Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
As your newly installed Grand Master, my watchwords are: “Evolution and Change.” I have made no secret of my vision for our Order. It can be summarized in a syllogism: (1) Our Order is slowing withering away because our Lodges lose more members than they gain. (2) In Order to survive and thrive in the future, our Lodges must increase membership. (3) To increase membership, our Lodges must evolve and change from one-dimensional Lodges to three-dimensional Lodges.
I have defined a “three-dimensional Lodge” as one that broadly emphasizes all three aspects (not merely one aspect) of fraternal life: (1) The rich history, tradition and ritual that makes us uniquely Odd Fellows. (2) The social aspects of fraternal life – e.g. internal Lodge activities that bring the “fun” back for our members. (3) A strong commitment to our local communities – e.g. Lodges opening their doors and windows and reaching out to do good charitable works locally. It’s really simple: If you look at the successful, growing Lodges in our State and around North America, you will generally see three-dimensional Lodges. Why would we not emulate those success stories?
PGM Rick Boyles, who is now Chair of the newly constituted Grand Lodge DMC Committee, has submitted the article, below, showing the beginnings of evolution and change at the Grand Lodge level.
F – L – T
Jurisdiction of California
A Summation of Grand Lodge Sessions: Change is Coming
Katie, bar the door, guard against any change. That will do it, right? No it won’t. Change is inevitable. All of us age, all must adapt or die, this is evolution, pure and simple, failure to evolve only translates to the failure to live.
But, what is this objection to change, exactly?
Not to belabor the obvious, the main objection to change appears to be that change will alter a lodge’s internal make-up. This is nonsense. Each of us is in control of our own lodge. If you are doing fine, have a healthy attendance level, and happy members, change is not necessary. However, if your lodge has fewer than 5 members in regular attendance, and a failing environment, why would you object to change? But change is coming, like it or not. Consider the latest figures from this year’s Grand Lodge Sessions:
ELECTED GRAND LODGE OFFICERS:
GRAND MASTER: DAVE ROSENBERG
DEPUTY GRAND MASTER: PETER SELLARS
GRAND WARDEN: DAVE REED
GRAND REPRESENTATIVE TO SOVEREIGN GRAND LODGE: RODNEY METOYER
GRAND LODGE BOARD OF DIRECTORS: RICK BOYLES, BARRY PROCK (4 YEAR TERM);
RITA COOPER (MORSE LODGE #257, 2 YEAR TERM)
Summation: A Majority of the New Elected Officers are Progressive Members
TEN LODGES SHOWING LARGEST NUMBER OF TOTAL MEMBERSHIP
APOLLO #123 304
YERBA BUENA #15 295
CALIFORNIA #1 267
DAVIS #169 209
GOLDEN WEST #151 151
LODI #269 124
MT. BROW #82 97
FRANCO-AMERICA #207 93
VACAVILLE #83 85
SAN PABLO #43 77
Summation: A Majority of the Largest Growing Lodges are Progressive Lodges
Progressive members now are in the majority, progressive officers now dominate the elective positions of the California Grand Lodge. What does this mean, exactly? It means that the general members in California are clearly in favor of change. We either initiate change or change will initiate itself; in other words, we can parade around in tuxedos and long skirts or we can sniff the coffee and realize that this is 2015 and not 1915. The real problem with parading around in medieval clothing and chanting what is basically a Gregorian chant is not that we are doing it, but in the ludicrous expectation some of us seem to have that others will join us. We must modernize and modernize now and stop fighting the idea of modernization. The path to the future has been shown to us by our members: we must be mature enough to realize that the past is past and the future is only attainable if we are open to it.
In Friendship, Love, and Truth, Rick Boyles