Odd Fellows Lodge Experiences 1200% in Growth

Odd Fellows Lodge Experiences 1200% in Growth

When I first joined my Odd Fellows Lodge in California in 2004 we had 27 members on the books. Today, in 2021, we have 325 members – an increase of 1200%. And in the seventeen years between 2004 and 2021, my Lodge has had a net gain of members each and every one of those seventeen years. (“Net gain” is defined as adding more members in a year than the number of members deducted in a year.)

How is a gain in Odd Fellows membership possible?

It is, in fact, not only possible, but it is a fact. So, I’m going to tell you the story of the growth of my Odd Fellows Lodge – not to toot my own horn or the horn of my Lodge – but because it is possible that what we did in my community can be replicated in other communities. It provides a possible roadmap to fraternal growth in your Lodge. Every Lodge and every community is, of course, unique. But what we accomplished in my Lodge might offer some insights and approaches that your Lodge might find helpful. At a minimum, we can be secure in the knowledge that the growth in my Lodge belies the canard that fraternal orders are washed-up relics of the past, proves that fraternal Lodges are relevant in today’s world, and shows that fraternal Lodges can, indeed, flourish and grow.

When I joined Odd Fellowship in 2004 I was dumb as a stump about IOOF. However, by a series of unfortunate events, I found myself quickly elected Vice Grand, and then almost immediately assuming the position of Noble Grand of my Lodge: Yolo Lodge #169. I found myself in a Lodge that occupied a large building in the heart of Davis, California. The building was dark and shuttered most of the time, with no IOOF sign. And the Lodge had minimal interaction with the community. A church rented the Lodge Hall on Sundays and had a sign out front. Most folks thought the building was a church. Virtually no one knew it was a Lodge of Odd Fellows.

One thing was crystal clear to me: To ensure the health and future of my Lodge, I had to ensure growth in our membership. That required a new direction and younger members. To change the direction of the Lodge, I knew that I had to change the culture of the Lodge.

Here are five things I did to change Lodge culture

  1. Branding and Signage. My immediate goal was to ensure that my Lodge would be recognized as one of the premier organizations in my community. One of the first things that I did was to give us a new name. We had been known as Yolo Lodge #169 since we were instituted in 1870. Working with the Grand Secretary, I received a new name and a new charter: henceforth we were to be known as Davis Lodge #169. Other than one small metal plaque on the building (thanking a generous Odd Fellow who, in his will, donated the funds to build the Lodge Hall), there was no identification of the building as an Odd Fellows Hall. I had a large neon sign constructed and affixed to the building which displays, in blue, the letters IOOF. And then we found a vertical sign (from a defunct Lodge back East) which shows the three links and the IOOF letters in full color. I had that sign shipped across the USA and found a company that could affix it to the building and another company that could restart the neon. Those neon signs are on full display, day and night. Everyone in the community now knows that this is a Lodge of Odd Fellows.
  2. The Building. Using some funds which the Lodge had accumulated over the years, and taking a significant loan, we also undertook a major remodel of the exterior and the interior of the Lodge Hall – new carpeting, wood paneling, new bathrooms, a commercial kitchen, new lighting, projection and audio equipment, new curtains, construction of a stage, a stage, installation of an elevator, new roof, creation of two levels of storage space, new HVAC, new paint on the exterior, and more. You can’t welcome new members into your Lodge if the Lodge Hall is not welcoming.
  3. The Committee Structure. When I assumed the position of Noble Grand, the Lodge had less than five committees – the obligatory ones – Finance Committee, Visiting Committee, Bylaws Committee – but we needed to include the membership in the advancement of the Lodge. Just holding meetings once or twice a month to read from a little red book wasn’t going to be enough. So, I surveyed the membership to find out what they wanted to accomplish. As a result, we created a vigorous committee structure. When members suggested a committee, we didn’t say “no”. We said “yes” and got volunteers. Half of our committees cater to the membership, and half produce community events. We created a Music Committee, a Good Fellowship Committee, a Membership Committee, and more. Today, in 2021, we have over 50 committees in the Davis Lodge. If members have an interest, we accommodate them. So, for example, we now have a Hiking Committee, a Classic Film Festival Committee, a Bingo Committee, a Taste of Davis Committee, a Breakfast with Santa Committee, a Zombie Bike Ride Committee, and more. Over 90% of the work of my Lodge is handled through the committee structure. The Lodge gives them a budget and they do their thing.
  4. Community Visibility. Through our committees, we have attained a remarkable degree of visibility in the community. When we initiate members we put an article in the local paper and we post on social media. When we have community events we do the same. At our recent Zombie Bike Ride, over 2,000 local residents attended. It was a fun family-friendly event for the Lodge and the entire community. The event included performances by a dance company, little vignettes along the bike trail by a local theater company, and even zombie skydivers. We had many community sponsors who donated money which not only paid for the costs of the event, but allowed us to work with a company to build a number of specialty tricycles for disabled children which we donated to the families – allowing the children to have some freedom and mobility.
  5. A Big Tent. Because of our high degree of community visibility, we do not “recruit” for new members any longer. Most of our new members come to the Lodge sponsored by existing members who are proud to show of the Lodge and bring new members into the fold. However, a significant number of new members come to us through our high profile in the community. I imagine that this is how Odd Fellows Lodges grew so strongly in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Our Lodge has a presence on the web, on Facebook and on other social media. We bring in new members who are reflective of our community in terms of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, disability, and more. We welcome husbands and wives, and boyfriends and girlfriends. We have opened the doors and windows of our Lodge Hall to our greater community.

We are proud to be Odd Fellows and proud to say that our fraternal order is alive and well and can continue its good works on behalf of our members and our community.

F – L – T

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

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...

Why did you join the Odd Fellows?

Why did you join the Odd Fellows?

​In my humble opinion (IMHO), one of the greatest things the Independent Order of Odd Fellows ever did was to limit the reign of the Grand Master, the Noble Grand, and other elective officers, with the exception of the Grand Secretary and Grand Treasurer (because they...

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...

One Lodge. Nine Degrees. The future of the Odd Fellows

One Lodge. Nine Degrees. The future of the Odd Fellows

A decade ago, in the pages of this very DMC Newsletter, I opined that the Independent Order of Odd Fellows was too diffused, with too many separate units, and that our fraternity needed to merge and consolidate our units into one strong Unit:   The Odd Fellows Lodge.  Even though our membership numbers were shrinking (and had been shrinking for decades) we still continued to perpetuate units which were outmoded one or two generations ago.

Let me tell you what I mean.

There was a time when women were not permitted to join an Odd Fellows Lodge.   Thankfully, this changed in 1999, and effective 2000, women were no longer barred from becoming Odd Fellows.   In spite of this past discriminatory policy towards women, Odd Fellows created a “separate-but-equal” entity, called the Rebekah Lodge.   (Ironically, men could always join Rebekah Lodges while women were barred from joining Odd Fellows Lodges.   The hypocrisy should not be lost on any of us.)  So, there was a time when Odd Fellows Lodges were known as “the men’s Lodge” and Rebekah Lodges were known as “the women’s Lodge.”   In fact, when I joined Odd Fellows in 2004, older members (both men and women) continued to refer to the Lodges in this fashion – and some still do, even today.  

Women were barred from membership

But because women were barred from membership in Odd Fellows Lodges, and the advanced units such as the Encampment, and the Cantons of the Patriarchs Militant, there was also created a parallel chain for the advancement of women.   So, because Odd Fellows could advance to become members of the Encampment (which also barred women), Rebekahs created the Ladies Encampment Auxiliary (L.E.A.) as the next progression.   And, because members of the Encampment could advance to become Chevaliers in the Patriarchs Militant (which also barred women), Rebekahs created the Ladies Auxiliary Patriarchs Militant (L.A.P.M.) as the final progression in their advancement in the Order.

So, as the result of this past separation of the sexes, and the past discrimination against women, Odd Fellows wound up with six units:   Odd Fellows, Rebekahs, Encampments, L.E.A.’s, Patriarchs Militant, and L.A.P.M.’s.   (And for this discussion, I’m not even counting the Junior Odd Fellows for boys and Theta Rho for girls as two more units.)

No longer making sense

But here we are in the year 2021, and these separate units make no sense either philosophically or practically.   As a matter of philosophy, continued separation of units based on gender is a throwback to another time and another age.   And as a practical matter, these diverse “female” units are shrinking in membership even faster than we see shrinking in Odd Fellows Lodges.  

Ten years ago, I suggested that we need to start merging and consolidating our units.  I received a lot of blow-back at the time because Odd Fellowship was not yet ready to accept the reality and truth.  But now, even Sovereign Grand Lodge has seen the writing on the wall.   Membership in these extended units is very small, and is diminishing over time – the members get older every year, and new younger members are just not coming in fast enough, if at all.   So, bottom line, we need to consolidate the P.M. with the L.A.P.M.   And then we need to consolidate the Encampments with the L.E.A.’s.   That is starting to happen.   SGL has ordered that the L.A.P.M. will no longer exist after December 31, 2021, and members of the L.A.P.M. may join existing Cantons, or form their own Cantons, or may honorably leave the L.A.P.M.    That has now happened in California at the recent gathering of the California Department Council and the California Department Association – the California L.A.P.M. members were all mustered into the Patriarchs Militant and all became Chevaliers.  The L.A.P.M. in California no longer exists.   And it will be happening throughout the jurisdiction of the Sovereign Grand Lodge.   The next step is inevitable:   The L.E.A. must come to a close as a separate unit, and members must merge with the Encampments or start their own Encampments.   I predict that this will happen within the next two or three years.   At that point, we will have only four units: Odd Fellows, Rebekahs, Encampments, and Patriarchs Militant.

But the merger cannot stop there.   Inevitably, the final steps must be taken.  This is not meant to be taken in a negative way.   It’s really just math.   When the numbers of new dues-paying regular members joining the Order is far less than the numbers of dues-paying regular members leaving the Order, then the result is fated.   The first phase will be the phasing out of the Rebekahs as a separate unit.   Members of Rebekah Lodges must then be permitted to become Odd Fellows, and should be able to join existing Odd Fellows Lodges or be given permission to form their own Lodges of Odd Fellows.  I predict that – as the membership numbers continue to decline on the Rebekah side – this merger will occur within the next five to seven years.   And the second phase is equally important.   To strengthen Odd Fellowship, we must eliminate all the separate units while retaining the degrees.   The result will be one unit – the Odd Fellows Lodge – with many degrees – preserving the important teachings of our Order, and allowing members to advance to higher degrees.   I envision the following degrees:   The Initiatory Degree (which I would rename the Degree of Trust – this is what it was called in a prior century), the Degree of Friendship, the Degree of Love, the Degree of Truth, the Rebekah Degree (which I would rename the Degree of Equality), the Patriarchal Degree, the Golden Rule Degree, the Royal Purple Degree, and finally, the Degree of Universal Justice.   One Lodge – nine degrees.   That is the inevitable future of our Order.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

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...

Why did you join the Odd Fellows?

Why did you join the Odd Fellows?

​In my humble opinion (IMHO), one of the greatest things the Independent Order of Odd Fellows ever did was to limit the reign of the Grand Master, the Noble Grand, and other elective officers, with the exception of the Grand Secretary and Grand Treasurer (because they...

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...

More Information about the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Who are the “Givers” and “Takers” in your Odd Fellows Lodge?

Who are the “Givers” and “Takers” in your Odd Fellows Lodge?

Allow me to be a bit philosophical for a moment.

I am convinced that if every member of every Lodge truly followed the path of “Friendship, Love, and Truth” our fraternal Order would have no membership problem. Lodges would be robust, growing and active, and members would be invested, engaged and happy.

But, of course, that’s not the reality in most places. Unquestionably, there are Lodges that display all the qualities of FLT and there are members who happily attend meetings and events, contribute in many ways big and small, and thoroughly enjoy their Lodge experience. On the other hand, there are Lodges that are on the edge – drifting and barely hanging on.

In one sense, a “Lodge” is just a building. But in a real sense, a Lodge is the the composite of its members. Ultimately, a Lodge is only as strong or as weak as its membership.

At its most basic level, people who join organizations (including fraternal organizations) can be roughly divided into two categories: You have the “Givers” and you have the “Takers.” There are (not surprisingly) precious few 100% Givers, and (thankfully) very few 100% Takers. Most of us are a combination of the two, to a lesser or greater degree.

In a fraternal Lodge like a Lodge of Odd Fellows, you pretty much know who are the Givers and who are the Takers.

When the call to volunteer goes out, the Givers step up and volunteer to help. They may work in the kitchen, or help make repairs, or pitch in to clean up. They volunteer for assignments and readily assist their brothers and sisters. They contribute money when the call goes out to sponsor an event or give to a cause. They serve in Lodge office and don’t mind doing the hard work of keeping the minutes, or going to the bank to make a deposit, or chairing a committee. They will visit or call a sick member, and they will inquire how your kids are doing in school. You know that if they say they will get something done, it will be done, and done pretty well.

And in the Lodge, you generally can identify the Takers. When the members line up for a buffet, the Takers don’t hesitate to secure for themselves an early plate (and then may complain about the food). They come early to events and often stay late – rarely offering to help out in any way. They are often critical of others, including other members. Takers view the world with the philosophy of “what’s in it for me”? There are Lodge members who self-deal themselves Lodge money, or take benefits denied to other members, or even live in the Lodge Hall – these are all Takers.

If your Lodge is composed entirely or mostly of Takers, then the membership has forgotten FLT and it’s only a matter of time until your Lodge will fade away into the historic record. On the other hand, if all or most of the members in your Lodge are Givers, then your Lodge is a paragon of FLT and it will certainly live long and prosper.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Pasts Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

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...

Why did you join the Odd Fellows?

Why did you join the Odd Fellows?

​In my humble opinion (IMHO), one of the greatest things the Independent Order of Odd Fellows ever did was to limit the reign of the Grand Master, the Noble Grand, and other elective officers, with the exception of the Grand Secretary and Grand Treasurer (because they...

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...

A peek into the Odd Fellows member register

A peek into the Odd Fellows member register

If you ever get a chance, talk to the Secretary of your Odd Fellows Lodge and ask to look at the Member Register. This is the document that provides information on all members of your Lodge from the date of institution of the Lodge till the present. It’s really a fascinating historical document, and I think you will enjoy the interlude in your Lodge’s past. (Most registers are very old, so make sure to handle them with care – clean white gloves are recommended to protect the ancient pages.)

A Fascinating Discovery About Odd Fellows

But the purpose of this newsletter is more limited. I’ve thumbed through a number of Member Registers from different Lodges during my time as the Grand Master of California, and here’s a fascinating fact that I discovered: If you look at the register from a Century or more ago, you will find the vast majority of members initiated into the Lodge were in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. And if you compare that to members initiated into the Lodge over the past decade, you will find the vast majority of members initiated into the Lodge fall into the age range of their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

Why do you suppose that is?

Well, no one knows for sure, but I have a pretty good theory. You see, 100 or 150 years ago, Odd Fellowship was new and fresh in North America. Fraternal Orders in general were popular as gathering places for social, community and fraternal activities. Odd Fellowship, in particular, offered young men (and eventually young women) an opportunity to gather, meet and mingle. There was no television or Internet, of course. It was fun and exciting to start a new Lodge, build a building, and grow a fraternity. Over the decades, however, the shine has worn away. Members became comfortable and complacent. The newness was gone. The edge was no longer there. Members settled into a familiar routine – the status quo was the norm.

And the reality is that when we bring in new members to our Odd Fellows Lodges, we tend to bring in people that we know, in the same general age range as ourselves. So, a Century ago, the 30-year-old members tended to bring in other 30-year-old members. Today, there are precious few 30-year-old members in our Lodges. But there are a lot of 60-year-old members. And those 60-year-old members tend to bring in other 60-year-old members.

Obviously, this is a self-defeating prophesy. This can’t continue.

What is the Solution

The solution is apparent. To survive and flourish, our Lodges need to bring in new members in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. Those Lodges that have skipped a generation of members (and there are a lot of those Lodges) must focus on recovering that lost generation.

Not an easy proposition, however. Why would a Lodge composed of members in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s be of any interest to a young person in his/her 20’s, 30’s and 40’s?

In future DMC Newsletters we will explore this vital existential question. And we invite other Lodges – which have found solutions to the challenge of bringing in younger members – to write with your success stories.

F – L – T

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

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...

Why did you join the Odd Fellows?

Why did you join the Odd Fellows?

​In my humble opinion (IMHO), one of the greatest things the Independent Order of Odd Fellows ever did was to limit the reign of the Grand Master, the Noble Grand, and other elective officers, with the exception of the Grand Secretary and Grand Treasurer (because they...

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...

More Information about the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

What do we learn as Odd Fellows?

What do we learn as Odd Fellows?

Updated: [DATE]

​Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

One of the very first things we learn when we join Odd Fellowship is the ancient “commands” of this Order, instructing members to “visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead, and educate the orphan.”

I must be slacking because I haven’t been visiting the sick, relieving the distressed, burying the dead, nor educating the orphan lately.

Have you?

My point, however, is that these ancient commands, for the most part are . . . well . . . ancient. You might as well command us to draw water from the well, milk the cows at dawn, hand-make our own clothing, and participate in a barn raising.

Don’t get me wrong. Historically, the four commands made absolute good sense. There was a time when there were no social services or government assistance provided to the public. Odd Fellows stepped into the breach two centuries ago to build hospitals, construct homes for widows and widowers, establish cemeteries, and operate orphanages. Odd Fellows filled a great historical need and at a time when Odd Fellowship boasted almost one million members, the country was dotted with Odd Fellows’ cemeteries, hospitals, homes for the aging, and orphanages. Today, when our fraternal membership has shrunk to a mere fraction of our former numbers, there is far less ability to own and operate cemeteries, hospitals, retirement homes and orphanages, and there is far less need for Odd Fellows to do any of that in the 21st Century.

Some of the old admonitions can and should still be applicable today. It is a good thing for Odd Fellows to continue to help other Odd Fellows who may be sick or distressed. But as to burying the dead, maybe not so much. To prospective members of our Lodges, the admonition to “bury the dead” just sounds ghoulish. And educate the orphan? When was the last time you ran into an “orphan” or “orphanage” in the United States? The concept of “orphanage” is a relic from another century.

If we wish to remain relevant to the men and women coming up in this new century, we need to adapt to fit the times. After all, it is these 21st Century men and women that we are seeking as new members in our Lodges, to join, sustain, refresh and continue our fraternity.

So, what resonates with the young adults in 2021?

Surely “bury the dead” and “educate the orphan” don’t. But how about “protect the environment” and “help children in need”? I submit that these latter two new commands should replace the outmoded ones and will give us new direction in a new era. Men and women of the 21st Century are vitally concerned with the health and well-being of our planet – our atmosphere, our climate, our land, our waters, our flora and fauna. They want to do their part to protect the Earth for themselves, and for their children and grandchildren. And frankly, so do men and women born in the last century. It is an enduring theme that connects us all – whether we are 20 or 80 years of age. And “help children in need” is an appropriate evolution from “educate the orphan”. While there are precious few orphans in our country today, there are certainly children caught up in the court system, children who are in foster care or aging out of the foster system, children who are hungry and unhoused. The list of children in need is, unfortunately, extensive – and there is plenty for Odd Fellows to do in this arena at the Lodge level.

So the revised commands would instruct us to “visit the sick, relieve the distress, protect the environment, and help children in need.” It would become a link to our past and a bridge to our future.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

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...

Why did you join the Odd Fellows?

Why did you join the Odd Fellows?

​In my humble opinion (IMHO), one of the greatest things the Independent Order of Odd Fellows ever did was to limit the reign of the Grand Master, the Noble Grand, and other elective officers, with the exception of the Grand Secretary and Grand Treasurer (because they...

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...

More Information about the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

It is time for change to the Odd Fellows degrees and archaic methods

It is time for change to the Odd Fellows degrees and archaic methods

Updated: August 2, 2021

It’s time the Independent Order of Odd Fellows revamp its degrees to fit society’s pace, which is efficient and to-the-point. The early American Odd Fellows understood this concept of making adjustments. Each time it was a challenge, but, each time the members were smart enough to know adjustments had to be made.

In the 1820’s the Odd Fellows established their unique work. In later years, in the 1840’s they made sure they eliminated any and all aspects of the Masonic mentions in their degrees; after all the Masons and Odd Fellows are not the same. Neither is better than the other or worse. One has been less likely to change but, both have declined in membership.

In 1835, the first improvements were made to the degrees. In 1845, the second set of improvements were made to the ritual. Down to the words in a single sentence, all were scrutinized. In that same year, the signs used in the unwritten work were also changed. Even two new signs were added for the degree of Rebekah, being the hailing sign (originally called the Hailing or Sea sign) and sign of recognition. In 1851, the degree of Rebekah, drafted by Schuyler Colfax, “was intended as an honorary degree for Scarlet members and their wives.”

The degrees and rituals continued to be adjusted over the years. More changes have occurred than the membership realize. What we have today is definitely profound and definitely biblically derived and should be retained in essence; however, changes are needed. This, of course, is easier said than done.

Changes to the degrees continued on a regular basis; each time such change proposals were never easily accepted, but they were made regardless. Degrees have been combined, passages have been removed and added. As some codes had been changed, the ritual and the degrees have been altered, too. Newer or those members who are unaware changes are a regular occurrence in the Odd Fellows, should realize these changes are a normal to the Order.

The beginning of the Sovereign Grand Lodge’s (SGL) Five-Year Plan has effectively begun. With the Ladies Auxiliary Patriarchs Militant falling by the side, the plan has started. Next, the Encampments face elimination; this could be voted upon this August. It was going to be presented and voted upon in 2019, but it was decided to wait and re-discuss the terms of the Five-Year Plan and then vote.

As you can see, we are facing the loss of certain relished degree work and those principles that come with those degrees of all branches.

As our various grand bodies face elimination with the recent proposals by SGL and the societal evolutions effect the necessity of such fraternal groups, and the overall decline in membership, we must put our collective minds together and present sensible alternatives and improvements desirable for the majority of members.

One suggestion stands out more than any other, which has gained a level of positive feedback and could make the Order more attractive to potential applicants. It suggests merging all of the entities of Odd Fellowship (LAPM, LEA, PM, Encampment, Jr. Theta Rho, Rebekah) into the Odd Fellows Lodge and implementing all of the degrees of these entities into the Odd Fellows Lodge. Then, a member, after attaining the Initiatory Degree, would be permitted to choose whatever degree experience that member wishes. Such member could choose to go further in the Odd Fellows, while attaining necessary degrees, and then further choose to receive the other degrees within the lodge – all and any degrees from one single Odd Fellows lodge. With this design, none of the degree work would be lost forever, as inevitably those other grand bodies will cease.

This would lead into a more attractive one-dues payment to a lodge as well. This would prevent a member who already belongs to these different groups from having to pay a small fortune to belong to every group. It would streamline a great deal of paperwork and multiple dues cards, etc.

F – L – T

Peter Sellars
Past Grand Master, Independent Order of Odd Fellows
Jurisdiction of California

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...

Why did you join the Odd Fellows?

Why did you join the Odd Fellows?

​In my humble opinion (IMHO), one of the greatest things the Independent Order of Odd Fellows ever did was to limit the reign of the Grand Master, the Noble Grand, and other elective officers, with the exception of the Grand Secretary and Grand Treasurer (because they...

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...

More Information about the Independent Order of Odd Fellows