Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
Five years ago this day, on December 8, 2010, under the subject line “Hello Brothers and Sisters”, we formed a new alliance called “Dedicated Members for Change”, or “DMC” as it has come to be known. DMC was the brainchild of Past Sovereign Grand Master and Past Grand Master Don Smith (now deceased), Rick Boyles (who went on to become Grand Master) and me (who also, subsequently went on to become Grand Master) Our first e-mail, on December 8, 2010, was sent to the “charter members” who, at that time numbered 35 and included progressive and far-sighted Odd Fellows like Peter Sellars (now Deputy Grand Master), Dave Reed (now Grand Warden), Brian Riehl, John Fraher, Frank Goulart, Julie Machado, Jay Johnson, Ray Link, Don Lang, Wayne Roberts, Jesse and Doralise Dalton, John Morgan, Carlos Garcia, Lola Gianelli, and Wayne Roberts, among others. Five years later, this group has now grown to hundreds, not only in California, but also around the United States and Canada, and even some in Europe.
We formed DMC because of 66 years of declining membership had become the norm for our fraternity – and to DMC, that was not acceptable. Enough was enough. We picked the name “Dedicated Members for Change” with some care and thought. “Dedicated” because the brothers and sisters who were part of the DMC matrix were all people who believed in Odd Fellowship, cared deeply about the Order, and wanted to make sure that it survived and prospered. “Members” in recognition that we have to include all men and women in the Order. The precursor entity to DMC was called “Concerned Brothers” – we wanted to have a much broader scope. “Change” was, of course, the operative word. We realized that (as the old saying goes) the wag’s definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. We knew that we had to change the culture of this fraternity, to effectuate the change which would save it. Continued losses of members and continued suspension of Lodge charters was not sustainable. If the Order was to survive, it must evolve to become a 21st Century organization.
As I have said many times, the focus of DMC from Day 1, and the focus even today, is just three things: Membership, Membership, Membership. We have developed an e-mail Newsletter that hammers on the theme of the need to increase membership, that suggests practical ways to do so, and that publishes best practices from Lodges that have done so successfully. All these DMC Newsletters from 2010 to the present have been preserved and can be found at www.davislodge.org. Many of them have been re-printed in two books entitled: “The Future of Odd Fellowship – To Be or Not To Be” and “The Future of Odd Fellowship – Evolution and Change”. We have introduced resolutions and legislation which foster ways to increase membership in our Lodges. We have had yearly gatherings at Grand Lodge to emphasize the best practices of our successful Lodges and to keep the focus on increasing membership.
Since it is our DMC “birthday” today, I thought I would publish again our very first e-mail – from December 8, 2010 – five years ago. It is re-printed below.
And the rest, they say, is history.
F – L – T
Jurisdiction of California
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
If you receive this e-mail, then your name has been submitted as a potential member of a new alliance of forward-thinking Odd Fellows, who would like to see real change in the Order. We recognize that 66 straight years of declining membership is unacceptable. We recognize that we have to act now to stem the losses of members. We recognize that our Order has not met the needs nor attracted the young new members we need for the future.
So, a number of us have just launched a new alliance which we call “Dedicated Members for Change” (DMC). The list of names is already substantial, but it will grow. We hope to gather at the 2011 Grand Lodge in Sacramento and have our first breakfast meeting at that time. We will socialize, talk about the present and future of our Order, perhaps support some resolutions and legislation that foster progress and change, and perhaps encourage appropriate candidates for Grand Lodge offices.
We will keep you on this e-mailing list, unless you tell us you want to be removed. If you wish to be removed, we will do so immediately – just let me know. Alternatively, if you would like to suggest other Odd Fellows to be included on this e-mail matrix, simply let me know the name and e-mail of those Odd Fellows and we’ll be happy to add them.
I guarantee some interesting and lively discussion in this DMC matrix. I hope you stay involved.
In friendship, love and truth,
Dave Rosenberg, PG #169, DDGM Dist 59