HISTORY OF THE ORDER OF RAINBOW FOR GIRLS
IN THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
Our founder, the late Rev. W. Mark Sexson, was born on July 8, 1877, to pioneer parents from Illinois who later settled in Missouri. As a young boy, he began preaching the Word of God and later became the minister of the First Christian Church of Bloomfield, Indiana. It was during this time that he joined the Masonic Fraternity. In 1909, he journeyed to Europe, Assyria, Palestine and Egypt in search of Masonic information and further preparation for his work as a contributor of Masonic literature. In addition to being a Past Master of South McAlester Lodge No. 96, F. & A.M., Mr. Sexson was also a Most Worshipful Grand Master of Oklahoma as well as a Grand Patron of the Grand Chapter of Oklahoma, O.E.S.
As the DeMolay had already been formed and had come under close study and observation during his Masonic activities, Mr. Sexson had become aware of the fact that an order for girls, setting forth some of the truths of Masonry, was necessary. Thus he wrote our Ritual giving it the name of the Order of Rainbow for Girls, and so on April 6, 1922; a class of 171 girls was initiated into the Order at McAlester, Oklahoma.
One day Mrs. Black noticed a newspaper item stating that an exemplification of a Rainbow degree was held in Oklahoma. With her curiosity aroused, she wrote to Mr. Sexson requesting full information about the Order. After a study of the material, she concluded that Rainbow would be a wonderful organization for the girls of New Jersey. Thus she began to contact influential Masonic and Eastern Star people to ascertain if they would be willing to sponsor Rainbow on a statewide level. This idea received fantastic support!
Mrs. Black was commissioned as a Deputy in 1922, and on February 13, 1923, the first Rainbow Assembly of New Jersey was instituted in Newark. One hundred and seventy-five girls were initiated from all over the state as Mr. Sexson witnessed the vows. Mrs. Black’s Rainbow accomplishments were not limited by state boundaries as she instituted assemblies in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York State.
Mrs. Black resigned as Supreme Inspector as of December 31, 1964. She passed away January 5, 1966. Mrs. Elizabeth H. Repka was appointed as Supreme Deputy, January 1, 1965.
Mrs. Repka was elected as Supreme Inspector and Member of The House of Gold on July 19, 1976. God blessed her as she served our Order through Love and Service. Mrs. Repka resigned as Supreme Inspector December 13, 1981, and passed away December 14, 1981.
Mrs. Florence R. Hughes was appointed to serve as Supreme Deputy in New Jersey on December 14, 1981, by Mrs. Agnes McLeod, Supreme Worthy Advisor, Supreme Assembly. Mrs. Hughes had been active in Rainbow for many years, having been a member of the Order of Rainbow when she was a girl. She was a member of The Order of The Eastern Star and had devoted her time and love and service to the Rainbow Girls in New Jersey, and worked to bring our beautiful Order into the lives of many more young girls in our State. Mrs. Florence R. Hughes was elected Supreme Inspector and a Member of The House of Gold on July 26, 1988, at Supreme Convention in Mobile, Alabama. Mrs. Hughes resigned as Supreme Inspector and Member of the House of Gold on December 31, 1999. Mrs. Hughes passed away in April 2011.
Miss Kathleen Nase was appointed to serve as Supreme Deputy in New Jersey on January 1, 2000, by Mrs. Mary Muhs, Supreme Worthy Advisor, Supreme Assembly International Order of the Rainbow for Girls. Miss Nase has been active in Rainbow for many years, serving as Mother Advisor of Iris Assembly No. 31; Grand Deputy; Grand Executive Committee Member, State Pledge Director and State Mother Advisor. Miss Nase was elected Supreme Inspector and a Member of the House of Gold on July 24, 2008, at the Supreme Session held in Chicago, Illinois. We wish for her the best in serving the New Jersey Grand Assembly. At the 2012 Supreme Session in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Miss Nase was appointed Supreme Immortality for 2012-2014.
Rainbow in New Jersey is delighted to have many Pledge Assemblies that have helped our local Assemblies to grow in membership. Our Pledge Assemblies are very special to us because they are the future of the International Order of Rainbow for Girls. May they grow and prosper. We are looking forward to reactivating some Pledge Assemblies in the very near future. Our Pledge Sisters are a delight, and we look forward to welcoming them to our Grand Assembly Session on Saturday evening when they will take their place of honor in the Assembly Room.
New Jersey is fortunate to have a number of devoted workers who assure the success of our Order. They are the Adult Grand Assembly Executive Committee, Grand Deputies, Mother Advisors, Advisory Board Members, but most of all the girls make Rainbow in New Jersey. Being the first state east of the Mississippi River to celebrate its 50th Anniversary proves New Jersey Rainbow is made up of dedicated and concerned members and workers.
New Jersey was truly honored by the Supreme Assembly in 1994. For the very first time ever, our Grand Cross of Color Team was selected to perform the Grand Cross of Color Degree at Supreme Session held in Baltimore, Maryland. Each member of this team performed exceptional work and certainly brought honor to our State. We were very grateful to be given this wonderful opportunity by the Supreme Assembly. Again, in 2014 New Jersey was honored by the Supreme Assembly to perform the Grand Cross of Color Degree at the Supreme Session held in Baltimore, Maryland. We are very proud of each member of this team as they performed exceptional work.