Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
In my opinion, one of the duties of the Grand Chaplain of the Odd Fellows is to inspire us to think.
The Grand Chaplain can help us to reflect on our ancient admonitions, and our responsibilities and duties as members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Below is such an inspiring article by Grand Chaplain Rita Cooper. Rita is an active member of the Order, serving not only as Grand Chaplain but also as an elected member of the Grand Lodge Board of Directors. She is Past Grand of her home Odd Fellows Lodge, Morse #257, and an Associate member of Berkeley #270 and Oakland-Encinal #3. She is a member of Silver Star Rebekah Lodge #336. Rita is also Past Chief Patriarch of Golden Gate Encampment #1 and serves as Commandant (Captain) of Canton San Francisco #5.
The article penned by Rita ponders the meaning of “Friendship – Love – Truth”.
F – L – T
Jurisdiction of California
The Power of Powerful Words
Friendship, Love and Truth, the Three Links of our Fraternal Order – such powerful words, so familiar to our Odd Fellow and Rebekah brothers and sisters, words treasured and revered, as are our traditions and rituals.
But perhaps they have become so commonplace to us that we take them for granted, that we seldom think about their meaning and implications for our Order that so proudly
embraces them. Let’s take a fresh look at them and what they can mean for us today.
Friendship denotes mutual benevolence and intimacy, outside of lover and family relationships. For us, I believe that it should it be seen as a charge to extend the hand of friendship to other good people in our community, to share with them the vision and Mission of our Order, and if they can appreciate the warmth and satisfaction our relationships and work can bring, invite them into our fellowship.
We all have our ideas about what love means – so many poems, so many songs. But it is clear to me, and seems to have meant to our Founders, that the love concept for our Order is that of the Golden Rule, or of the maxim “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” This is a love that is to emanate from our Lodges and our individuals out into our community, to touch and uplift the needy, the young, the aged, the afflicted, the lonely, and especially to those who want to contribute to the community, to participate in a fellowship – and just need to be asked.
Truth, defined as being consistent with fact, in harmony with reality, can be quite subjective, often seeming to vary from individual to individual. I believe that what it means to us is that we are to embrace, and to speak out for our fundamental beliefs, not to sit quietly satisfied with what we hold to be true and beautiful and right. The Odd Fellow presence and philosophy should be expressed in public forums, in Letters to the Editor, in public displays in the public conversation.
Friendship, Love and Truth. These are our words, great words to live by, to build an organization with. And shouldn’t the words Friendship Love and Truth be on the welcoming door of every Odd Fellow Hall?