Creating change within the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Creating change within the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

I admit it. When I first started out as Noble Grand of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) in Davis, California (Davis Lodge #169), I viewed it as a laboratory. Soon after I joined Odd Fellowship in 2004, I found a Lodge (and, frankly, an entire fraternal order) that was in trouble. It could only be described as membership free-fall. The Lodge was losing members. The entire Order was losing members.

Let’s face it. With a human lifespan topping out at 100 years (on a good day) a Lodge and a fraternal order has a responsibility to replace and renew its membership with new, younger members who can carry on after existing members drop out, move away, or pass away. A Lodge and an order can live for hundreds of years, if it ensures that it brings in more members than it loses (or at a minimum, brings in the same number of new members that it loses). And this growth was the track of Odd Fellowship in North America for the first century of its existence. From the 1820’s to the 1920’s, Independent Order of Odd Fellowship was alive and well, expanding and growing.

And then, in the 1920’s ennui set in. Little by little, membership declined. Bottom line, Lodges suffered net losses of members year after year. A net loss is a situation occurring when a Lodge loses more members than it gains in a particular year. Net losses had become the new normal. And that norm had continued for a century.

I found that to be true in my own Lodge when I joined in 2004. And so, I decided to change the trajectory of my Lodge. Because without change, the direction was obvious. We were losing more members than we were gaining and it would be only a matter of time before the Lodge would not be viable. I could see it happening right in my hometown. The Davis Rebekah Lodge (chartered in 1901) was on its last legs. The membership (on the books) was less than 10 ladies. The members were all in their 70’s and 80’s and they had not brought in any new members in some time (and when they did, the “new” members were in their 70’s and 80’s). I made sure to resurrect the Davis Rebekah Lodge by encouraging twelve members of my Odd Fellows Lodge (men and women of diverse ages) to join. And today, the Rebekah Lodge is alive and well with membership four times what it was 10 years ago.

So, the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge became my laboratory for change. I realized that I could not significantly affect my Grand Lodge or Sovereign Grand Lodge – but I could direct what happened locally, in my Davis Lodge. We went in a new direction. We were not content just to run formal meetings and confer degrees (although that is certainly important to a fraternal order). We also reached out into the community to do good works in town. And we created a number of committees to plan fun social events for our members, as well as community events for our town. Perhaps most importantly, we opened the doors and windows of our Lodge to our community – we became very visible and we invited diverse people – men and women of all ages – to join the Lodge.

And what’s the result of this grand experiment?

The new direction we traveled has brought our Davis Lodge membership from less than 30 (when I joined in 2004) to well over 300 (in 2022). A ten-fold increase. We currently have 324 members on our books, and 26 applicants for membership – a remarkable statistic in a pandemic. Every single year since 2004, we have had a net gain in members. More importantly, the membership is diverse. Our median age is just under 50, and we have many members in their 40’s, 30’s and 20’s (as well as those in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s). In other words, our membership reflects three generations and is well equipped to grow and prosper into the 21st Century.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Enhancing the Odd Fellows through Committees

Enhancing the Odd Fellows through Committees

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, Last week, I published a DMC Newsletter where I highlighted the fact that my own Odd Fellows Lodge in Davis, California, has shown net gains in membership, year-after-year, for the past 18 years. In that article, I talked about the...

Odd Fellow Sheila Allen – New Deputy County Supervisor

Odd Fellow Sheila Allen – New Deputy County Supervisor

Yolo County Supervisor Jim Provenza of Davis announced the appointment of Sheila Allen as his new Deputy, effective February 1, 2022. Current deputy Richard Reed is retiring and will continue on a part-time basis for a period of time to help with the transition,...

Odd Fellows Newsletter

Odd Fellows Newsletter

Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

Does your Lodge have a newsletter? If you do, good for you! If you don’t, consider starting one. They are valuable tools (particularly during the pandemic) to keep the members informed of comings-and-goings and happenings, and to give notices and reminders. They are effective and efficient vehicles to build cohesion and to share information. They also provide an opportunity to recognize members for their work on behalf of the Lodge and for the community.

Most newsletters are produced monthly, and some even weekly. Many newsletters are produced in hard-copy and mailed to members. Far more efficiently (and cheaply) some newsletters are produced electronically and emailed to members. To have an effective newsletter, you need just three things: (1) The will by Lodge leadership to do it; (2) Snail mail addresses or email addresses for members (and also for applicants for membership as some Lodges send the newsletter to the applicants); and (3) A reliable person or small committee to accumulate the information and “publish” the newsletter.

Newsletters can start short and simple. Every journey must start with a step. Once it starts, it can grow as members can give the newsletter “editor” information to include in future newsletters.

To give you an example of an effective newsletter, I am forwarding a recent copy of the newsletter that I produce for my Lodge, Davis #169 in California. This newsletter is called “The Odd Gossip Page” and it is produced electronically once each week and emailed to every member and every applicant (in my Lodge we call the applicants “Pledges” until the time they are initiated). By the way, I also serve as Membership Chair for my Lodge and I have found the newsletter to be a very effective tool not only for internal communication, but also for membership development.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

 

Dear Odd Fellows and Pledges,

Here we are in the final days of 2021. Get ready for yet another dose of Odd Gossip. We call it “gossip”, but we publish only positive information about the Lodge, the members, comings and goings, tidbits and events. Nothing negative published here. If you have any input for future Odd Gossip Pages, please send it along to me. Here’s this week’s version of “Odd Gossip”.

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Happy Birthday to the Odd Fellows and Pledges Born in the Month of January

The list of January birthday boys and girls was compiled by Financial Secretary Beth Dovi (thank you, Beth). We wish a happy birthday to the Members of our Lodge and the Pledges who were born in January. Happy Birthday, you crazy January kids.

  • Terry Antonelli
  • Dominic Berlingeri (Pledge)
  • Michael Bisch
  • Lang Bledsoe
  • Bob Bockwinkel
  • Benjamin Brezing (Pledge)
  • Sheryl Cambron
  • Tim Carroll
  • John Coburn (Pledge)
  • Evan Daly
  • Sean Davis
  • Nigel Delaney
  • Matthew Elliott
  • Ann Filmer
  • Charles Filmer
  • Terri Fong
  • Russ Gebhardt
  • Marna Ghiglieri
  • Larry Guenther
  • David Hafter
  • Pam Holm
  • Gretchen Ladley
  • Kati O’Day
  • Kelli O’Day
  • Ilse Pastor (Pledge)
  • Dean Ranns
  • Karen Russell
  • Don Sherman
  • Raquel Silva
  • Terry Toy
  • Marian Zingaro
  • Maya Zingaro

 

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Last Chance to Donate the Gift of Blood – You can Donate to the Blood Drive at the Lodge this Wednesday, December 29

Here’s a message for the Lodge from James Bledsoe, Past Grand, who organizes our blood drives:

“Our 5th Odd Fellows Blood Drive of this Year is on December 29, 2021 – from 12 noon till 5 pm. We hope to end the year averaging 45 pints per Drive. That’s 225 pints of donated Blood and up to 675 lives saved. Way to go Davis Odd Fellow Lodge and Community!

We have over 25 donors signed up so far – awesome! Please sign up today!

Sign up:
https://donors.vitalant.org/dwp/portal/dwa/appointment/guest/phl/timeSlotsExtr?token=8LK7V2ggHhzM%2FcCTOv0M7DGICYVMBeJSZnRqnJNkQnA%3D

And thank you to Blood Drive volunteers. Terri Fong is helping on set up. Nan Schuman Klein is signing folks in at the door. Joel Mandel will be staffing the snack table. And JoAnne Hokanson is in charge of clean up. We are fully staffed!”

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And This Is Your Last Chance to Vote for the “Readers’ Choice” Awards

The deadline to vote is this Friday, December 31. Every year, the Davis Enterprise runs this survey to pick the best of the best. So cast your votes today. The link to vote is: https://readerschoose.com/

We are talking about the Davis Enterprise’s “Readers’ Choice” survey. The paper is doing it again in 2021, and voting ends at the end of December. You can vote online and also via a printed ballot. I encourage all Odd Fellows and Pledges to vote. There are over 130 categories, and no one is expected to vote in all – however, you must vote for at least 20 categories to allow your ballot to be counted.

The printed ballot is available in the Davis Enterprise, or you can go online to vote at the url provided above in this email. It’s fun and easy.

And make sure to vote for “The Lodge at Odd Fellows Hall” in the category of “Best Venue to Hold an Event”.

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January 1 Polar Bear Ride Coming – Calling All Strong and Sturdy Bicycle Riders!

Here’s a message from Maria Contreras Tebbutt, a Member of our Lodge and an active bicyclist:

“SAVE THE DATE! Start the new year right. Plan now to ride in the FREE Polar Bear Bike Ride on Saturday, January 1st, 12noon-2pm. Start anywhere on the Davis Bike Loop and ride in either direction (up to 12 mi) OR ride the 10 mi Woodland Bike Loop. Nothing will stop us, not rain, hail or snow. There will be FREE hot chocolate for riders at the 2pm afterparty at the Davis Food Co-op and at Nugget in Woodland. See the bike loop maps at www.TheBikeCampaign.com QUESTIONS? Contact Maria at funmaria@sbcglobal.net.”

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First “Club Night at the Lodge” for 2022 Scheduled for January 6

WHEN: Thursday, January 6, 2022, Club Night doors open at 5:30 p.m. and Club Night wraps up around 8:00 p.m. (Note: This will be the first Club Night of 2022.)

WHERE: Lower Hall, Davis Odd Fellows Lodge.

WHO: Members and Pledges, and their guests, are cordially invited.

WHAT: Thursday evening’s “Club Night at the Lodge” features: (1) Comfort Food After the Holidays: Chicken Dumpling Soup (Veggie Dumpling Soup for the Vegetarians), Rolls, Grilled Cauliflower, Romaine Salad and Dilly Ranch Dressing. Yum! Dinner will be available soon after 6:05 p.m. Dinner is only $10 per plate. (2) The Bar. Our Bar will be open, staffed by volunteers, with a selection of wines, beer, and soft drinks – all at special Club Night prices. Cash welcome; credit cards accepted. (3) Trivia Night. Trivia Master will be Dave Rosenberg, here at the Lodge to challenge you with three quick rounds of trivia. We play by table and there are extraordinary and sublime prizes for the winning tables. Odd Fellows Trivia starts around 6:35 p.m. (4) Social Time. There will be plenty of time to get to chat and socialize with your Lodge mates. (5) Jigsaw Puzzles. Lea Rosenberg will supply the ever-popular 100-piece jigsaw puzzles (and some 200-piece puzzles) for the tables. (6) Big Screen Projection TV. Our big-screen television will be on and available tonight for your viewing pleasure. (7) The Piano Lounge. Our talented Lodge piano player, Blake Temple, will be on hand to entertain us on the baby grand piano.

WHY: Club Night at the Lodge is brought to you virtually every Thursday evening – just to kick back with your Lodge mates, relax, unwind, socialize, and have some fun. The Club Night Committee is co-chaired by Kathy Hemness and Kevin Sitz. Noble Grand Matt Elliott organizes the Club Night volunteers.

REMINDER: The Lodge mandates that attendees be vaccinated. In addition, Yolo County Health Officials have ordered that all individuals wear masks while indoors at a business or social gathering, whether vaccinated or not. This order applies to the Lodge Hall. The restrooms, hallways, and rooms at the Lodge are thoroughly and professionally cleaned every day. There will be hand sanitizer on each table in the Lower Hall. Please wear your mask at all times inside the Lodge, unless you are eating or drinking at the moment. We want everyone to feel comfortable and to be safe.

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January Is the Month for Four Installations at the Lodge Hall

We have four Installations of 2022 Officers coming up during the month of January, all being held at the Lodge Hall. Installations are scheduled for the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge, the Davis Rebekah Lodge, the Davis Encampment, and Canton Davis. Here are the dates for the four Installations:

Wednesday, January 19: Canton Davis Installation Dinner. The event starts at 6:31 pm.

Saturday. January 22. Davis Encampment Installation Dinner. The event starts at 5:00 pm.

Monday, January 24. Davis Rebekah Lodge Installation Dinner. The event starts at 6:00 pm.

Sunday, January 30. Davis Odd Fellows Lodge Installation and Awards Dinner. The event starts at 5:30 pm.

The following 2022 Elected Officers will be installed at these Installation Dinners (in addition, appointed officers will be announced and installated as well):

Davis Odd Fellows Lodge:

Noble Grand Kurt Roggli
Vice Grand Larry Guenther
Secretary Juelie Roggli
Treasurer Kathy Hemness
Financial Secretary Beth Dovi

Davis Rebekah Lodge:

Noble Grand Charlene Sailer
Vice Grand Joel Mandel
Secretary Terry Toy
Treasurer Beth Dovi
Financial Secretary Lin Spangler

Davis Encampment:

Chief Patriarch Kevin Sitz
Senior Warden Charlene Sailer
Junior Warden Matthew Elliott
High Priestess Lea Rosenberg
Scribe Ann Filmer
Treasurer Duff Devine
Financial Scribe Sharon Hale

Canton Davis:

Captain Kevin Sitz
Lieutenant Matthew Elliott
Ensign Sharla Cheney
Clerk Sheryl Cambron
Accountant Joel Mandel

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New Barn Owl Box Committee Looking to Fill Its Ranks

A brand new committee has launched!

Hoo would like to help barn owls in Davis? Join the newly formed Barn Owl Box Committee, to help build barn owl boxes (easy!) for either placement in trees on city property or in personal street trees in your neighborhood. Working in conjunction with the city’s wildlife coordinator, this committee will help build and place barn owl boxes throughout the city. Barn owls eat rats and gophers and are cool to hear hooting at night.

Contact Erik Vink (erik_vink@hotmail.com) for more details. Erik has advised that EIGHT members and pledges have already signed up for the new committee. But there is always room for more. NOTE: The Barn Owl Box Committee is holding its first organizing meeting tomorrow, Monday, December 27. I understand that folks can attend this meeting by phone. Please contact Erik for details on time and logistics.

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The Odd Fellows “Senior Helper Committee” Could Use Your Help

The Lodge’s “Senior Helper Committee” assists older adult in Davis with small jobs around the home such as grab bar installation, connecting computers and TVs, changing smoke alarm batteries, yard work, etc. Sheila Allen serves as chair of this important community-serving committee.

If you want to help, please contact Sheila at 530-753-4551.

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Getting Ready for Picnic Day 2022

Two of our Lodge committees, centered around Picnic Day, could use your help. If you wish to volunteer for either of these committees, please contact the chairs – they would love to have your help. Picnic Day 2022 is on Saturday, April 23. The theme for the 2022 Picnic Day is “Rediscovering Tomorrow”.

Picnic Day Pancake Breakfast Committee. During the morning hours of April 23, the Lodge hosts our “Davis Odd Fellows Picnic Day Pancake Breakfast.” This is a tradition that goes back at least 70 years for our Lodge, and is very popular in our town. We provide a breakfast of pancakes, sausages, fruit, coffee and juice at a very reasonable price. It’s a great tradition in Davis to come to the Picnic Day pancake Breakfast, and lots of locals attend when they come downtown to watch the Picnic Day Parade. Odd Fellow volunteers do all the work, and it’s a great community service and tradition. Volunteers set up, sell tickets, cook, serve, bus dishes, and clean up. Contact Committee Chair Holly Bishop at holly@hollytime.com if you wish to help. Holly says that last year they had 16 volunteers. She has already gotten several volunteers to step up, including Kathy Hemness who will serve as co-chair and be in charge of the kitchen and cooking.

Picnic Day Float Committee. Another tradition that goes back in time is the Picnic Day Parade. There are bands, marchers and small floats sponsored by various organizations at UCD and in Davis. Thousands of folks from Davis and the region come to town to watch the parade. For several years the Davis Odd Fellows have designed, constructed, hammered, nailed, sawed, painted, etc. a Picnic Day Float, and we will do it again in 2022. The Lodge owns a trailer just for this purpose. We need volunteers to help with a fun project: design and build a Picnic Day Float. The Picnic Day Float Committee for 2022 will be Chaired by Marcus Marino (an architect). Other Odd Fellows who have already volunteered to help are James Bledsoe, Larry Guenther, and Doug Houck. If you wish to be part of this project, please contact Marcus at marcusm1215@gmail.com.

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Say “Hello” to Our Pledges

The current Pledge Class is the Spring 2022 Pledge Class. Those who make it through this process are looking at Initiation as Odd Fellows in March. There are 24 Pledges in this group, as follows:

Spring 2022 Pledge Class:

Ashley Arax (Sponsor Sydney Vergis)
Dewey Bandy (Sponsor Aaron Wedra)
Randall Basinger (Sponsor Dave Rosenberg)
Dominic Berlingeri (Sponsor Aaron Wedra)
Benjamin Brezing (Sponsor Dave Rosenberg)
Alex Chen (Sponsor Charlene Sailer)
Kelly Fung-Chen (Sponsor Charlene Sailer)
John Coburn (Sponsor Dave Rosenberg)
Mark Donnelly (Sponsor Aaron Wedra)
Marc Erwin (Sponsor Scott Wetzlich)
Adrienne Fortini (Sponsor Dave Rosenberg)
George Garafalo (Sponsor Morrie Kraemer)
Heidi Garafalo (Sponsor Morrie Kraemer)
Mark Grandjean (Sponsor Dave Rosenberg)
Julian Hartline (Sponsor Keli O’Day)
Lauren Keene (Sponsor Scott Wetzlich)
Danny Manning (Sponsor Dave Rosenberg)
Elisabeth Manning (Sponsor Dave Rosenberg)
Marcus Marino (Sponsor Lea Rosenberg)
Ilse Pastor (Sponsor Matt Elliott)
Brian Russell (Sponsor Dave Rosenberg)
Ernie Silva (Sponsor Dave Reed)
Amy Sinclair (Sponsor Ed Lewis)
Nathan Temple (Sponsor Nancy Temple)

The Spring 2022 Pledge Class is full, so we have started the next group: The Summer 2022 Pledge Class. The “survivors” of this group will be initiated into the Lodge sometime during the coming summer. We already have two applicants:

Vesta Ghanvamzadeh (Sponsor Dawn Coder)
Michael Medina (Sponsor Debra McGee)

If you have anyone you wish to sponsor, let Dave Rosenberg know daverose@jps.net, and we can include them in the Summer 2022 Pledge Class.

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Odd Fellows Second Sunday Bingo at the Lodge Returns on February 13

Odd Fellows Second Sunday Bingo is coming back after a two-year Covid hiatus. The first session is planned for Sunday, Febraury 13. Doors open at 12 noon, and Bingo begins at 1:00 p.m. at the Lodge Hall. Players can win cash money – up to $250 for the final blackout Bingo game. This is a fun was to spend a Sunday afternoon, and its all for a good cause. The Bingo Committee identifies a local community or charitable beneficiary that will receive all the proceeds after Bingo winners are paid. Beneficiaries can receive over $1,000 in this manner, depending on how many folks come out to play. The February beneficiary is Team Davis! Here is the flier/poster for our first community Bingo of 2022:

 

Volunteers for this committee are welcomed. If you wish to volunteer for the Bingo Committee, contact one of the co-chairs: Alice Stewart at alices0902@gmail.com or Matthew Elliott at superfood@gmail.com.

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The Next Club Night at the Lodge Will Be Thursday, January 6; No Club Night on December 30

There will be no Club Night at the Lodge on Thursday, December 30.

Club Night at the Lodge returns in 2022, starting on Thursday, January 6.

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Classic Films Are Coming Back to the Lodge in February

 

Classic films from the Golden Age of Hollywood are coming back after a two-year Covid break. The Odd Fellows Classic Film Festival, featuring noted film reviewer Derrick Bang, returns to the Lodge’s Upper Hall this coming February. The theme for this series of films is “Light-hearted Larceny”. Here is what is on tap:

February 6: “The Pink Panther” (this is the original) featuring Peter Sellers and David Niven
February 13: “Charade” starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant
Febraury 20: A special event with Derrick Bang and book signing his two recent books
February 27: “The Fortune Cookie” with Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau

For all these evenings, doors will open at 6:29 p.m. The presentations are open to the general public and there is no charge – it’s all free, but donations are gratefully accepted. In addition to the films, the Odd Fellows offer complimentary popcorn, the bar will be open for purchases of wine and beer, and According to Bazooka (our own Richard and Rene) will be performing a few numbers before the films begin.

Folks who attend will have to follow Yolo County health guidelines and will also be required to show proof of vaccination. The Classic Film Committee wants all attendees of the Film Festival to feel safe and comfortable.

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And Now For Something Really Unusual

Brother Alex Haider-Winnett has forward the following and asked that it be included in the Odd Gossip Page. Check it out if it tickles your “interest bone”. Here’s what Alex forwarded:

“The Noble Order of Muscovites is an interfraternal order that performs comedic skits as Degrees to raise money for charity.

While the majority of members are Freemasons or Odd Fellows, people of all genders that belong to any fraternal or service order can join in the fun!

Follow the link below to register for the next virtual Degree on February 5th.”

Registration is now open!
https://forms.gle/TUwCsBD1a9KLaf3EA #repostandroid #repostw10

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Some Dates to Note!

Wednesday, December 29. Blood Drive at the Lodge, start time 12 noon till 5 pm.

Thursday, December 30. Club Night at the Lodge canceled tonight in lieu of New Year’s.

Thursday, January 6. Happy New Year! First Club Night of 2022. Club Night at the Lodge starts at 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 8. Second Saturday Odd Fellows breakfast meeting canceled due to Membership Educational Seminar.

Saturday, January 8. Davis Encampment meeting canceled due to Membership Educational Seminar.

Monday, January 10. Odd Needlecrafters meet at the Lodge at 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, January 13. Club Night at the Lodge starts at 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 15. Davis Odd Fellows Lodge special breakfast meeting. Breakfast is served at 8:45 a.m. and the meeting starts at 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday, January 19. Canton Davis Installation Dinner at the Lodge, start time 6:31 p.m.

Thursday, January 20. Club Night at the Lodge starts at 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 22. Davis Encampment Installation Dinner at the Lodge, start time 5:00 p.m.

Monday, January 24. Davis Rebekah Lodge Installation Dinner at the Lodge, start time 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday, January 26. Canton Davis evening meeting canceled in lieu of Installation Dinner a few nights earlier.

Wednesday, January 26. Davis Odd Fellows Lodge fourth Wednesday evening meeting canceled in lieu of Installation and Awards Dinner a few nights later.

Thursday, January 27. Club Night at the Lodge starts at 5:30 p.m.

Sunday, January 30. Davis Odd Fellows Lodge Installation and Awards Dinner at the Lodge, start time 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, February 3. Club Night at the Lodge starts at 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 6. The Odd Fellows Classic Film Festival shows “The Pink Panther”, doors open at 6:29 p.m.

Thursday, February 10. Club Night at the Lodge starts at 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 12. Davis Odd Fellows Breakfast Meeting. Breakfast is served at 8:45 a.m. and meeting begins at 9:30 a.m.

Saturday, Febraury 12. Davis Encampment meeting at the Lodge begins around 10:30 a.m.

Sunday, Febraury 13. Second Sunday Bingo comes back to the Lodge, doors open at 12 noon and Bingo begins at 1 p.m.

Sunday, February 13. The Odd Fellows Classic Film Festival shows “Charade”, doors open at 6:29 p.m.

Monday, Febraury 14. Odd Needlecrafters meet at the Lodge at 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, February 17. Club Night at the Lodge starts at 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, Febraury 20. Special Event “Derrick Bang Book Signing at the Lodge”, doors open at 6:29 p.m.

Wednesday, February 23. Canton Davis meeting at the Lodge begins at 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, February 23. Davis Odd Fellows 4th Wednesday Evening Meeting. Social hour begins at 6:15 p.m. and meeting starts at 7:01 p.m.

Thursday, February 24. Club Night at the Lodge starts at 5:30 p.m.

Sunday, February 27. The Odd Fellows Classic Film Festival shows “The Fortune Cookie”, doors open at 6:29 p.m.

Monday, February 28. Davis Rebekah Lodge Evening Meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, March 3. Club Night at the Lodge starts at 5:30 p.m.

Monday, March 7. Odd Needlecrafters meet at the Lodge at 7 p.m.

Thursday, March 10. Club Night at the Lodge starts at 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 12. Odd Fellows Lodge Second Saturday Breakfast Meeting. Breakfast served at 8:45 a.m. and meetign starts at 9:30 a.m.

Saturday, March 12. Davis Encampment meeting at the Lodge begins around 10:30 a.m.

Sunday, March 13. Davis Odd Fellows Second Sunday Bingo at the Lodge. Doors open at 12 noon and Bingo begins at 1 p.m.

Thursday, March 17. Club Night at the Lodge starts at 5:30 p.m.

Monday, March 22. Davis Rebekah Lodge Evening Meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, March 23. Canton Davis meets at the Lodge starting at 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 23. Davis Odd Fellows 4th Wednesday Evening Meeting. Social hour begins at 6:15 p.m. and meeting begins at 7:01 p.m.

Thursday, March 24. Club Night at the Lodge starts at 5:30 p.m.

* * * * * * *

And We Always Try to End with a Little Humor

* Being a little older, I am very fortunate to have someone call and check on me every day. He is from India and he is very concerned about my car warranty.

* We are not aging. We are ripening to perfection.

* We all know that mirrors don’t lie. I’m just grateful that mine doesn’t laugh.

* One day you’re young and fun, and the next day you’re turning down your car stereo to see better.

* It helps if you imagine that auto correct is a tiny little elf in your phone who’s trying so hard to be helpful, but is in fact quite drunk.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
The Old Odd Gossiper

Enhancing the Odd Fellows through Committees

Enhancing the Odd Fellows through Committees

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, Last week, I published a DMC Newsletter where I highlighted the fact that my own Odd Fellows Lodge in Davis, California, has shown net gains in membership, year-after-year, for the past 18 years. In that article, I talked about the...

Odd Fellow Sheila Allen – New Deputy County Supervisor

Odd Fellow Sheila Allen – New Deputy County Supervisor

Yolo County Supervisor Jim Provenza of Davis announced the appointment of Sheila Allen as his new Deputy, effective February 1, 2022. Current deputy Richard Reed is retiring and will continue on a part-time basis for a period of time to help with the transition,...

Knowing Odd Fellows legislation and its importance

Knowing Odd Fellows legislation and its importance

Odd Fellows cannot advance as an organization if we are not effectively proposing new ideas and changing with the times. To achieve certain successes, via new ideas, in most instances, require writing legislation. These are proposals to alter code passages or resolutions to utilize funds.

Each year, at the session of Grand Lodge, we see new legislation come to the Odd Fellows Grand Body, which is made up of Representatives, Grand Lodge officers, and Past Grand Masters. These members number over 200 when in a live in-person session. During the COVID period, this number of Representatives was over 300, because the voting was done by mail. It these members who cast their votes to either change the code or not.

Bills and resolutions are brought up during the session. The members attending would have had ample time to review and try to understand each item being presented. These items we call “legislation.” These are assigned to various committees so they can be reviewed and determined whether such legislation is beneficial to the Order. Sometimes, these are required changes by the Sovereign Grand Lodge, the parent corporation; i,e. the recent Non-Discrimination Policy.

The Legislation committee would be reviewing all bills which change the code. This committee would not handle resolutions; this is the way it is done at Sovereign Grand Lodge as well as other jurisdictions. Other committees would receive the bills as well, such as State of the Order, Financial, Membership, etc. Resolutions, which are temporary, and not a change to the code, would normally be assigned a committee (or committees) the matter pertains. For spending money, it would be assigned to Finance. If it is a resolution to spend money for a membership idea, then it would go to the Membership Committee as well, and perhaps more committees.

The reason for knowing the Odd Fellows code, is to enhance your lodge’s ability to do activities and what those perimeters are and how far they extend.

In the last 17 years or so, our code has been somewhat in conflict, as a major change took place. We shortened our five-day business meeting-session to only three days. When this occurred, those changing the code, by drafting bills to those items related to the five-day session, did not change everything uniformly. We ended up with conflicting code passages. This created stalemates as well as heated discussions over past 17 years. It was left up to who could make the best argument and the most sense of a code passage. This is why knowing the code is important, if one wishes to change the code. All related passages within the code must be addressed. Some are easy and straight forward; others take a bit of reading. Then, knowing the Code of General Laws of the Sovereign Grand Lodge, is more important, because this code takes precedence over our own California Odd Fellows code. This is what the Legislation Committee would be cross-reference with those bills that it receives for review.

At our last Grand Lodge “session,” in May (2021), which was voting by mail, we replaced an entire chapter of our state’s code with a chapter of the Code of General Laws (SGL). This is a planned effort to correct those conflicting passages. But, that is the first positive step for all of us. The author of that bill that replaced the code has been working to fit this chapter to California, by identifying all of the permissible and attractive passages from the code that were removed, to be “in addition” to what was approved (May, 2021), as well as what was passed and approved by the Sovereign Grand Lodge in August (2021). Hopefully, this proposal will be supported as well.

Peter V. Sellers
Grand Representative
Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Enhancing the Odd Fellows through Committees

Enhancing the Odd Fellows through Committees

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, Last week, I published a DMC Newsletter where I highlighted the fact that my own Odd Fellows Lodge in Davis, California, has shown net gains in membership, year-after-year, for the past 18 years. In that article, I talked about the...

Odd Fellow Sheila Allen – New Deputy County Supervisor

Odd Fellow Sheila Allen – New Deputy County Supervisor

Yolo County Supervisor Jim Provenza of Davis announced the appointment of Sheila Allen as his new Deputy, effective February 1, 2022. Current deputy Richard Reed is retiring and will continue on a part-time basis for a period of time to help with the transition,...

4 steps for increasing Lodge membership

4 steps for increasing Lodge membership

It is a basic truth of fraternal life that for a fraternal order, such as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, to survive generation-to-generation, it needs to constantly replenish itself with new members. To accomplish this mission, a fraternity needs a membership program. In truth, a strong membership program can mean the difference between an active, vibrant and growing Odd Fellows Lodge on the one hand, or a floundering and slowly diminishing Lodge on the other.

Since its inception in 2010, the Dedicated Members for Change (DMC) has been dedicated to helping this Order grow, and to suggesting smart ways to keep us on that growth track. So, today’s DMC Newsletter is focused on the existential subject of membership development. Specifically, I am going to lay out for you the very successful membership development program that I have developed and chaired for the past 15 years in my own Davis #169 Lodge. That program has a proven track record. Last year (2020), which was a year impacted by the Covid pandemic, my Lodge brought in 25 new members. Over the past 15 years, my Lodge has experienced a net gain in members every single year for those 15 years, and has grown by over 1200%. The program works. I am happy to share it with my Brothers and Sisters in other Lodges, and hope that there are some components that you may find useful. While every Lodge and every community is different, the process of membership development should be similar whether the Lodge exists in an urban, suburban or rural setting.

So, here are the four (4) components of the Davis system:

  1. Membership Committee. In my opinion, membership development is the primary responsibility of each and every Odd Fellow. Members of our Order are remiss if they believe that bringing new members to the Lodge is the job of “other members”. Nonsense. Bringing new members into the Lodge is the job of every single member – in fact, I would suggest that it is the first priority of an Odd Fellow. That said, it is critically important for the Lodge membership to make a conscious decision that membership development is important, that it cannot be random and haphazard, and that a membership development plan must be established. Any such plan needs a Membership Committee at its center, headed by a strong Membership Chair, as the leader of the effort. So, start with the Lodge commitment, develop a plan that works for your Lodge, and create a Membership Committee to make sure the plan is followed.
  2. The Pledge Book. In my Lodge, we have given our applicants a traditional fraternal “name.” We call them “Pledges” while they go through the process of becoming members. To facilitate the process, we have developed a “Pledge Book.” You will find our Pledge Book on our website at www.davislodge.org. Feel free to use it, and to modify and revise it to fit the parameters of your Lodge. In my Lodge, we expect the Pledges to read the Pledge Book.
  3. The Pledge Process. Some Lodges move their applicants into initiation very quickly – sometimes within weeks or even days. That’s not how we do it in my Lodge. We require the Pledges to go through a process which we call the “Pledge Process.” We get so many applicants for membership that we put the Pledges into a group, called Pledge Class. Before the pandemic, we had three such Pledge Classes each year; during the pandemic, we have two such Pledge Classes. Sometimes the group is as few as 6 or 8, and sometimes we have a group with as many as 25 or 30. Currently, my Lodge has 24 Pledges going through the process in the “Spring 2022 Pledge Class”. Membership is not automatic for those who apply. We require that the Pledges have to earn the right to be voted on by Lodge members and to be initiated. They go through a process. As noted, they must read the Pledge Book. Once they have accomplished that task, they must successfully take and pass a 25-question test on Odd Fellowship and Lodge data that they will learn from reading the Pledge Book. Once they pass the test, the next step is to meet with and “interview” a certain minimum number of members, either personally or by phone. We give them 11 questions to ask the members. It’s a great ice-breaker. This part of the process allows the Pledges to get to know the members, and vice versa. Finally, once the Pledge has read the book, passed the test, and interviewed the requisite number of members – then the penultimate step is for the Pledge to be interviewed by the Membership Committee. That committee makes recommendations to the Lodge and the Lodge ballots on each Pledge recommended for membership. The final step is the conferring of the Initiatory Degree. We initiate new members who are knowledgeable about IOOF and the Lodge, and who really want to join. We make them earn it.
  4. Club Night at the Lodge. Years ago we developed “Club Night at the Lodge” as an important component of our Pledge Process. We hold a Club Night every Thursday, with very rare exceptions. It is separate and apart from our two Lodge meetings that are scheduled every month. Club Night at the Lodge is a very casual and informal gathering that we have in the Lower Hall of the Lodge, every Thursday from 5:30 p.m. till 8:00 p.m. Members are invited as are Pledges, plus we open Club Night up to family members and guests (e.g. future applicants) as well. At Club Night, attendees enjoy an open no-host bar, plenty of social time, dinner (at $10 per plate), and three rounds of trivia. We play trivia by table so it becomes a real social exercise. Prizes (e.g. cookies or other desserts) are given to the winning tables (which are always shared with other tables). Club Night was developed, in major part, so that Pledges (as well as future applicants) could come to the Lodge and experience a fun, informal evening with Lodge members. It is an opportunity to get to know the applicants, to give them tours of the Lodge Hall, and to answer their questions.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

Enhancing the Odd Fellows through Committees

Enhancing the Odd Fellows through Committees

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, Last week, I published a DMC Newsletter where I highlighted the fact that my own Odd Fellows Lodge in Davis, California, has shown net gains in membership, year-after-year, for the past 18 years. In that article, I talked about the...

Odd Fellow Sheila Allen – New Deputy County Supervisor

Odd Fellow Sheila Allen – New Deputy County Supervisor

Yolo County Supervisor Jim Provenza of Davis announced the appointment of Sheila Allen as his new Deputy, effective February 1, 2022. Current deputy Richard Reed is retiring and will continue on a part-time basis for a period of time to help with the transition,...

The plain truth about the Odd Fellows – a fact we must all face

The plain truth about the Odd Fellows – a fact we must all face

Like many of you, I have read various articles of declining membership. I have seen the numbers shared by other writers. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows, which thrived just 100 years ago before its steady decline. There are reasons for this steep decline which began in the mid-1920’s. I have written about the causation of this decline in the past.

Just because our numbers are diminishing does not mean we are less of a force as an organization. It does not even mean that all lodges are weak in numbers. Some lodges are thriving today. Some lodges steadily bring in new members. I am fortunate to belong to a lodge that limits its membership to 275 members. In European countries, Odd Fellowship is expanding. In the Philippines, lodges are being instituted often. But in America and Canada, Odd Fellowship is struggling and may never return to those great numbers of lodges and members the Order once maintained.

In California, our decline has been steady. One of the problems limiting us on expanding growth is that we sold our properties every time a charter was surrendered. Combine that with the escalating prices in buildings, it is no wonder why we cannot expand in many areas throughout the state.

Our Deputy Grand Master, brother Redgie Fleeman recently worked on a project to identify how many lodge halls we actually own in California. We once owned hundreds, close to 300 lodge halls. Today, we own 84 lodge halls. The Deputy Grand Master also writes we have 109 lodges remaining. In 1990, just three decades ago, we had 227 lodges and 7,819 members. Today, we have approximately 4,200 members.

The numbers for the Rebekahs are more dismal. In 1990, they showed a number of 257 lodges. Today, that count is at 41 lodges! The number of Rebekahs in 1990, was 17,268. Today, in just 30 years, that number is a dreary 1,047. The Rebekahs are barely holding on to dear life. They no longer appear sustainable. The Grand Lodge has been assisting over the past few years to keep them going, but as their numbers continue to collapse, it will become more difficult.

Using those numbers along with some simple math, a projection could be forecast. By no means is this shared to alarm anyone, as “that alarm” was sounded years ago. This is to simply state the plain truth – fact we must all face as members.

Basing the following numbers on the past 30-year decline, here is an interesting projection: If we keep on the pace we have been on, the Odd Fellows in California would end by 2048. However, because the rate of losing members is slower than the rate of losing lodges, that projected end would arrive in 2056. Perhaps there will be a few super lodges existing between 2048 and 2056. Somewhere during that time frame if we remain on the current pace, Odd Fellowship will end like so many other organizations have done over the centuries.

For the Rebekahs, it is more devastating. Using the same rate of decline, the Rebekahs would lose all of their lodges by 2027. The rate of losing members would indicate that the end would come in 2023 or soon after. Sovereign Grand Lodge figured this out several years ago, most likely looking at similar numbers for the entire North America. But, the Rebekahs have been resilient in the last few years by fighting off the inevitable. They may just keep hanging on for years.

The math is not always the sole factor. As we have seen over the years, lodges rebound. Some emerge in a sudden growth spurt. Some lodges are not near their conclusion. Nobody knows when or if the Order will come to an end. One thing is for sure, the past 30 years give us a reality none of us have been able to change. Keep working hard and enjoy yourself while you are doing it.

Enhancing the Odd Fellows through Committees

Enhancing the Odd Fellows through Committees

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, Last week, I published a DMC Newsletter where I highlighted the fact that my own Odd Fellows Lodge in Davis, California, has shown net gains in membership, year-after-year, for the past 18 years. In that article, I talked about the...

Odd Fellow Sheila Allen – New Deputy County Supervisor

Odd Fellow Sheila Allen – New Deputy County Supervisor

Yolo County Supervisor Jim Provenza of Davis announced the appointment of Sheila Allen as his new Deputy, effective February 1, 2022. Current deputy Richard Reed is retiring and will continue on a part-time basis for a period of time to help with the transition,...

How to modernize the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

How to modernize the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

​Many things about the Independent Order of Odd Fellows are admirable. Some time-tested ideas and philosophies have held up well over the centuries, but there are also ways in which we can tell the world we are keeping pace with the times.

  1. Change the methods of dues payments. I own a retail business, making dozens of financial transactions daily, and yet last year I only wrote six checks all year. Four of the checks were for my member’s dues to our order. (I often have to search for my check book.) I also received only about a dozen checks all year as payment. Half of them were from an elderly customer friend of mine. The public no longer writes checks as a rule for a number of reasons. First, there is no longer any “float” to checks, they are verified immediately upon being presented, so they are the same as cash or a debit card. Second, the argument that checks are an easily listable way to track spending in a checkbook is really no longer true. The best way to track long term spending is to simply examine bank statements, which banks can present with many in depth ways in which to track expenditures, including photocopies of all transactions, interest accrued or other types of expenses or deposits. Of course, since time marches on, checks will become increasingly an obsolete method of payment. Many businesses no longer accept checks, period. My son is a CFO for a company with ten commercial outlets, and they rarely write checks as payments, nor do they like to accept them. He laughs at our rigid adherence to an old form of payment. This is not a suggestion that we immediately abandon the idea of lodge check books, but merely the idea that we should change our general techniques so as to notify the public that we are aware of this fundamental change that is occurring in the outside world and learn to accept dues payments in more modernized forms. If one were to study the history of financial transactions, one would find that even banks have changed the methods of transactions repeatedly throughout time. For instance, did you know that in the 1800’s, there were over 5,000 types of dollars bills printed by different banks within the United States? One bank had a dollar bill with Santa Claus featured, backed by the U.S. Treasury! It was not until 1877 when the U.S. Treasury was the solely authorized source of the one-dollar bill. A study of the history of monetary exchange would yield many such fascinating discoveries. It’s simply illogical to presume that things such as dues payments should continue to only be accepted in check form. In fact, many people, particularly younger people, may no longer have checks. Again, this is not a suggestion to do away with lodge check books (not yet at least), but if we genuinely want a verifiable listing of members who have paid their dues, it is more accurately done using electronic media.
  2. Dismiss the idea of bullies running every aspect of our order. We have many people in our order who refuse to budge from their various positions. Some do a wonderful job and are liked universally, but others practice a scorched earth technique that challenges everyone and every lodge in their path. The order in its wisdom originally set term limits to elected positions. It’s wise to look at all positions to determine that person’s ability to lead. If a lodge, or a jurisdiction is failing, obviously there is something wrong. I have often listened to people who seem to use the code as a bludgeon, and only are concerned with keeping themselves in power. Each lodge is its own little entity and should not have to bow to every bully who feels the need to solidify the bully’s own agenda. It’s easy to see that many lodges and whole jurisdictions have been decimated by those who think their way is the only way for a lodge or jurisdiction to exist. Our order is incredibly old, and none of us are immortal, so it should be obvious that we want the order to continue on without us. Isn’t it enough to know that bullies exist in the real world? I thought the idea of our order is to be a refuge from the turmoil of the outside world, not the instigator of it.
  3. Go virtual. Many lodges now have online sites, Facebook principally, but beyond that, we need to engage prospective members in electronic media more aggressively. The wonderful thing about electronic media is that we can be more specific, speak eloquently, and reach a greater mass of individuals. Of course, what we do in a lodge is sacrosanct, but we can go forward watching ourselves dwindle away while others progress, or we can choose to compete in a unique environment that the public has obviously embraced. Of course, we almost all do email now, or respond in some electronic manner, but we need to do more to open up to the public. Again, our inner rituals or practices may be private, but we don’t want to be invisible altogether. During the pandemic, many of us been zooming for many months, but because this tends to be a closed circle of members, that alone is not conducive to gaining members.
  4. Good grief! Do something new. Of course, we need to engage those younger than ourselves. We can do this in several ways, but clearly, if your lodge is failing, doing the same old things will not succeed in attracting new members. If you have had a dinner 49 years running now, in the same location, with Doris and Ethel and their extended families (and precious few others) and really expect new people to join in, I probably won’t be the first person to wonder what you’re smoking?! I have been to a number of functions where the hosts call it “the 97th annual wingding or shindig or what have you and it really becomes an exercise in absurdity when all those in attendance are in their eighties or nineties and yet they talk about attracting new members. Talk about a disconnect. I have tried repeatedly to get my relatives and friends to attend, and they may do so once, but truth be told, they can’t be enticed twice with the idea of repeatedly attending such ponderous gatherings. This is the 21st century! It’s time to try something new.
  5. Rumors not needed. Too many members not only like to bully others, but also like to circulate rumors. Often these are the same individuals. Whatever happened to friendship, love, and truth? We should do our best to resist the urge to vilify anyone. If members gather just to trash others this serves no purpose other than to weaken the order. We should remember why we joined and try to remain on our best behavior.

There are clearly many ways in which to modernize our order, but these are a few I have been pondering lately. If we want to grow, let’s all think of ways to modernize and connect with those around us.

In F., L., & T.,

Rick Boyles
Past Grand Master
Independent Order of Odd Fellows
Jurisdiction of California

Enhancing the Odd Fellows through Committees

Enhancing the Odd Fellows through Committees

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, Last week, I published a DMC Newsletter where I highlighted the fact that my own Odd Fellows Lodge in Davis, California, has shown net gains in membership, year-after-year, for the past 18 years. In that article, I talked about the...

Odd Fellow Sheila Allen – New Deputy County Supervisor

Odd Fellow Sheila Allen – New Deputy County Supervisor

Yolo County Supervisor Jim Provenza of Davis announced the appointment of Sheila Allen as his new Deputy, effective February 1, 2022. Current deputy Richard Reed is retiring and will continue on a part-time basis for a period of time to help with the transition,...

More Information about the Independent Order of Odd Fellows