Recently, an Odd Fellow sent me the following link:

@nathanallebach

We need walkable communities to support third places and third places to support healthy societies #thirdplace #thirdplaces #walkability #walkablecities #walkablecommunities #urbanplanning #urbanism #community #carfree

♬ original sound – nathan allebach

The link contains a short video about the need for “third places” – these are places other than home and work. The video focuses on how we have generally lost these third places all across the continent. I urge you to watch the short video, as it has speaks to a real problem that confronts all clubs and lodges in this country – including our own Odd Fellows Lodges.

There was time in America when almost everyone who was anyone belonged to a Lodge. “Back in the day,” Odd Fellows Lodges boasted over one million members, and Masonic Lodges had a similar number, plus millions of other adults were members of hundreds of different fraternal orders. Those were the days when there was no Internet or even television, there were no peripheral shopping centers or malls, and towns had downtowns that were active and vibrant. Men and women wanted to congregate and socialize outside of the home and work – and they could readily do so by active participation in their churches and temples, and/or participation in various fraternal lodges and social clubs.

Society morphed dramatically and exponentially over the decades. Downtowns shrank or disappeared. Newer generations spent less time in social contact with others and more time in individual pursuits on desktops, laptops, iPads, and mobile phones. Nowadays, young people spend much of their days (and nights) looking at screens. Even reading of books, newspapers and periodicals is done on screen, rather than flipping pages of paper.

But the COVID Pandemic of 2020-22 (as horrible as it is) may have done us an unintended “favor”. The lock downs and isolation, the working from home. the disconnection with live people, reminded us of how much we really MISS our face-to-face contact with live people. And at my own Lodge, we have seen this playing out over the past two years. Folks are starting to reach out for the social contact that they have avoided over those past two years. Folks are starting to contact my Lodge – often through our website – wanting to learn more about “the Odd Fellows.” This year, alone, we have seen a tremendous uptick in applications. When the dust settles in December, my Lodge will have initiated over 40 new members.

Perhaps it’s old fashioned, but that personal human contact is vital to our species. And Odd Fellowship is a place where men and women can find it.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

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