Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
It is with great pleasure that I feature the article below, written by
Deputy Grand Master Peter Sellars, who (in just a few weeks) will take
over the helm of California Odd Fellowship as Grand Master. All of us
understand that change is needed in this Order to ensure its
survival. We cannot – year after year – lose members and close
Lodges. It’s just not sustainable. Odd Fellowship, however, has many
impediments to change including the constant, yearly turnover of Grand
Masters. The good news, however, is that following my progressive year
as Grand Master we have a Deputy Grand Master who also is progressive,
and following his year, a Grand Warden who is progressive as well. One
can only hope that this string of progressive leadership will continue
so that we may sustain the leadership needed to truly transform and
evolve this Order to fit the 21st Century.
F – L – T
Jurisdiction of California
LOOKING FORWARD TO A NEW YEAR
Well, brothers and sisters, we are about to enter a second year of a
progressive front. When I say, “progressive front” I mean the idea of a
movement for acceptable and sensible change to preserve our Odd Fellows
Our current Grand Master, brother Dave Rosenberg has done a tremendous
job of leading this Order, in this jurisdiction, toward improvement, by
sharing ideas and examples of successful growth. Even his lodge in Davis
is a prime example of what other lodges should be taking ideas from and
applying it to their own lodges.
As a jurisdiction, we are fortunate to have a Grand Master, Deputy Grand
Master, and a Grand Warden who all think similar when it comes to needed
positive changes. Each of us, see what we are facing. We realize change
MUST occur if we are going to create a strong nucleus within our
jurisdiction that will allow Odd Fellowship to continue. It starts with
leadership and experience.
This progressive attitude does not end with my stepping into office as
Grand Master next month; it continues with me, and then with brother
Dave Reed. I have made only minor adjustments to incoming committees, as
I want them to be effective and not be jumbled around from one year to
the next. As our Grand Master has been outspoken and honest in his
approach, I plan to be the same. If something needs changing or
improving, then we must lead that effort.
Last year, I had the privilege of serving as the Chairman for the
Sovereign Grand Lodge Revitalization Committee, where a collective group
of dynamic members worked for the then-Sovereign Grand Master, Jimmy
Humphrey. The committee was comprised of members like you and me, who
see what we need in our lodges, as well as our Order. We recognized
needed changes. Keep in mind, “change” to many at the SGL level equates
into a threat of some kind. Many at that level fail to see this Order
must evolve and keep pace with the outside world. It must recognize
acceptable and perceived appearances. Our committee presented numerous
suggestions, along with a list of 100 ways a lodge could involve itself
with its community, as well as 25 ideas for improving lodge meetings.
Because our report represented changes, it was rejected. This was not
unexpected, as the committee already knew it would be facing strong
resentment because of this proposed change. We added the positive ideas
for community involvement just to prove our point.
Brothers and sisters, coming back to our own jurisdiction of California,
we face the same barriers and resistance to change. However, we must be
progressive and become active in our lodges and our own communities. Our
lodges must be a force within our communities. I strongly believe Dave
Rosenberg, has carried this torch in his year as Grand Master. He shall
carry it after his year as well, as I shall carry my own progressive torch.
The Dedicated Members For Change is a group of members dedicated to
making needed changes to improve our Order and to share ideas and to
discuss issues. We do not necessarily make changes, but we work to make
improvements and unite in our efforts. This is how I see the DMC. It is
about progressive and positive change.
In five weeks, I assume the office of Grand Master, provided I am
elected. I bring experience and an open mind. I am not going to say that
I have been the best person to interact with in all occasions, as I
usually am very honest and literal in my responses to matters I feel
strongly about or feel I have been offended or unfairly attacked. I am
prepared to be progressive and responsive and work to see successful
lodges. Anything impeding that effort, shall be met with a response. I
know the history of this Order. I know the laws of this Order. I know
the Ritual of this Order. Now, I am ready to work with and for you on
improving this Order.
Recent situations at the Odd Fellows Camp, and the result of an audit
and other incidences, caused a unanimous decision by the Grand Lodge
Board of Directors to propose legislation to remove itself from all
involvement with the Camp.
In a recent letter, sent to all of the lodges, my signature was on a
letter, under the title of “Grand Master” which endorsed the upcoming
festival at the Camp. I did not expect this letter to be sent until I
assumed that next higher office. I understood the timeliness of the
letter when it was presented to me, as the festival is in June, so I
signed the letter. I want to be clear, that I respect the vote of the
Grand Body, whether “for” or “against” the future of the Camp. That
decision has not been made, yet. However, we are prepared for a festival
if it occurs. Brother Dave Rosenberg is still our Grand Master – and I
am still the Deputy Grand Master. Because this letter announcing the
upcoming festival is signed by me, only means I support the festival
event and not the business practices of the camp and does not render
some kind of effort “for” or “against” the pending legislation.
Lodges also received recent mailings from the Grand Lodge with
legislation and a list of candidates for offices. It would be wrong for
any of us to “endorse” or “promote” any one person. Traditionally, we do
not ask the membership to vote for anyone. We let the Grand Body make
that decision based on the Statements of Qualifications and the
presentation made at the time of the voting. This is the way we vote. In
one of the statements, I read where one of the candidates was supported
by our “current Grand Master,” and realized this was not correct. It
turned out that the Statement is incorrect. How does such a retraction
be made? I am asking all of you, who shall be voting at our session in
May, to be fair and impartial. Do not push for specific candidates.
Vote for those who you believe will serve this Order in the most
effective way and who will be open-minded. And, remember we are all
brother and sisters of one fraternity. Finally, respect the vote.
I am ready to carry the torch. I want to thank the Grand Master for
giving me permission to share and sell my pins and coins and
announcements during the week of sessions. After all, this is the best
venue to fund raise for the future.
In Friendship, Love, & Truth, Peter V. Sellars, Deputy Grand Master