Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

Every organization, including Odd Fellows Lodges, have members who are very involved and dedicate a substantial amount of their time and energy to the organization (we’ll call this Tier One). There are also members who are active and give their time freely to the organization (Tier Two). Further, there are members who are involved only occasionally (Tier Three). Finally, we find members who pay their dues but we rarely (if ever) see or hear from them after they joined (Tier Four). Within this framework, we should strive to move members up to a higher tier. Can you imagine how dynamic an Odd Fellows Lodge would be if all members were in Tier One and Tier Two. And just imagine how boring and stultifying it would be if you were in a Lodge where all the members were in Tier Three and Tier Four.

So, what are the best qualities we would like to see in Odd Fellows. Here is my list of the positive qualities of a true Odd Fellow:

  1. First and foremost, a true Odd Fellow would exemplify the qualities of Friendship, Love, and Truth. And I’m not talking about just words – I’m talking about actions. This is a member who strives to be truly friendly and a friend to all. This is a member who practices fraternal love toward the brothers and sisters in the order, helping them when he/she can, and forgiving their little idiosyncrasies and mistakes. This is a member with whom all other members want to spend time – a friend to all – pleasant and with a positive spirit. This is also a member who is honest and truthful with others, but not to the point of being critical, condescending, or negative.
  2. Second, and vitally important, a true Odd Fellow is one who supports his/her Lodge. The Lodge, after all, is only as strong as the members who belong to it. This is a member who serves in responsible positions in the Lodge – such as elected or appointed office or committee chairmanship. This is a member who pitches in to help with and to complete projects to benefit the Lodge or community. This is a member who sets up for meetings and events, cleans up and puts chairs and tables away, and readily volunteers to help, in good spirit. This is also a member who looks not only to the present, but to the future of the Lodge by sponsoring applicants for membership – without new blood, the Lodge will, in time, diminish and fade away.
  3. A true Odd Fellow understands that being an Odd Fellow requires a lifetime of learning about the history of the Order, the Codes and rules of the Order (both written and unwritten), and the ritual. There is so much to know and so much to learn about Odd Fellowship. If this is a long-time member, he or she will freely educate, without being pedantic. This is also a member who strives to move up in the Order by joining an Encampment or a Canton, or a Rebekah Lodge – who strives to be a Noble Grand so that he/she can attend Grand Lodge Sessions, and even be active at that level. On the other hand, this is not a member who uses a little bit of knowledge to intimidate or bludgeon other members (e.g. “You didn’t say that correctly” or “You are not standing in the right place”.)
  4. An Odd Fellow should focus on improving life in the Lodge, but should not lose focus on the greater community outside the Lodge Hall. The Lodge is stronger and more sustainable when the Lodge members involve themselves in that community, and provide community support to others.
  5. Finally, in my book, a little humility goes a long way. You may have noticed that the most beloved members of your Lodge are often the most humble and soft-spoken. They participate and contribute, but they don’t toot their own horns. People like to be with them. The world is full of talkers, with too few listeners. Emulating the quietly competent and non-assertive members of the Lodge will never steer you wrong.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

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