A Great Day in the History of the Odd Fellows

A Great Day in the History of the Odd Fellows

Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

Today was the day that I was planning to send out my last DMC Newsletter.

On December 10, 2010 – precisely 12 years ago to the day – I had sent out our first DMC Newsletter. Since that time, I have “published” close to 600 Newsletters, sending them out to our email matrix (composed of hundreds of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs from around California, North America and the world) at the rate of once each week. I had written the vast majority of these newsletters, although my co-founders (PGM Peter Sellars and PGM Rick Boyles) had also written their fair shares of articles. Nothing lasts forever. After 12 years, I was going to announce that today’s DMC Newsletter would be our last.

Why did I start the weekly DMC Newsletter?

In 2010, inspired by my mentor – the great Past Grand Master of California and Past Sovereign Grand Master Don Smith – who, in his heyday, had started a committee of progressive brothers (at the time, called “Concerned Brothers”), I thought it was time to exercise the mandate of the Third Degree: Truth. Although a relatively new Odd Fellow (having joined in 2004) by 2010 it had become apparent to me that the Order was on a downward death-spiral. Lodges were simply not adding new members in pace to old members who moved away, left the Order, or passed away. The net losses of members was staggering. The loss of membership year after year, and the loss of Lodges, had decimated our Order and was unsustainable. It was clear that unless we changed the way we did business, Odd Fellowship, in time, would become an historical footnote. I was convinced that – at the rate the Order was declining in California – within a generation (20-25 years) all that might remain would be a handful of strong Lodges. So, I raised the hue and cry of declining membership of our fraternity, endeavored to speak bluntly on the issue of our failing numbers, and (most importantly) suggested real-world ways to reverse the trend. I used my own Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge – Davis #169 – as the laboratory to prove that Odd Fellowship was still relevant in the 21st Century and that Lodges could grow membership. Employing the very techniques about which I had written, when I first became Noble Grand, my Lodge grew from less than 30 members in 2005 to 349 members in 2022 – enjoying a net gain in membership every single year. I am pleased to note that a few other Lodges in California and around the world that have employed these methods have also shown growth.

Why did I consider stopping regular weekly publication of the DMC Newsletter?

In 2022, after 12 years, I have said virtually everything I can say on the subject. I find that I am repeating myself. There is precious little more to add. If leaders of the Order have not absorbed the information we have provided for the past 12 years, then another year or two will make little difference. In short, I’ve said everything that I can say on the subject of our declining membership, and the ways that this trend can be reversed. In my writings I have been joined from time to time by two other respected and knowledgeable historians and leaders of this Order: Past Grand Master Peter Sellars and Past Grand Master Rick Boyles. To these two Brothers, I say thank you for being with me since the very beginning, and thank you for your many contributions to the progress of Odd Fellowship, in the past, in the present, and hopefully, in the future.

Why have I decided to continue this DMC Newsletter?

Because I care about this Order, and I recognize that there are still members out there who are willing to grow their Lodges and save this fraternity. We will continue to publish these DMC Newsletters for the Dedicated Members for Change – not necessarily every week, but at least a couple every month. We will continue to offer suggestions that can help you bring new members to your Lodge, and keep them engaged, enthusiastic, and energized.

For those who remain interested, most of my past DMC Newsletters can be found on the website of the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge at https://www.davislodge.org. Click on “About the Odd Fellows” and then click on “Dedicated Members for Change.”

When I started this journey, both DMC and I were ridiculed by some in the Order. They don’t mock us anymore. Our predictions were spot-on true. Truth. And our recommendations on how to reverse the trend of declining membership have been proven to work. Truth.

F – L – T

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

The Elephant in the Odd Fellows Room

The Elephant in the Odd Fellows Room

Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

There is an elephant in the Odd Fellows’ Lodge room. We’re all aware of that pachyderm, but most of the time it’s sleeping. We, Odd Fellows, normally just tiptoe around it, making sure we don’t step on it’s tail or ear. The elephant in the room occasionally wakes up and stirs, however. The issue regarding this elephant was (again) brought to my attention by a member of the Order who serves as a District Deputy Grand Master. To preserve this member’s privacy, I will not reveal the member’s Lodge or even the state/province from which the member comes. The member posed the following conundrum to me:

“My dilemma is just how closely the opening and closing prayers and wording of the valediction should be followed, in a formal meeting. Can the Lord’s Prayer be dropped? Can a substitute prayer from the Internet be used instead of the opening and/or closing prayers in the ritual. Lastly, there are those last three words of the valediction ‘my fellow man’ – could that be replaced with the word ‘all’?”

The questions posed by the DDGM bring into play our Order’s stated policies on religion and gender. If you look at the Sovereign Grand Lodge website, you will see that IOOF professes to be a non-sectarian organization. Further, we are told that Odd Fellowship does not discriminate on the basis of a wide range of protected classes, including: “disability, age, ethnicity, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, or other social identity.” On our SGL website, under the heading of “Who are we?” it is stated: “We are non-sectarian. Membership is open to all regardless of sex, race, religion, political affiliation and social status . . . .”

These are important statements and welcomed sentiments. However, how do these statements of purpose co-exist with certain parts of our IOOF ritual and rules that appear to conflict?

For example, the Lord’s Prayer is to be recited during the opening of a formal Lodge meeting. However, the Lord’s Prayer comes from the Christian Bible and I have heard Jewish members of Lodges indicate how uncomfortable they are with that recitation as it seems to favor Christianity. Isn’t that sectarian?

Yet another example are the words in the valediction and in other places in the ritual that imply that all Odd Fellows are men (which we were prior to 1999). Aren’t we supposed to avoid gender-specific appellations?

And what about the rule/custom that Lodges should keep “The Holy Bible” in the Lodge room at all times during meetings? Doesn’t that fly in the face of the requirement that Odd Fellowship is non-sectarian and doesn’t discriminate on the basis of religion? What about the other books of faith of other religions such as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.?

When I first joined Odd Fellowship in 2004, I distinctly remember Chaplains at Lodges I visited ending prayers and benedictions with the words “in Jesus Christ’s name”. That is an absolutely appropriate statement in their religion and in their church, but is it appropriate in an Odd Fellows Lodge? I recall, as a non-Christian, feeling uncomfortable with these words and being made to feel like I didn’t belong. Is that what we really want to have members experience in a Lodge of Odd Fellows? It may be hard for Christian members to appreciate how awkward and off-putting this is for a non-Christian member. But let’s reverse the equation for a moment. If you are a Christian member of the Order and a chaplain ended a prayer with the words “in the name of Allah, most gracious and most merciful” – how would you feel? Would you feel included and welcomed, or marginalized and excluded?

These are extremely sensitive issues. Sooner or later they will have to be reconciled. The elephant can’t just sleep on the Lodge room floor forever.

F – L – T

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

A Great Day in the History of the Odd Fellows

A Great Day in the History of the Odd Fellows

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, Today was the day that I was planning to send out my last DMC Newsletter. On December 10, 2010 - precisely 12 years ago to the day - I had sent out our first DMC Newsletter. Since that time, I have "published" close to 600...

The Elephant in the Odd Fellows Room

The Elephant in the Odd Fellows Room

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, There is an elephant in the Odd Fellows' Lodge room. We're all aware of that pachyderm, but most of the time it's sleeping. We, Odd Fellows, normally just tiptoe around it, making sure we don't step on it's tail or ear. The elephant...

At Any Given Time in the Odd Fellows

At Any Given Time in the Odd Fellows

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, At any given time in our history, there are always three generations of adults who are alive. Let me explain the significance of this fact as it relates to fraternal orders, and to Odd Fellows in particular. A "generation" is...

At Any Given Time in the Odd Fellows

At Any Given Time in the Odd Fellows

Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

At any given time in our history, there are always three generations of adults who are alive. Let me explain the significance of this fact as it relates to fraternal orders, and to Odd Fellows in particular.

A “generation” is typically viewed as a period of time covering up to 25 years. Excluding children, this means that at any given moment in time, one generation covers an age range of about 18 to 43, a second age range of about 44 to 69, and a third age range of about 70 and above.

Viewed in this light, a healthy Odd Fellows Lodge that is prepared to sustain itself into the future would have members in each of the three generations.

On the other hand, if a Lodge only has members in the third generation, it may very well be a comfortable and enjoyable Lodge to its third generation members – but it won’t last. Such a Lodge simply cannot sustain itself into the future. Those 70+ year-old members in ten years will be 80+ year-old members, and those members who are 80 will be 90+ year-old members, etc. You get the point. The present may be a happy time for such a Lodge. But there is no future for it.

Let’s be frank. We are mortals. If we have good genes and good luck, we may be able to celebrate our 100th birthdays. But eventually we all pass away. And if we are members of a Lodge composed of all third generation members, how in the world do we bring in members from the second generation, let alone the first generation. What potential members would be interested in joining a Lodge of septuagenarians or octogenarians?

So, it is critically important for the future viability of a Lodge that it constantly replenishes the membership rolls with men and women of all generations. And this must be a constant mission for the members of the Lodge. If a Lodge of members in their 70’s only brings in more members in their 70’s and ignores potential members in their 50’s or 30’s – the Lodge will dimish and die. The Lodge must always have a new batch of potential leaders and desk officers, and members to fulfill the various functions of the fraternity.

Inattention to this important component of fraternal life will be fatal to the Lodge and to Odd Fellowship.

F – L – T

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

A Great Day in the History of the Odd Fellows

A Great Day in the History of the Odd Fellows

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, Today was the day that I was planning to send out my last DMC Newsletter. On December 10, 2010 - precisely 12 years ago to the day - I had sent out our first DMC Newsletter. Since that time, I have "published" close to 600...

The Elephant in the Odd Fellows Room

The Elephant in the Odd Fellows Room

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, There is an elephant in the Odd Fellows' Lodge room. We're all aware of that pachyderm, but most of the time it's sleeping. We, Odd Fellows, normally just tiptoe around it, making sure we don't step on it's tail or ear. The elephant...

At Any Given Time in the Odd Fellows

At Any Given Time in the Odd Fellows

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, At any given time in our history, there are always three generations of adults who are alive. Let me explain the significance of this fact as it relates to fraternal orders, and to Odd Fellows in particular. A "generation" is...

Analysis of Membership Projections

Analysis of Membership Projections

2 years ago, my initial projection for the future of the IOOF in America, as it existed at that time, was a 9-year future. This was not based upon a guess, but rather an analysis of several inter-related figures. Some figures can be changed but others are unalterable. Here is a list thus far.

Since at least half of all states are now at or below two hundred members, here are figures as they will appear. I can keep all advised as to the figures on a yearly basis.

First, of course, is human life expectancy, which, according to national statistics, is 78.8 years. Remarkably, this is more than 2 years less than many other countries. However, life expectancy is more variable than most figure. Most think that if one lives to the age of 71, it is a fifty-fifty chance to live to 78, however, it is more optimistic than that, because if one has lived to 71, one has already bested a number of other roadblocks, so it is more likely that one might live to the age of 82, for example. So, by that figure, we will lower the total membership in a state standing with two hundred members by a third to 133 members, within 7 years.

Second, of course, as quoted by many members, is active membership involvement. This is just as important as life expectancy, as many members, are rarely, if ever, involved in a lodge directly. In my own lodge, half of all members are rarely in attendance, and belong in main to be enrolled in a camp, or to support a relative, or employment, or for some other reason. But again, let’s be fair, and call that, on average, a third of all remaining members, so that lowers our total by forty-one members to ninety-two members in total.

Third, this figure becomes more based upon conjecture, but as a state’s numbers decrease, this figure will increase until it becomes one of the more dominant figures. We can call it proximity membership. As lodges close and consolidate, while some members will be willing to make longer trips, others will fall off the membership charts by just refusing to drive ever increasing distances. Currently, a member and I drive almost an hour to help another lodge keep its quorum. We would not be willing to do this if the lodge were any further away. For the time being, we will continue with the optimism, and we will figure that twenty members will refuse to drive more than thirty miles on a regular basis to a lodge meeting. Total remaining active statewide membership – 72 members.

Fourth, infirmity. Over the age of seventy-two, members begin to become increasingly infirm, some becoming incapacitated, others approaching senility, or other levels of incompetence. While they haven’t died, they fail to attend. Attendance can be cut short by simple night blindness or other personal factors. Again, let’s be kind, and subtract only fifteen members with a relative infirmity, or something too intrusive to allow us to maintain viable attendance. Fifty-seven members (statewide) still in attendance.

Fifth, membership overlap. SGL is already working on this, but it is an important aspect, that we have ignored for years. It affects other groups more than the Odd Fellows, but the Rebekahs, for example, have many members who joined just to be allowed to run for various positions. I, for example, have been a Rebekah for many years, but rarely attend a meeting. Subtract seven members from this list.

This leaves us with fifty active members in a jurisdiction that began with two hundred. Other factors can also be figured in, but this would be the absolute lowest figure in which to maintain five lodges in a state with ten active members per lodge. Less than this figure is not really a jurisdiction. To be frank, my estimate of seven remaining years is extremely optimistic, for a number of reasons. First, the median age is probably greater than seventy. Also, other factors are probably more influential than I suggest. Just like other modern scientific philosophies, there may also become a “tipping point” – a point at which a number of jurisdictions may no longer be viable. Some states are already at this point.

Of course, there are remedies. We could get some younger members. We could let them lead. But we must learn to get out of their way. If we don’t do something, and this part is clear, this is the inevitable result. I might be off by a year or so, but don’t bet your lodge on it.

In F., L., & T.,

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

A Great Day in the History of the Odd Fellows

A Great Day in the History of the Odd Fellows

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, Today was the day that I was planning to send out my last DMC Newsletter. On December 10, 2010 - precisely 12 years ago to the day - I had sent out our first DMC Newsletter. Since that time, I have "published" close to 600...

The Elephant in the Odd Fellows Room

The Elephant in the Odd Fellows Room

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, There is an elephant in the Odd Fellows' Lodge room. We're all aware of that pachyderm, but most of the time it's sleeping. We, Odd Fellows, normally just tiptoe around it, making sure we don't step on it's tail or ear. The elephant...

At Any Given Time in the Odd Fellows

At Any Given Time in the Odd Fellows

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, At any given time in our history, there are always three generations of adults who are alive. Let me explain the significance of this fact as it relates to fraternal orders, and to Odd Fellows in particular. A "generation" is...

Sovereign Grand Lodge: A Report

Sovereign Grand Lodge: A Report

This report is a draft written by one of California’s Grand Representatives. It allows the membership to get a sense of what happens at Sovereign Grand Lodge. It touches on what this Grand Representative sees from his perspective. With the reports or input of our other Grand Representative, which there are two for the Odd Fellows branch, the members can find out the latest changes at Sovereign Grand Lodge.

Once again, your Grand Representatives for this jurisdiction actively participated in the sessions of the Sovereign Grand Lodge (SGL). There was a total of 100 voting representatives at the session. This year’s convention, historically called the Annual Communication, was held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where committees and presentations and other events took place at either the Embassy Suites or the Marriott Hotel, which was conveniently located near the Sovereign Grand Lodge headquarters.

Your representatives are required to be familiar with all legislation prior to the start of the business meetings. Brothers Rodney Metoyer and Peter Sellars, Grand Lodge Representatives, along with California’s other elected representative from the Grand Encampment, Brother Fred Dolling, attended the required orientation. Because of a mix-up for the past two years, both of your Grand Representatives stepped up to be sworn in by obligation. Terms for Grand Representatives begin and end on the day of swearing into office at Sovereign Grand Lodge, rather than at the session of a given jurisdiction.

Your representatives attended all required dinner events, including the formal opening and installation dinners. California was well represented, as many members from California come to lend support and to acquaint themselves with the session, as well as the events. For the past few years, our jurisdiction has been working to earn the respect of everyone and not appear uninterested in the programs and projects of the Sovereign Grand Lodge. We were honored as the representatives (including Brother Dolling) to present large contributions on the floor during sessions.

On the first morning of the session, prior to the start, we placed the attractive pin of California’s Grand Master, brother Redgie Fleeman at the seat of every representative. Many members expressed their thanks. This tradition allows other jurisdictions to see the generosity of various states.

It should be noted that at the formal opening dinner event, the Sovereign Grand Master set aside time to introduce Californian Brother Jermaine JJ Soto the World Champion in Muay Thai of San Fernando Lodge No. 365, where Brother Soto put on a demonstration for the audience. Nearly everyone seemed enthralled with this brother. After the dinner and the demonstration, many lined up to get his autograph, a picture with him, or purchase one of his attractive shirts. The representatives and members of California appeared to take pride in claiming Brother Soto being from California. A memorable moment indeed.

Having Sister Michelle Heckart, of Iowa, assume the seat as this Order’s Sovereign Grand Master was this most impactful, historical, and significant event of the session. She became the first female to ever become the Sovereign Grand Master. She knows she has California’s best wishes during her year.

The Installation of the General Military Council (GMC) was well-attended. These members presented themselves with pride. The elected officers of all Grand Bodies attended this event as well. The installation followed the social party hosted by California, which has become a wonderful way for members from other jurisdictions to find time to meet Californians, and not be misled by any rumors or otherwise.

Brother Metoyer worked on the Committee on Ritualistic Work and Brother Sellars worked on the State of the Order Committee. These committees stay busy, as do many. Again, your representatives are familiar with all legislation, whether it may be a change to the code or the ritual. Often, these items are referred to multiple committees where other committees must be consulted for a census or a decision. Everything flows quickly because there is a lot of ground to cover and reports must be submitted by a specific time each day. Because Brothers Metoyer and Sellars were on both of these committees, input was provided by each to their fellow committee members, concerning a resolution (coming from California) to change the opening of the lodge, thus pushing it towards its passage. Of course, not everything passes, but careful thought by mostly experienced members is given. A point to remember, as it was reiterated on the floor by the Sovereign Grand Master, Chuck Lusk, is that debate is allowed on every report of a committee and resolutions are not assigned to the Legislation Committee.

There were 28 bills (including layovers) listed in the daily reports, as well as 12 resolutions, and many reports, which the Grand Body had to work with. Of the 27 bills, 3 were laid over, 2 were not adopted, 2 were withdrawn, and 20 were adopted. Of the 15 resolutions (including layovers) 6 were adopted, 2 were not adopted, and 5 were not completed. There were several reports shown as not being addressed, which is an obvious error on the part of the Sovereign Grand Secretary, as the State of the Order Committee to whom these were assigned, were presented as “bundled” which has become more common in recent years. This means that the committee presented a list of reports and asked that several be approved in a single vote by the Grand Body to save on redundancy and on time, but still given its attention and respect at the committee meetings. Somehow, these were not listed as being approved – or disapproved.

The Sovereign Grand Lodge State of the Order Committee presented its annual report based on the collective reports of the line officers, which was read on the floor by Brother Sellars. The theme of the report addressed issues between members and that these be resolved and “left at the door of the lodge.” There were far too many trials, which caused the entire chapter of the code to be rewritten. Our members must live by the principles of Friendship, Love, & Truth. It was unanimously approved by the Grand Body.

It was an honor to accept an award to California’s Yerba Buena Lodge No. 15 in recognition for its large contribution to the I.O.O.F. Education Foundation, which also earned California its own plaque for overall funds contributed toward that wonderful program. It was bittersweet for this representative who had faced a trial for such donations, being accused of “spending down the funds of the lodge”!

Several bills were related to the recent changes to the Patriarchs Militant and the uniform changes. This had been a project of several years of attempts by members of the GMC. Members who use items of the uniform prior to this recent change will still be allowed to wear what they have until it becomes unserviceable; this will be cost effective for those in this branch of Odd Fellowship. The layover bill from 2021, involving the elimination of the encampment branch, was not assigned this year and appears to still be laid over to 2023. This bill was reported as “favorable” in 2021 by the two committees it was assigned to at that time; however, several members lined up at the mic to voice their concerns, which caused the bill to be returned to the committees for further consideration, but again, this bill was listed this year, but not assigned to any committees. If it would have passed in 2021, we would have seen a dramatic increase in representatives to SGL. It is a bill we must pay close attention and watch.

The bills that were passed do not have a critical impact on how the lodges functions. I would say that Bill No. 13 – 2022 dealing with the Trials was one of two bills that could change the way business and fraternal issues are handled. SGL now handles all charges and trials and trial committee appointments, etc. For those offenses committed after September 1, 2022, are now subject to a statute of limitations of one year. For financial matters, the statute of limitations is five years; and for those who had committed criminal offenses, it is ten years. Those accusers bringing charges against a member that are deemed frivolous shall be suspended “with a 364-day suspension.” The fact that the Sovereign Grand Master (then and now) and this bill originating from the Executive Committee and that they are seeking a reduction or slowdown in trials, this chapter change may have an immediate impact. The entire chapter was replaced.

Another bill that directly affects California deals with the number of Term Directors. Bill No. 9 – 2022 passed which negates our own jurisdiction’s recent vote to have six Term Directors, limiting that number to only three Term Directors. This was a discussed at length at the Legislation Committee meetings more than once. Within that same bill, was another controversial passage that reads, “The Grand Master shall serve as chairman/president of the Board.” California has not operated as a typical Odd Fellows Executive Committee because of how corporations are governed. To support our position, we should provide documentation to SGL or we could be challenged. This matter was discussed at length during the Legislation Committee meetings.

Peter Sellars, PGM
Independent Order of Odd Fellows
Jurisdiction of California

A Great Day in the History of the Odd Fellows

A Great Day in the History of the Odd Fellows

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, Today was the day that I was planning to send out my last DMC Newsletter. On December 10, 2010 - precisely 12 years ago to the day - I had sent out our first DMC Newsletter. Since that time, I have "published" close to 600...

The Elephant in the Odd Fellows Room

The Elephant in the Odd Fellows Room

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, There is an elephant in the Odd Fellows' Lodge room. We're all aware of that pachyderm, but most of the time it's sleeping. We, Odd Fellows, normally just tiptoe around it, making sure we don't step on it's tail or ear. The elephant...

At Any Given Time in the Odd Fellows

At Any Given Time in the Odd Fellows

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, At any given time in our history, there are always three generations of adults who are alive. Let me explain the significance of this fact as it relates to fraternal orders, and to Odd Fellows in particular. A "generation" is...

A Troubling Pattern of Behavior

A Troubling Pattern of Behavior

It’s Just Math

Too many Lodges find themselves standing pat on members – that is, years go by and no new members are added to the rolls of the Lodge. It goes without saying (but I will say it anyway) that the inevitable result of this pattern is the eventual demise of the Lodge. It’s just math, folks. Eventually, all Odd Fellows move away or pass away, and if you don’t replenish the organization with new members, the organization will – in time – perish. The Lodge will either lose a quorum and be compelled to give up it’s charter, or it will take the more genteel way to expire by consolidating with another Lodge. Either way, the Lodge perishes from the face of the Earth and becomes an historical footnote.

It is a Shame

And that’s a real shame on many levels. For decades (sometimes for over a Century) your predecessor Odd Fellows had labored long and hard to create, maintain and grow the Lodge your currently occupy. They bought or built a building, they improved it, repaired it, maintained it, and filled it with members and activities. And now, on YOUR watch, you are letting the Lodge fade away as a cipher in time.

Reverse the Trend

Don’t let this happen. It is rarely too late to reverse the trend, even if your active membership has diminished to less than 10 members. It is amazing what a small number of motivated people can accomplish – if they put their minds to it. So, I’m writing this DMC Newsletter to suggest five things you can do to change the trajectory of your Lodge. Try this approach. What do you have to lose?

Roadmap to Success

Roadmap to success for the weak or declining Lodge:

  1. Meet and talk about it. Don’t ignore the elephant in the room. The greatest impediment to success is complacency. Disregarding the problem does not solve it.
  2. Agree on a path forward. Spend time at a meeting discussing the need for new members. In fact, dedicate an entire meeting to the subject. Nothing is more important than the continued viability of the Lodge. Make sure the discussion is positive, not negative. This is not the time for anger, accusations, finger-pointing and blame. This is the time that all good Odd Fellows come to the aid of their Lodge. At the end of the discussion, come to a consensus on a path forward.
  3. Schedule social meetings. Every path forward must include social meetings. These are meetings without the formal ritual opening, passwords and signs, and ritual closing. So long as you also conduct formal meetings with ritual, nothing in Odd Fellows law or rules prohibits social meetings. These social meetings allow the Lodge members to have some fun, and to invite prospective new members to share in the fun. Ultimately, no one wants to join a Lodge that is boring.
  4. Eat, drink, and be merry. Odd Fellowship first formed and flourished in the pubs and taverns of England. The members would gather to eat, sing, imbibe, and generally have a good time – enjoying each other’s company and fellowship. When did we lose that feeling? So, your plan going forward must include fun events – let your imagination be your guide. Dinners, breakfasts, ice cream socials, beer tasting, wine tasting, hikes, etc, etc.
  5. Bring in new members who are younger than you are. It does your Lodge little good to bring in new members who are the same age as existing members. If you have a Lodge where the members are all in their 70’s and 80’s, bringing in new members within the same age group does not solve the problem posed by “math”. To continue the life of the Lodge, it’s important to bring in new members who are at least a decade younger. So, a member in his/her 70’s should strive to bring in new members in their 60’s, and so on.

Good luck with this endeavor. The future of Odd Fellowship (and your Lodge) depends on it.

F – L – T

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

A Great Day in the History of the Odd Fellows

A Great Day in the History of the Odd Fellows

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, Today was the day that I was planning to send out my last DMC Newsletter. On December 10, 2010 - precisely 12 years ago to the day - I had sent out our first DMC Newsletter. Since that time, I have "published" close to 600...

The Elephant in the Odd Fellows Room

The Elephant in the Odd Fellows Room

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, There is an elephant in the Odd Fellows' Lodge room. We're all aware of that pachyderm, but most of the time it's sleeping. We, Odd Fellows, normally just tiptoe around it, making sure we don't step on it's tail or ear. The elephant...

At Any Given Time in the Odd Fellows

At Any Given Time in the Odd Fellows

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, At any given time in our history, there are always three generations of adults who are alive. Let me explain the significance of this fact as it relates to fraternal orders, and to Odd Fellows in particular. A "generation" is...

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