obligation taken?
Candidates answer.
After the candidates have answered the Treasurer will say: If there is any candidate who has not, let him make it known now.
After a pause: Worthy candidates, this Order through its Courts, makes provision for members in case of sickness and distress and through the benefit treasury of the Order for the beneficiaries in case of death. To meet these obligations members are required to pay dues into the Court treasury and assessments into the benefit fund of the Order. Dues and assessments are payable on the first of each month to the Financial Secretary of your Court and must he paid before the close of the month in which they are called, otherwise a member stands by that fact suspended. With a full understanding of this and to impress the importance of your financial obligations most firmly upon your minds, I shall now ask you to raise your right hands and repeat after me the following obligation:
The Chief Ranger gives three raps. After members have risen, Treasurer continues:
 
 
Obligation
 
I solemnly promise to participate in the great charitable and benevolent work of the Order, by faithfully and punctually discharging my financial obligations to the Order.
I promise that I will never allow myself to become suspended for the non-payment of dues and assessments. I further promise, should I, for any reason, desire to leave the Order, I will make final payment to the financial secretary of my Court and secure from its officers an honorable withdrawal card.
To all of this I pledge my sacred word of honor as a man and a Catholic.
Treasurer orders hands down. C.R. gives one rap for members to be seated.
Treasurer: Worthy candidates! You are coming into this Order in honor. Self interests dictate that you should never leave it, except in honor. Life, my brothers, has its trials and tribulations. Should circumstances or conditions therefore arise at any time, which would make it impossible for you to pay your dues and assessments before the close of the month, go to your Chief Ranger, state your case, and I am sure that your Court will exercise that Charity which is one of the basic principles of the Order.
Worthy candidates, by the pledges you have taken you are bound to us and have assumed the duties of membership, and you are now entitled to instruction in the secret and other work of our Order.
Addressing himself to the Senior Conductor, the Treasurer then orders: Senior Conductor, present the candidates to the Vice Chief Ranger, who will give them all necessary instructions.
The Senior Conductor proceeds as before; the Chief Ranger gives three raps; the members rise and at the command March, the singing of the fourth stanza of the Ode, or the march music, should begin.
Upon arrival at the Vice Chief Rangers station, and when all is ready, the Senior Conductor introduces the candidates thus: Vice Chief Ranger, I present candidates who having assumed all obligations of the Order, are now entitled to instructions.
C.R. gives one rap for the members to be seated.
The Vice Chief Ranger then proceeds to give the following instructions in a slow, conversational and explanatory style, exercising every care to be clearly understood by the candidates:
 
 
Instructions
 
V.C.R.: Worthy candidates, this is the station of the Vice Chief Ranger. Its emblem is the anchor, symbolic of the virtue of Hope. Hope— that force that springs eternal in the human breast, and ever leads man on to renewed and greater effort. Not only do we as Catholic men hope in God, but we hope, with Gods assistance, working unitedly, through the instrumentality of this Society, to carry out successfully the great purposes and objects of our organization. It behooves you therefore to become thoroughly familiar with all pertaining to our Order. It is for this reason that I shall ask you to pay close attention to my instructions. Furthermore, your future advancement in this Order will largely depend upon the knowledge you have of it.
This branch of our Order is (will be) known as ... Court No. ....      
In case of a joint initiation the Vice Chief Ranger must give the names and numbers of the several Courts having candidates initiated, using this form: The respective branches of our Order of which you will be members are known as ....
Being a fraternal society the members of the Order address each other as ‘brother’.
The Order has signs, grips and a password, which are to be used only as I will explain, and which you will never disclose to anyone—not even to a member of the Order—except when you are acting in the capacity of a duly authorized officer.
The sign oft. salute is made by placing the right hand—thumb and other fingers extended, but held together—over the heart exemplifying and bowing the head—not the body—slightly exemplifying and then request Candidates make the sign of salute. When all have made it properly, continue I will explain the uses of this sign later.
The sign of recognition is made by explain and exemplify sign, and then bid the candidates to make it. The countersign is the answer to the sign of recognition, and is made by explain and exemplify countersign, and bid the candidates repeat it. Should you happen to be in a company of men and wish to know without inquiring whether any of them be a Forester you may employ this sign of recognition exemplifying, making it so deftly as not to attract the attention of anyone not a member of the Order. If a Forester be amongst them he will notice this sign and answer with the countersign exemplifying.
The grip is given and returned in this wise explain and exemplify the grip with the aid of the Senior Conductor, who must step up to the Vice Chief Ranger for that purpose, and then bid the Conductors to exchange the grip with the candidates. The grip should always be exchanged when greeting a brother member, and it must be exchanged with certain officers at the meeting of a Court, as I will explain later.
The password will be given you by the Chief Ranger. Only members in good standing in the Order are entitled to the password and they can obtain it only from the Chief Ranger of their Court or from the acting Chief Ranger at a meeting of their Court. Visiting members may, however, obtain the password upon presenting either a valid Traveling Card or a written request from the Chief Ranger of their Court.
Brothers, you must keep the password a close secret, as you promised, and never communicate it to any person or to any member of the Order, excepting the presiding officer, Conductor and Inside Sentinel in their official capacity at a session of a Court or a convention of the Order; and you must always speak it in a whisper.
We also have gavel signals taking up the gavel employed by the Chief Ranger when presiding at the meetings of the Court. One rap exemplifying is the signal for order—silence—and for the members to take their seats; and it is also used by way of confirming the result of a vote as declared by the chair or a ruling made by him. Two raps exemplifying is the signal for all officers to rise. Three raps exemplifying the signal for all to rise to their feet; and a series of raps is used for calling the meeting to order.
When at the opening of a Court meeting, the Conductor approaches you, you must rise in your place, exchange the grip with him and give him the password in a whisper. If you have forgotten either of them you must go to the Chief Ranger for instruction, after which you must give the grip and password to the Conductor before taking a seat. If you are not personally known to the Conductor, though having the grip and password, you must give him your name and if you be a visiting member also the name and number of your Court, and then remain standing until the Chief Ranger declares you entitled to a seat in the meeting.
If you arrive after the meeting has been opened you will give three raps exemplifying on the inner door—the one leading into the hall. When the Inside Sentinel opens the wicket you must give him your name and, if you be a visiting member, also the name and number of your Court. You must also give him the password when he asks for it. When the Sentinel admits you, you must exchange the grip with him, then pass up the middle of the hail to the center pedestal pointing to it, where you must salute the Chief Ranger with the sign exemplifying. If he be engaged you may turn towards this station and salute the Vice Chief Ranger. After you have been recognized with a return of the salute you may take a seat on either side of the hall. If you have not the password, the Chief Ranger, after having been assured of your good standing, will order you admitted. When the Sentinel opens the door you will proceed in the same manner, but after you have saluted, you go to the Chief Ranger for instruction and then give the grip and password to the Conductor before taking a seat. The Senior Conductor will demonstrate the proper manner of entering a hall while the Court is in session.
The Senior Conductor leaves the ball, gives due signal, enters in proper form and takes his seat.
V.C.R., continues: If you have not the grip or password and desire to attend a meeting of a Court other than your own, and at which the Chief Ranger of your Court is not present, you must have either a valid Traveling Card or a written request for the grip and password from the Chief Ranger of your Court, such request being under seal of your Court.
From this explanation, candidates, it must be clear to you that you are not entitled and cannot be permitted to be present at any meeting of any Court, unless you have the grip and password, and unless you are known to be members in good standing in the Order. Bear this well in mind.
Now a few words as to your conduct during the meeting of a Court. Should you wish to obtain the floor for any purpose whatever, you must first rise in your place and addressing your self to the presiding officer, say Chief Ranger.
When, he has recognized you, you may proceed, but not before. Should you desire to change your place, cross the hall or retire from the meeting, you must first obtain permission, and then go to the center pedestal pointing to it and salute the Chief Ranger, or, if he be engaged, the Vice Chief Ranger, and then pass on in crossing the hall, always do it between this station and the center pedestal.
At the close of the Court meeting the Chief Ranger gives one rap with the gavel exemplifying and then making the sign of salute, says: ‘Brothers, good night, or good afternoon’, as the case may be. The members in acknowledgment also make the sign and say in unison: ‘Chief Ranger, good night or good afternoon.’
The regular meetings of this Court are held on the give day of week of each month give place of meetings and you should endeavor to attend each and every one of them.
The Conductors will now present to you copies of the constitution of the Order. and of the by-laws of the Court, which you should peruse diligently, so as to become conversant with the laws, rules and regulations and with your duties of membership. Will each of you promise to do this? Candidates should answer. Please bear in mind that you will not be able to observe the laws or fulfill your duties unless you know them.
You will also be given some proposition blanks.
The Vice Chief Ranger then bids the Conductor to hand each candidate copies of the laws and By-laws and several proposition blanks.
After they have been distributed the Senior Conductor will report: Worthy Vice Chief Ranger. your orders have been obeyed.
The Vice Chief Ranger continues: You will now be conducted to the station of the Chief Ranger, where you will hear the lesson of our Order and receive the password.
The Vice Chief Ranger gives three raps for members to rise, turning to Senior Conductor he then orders: Senior Conductor, present the candidates to the Chief Ranger.
The Senior Conductor proceeds as before, the candidates being led over the same line of march as at first to the Chief Rangers station, and the fifth and last stanza of the Ode is sung, or a march is played.
Upon arrival at the Chief Rangers station, the Senior Conductor introduces the candidates thus: Chief Ranger, I present candidates who have taken the binding obligations of the Order and have been instructed by the Vice Chief Ranger.
The Chief Ranger gives signal for members to be seated and then delivers the following, with feeling and conviction, and to the yery best of his ability:
 
 
Lesson
 
C.R.: Brothers, I have a few words to say to you touching upon the fundamental structure of the Catholic Order of Foresters.
Our order, planted under the protecting shade of holy Mother Church, in which it finds its source and from which it draws its inspiration, is founded upon three cardinal principles—principles based upon the three great theological virtues, typified so beautifully by the stations you have just passed—Faith. Hope and Charity; principles that tend to elevate and make us better members of society, of the church and of the state and nobler defenders of the Christian home.
These principles are: Friendship, Unity and true Christian Charity.
Friendship——a flower that blooms in all ages and in all climes. It is—as the rivers, the strands of the seas or the air we breathe—common to all mankind. It is a principle that you should practice at all times and under all circumstances and you should cultivate, both by intercourse and association, the friendship of the members of this Order, whom you ask to be your brothers. We will be your brothers. Having assumed the self-same obligation that you have taken, we stand ready to aid and protect you so long as you wear your armor in the cause of right and live amongst us as true and faithful Catholic Foresters.
My brothers, I will now give you the grasp of Friendship as a mark of welcome to our ranks; at the same time I will impart to you the password of the Order, which will open to you the doors of all our Courts.
The Chief Ranger passes around among the candidates, giving to each the grip and password of the Order. While doing so an appropriate (solemn) song should be sung or an interlude or reverie played on the piano. If the class is large, the Chief Ranger should request several visiting Chief Rangers or Past Chief Rangers to assist him in giving out the password. This will expedite the work. These officers, if possible, should be gowned.
Returning to his station, the Chief Ranger continues: The Conductors will now take the password to assure me that you are in possession of it.
The Junior and Assistant Conductors, each beginning at his end of the file, then proceed to examine the candidates, and, if there be a large number, the Senior Conductor assists, taking the middle one-third. The musician should softly play an interlude or reverie.
The Conductors should not exchange the grip or grasp the hands of the candidates when taking the password.
If any candidate has forgotten the password the Conductor must request him to step up to the Chief Ranger for instruction.
The Conductors, finding all in possession of the password, the Senior Conductor will report to the Chief Ranger thus: Worthy Chief Ranger, all have been examined and are in possession of the password.
The Chief Ranger then continues: Brothers, the second principle of our Order is Unity. This principle teaches us that alone man is weak, united he is strong; a truth that the philosopher of old exemplified so strikingly and which I, in like manner, shall now ask the Senior Conductor to exemplify.
Worthy Conductor, come forward.
The Conductor will come forward and salute the Chief Ranger, who will hand him a stick. He will salute again and then face the candidates, holding the stick so that all can see.
C.R.: Conductor, break the stick.
After this has been done the Chief Ranger will say: Worthy Conductor, you will now take this handful of sticks, bound closely together to unite their strength, and try to break them.
The Conductor will salute the Chief Ranger, accept from him the bundle of sticks, salute again, face the candidates and try to break the bundle. Having made several efforts, he will turn, salute the Chief Ranger and report: Worthy Chief Ranger, I have tried but cannot break the sticks united.
Conductor salutes and retires to his position.
C.R.: What a splendid illustration of the power of Unity. The single stick so easily broken, resists every effort when united with others. As with the sticks, so it is with man. Alone we are weak and can do but little or nothing; our efforts are easily shattered; but associated in a bond of fraternal union we are strong and can accomplish much for church, home and country and can make substantial provisions for one another in case of sickness and distress and for our loved ones, in case of death. You, my brothers, from henceforth will be called upon to lend strength to this potent principle by inviting into our Order all eligible Catholic men, to the end that the greatest good may come to the largest number.
Slight Pause.
The third principle, my brothers, is Christian Charity. Charity is that principle which inspires in our hearts and minds those of Friendship and Unity, and which incites us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Life, my brothers, has its sunshine and its shadows; its days and its nights; its seasons of joy and its hours of sorrow, and in this eventful drama each and every man plays a part. And so in our Order. Every member is called upon to dc his share toward making the world better and brighter; toward bringing sunshine and gladness to hearts in gloom and towards, dispelling the clouds that at times gather about and darken the life of a brother member.
Remember, my brothers, that Charity consists not only in money giving, or in the doing of things possible only for the rich; but Charity includes as well those little acts of kindness and mercy, which all can practice, irrespective of calling or station in life, which give to humanity the touch of kinship and make the world a place we delight to live in.
My brothers, consoling and encouraging indeed to every Christian soul must be the words of our Divine Master, promising eternal reward—some, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; naked and you covered me; sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.
Amen, I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.
Pause.
Fraternity—humanity—Christianity— in its deepest significance.
Cultivate ever, my brothers, the practice of the sublime principle and virtue of Charity. Let no day pass without enriching it, by performing, in the Masters name, some little act of kindness, charity or benevolence. Cast from your hearts every grudge; banish every unkind thought: lay aside every personal prejudice.
Recognize more clearly, each day, in every man, the imagine of God—your brother. Let not the vanity of the world dazzle and blind you.
Let the Golden Rule be your motto. Let the sun of charity that rises at home, always set abroad. Help to propagate and extend the great work in which we are engaged. Lastly, let no act of yours ever tarnish the fair name of our Order, but let your lives at all times be above reproach. Be faithful in. your duty to your God, to your family, to your country and to your fellowman; and consider that, when at last your earthly mission is ended, all the noble and generous deeds which you performed will serve as golden keys to open for you the gates of eternal happiness.
These, my friends, are the sublime teachings of our Order, and these point out the rule of conduct we would have you follow as members of the Catholic Order of Foresters.
Pause.
My brothers, I will now invest you each with the emblem of the Order, signifying that you have been selected to regular membership. This emblem pointing to the emblem on the banner has upon it a cross and a deer. The cross typifies our faith. The deer, figurative of Christ, symbolizes those ardent and virtuous desires, which spring so warmly from a truly Christian soul.

The cross—the tree of salvation—and the deer—the noblest and keenest denizen of the woods—are to remind us further of the Forest—the Forest of Life—in which we as true Foresters are to labor zealously and which we are to guard faithfully.
In the cross you find the letters F. H. C., representing those sanctifying virtues—Faith, Hope and Charity. I ask you to wear this emblem. Let it always be worn, however, with honor. By no act of yours bring discredit upon it.
The Chief Ranger passes among the candidates and invests each with an emblem (button) of the Order.
The Senior Conductor assists by passing him the emblem, which he carries on a tray. Should the class be large, the Chief Ranger should ask one of the other officers to assist.
During this ceremony an appropriate song should be sung, or an interlude played.
The Chief Ranger, upon returning to his station, continues: My dear brothers, your initiation to regular membership is about to close. Further travels await you, would you reach the heights of full membership in the Order. You will soon be conducted from this hall. Later you will be returned to be introduced to the brothers present You were presented proposition blanks. I now hand you this roll, which I kindly ask each to sign while in the ante-room, certifying that in appreciation of your admission to membership, and as evidence of your willingness to help extend the Order, you will make an earnest and sincere effort to secure the application of at least one good, eligible man within the next sixty days.
Let each sign this roll and let it be returned to the Secretary of the Court for safekeeping and,, later, during your next march to a higher degree, let it be presented as a pledge and as evidence of your loyalty to the Order.
The Chief Ranger hands roll to Senior Conductor who, in turn, hands it to the third candidate.
C.R. gives three raps, members arise.
C.R., pointing to the cross and flag: Behold before me the two great standards of civilization—the cross and the flag. The cross and flag attendant should rise. The one symbolizes the church; the other the state. How closely interwoven is man’s destiny with both. How dependent on these is the happiness and safety of the home.
My brothers, you each declared before this assemblage that you were a practical Catholic: You pledged loyalty and obedience to holy Mother Church. I present to you this cross, emblematic of our faith. The cross attendant hands cross to Chief Ranger, who presents it to Senior Conductor, who remains standing until C.R. closes remarks. Take it with you. Let it ever serve as a reminder that through it alone man can be saved and on the occasion of your next journey toward higher membership let it be presented as evidence of the faith that is in you.
The Senior Conductor holds cross erect, facing candidates, until song is concluded and then hands cross to the first candidate in line.
Solo: Hail, Cross Divine, Nearer, My God, to Thee or other appropriate religious song.
After the cross has been presented the Chief Ranger continues: At the close of each meeting of our Order, the members are reminded that a good Catholic and a true Forester is the highest type of a citizen.
Loyalty to God is the best assurance of loyalty to country. Loyalty to country is a duty as is loyalty to God, for the Master said: Render to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God, the things that are God’s.
To impress upon your minds most fully the duty you owe to your country, I now present to you this flag, the emblem of our nation. Flag attendant hands flag to the Chief Ranger, who holding it high continues: Let it ever remind you of your civic obligations, and cause you to discharge them faithfully, be it in peace or be it in war.
The Chief Ranger hands flag to Senior Conductor who faces the candidates and stands holding flag erect while the Star Spangled Banner (in Canada a national anthem) is sung. At conclusion of singing the Chief Ranger continues: Take this banner with you and in your onward march toward higher membership let it serve as evidence of your patriotism and your ever willingness to upbuild and defend your country, even at the cost of your very lives.
With cross and flag I beg you to proceed and vouch for you a safe and happy journey. Conductor presents flag to second candidate.
C.R.: Worthy Conductor, proceed.
Senior Conductor orders candidates to march as before and leads them to the ante-room.
The Chief Ranger gives three raps; all rise and sing America. In Dominion of Canada a national hymn is used. Singing should be continued until the new initiates have marched out of the hall. Upon arrival in the ante-room the Senior Conductor should have all sign the pledge roll. As soon as all have signed the Senior Conductor should announce to the Inside Sentinel that the new initiates are ready to return. If the class is large several pledge sheets should be used to expedite signing.
The Inside Sentinel, awaiting a proper pause in the business procedure of the Court, announces: Worthy Chief Ranger, the Conductors with the new initiates ask to be admitted.
C.R.: You will admit them.
The Chief Ranger gives three raps. All members rise. The Conductors will lead the new initiates before the Chief Ranger, placing them in a semi-circle, as when first they entered: A march should be played on the piano during entry. After new initiates have been properly placed the Senior Conductor will step to the center, salute the Chief Ranger, and say: Worthy Chief Ranger, I present our new brothers, each of whom has signed the roll, they now await your further pleasure.
C.R.: Brothers, you are about to be introduced collectively to the members present by me and individually, a little later, by the Conductors. Before proceeding with this formality, permit me to present to you a number of books, the reading and study of which will be most helpful to you in. your journey toward higher membership. Read them carefully. Read other books and literature of a similar nature and thus prepare yourselves for the journeys to come. A word to the wise is sufficient.
The Conductors will please distribute the books.
After they have been distributed the Chief Ranger will ask the new initiates to face the members and will make the following introduction: Brothers of ... Court No. ..., I take much pleasure in presenting to you these new brothers, who are now regular members of this Court and of the Order. Give them your hearty greeting.
The members applaud and then the Chief Ranger declares a short recess, instructing the Conductors to introduce the new members individually to all present.
After sufficient time has been given for introduction, congratulations, etc., the Chief Ranger again calls the meeting to order and continues with the Order of Business. If the meeting is a special one, for the purpose of initiating a class, a social session should follow.
In either case, one or more of the new, initiates should be called upon for remarks.
 
 
Closing Ceremony
 
A motion to proceed to close having prevailed, or there being no further business to transact, the Chief Ranger, standing, says: Brothers, we will proceed to close this meeting in regular form. The conductors will please collect the officers badges.
The Conductors proceed to collect the badges and the Chief Ranger continues: Financial Secretary, what are the receipts of the Court since the last regular meeting?
The Financial Secretary reports in the following form, speaking slowly so as to enable the Recording Secretary and the Treasurer to write it down:
The receipts are: Benefit Fund, $...; Court Fund, $...; Contingent Fund, $...; Total, $....  
C.R.: Treasurer, will you receive and receipt for these moneys at the close of the meeting and credit them to the respective funds ?
The Treasurer must answer.
C.R.:
Recording Secretary, have you kept a true record of the acts of this meeting?
The Recording Secretary must answer. And have you noted the receipts of the Court as reported by the Financial Secretary ?
The Recording Secretary must answer.
As soon as the Conductors have finished collecting the badges, the Chief Ranger requests: The Reverend Spiritual Director will please say the closing prayer.
Three raps. Members rise and remain standing during prayer.
 
 
Closing Prayer
 
Under Thy protection we take refuge, O Holy Mother of God. Despise not our petition in our necessities, but deliver us from all dangers, O ever glorious and blessed Virgin.
Let us pray for our departed Brothers.
Our Father, etc. Hail Mary, etc.
May the souls of our departed brothers and of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. R. Amen.
C.R.: Let us now sing the closing song.
At the conclusion of the song the Chief Ranger commands: The Conductors will come forward and take charge of the Cross and Flag.
The Conductors come forward, salute, take cross and flag, turn and face the meeting.
C.R.: Brothers, salute the standards.
Members give military salute.
C.R.: Conductors retire.
Conductors take cross and flag to place of safe keeping. Upon their return the C.R. will say: Brothers, the work of our meeting is performed. Let us part as we met—in the spirit of unity and brotherly love. Let all our acts at all times be governed by the sublime precepts of our Order, and the world will learn that a good Catholic and a true Forester is the highest type of a citizen. Do not fail to attend the next meeting, which will be held .... give day and date, and call particular attention to any special feature of that meeting.
The Chief Ranger then gives one rap and, making the sign of salute, says: Brothers, good night, or good afternoon as the case may be.
The members, in acknowledgment, also make the sign and say in unison: Chief Ranger, good night, or good afternoon.

 

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