Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
Once again, I am pleased to send you a DMC article prepared by Grand Master Peter Sellars. Peter touches forcefully on an important, but often overlooked, subject which affects many of our Lodges. Do you recognize YOUR Lodge in this article?
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
PRIORITIES MUST BE IN ORDER
In the capacity of Grand Master of this jurisdiction, I have visited 23 lodges, socially or officially, in the past nine weeks. In the next week, I have two more lodges to visit. I plan on making several impromptu visits during my year as well.
We know that Membership is the number one concern; however, I see that we have lost sight of other important obligations we owe to this Order. We also work to implement activities for our members and to tie ourselves into our communities. These are all important and must occur in order to be successful.
In several of the lodges I have visited, the buildings have been neglected. For whatever reason, it does not matter. Perhaps, we have been focusing on membership, events, and community involvement, so much that some lodges have neglected or forgot to keep up with their buildings’ maintenance issues.
I can tell you that people will want to join an organization that has beautiful buildings and events. Membership shall grow in those lodges having maintained and improved their buildings.
We need to shift from Membership for a short while and get our own affairs in order and make all the necessary improvements to our buildings. Shift your lodge’s priority to improving and repairing your structures.
I am perplexed why we have members who believe the lodge must save, save, and save its money, while their building is deteriorating. This is a selfish and reckless attitude that must be corrected. As members, you are the custodians of Odd Fellow property and have an obligation to present yourself (your buildings) well.
In the last two weeks, I have stepped inside halls, that the buildings needed new windows, roof repairs, painting, new carpet, cleaning, etc. AND a few of these lodges have six-figure investments, using the proceeds from the investments for activities for “donations and events” instead of addressing the issues of the deteriorating building. This attitude is disgraceful and must change.
Your membership cannot help but to grow if you have a beautiful building. I mean that with all sincerity. I am talking to you, and I am judging your character, based on the condition of your building and how you respond to my challenge of repairing your building.
For now, if your building has its windows covered with plywood, paint peeling from the ceilings and walls, elevators that are broken down, light bulbs that are out, water faucets that do not work, plumbing that leaks or is rotted, roofs that leak, carpets that are stained or torn, trash stored in closets or rooms crammed so full of items that they cannot be accessed, trash and weeds on the exterior, faded paint, rotted mortar on the brick structures, rusted metal work, missing numbers and letters in your lodges name and number or date your lodge was established, broken neon lights, sagging roofs, broken rain gutters, faded parking space lines, broken concrete, broken stair steps, filthy handrails and restrooms, outdated aluminum framed windows, chipped and cracked and broken tile floors, rusted cyclone fencing, broken fences, falling stucco, cracked stucco, etc. – then fix it.
We often say the first duty of our lodges’ trustees is “financial,” but this duty extends to leases and contracts and the condition and needed improvements to the building.
I hope I have struck a nerve. Some of you shall respond and make the improvements and repairs. Some of you are not online, nor receive email, so this message shall be lost on you, as your buildings shall remain in disrepair and eventually be lost. I want to encourage you to make your buildings beautiful. Grand Lodge cannot do the work for you. Grand Lodge cannot and does not have the assets to financially assist the lodges.
You must do the work! You must bring a positive attitude! You must be creative! You must spend the money you have and make the necessary changes in your lodges. Don’t leave this life, never having taken up a cause or challenge or step toward doing something positive. Improving a building is not the most challenging prospect we shall have faced during our lifetime. It’s a building! Maintain your building as you would your soul and body. I promise you, you shall be reaping the rewards with a beautiful building.
Peter V. Sellars Grand Master