Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

It’s always a pleasure to receive emails from Lodges that have become three-dimensional Lodges, progressing and thriving in the modern world, and not simply reciting passages from a ritual book in a darkened room with shades drawn against the outside world. Here is a message from one of our Brothers in Victoria, Canada, which shows the sorts of things Lodges can do to be relevant to their members and their communities.

It’s a good way to say goodbye to 2019, and hello to 2020.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

Members all, I guess because it is December I can wish you all the best for the Christmas Season and into the New Year.

On Wednesday evening I went to my Lodge meeting in Victoria. Columbia #2 is my home Lodge. I don’t attend too often for a variety of reasons. First off Wednesdays just don’t seem to work with me because I live up Island. Secondly there are so many new Brothers that I can’t begin to know them all. Most of them basically know who I am because of me recently being the Grand Master. Brenda and I just bought a rental house in Victoria and I think in the new year I am going to start attending Lodge far more often.

So what was so special about last Wednesday evening? Well, we had some problems. There weren’t enough collars for all the Brothers! We had 54 Brothers in attendance and one Sister! The incoming Noble Grand of Bastion #4 (Tawnya) was in attendance too. With 54 Brothers you start looking around the room to find empty seats! It was truly amazing. First off we opened the meeting to give a cheque to the Companion Dog Society. Their manager had traveled to Victoria to receive the cheque and spoke for a few moments on what their dogs do. He brought with him a retired Canadian Military man and his companion dog. These dogs are somewhat associated with eye seeing dogs. The military man spoke of how this dog got him out of his depression and made his life meaningful again. I do not know the cheque amount, but it was enough to come over from Vancouver for.

Our next problem was that we had three Brothers vying for the Vice Grand position. Each Brother spoke for three minutes on his vision for our Lodge. We then voted on which Brother that we thought would best suit the position. I don’t think I can ever recall having to vote for Vice Grand, and definitely not three candidates.

The evening was punctuated with request after request for funds. One was for a local teacher wanting better conditions for her grade two class. ($500). Another was for a Brother who with his wife gives out baskets to seniors without families. ($500) There was a discussion about how we usually put on functions to raise funds rather than just giving away money. Vancouver 90 Lodge gave $1,500 for our Tonne of Love food drive. Thank you Van90. There was a discussion about how much our Lodge should donate. It was decided $1,000 at Christmas and an additional $1,000 in the summer Tonne of Love campaign. I believe the Halloween event raised $21,000 and the Poker Tournament raised $15,000. Serious money but serious events too. At the Spaghetti Social a week earlier, cheques were given to the various charities. Spaghetti Social admission was either new socks or underwear for the needy. I remember when Bro Jim and I joined, a spaghetti evening would have been a bucket of spaghetti with Chef Boyardee sauce and some Safeway garlic bread cut on an angle and slathered with butter. Not nowadays. The Bastion women with Columbia guys knock it out of the park. There wasn’t enough room in the dining room to seat everyone. Not only a great meal but a open meeting afterwards. I was introduced to a young women to explain what Odd Fellows was all about. After I finished she said “I think I have found the group that I want to be part of.” Brother Jim brought a woman from his work and she wants to join Bastion too. Jim’s daughter recently showed interest having seen a Bastion photo on the wall. She knew four Sisters already!

Someone asked if you could be Noble Grand without first being Vice Grand. Brother Gordie Moffat and I looked at each other and said no. Sitting beside us, Junior Past Grand Dave Pettenuzzo spoke up and said the elders beside him said you have to be Vice Grand first. Gordie and I took offence too being called “old guys” and I let the Noble Grand know. Everyone laughed. (We definitely are the old guys.)

They say Odd Fellows reached it’s peak membership in the 1920’s. Well, last Wednesday evening must have been how it was like 100 years ago. Imagine your problems not having enough collars and who to vote for Vice Grand.

Sisters and Brothers, In Fraternal Love I wish you all a Merry Christmas and the best for the New Year.
Bro Bill Murphy

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