The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)  is dedicated to Friendship, Love, and Truth. Let’s take a moment to speak some truth.

As our Order slowly shrinks in size, some of our iniquities come to light. We have jurisdictions where the total membership of the Odd Fellows Lodges in the jurisdiction is less than 200. In fact, the statistics just published by Sovereign Grand Lodge reveal that fully TWENTY jurisdictions each have less than 200 members on their books. Some of these jurisdictions actually have less than 100 members.

On the other hand, the largest jurisdiction (California) has over 4,000 members.

Each of the jurisdictions with less than 200 members is permitted to send 1 representative from their respective Grand Lodges to Sovereign Grand Lodge. That’s a total of 20 representatives for those 20 very small jurisdictions.

California is permitted to send a total of 2 representatives from its Grand Lodge to Sovereign Grand Lodge.

So, the 20 very small jurisdictions – whose membership totals less than 4,000 – gets to send 20 representatives, while California – which has more members than the combined total of the 20 small jurisdictions – gets to send only 2 representatives. California is outnumbered 10 to 1.

By any standard, does that seem fair?

I do not mean to suggest that any of those smaller jurisdiction should be deprived of their allocated Grand Lodge representatives. I have no problem with each of these 20 jurisdictions being allotted a representative at Sovereign Grand Lodge. My concern is that the allocation of only two representatives to California’s Grand Lodge creates an inequity – and in fact, a gross inequity. We have single Lodges in California that have more than 200 members. It seems to me that California should receive more than two representatives. And I am not suggesting that California should receive 20 representatives. But, in fairness, I believe California should be allocated at least 5 representatives to properly represent the diverse interests of this large jurisdiction. And, to be frank, any jurisdiction with more than 2,000 members should have an uptick in its representation.

We should value and recognize our larger jurisdictions, while continuing to value and recognize our smallest.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
IOOF, Jurisdiction of California

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