Our story began in a meeting some 66+ years ago where Dr. William Venoid Banks held a meeting in Ohio with 21 other friends to conceptualize International Free & Accepted Modern Masons, Incorporated and Order of the Eastern Star (IFAMM). We are a worldwide fraternal order organized in 1950 by Dr. William V. Banks, Rev. William Kirksey and Henry Allen. The focus was to form a Christian Fraternal Society that held very high ideals about the development of men, women and children. IFAMM's purposes are moral, financial, benevolent, and charitable leadership with the focus to serve the present age, hence Modern in the name. Since our beliefs are firmly rooted in the Bible, our members are taught to be charitable and of service to all mankind. We try to induce an ethical way of life which brings about those improvements necessary to the construction of good, clean respected citizenship.
IFAMM, Inc. and OES adheres to the ancient moral principles and landmarks set up during the initiation formation of Freemasonry in England back in the 1700's. However over the course of time and due to the advancements in technology, information sharing, and societal norms; things were modified in order to remain current and allow us to offer modern benefits to our members and society as a whole. IFAMM, Inc. and OES has no quarrels with other Masonic Bodies, and we are glad to work with other Fraternal Orders to build Masonry as a brotherhood and sisterhood based on the principles of the Holy Bible.
Regarding recognition, there is no official authority in the world that oversees Freemasonry, there are model Fraternal Orders in all parts of the world. Some Masonic Bodies operating within the United States were set up before the country gained its independence and acquired a charter from England. Every legally operating Masonic body set up after 1776 in the United States has acquired recognition from a State Governing Authority (i.e. Secretary of State). IFAMM, Inc. and OES was founded and incorporated August, 1950 in Dover, Delaware. IFAMM, Inc. and OES is empowered to practice Freemasonry, and operate as a Masonic Order throughout the United States, its possessions and territories as stated in our founding documents and language. We have the same rights as those with charters issued directly from the Grand Lodge of England. The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the governing body of Freemasonry in England, Wales and the Channel Islands ONLY and does not regulate Freemasonry worldwide (as stated on their website). It is important to note that when the United States acquired its independence in 1776, Freemasons in the United States were no longer required to gain a charter from the United Grand Lodge of England to operate in the United States. Those seeking to be recognized in other countries (i.e. England) are obligated to seek recognition from the Masonic Authoritative Body in that country. The United States is a sovereign country with no obligation to any entity within another country.
One of our bedrock principles is to develop young men and women within our Fraternal Order by providing an apprentice workshop to teach them the value of doing charitable work on behalf of the Masonic Body. Our Youth Courts' mission are to inculcate certain moral principles, as exemplified by the Holy Bible and other moral sciences, which are highly regarded by our Masonic Order.
IFAMM, Inc. and OES was founded upon Christian values that deny no person the right to fraternalism, regardless of race, color or creed. Our five cardinal principles are to appeal to membership in such a manner as to:
Promote better understanding and coordination.
Improve such fields of thought which tend to ensure sound judgment.
Install in the minds of youth the necessity of intellectual progress.
Regard all that tends to develop character and wholesome personality traits.
Establish only such assets or liabilities which are within the financial range of the membership.
Since its founding, IFAMM, Inc. and OES has had representation of members from coast to coast; from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, on the Bahamas Islands and Alaska. Having chartered more than 3,500 lodges and chapters with a membership reaching well into the thousands since our beginning. In addition, our youth courts consist of more than 5,000 youth and young adults where development and growth remains our primary focus.
There are many institutions of Freemasonry across the United States and in other parts of the world who share their pride in our progress, education and the work we continue to do to maintain the integrity and honor of Freemasonry. We owe a large portion of gratitude to the well-known reputation Freemasonry enjoys throughout our nation and around the world. Alongside Freemasonry must be the focus of helping members and communities economically thrive and grow. Under Dr. Banks' leadership, IFAMM, Inc. and OES set up the first Black owned Broadcasting Facility for both a radio (WGPR - 107.5FM) and TV station (WGPR - TV62), along with the Universal Barber College, International School of Cosmetology, as well as allowing the Industrial College to put the organization in a position to render unbridled service far beyond that of any other Fraternal Order. These medians of service, coupled with other modern services, such as monetary benefits and those of prestige, and enjoyment, brought Freemasonry to a new level and where no one can doubt that International Free & Accepted Modern Masons, Inc. and Order of the Eastern Star renders services not duplicated by any other Organization.
As of December 2016, our Fraternal Order has a presence in 34 states and the Bahamas. Our Supreme Headquarters is located in Detroit, Michigan at 2101 Gratiot Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48207 where Illustrious James O. Dogan, 33° serves as the Supreme President/Chief Executive Officer. He is the fourth person to ever hold this position. We have 10 National Districts with seven actively engaged, consisting of Grand Lodges and Grand Chapters whereby Heads of State are endeared with the title Grand Master and Grand Matron, respectively. Each Lodge and Chapter is presided over by a leader who are endeared with the title Worshipful Master or Worthy Matron, respectively.
The Masonic Emblem with a key under it distinguishes IFAMM, Inc. and OES from other Masonic Bodies and we subscribe to the belief that Dr. W.V. Banks chose the key as a symbol to unlocking knowledge. Based on historical information, the key was to show a difference between our Fraternal Order and traditional Masonic body symbolism. You can see it on everything related to International F. & A. Modern Masons, Inc. and OES; our polo shirts, fezzes, letterhead, business cards, jackets, and so much more. As our Fraternal Order continues to evolve and we improve ourselves in Freemasonry and the Order of the Eastern Star, our task is to ensure we remain on the cutting edge of technology, information sharing, and membership engagement.
Should you be interested in learning more about our Fraternal Order, please contact us.