About the Shrine Clubs of Al Chymia
In order to furnish a means whereby a group of interested Nobles can get together in their own area, the Shrine Club concept was given to the Temples so that those living some considerable distance from the Temple could utilize it. As Al Chymia is located in Memphis with exclusive jurisdiction over West Tennessee, it puts some Nobles over one hundred-thirty miles from the Temple. Up until World War II, his Ambassadors in the areas outside of Shelby County handled most of the liaison work for the Potentate. After the war in 1945 ended, membership increased rapidly and the need for clubs became evident to the leaders of the Temple and the Ambassadors. Wherever an Ambassador or other interested Noble could get together enough members, he could petition the Potentate for permission to form a club. There are other factors that have to be considered, but the idea is to get the facts from the Potentate, and then proceed accordingly. As long as a club abides by the rules and bylaws of the Temple and the Imperial, it can handle its affairs as the members desire.
In 1945, there were four operative Shrine Clubs: Fellowship at Dyersburg-Newbern, Triangle for Carroll-BentonHenry counties, Jackson for Madison and Chester counties, and Tipton County Shrine Club. As more Masons became Shriners, the desire to get even closer to home grew stronger and resulted in more clubs being formed. By 1948, the following clubs started: Gibson County, Beech River for Lexington-Parsons area, Goodwill at Union City, and Pickwick. In 1949, they got the Carroll County Club going in a spin-off from the Triangle Club. Paris Shrine Club did the same thing for Henry County, and this brought a close to the old Triangle Club.
There have been several other clubs that operated from time to time, and mention is made of them because at the time they served a good purpose. In addition to Fellowship and Triangle which were needed because of growth in the area, one of the more active and successful clubs was the Camden Shrine Club. This was a spin-off from the Triangle Club, and began in March 1953.
Another club that enjoyed a few years of activity was the Navy Shrine Club at Millington from 1958 through 1963. Some of the leaders there were Jessie Feith, John T. Sorenson, M. G. Yarbrough and E. J. Kops.
Others were the Lakeview Club led by John H. Hogan; the Twin-County by W. A. Mitchell and the Reelfoot Club from 1971 to 1974 led by Albert Markham, Charlie Archie, and Bobby Joe Crocker.
The number of clubs has varied through the years. The clubs and units in these areas have served many good purposes. The basic reason for existence is to promote Shrinedom and its goals, and in addition, the clubs can be a showcase to non-Shriners to let people know what we are about in serving our fellowmen with our great philanthropy – the Shrine Hospitals for Children and the Shrine Bums lnstitutes.