History of the Shriners

Shriners International is, at its most basic level, a fraternity.

It all started in Manhattan in 1870 when some members of what’s considered the world’s oldest fraternity – Masonry – were hanging out at their favorite tavern. They felt that Masonry, which traces its roots to stonemasons and craftsmen of the Middle Ages, was a tad too focused on ritual. These guys wanted a fraternity that stressed fun and fellowship.

Two of those gentlemen – Walter M Fleming, M.D., and Billy Florence, an actor – took that idea and ran with it. Florence came up with the idea for a Near Eastern-themed party after attending a party thrown by an Arabian diplomat. Fleming added the structure, drafting the fraternity’s name, initiation rites, rituals and rules. Together, Fleming and Florence designed the fraternity’s emblem, devised a salutation and determined that the red fez with the black tassel would be the group’s official headgear.

The first chapter, Mecca Shriners, met in New York City in 1872. As word got out about the fledgling organization, membership grew rapidly, spreading across the U.S. In the early 1900s, membership spread into Canada, Mexico and Panama. Today there are approximately 340,000 Shriners belonging to 193 chapters in the U.S., Mexico, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and the Republic of Panama.

 

The Shriner's Creed

Shriners believe in God and that He created man to serve His purposes, among which is service to others in His name.

 

We believe that care for the less fortunate, especially children who suffer from burns and crippling diseases, is our institutional calling.

 

We are patriots, each willing to serve his country with fidelity and courage. We cherish independence under law and freedom with responsibility.

 

We honor family. We respect our parents, wives and children. We should instill in our children the tenets of this creed, and the heritage from which it emanates.

 

As individuals we pledge ourselves to integrity, virtue and nobility of character. Our intentions will be honorable, our relations will be trustworthy and our spirits forgiving of each other.

 

As brothers we offer each other fraternal affection and respect. Together we will support each other in adherence to this creed, so that we and our communities will be the better because of our fraternity and its principles.

 

As Shriners we look beyond ourselves to serve the needs of others, especially children who cannot help themselves. We believe Shriners Hospitals to be the world's greatest philanthropy, and we covenant with each other to support its "temples of mercy" with spirit, time, talent and means.

 

 

About Shriners Hospitals for Children®

Shriners Hospitals for Children® is an international health care system dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, innovative research and outstanding teaching programs. The hospitals focus on four specialized areas of care:

Orthopaedic Care – medical and rehabilitative services for children with congenital deformities and conditions, problems resulting from orthopaedic injuries, and diseases of the neuromusculoskeletal system.

Burn Care – treatment for acute and non-acute burn injuries and related scarring, along with physical rehabilitation and emotional support.

Spinal Cord Injury – spinal cord injury rehabilitation specifically for children, offering some of the most advanced treatment in the country, with full range of services.

Cleft Lip and Palate Care – coordinated, comprehensive multidisciplinary care for children with this condition.

Learn more about Shriners Hospitals for Children by visiting www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.

 

How To Become A Shriner

If you hold the title of Master Mason in Freemasonry, you qualify and are invited to join the Shriners.

In order to become a Shriner you must ask a current Shriner to support and sponsor your application.

If you are not a Freemason, you must pursue that first. Once you are a Master Mason you will then be eligible to petition to become a Shriner.

There are many benefits to becoming a Shriner.

  • Membership in a well-known fraternal organization recognized for its social and philanthropic activities.
  • Opportunity to develop lasting relationships with like minded men from all over the world
  • Engage in social activities and events that are available for the entire family. Participate in many special interest groups with Shriners that allow like minded men to enjoy a little high-spirited fun. Motorcycles, trap shooting, parades, golf, flying and sports cars are all examples of these types of groups
  • The privilege of supporting the "world’s greatest philanthropy,” Shriners Hospitals for Children®, offers Shriners many opportunities to find personal fulfillment and satisfaction

 

More information can be found at www.beashrinernow.com