Updated: December 11, 2020
By Dave Rosenberg, PGM, PGP
Precisely ten years ago today – on December 11, 2010 – The California Odd Fellows “Dedicated Members for Change” (DMC) was formed.
DMC was the brainchild of its three founding members: Don Smith who was an august Past Grand Master of California and a Past Sovereign Grand Master; Rick Boyles who served as a Past Grand Master of California; and yours truly, Dave Rosenberg, who is a Past Grand Master and a Past Grand Patriarch of California. Don Smith, a great Odd Fellow, has since passed away, but Rick and Dave are still around. A decade ago, several progressive, distinguished and leading Odd Fellows became charter “members” of DMC, including Peter Sellars, John Fraher, Brian Riehl, Don Lang, Randy Krassow, John Morgan, Julie Machado, and Frank Goulart. Over the years, our email matrix has grown into the hundreds and represents Odd Fellows in states across the country, Canada, Europe and other jurisdictions.
The focus of DMC has been simple and straightforward: Membership. We wanted the Order to recognize that Odd Fellowship was shrinking, and we wanted to stop the decline. Our focus was about increasing our membership, and suggesting ways in which we could do so. The decline in membership was recognized as an existential issue for our Order. We focused on that issue like a laser. And we have made some progress. The Jurisdiction of California (the largest in North America) has recently halted the decline, and has been showing small net gains in membership. A remarkable achievement after some 70 years of steady net losses. We have shown how Odd Fellowship is still relevant in the 21st Century, and how our Order can appeal to the young men and women of the new century.
A Progressive Force
We were and are a progressive force in Odd Fellowship. A decade ago we were raising issues such as the need to combine our units. To us, it made little sense in the 21st Century to have “male-oriented” units and “female-oriented” units. We also raised the issue relating to sexist passages as well as racially insensitive passages in our ritual. We also raised the flag of hypocrisy where SGL says we are non-denominational, yet the ritual is clearly Judeo-Christian. These issues are still before us, and are still to be resolved.
A Difficult Road
It hasn’t been easy. In the beginning we were mocked and shunned. I recall, just a few years ago, when DMC wanted to use a room for a meeting at the Grand Lodge hotel during a California Grand Lodge gathering, and the Grand Master at the time refused to allow us to use a room, and refused to put our gathering on the agenda. We ultimately had our gathering, but had to move it to a Mexican restaurant two blocks from the hotel. Times have changed, and in recent Grand Lodges we have hosted a Thursday evening reception and dinner which has become a regular and popular feature. And we are listed on the agenda.
Over the last 10 years, we have published over 500 DMC Newsletters. To honor our 10-year anniversary, we are going to republish some of the DMC Newsletter articles that appeared years ago, but are still relevant today. Hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane. The first of our republished DMC Newsletters will appear next week.
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)
Dear Dedicated Members for Change, Frequent contributor to these DMC Newsletters is Past Grand Master Rick Boyles. Rick is a very insightful Odd Fellow. I think you will find Brother Rick's current submission to be particularly astute regarding the human condition,...
My Odd Fellows Lodge in Davis, CA currently has 29 applicants for membership - that number is larger than the entire membership of many of our Lodges throughout North America. How can there be such a dramatic juxtaposition in membership numbers between Lodges? I think...
Dear Dedicated Members for Change, Our Dedicated Members for Change (DMC) email matrix includes hundreds of members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in virtually every state of the USA and every province of Canada, along with many members from countries around...