Shriners are members of Shriners International. The Shrine is an international Fraternity of approximately 309,894 members who participate in Shrine Centers throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Europe and Republic of Panama. The Shrine was founded by two Master Masons in New York City in 1872, Walter M. Fleming, M.D., and William J. Florence. Shriners are best known by their red fez and the Shrine is best known for its colorful parades, circuses, and the Shriners Hospitals for Children, its official philanthropy. The Shrine is wholly comprised of Master Masons who, being members of the Masonic Order, adhere to the principles of Freemasonry -- Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
Freemasonry is the world’s oldest fraternity and dates back hundreds of years. It was forged in shelter houses known as lodges where stonemasons and other building craftsmen gathered. Over the years these gatherings changed in many ways. Eventually, non-tradesmen were admitted and formal Masonic lodges emerged with members bound together by their search for fraternal fellowship and sharing of ideas. No longer was the Lodge solely craftsmen. The Lodge is where members earn the first three Masonic degrees. There is no higher degree than that of Master Mason (the Third Degree), but for those men who wish to further explore the allegory and symbolism learned in Lodge, the Scottish Rite and York Rite elaborate on the basic tenets of Freemasonry. Then there is the Shrine.
Men from all walks of life and all levels of income find fun, fellowship and relaxation in their individual Shrine Centers and its activities. They enjoy parades, trips, circuses, dances, dinners, family-picnics, sporting events and other social occasions together. They wear their red fez at official functions. Shriners are men who enjoy life. The Shrine offers men, their wives and their families an opportunity to meet new friends who have similar interests, tastes and feelings. It also offers men an opportunity to give of themselves in support to charity. Through fellowship and philanthropy, Shrinedom helps to strengthen the soul and can add a deeper meaning to one’s life. There are 191 Shrine Centers located in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Republic of Panama. There are also are informal Shrine Clubs located throughout the world.
Shriners Hospitals have a three-fold purpose:
1: TREATMENT: To save children's lives and restore their bodies to the highest level of usefulness;
2) RESEARCH: To conduct research into orthopedic and burn care; and
3) EDUCATION: To train physicians and other medical professionals in the treatment of orthopedic disabilities and burn injuries.
Of the 22 hospitals, there are 7 hospitals devoted to a specific form of critical care. There are four burns hospitals and three spinal injury hospitals. All care and services provided at Shriners Hospitals are absolutely without charge to the patient and family. Funding is solely provided by the Shrine through gifts, bequests, income from the endowment fund, hospital fund-raising events, and the annual assessment paid by every Shriner.
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.
The Shriner's Mission Statement
The Premiere Fraternal Organization for men of good character;
Committed to providing attractive, quality programs and services for its members, their families and friends in a spirit of fun, fellowship and social camaraderie;
Fostering self-improvement through leadership, education, the perpetuation of moral values and community involvement;
Serving mankind through the resources of its great philanthropy, the Shriners Hospitals for Children.