​Every Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge in good standing (e.g. not suspended and current with the Lodge’s per capita report and per capita dues), is entitled to send representatives to Grand Lodge Sessions. The number of representatives to which a Lodge is entitled, depends on the number of regular dues-paying members the Lodge has on its books. Lodges can elect and send between five and fifteen representatives to Grand Lodge Sessions, depending on Lodge membership. In addition, Past Grand Masters can attend and vote at Sessions. But did you know that any third-degree member may attend Sessions as an observer?

If you haven’t attended one of these Sessions (they take place every year), you should consider doing so. It’s an eye-opener! In the Jurisdiction of California – the largest jurisdiction in North America – Grand Lodge Sessions take place from May 17 to May 20 in Modesto. You will see bills to amend the Codes, you will witness resolutions being debated pro and con, you will hear reports relating to our property, our assets, our budget, our membership and more. You will see statewide officers in action – and you can make your own evaluation on their knowledge, effectiveness and competency. You will observe parliamentary democracy in action. You will witness elections to Grand Lodge Office. You will have a chance to spend quality time with Odd Fellows from Lodges throughout the state.

But did you know that half of our Lodges don’t send any representatives to Grand Lodge Sessions? Yes, it’s true. They are disconnected with the Order beyond their own Lodge. And there are Lodges that haven’t sent even one representative to Grand Lodge for years. Why is that? To really know the answer, one would have to talk to the leaders and members of those non-attending Lodges. But I will venture a guess that the answer involves one (or more) of three possible reasons: (1) The Lodge is so small and has so few members that no one is available. Lodge members who are active are already doing double duty, and no one can spare the time or energy to attend sessions. (2) The Lodge members cannot afford to attend sessions, and the Lodge budget is too meager to subsidize them. (3) The Lodge is and has been disconnected from the Grand Lodge and Sovereign Grand Lodge. Frankly, they want nothing to do with the jurisdictional or international organization. They just want to be left alone.

Does your Lodge send representatives to attend the annual Grand Lodge Sessions? Or do any of these three obstacles apply?

F – L – T

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

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