About The Grand Bethel of Maryland
Officers in Maryland’s Grand Bethel are both elected and appointed. Just like a regular Bethel, the Grand Bethel Line Officers (GB Marshal, GB Guide, GBJP, GBSP, and GBHQ) are elected by the GB members. The GBHQ appoints the other Officers and Representatives. Our Grand Bethel Officers are: GB Secretary, GB Treasurer, GB Chaplain, GB Librarian, GB Musician, GB First Messenger, GB Second Messenger, GB Third Messenger, GB Fourth Messenger, GB Fifth Messenger, GB Senior Custodian and GB Junior Custodian. Maryland’s Grand Bethel does not have an Inner Guard or an Outer Guard because Grand Bethel meetings are open to everyone. Members can be a Representative to any Jurisdiction in the US or Canada, or to the entire countries of Australia, the Philippines, or Brazil.
Maryland’s Grand Bethel has two terms a year, from March to September and from September to March. Our Grand Bethel Semi-Annual Sessions are held on Saturdays in March and September where we have a Business Meeting and an Installation. The first meeting of the day is the Business Meeting. Regular business is conducted and the election of Officers is held. However, GB Officers are elected six months ahead of time. In other words, if in March a member is elected as GB Junior Princess, she will be installed as such in September. It is done this way because Installation is in the evening, directly following the Business Meeting. GB meetings are held every month. They are all informal meetings with the exception of the Business Meeting at Semi-Annual Session and a Special Meeting held once a term in January and June. These Special Meetings are much like the Official Visitations that regular Bethels have. All members of the GB are encouraged to attend as many meetings as possible.
To be “welcomed” into the Grand Bethel, a petitioner must be a Past Honored Queen or Majority Member of a Bethel. The petitioner is given a Welcome Ceremony, in which she learns about the history and purposes of our Grand Bethel. During the ceremony, all of the Job’s Daughters present who are not members of Grand Bethel are asked to leave the room so that they may see the ceremony for the first time when they are Welcomed. A GB member may receive her GB Majority Ceremony and certificate at the age of twenty-five.
The Grand Bethel does fundraisers to finance its own expenses. Otherwise, the Grand Bethel’s main function is to assist the other Bethels in the jurisdiction and the Grand Guardian Council with their activities and meetings. Grand Bethel members fill vacancies in Bethels during meetings, Initiations, and Installations when asked. Grand Bethel members, as the majority of them are older than most Daughters, are to serve as examples for younger Daughters to emulate and encourage them to learn the Ritual and be active in their Bethels.
The Grand Bethel of Maryland has a five-person Executive Committee consisting of: the GBHQ, GBSP, GBJP, GB Guide and GB Marshal. The Executive Committee votes on absences and other important business. The GB Secretary, GB Treasurer, and GB Marshal-elect may also attend the Executive Committee meetings, but not as voting members. Grand Bethel of MD also has a two-person council consisting of a Grand Bethel Guardian and Grand Bethel Associate Guardian. The Grand Bethel Guardian/Grand Bethel Associate Guardian must be a Past Bethel Guardian/Past Associate Bethel Guardian to serve as such. They attend Executive Committee Meetings, advise the GB members in making decisions, help the GB Secretary and GB Treasurer keep the GB records, supervise the Ritual work, and perform many other important functions. The GBG and GBAG are recommended by the Grand Bethel Members by secret ballot and are appointed by the Grand Guardian and Associate Grand Guardian.
Maryland’s Grand Bethel is quite unique. The first thing one might notice is that rather than a semi-circle, the Officers in the middle of the floor sit in a semi-rectangle. The GB Librarian is South of the Altar and the GB 1st Messenger is directly behind her. Directly behind the GB 1st Messenger is the GB 2nd Messenger. The GB 3rd Messenger is directly to her left. The GB 4th Messenger is to the left of the GB 3rd Messenger. The GB Chaplain sits north of the Altar. The GB 5th Messenger is directly behind her and in front of the GB 4th Messenger. The GB of MD has unique marching lines, completely different from those of a regular Bethel. The GB Guide, GB Marshal, and other GB Officers march in diagonal - rather than straight - lines for much of the floor work. For example when escorting guests, the GB Guide and GB Marshal walk to the regular point east of the Altar then, rather than walking directly to the east in front of the GBHQ’s podium, turning and backing up, they just march diagonally to points in front of the GB Custodian’s pedestals while the guests walk straight. The GB flower is the calla lily, which, to quote the Welcome Ceremony, “grows tall, stately, and beautiful in its spotless purity.” The Grand Bethel’s colors are light blue – representing fidelity – and white – representing purity. For Special and Business Meetings, the Grand Bethel Princesses and the Grand Bethel Honored Queen wear long white formals, light blue capes with a white Greek key design, and matching crystal tiaras. The GB Guide and GB Marshal wear tea length white dresses. The other Grand Bethel Officers and Representatives wear denim skirts and white blouses of their choice. For Installation, the Grand Bethel Line Officers wear long white formals and the other Officers wear long pastel colored formals. At the end of her term, each Past Grand Bethel Honored Queen is presented with a tiara or crown of her choice. She is welcome to wear her PGBHQ tiara at all Grand Bethel Business Meetings, Installations, and Special Meetings.