Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
It is my pleasure to pass along to you a message from Grand Master Peter Sellars, one of the original Dedicated Members for Change. Peter has committed to writing an article each month for the DMC Newsletter and he has kept his commitment. I heartily commend this article to you. In his first month as GM, Peter has visited almost one-third of the Odd Fellows Lodges in this jurisdiction. I suggest that he speaks from personal and first-hand knowledge about what this Order needs to do so that it may continue and may flourish. Peter’s words are important.
Also, attached is a letter from Peter identifying some projects that are important to him and to the Order. Please review Peter’s article below, and the attachment to this e-mail.
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
The Time To Act Is Now, But The Procedural Barrier Is The Roadblock We Face
It is a mouthful, but allow me to explain. Those who have been working toward effective change over a period of years, know what this means.
Brothers and Sisters, the time to make a positive change in your lodges is now. After visiting 30 lodges over the past few months, I have a pretty good idea of what we are facing as an Order.
In fact, positive changes have occurred in various lodges. Events have been tried and used and enjoyed. Members are working toward making their lodges a truly self-sufficient benefit for all the members.
Events! Events! And more events! Subsidizing such events, if possible, to make these events a benefit for the members is also key.
The point of having events, is to make your lodge a fun place. You must create situations and venues enjoyable to members. Establish a handful of events.
There will be some members who do not wish to partake in a particular event, but would like to participate or enjoy a different event. Offer two or more events in a year.
Add more, as your lodge’s resources – member strength and financial concerns – allow.
In conjunction with your event, as a non-profit, seek to give your lodge a purpose. Your lodge should be “giving” and “supporting” other programs.
Programs may include local non-profits; i.e. SPCA, food banks; shelters, Make-A-Wish, etc. Order related programs must be considered as well:
Rebekah Children’s Services, the Odd Fellows & Rebekahs’ Float, the Beneficial Fund, the S.O.S. Village, the Educational Foundation, United Nations Program, etc.
There are so many areas where support is needed.
YOUR LODGE MUST HAVE A PURPOSE! Find something to support. In those thirty lodges I have visited, most had at least one program it supported or an event it established. Some lacked both.
The above is what you can and should be doing on a lodge level. Your lodge can be as successful as you wish. This is the case with many of our lodges.
We can build up our lodges and lodge membership by being active and offering events and activities. This is what those of us who enjoy successful lodges know.
This is what the Dedicated Members For Change has been sharing with all of you for years.
The problem we see on a jurisdictional level is that we are governed by an obsolete and self-destructive system. This is the Sovereign Grand Lodge and how it effects change.
Social changes and geographical location and demographic dynamics and societal activities challenge how we look at the need for change collectively. California is not South Dakota.
New York is not Nevada. Without discussing specific politics, or social change, these do in fact lend themselves to the way our members of different jurisdictions think and behave.
In California, we are more apt to be open-minded for change, based on the demographics. We may have a lodge, which has an appearance that is different than one of Arkansas or Georgia.
When we see a change is needed, as we have seen in recent years, it is presented to the local Grand Body to consider and vote.
If this proposed change is carried and accepted by a local jurisdiction, then it must be sent to Sovereign Grand Lodge so it can be considered – and perhaps be brought to the floor for a vote.
If it is accepted on this level, it must lay over for a year before that vote can be taken. If it passes after that one-year wait, it does not go immediately into affect.
This process, is much more difficult than is simplified here in this writing. Trust me, it can take a minimum of two years to ever be considered and acted upon.
That really deals with the procedural aspect. The “political” aspect, which does in fact exist, could be the biggest barrier.
How our members of different geographical locations may see things differently than another group does play as a big factor in this progressive game of change.
The real change needs to be made at the Sovereign Grand Lodge level. But, in the meantime, continue to work to make your own lodge a success. Enjoy the lodge you have.
We shall continue to bring our proposed changes to the national level until hopefully a compromise can be made to help this Order survive.
Peter V. Sellars
Grand Master of California
TO ALL LODGES
RE: IMPORTANT EVENTS TO SUPPORT
BROTHERS AND SISTERS:
There are some important dates creeping up on us, which we want to remember. These are the sign-in date for the Membership Educational Seminar and the week we enjoy decorating and preparing the Odd Fellows & Rebekahs Float. We also have receptions for Grand Lodge and Rebekah Assembly appointed officers.
Please do not let these simply pass you by. We often lose sight that these events are every bit a part of our Order. Secretaries read these, sometimes without emphasis, which simply negate the reason the letter was written in the first place. There is planning and hard work put into these events. All members are invited and encouraged to attend – or at the very least send a representative.
1. MEMBERSHIP EDUCATIONAL SEMINAR. Deadline for sign-up is December 10, 2016. This is an important event which has been going on for 20 years and has greatly improved for the benefit of every members. Please send at least one member of your lodge to this event. The knowledge shared can be very helpful to your membership. Bring your issues, too. I want to hear your concerns. This is why I shall be in attendance; or miss the opportunity to air your concerns or ask your questions. This event will be held in Reno, NV on January 14 & 15, 2017.
2. The Odd Fellows & Rebekahs Float Event/Decorating. Pasadena, CA. Starting December 26, 2016 to January 1, 2017, members and friends of the Order begin decorating the float. Details are attached. Even if you don’t want to decorate the entire time, there are plenty of things to do while staying at the “official” hotel – all within a block of the hotel. You can visit historic Olvera Street, the shops and restaurants. You can dine at the famous Philipe The Original and enjoy delicious food. You can visit the famous Union Station (where you would catch the train to decorate the float, any way). If you needed a little more time, you could visit the La Brea Tar Pits a few miles away. You could visit Chinatown next to the hotel. There is so much to see and enjoy.
3. Grand Lodge and Rebekah Assembly Appointed Officers’ Receptions:
RA Chaplain on October 15, 2016 at Knights Ferry.
RA Conductor on October 22, 2016 at Van Nuys.
All GL Appointed officers on October 29, 2016 at Lodi
Flyers for some of these events have been attached to this letter. Come out and join the rest of us. I hope to see you at a couple of these events.
In Friendship, Love, & Truth,
Peter V. Sellars