Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
Peter Sellars, the Grand Master of California, is a strong supporter of DMC and a regular contributor to this Newsletter. I am very pleased to pass along to you the Grand Master’s month message – a positive message of truth and hope for the future of our Order.
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
MONTHLY MESSAGE OF THE GRAND MASTER
We are already into the month of July. I hope your Fourth of July was a wonderful day, as the meaning of that holiday is profound, celebrating the adoption of this country’s Declaration of Independence, in 1776. Thus, our nation was created.
Forty-three years later, in Baltimore, our Order was officially established in this country. We have seen many changes over the past 197 years. We have seen growth beyond our imagination. We have seen the effect of removing required stipulated benefits from our lodges in the mid-1920’s and have decreased since that time.
Growth is necessary in order to sustain any organization. Attracting and encouraging new applicants to our ranks is paramount. We are not the only fraternal organization declining in membership or facing tough decisions. Many organizations have simply gone away. However, the Odd Fellows, particularly the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in the United States, can boast its Order is stronger in other countries and realizing success.
How do we attract new applicants? By activities and community involvement! People, generally, do not want to be left out or left behind. The Odd Fellows have something to offer the community. It offers a 501c(8) already in place, already capable of providing activities for it community. The community includes those who are already members of this Order. There is no need for a community and individuals to go out and establish a non-profit for the purpose of helping a community, as the Odd Fellows can provide this activity! This is why I am dumbfounded each time I hear of a lodge having to close its doors. To me, this is a breakdown of a community, if not the members themselves. Did you ever do anything good for the community?
Did you ever know anyone else who wanted to do good deeds for the community? Can food drives, fundraisers, assist in food distribution lines, donate cash, donate clothing, host a fundraiser, provide free building use for another non-profit event, have an activity to bring awareness to a good cause, etc. There are so many ideas and functions a lodge can provide in a community.
My messages are not lengthy, but they are important and address concerns which I believe can save your lodge and perhaps encourage your lodge to try something new. In 7 weeks, I will have visited 19 lodges, I have seen the lodges that are succeeding. These lodges are entrenched in their communities, trying to help out in any way possible. Some do BBQ’s for Wounded Warriors. Another lodge, provided and handed out cups of water for long-distance runners coming through their small town. Another lodge held a dinner, which members were asked to bring in canned food for a food drive. The ideas are endless.
Let people know of the good works you are doing – and how well you observed the lessons of our Initiatory Degree. This is what it is all about my brothers and sisters. Your lodges shall reap the rewards of membership if the community knows of the good works you are doing.
In Friendship, Love, & Truth,
Peter V. Sellars
Grand Master of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows