Noble Grand Report #27

Dear Odd Fellows and Pledges,

1. The Odd Fellows’ Injury Report. I just got word that two of our members sustained some serious injuries. Last week Dave Morris feel off a ladder and broke his pelvis, six ribs and his ileac. He was in surgery for seven hours. But there’s more! The very next day, during the heavy storm, Randii MacNear broke her shoulder, so she couldn’t even go see Dave. Randii can be reached at rmacnear@hotmail.com and Dave Morris can be reached at davemorris.morris@gmail. com if you want to check in with them. I’m sure they could use some help with meals.

2. Reach Out to Senegal. One of our members – Mariel Garcia – is finishing up a two-year stint with the Peace Corps. She has been assigned to Senegal, in West Africa. Mariel recently wrote to us and requested some help. Her focus has been malaria and Ebola prevention projects. But recently she took a break to help build a fence for the health post in her village. The fence will help them plant a garden and trees. Mariel is asking for financial help to complete the project – apparently your donations are tax deductible for 2014 (if done before December 31). Please write to Mariel directly and she will give you an on-link link for your donation. Mariel can be reached at marielcristinag@gmail.com.

3. Breakfast with Santa a Great Success. We completed our 9th annual Breakfast with Santa last Saturday, and once again, it was a great success. Over 350 children and adults enjoyed the event – which went smoothly. Thank you to over 50 Odd Fellows and Pledges who helped in so many ways. I wish to particularly highlight the help of our long-time Santa Doug Hatton (and “Mrs. Santa” Margee Hatton), Debbie Friend who coordinated the stage decor for Santa, Steve Lopez, Rea Nakanishi, Amy Hodam, and Jeff Oblinger, who were the kitchen chefs for all three seatings, Sharla Cheney, the volunteer coordinator, Dave Rosenberg, the volunteer wrangler and chief of publicity, and Alekka, Michael and Elsie Fullerton who stayed after everyone else had departed to help me put the Breakfast with Santa decorations away.

4. Other Major Events Coming Up. Now that Breakfast with Santa is done, we turn our focus to other major events coming up. We have Breakfast with the Bunny on April 4, 2015. Also Picnic Day is April 18, 2015 – we have two events that day – the annual Picnic Day Pancake Breakfast, and we will be in the Picnic Day Parade with an Odd Fellows float! And we have a big event coming on April 30, 2015 – our annual Taste of Davis. If you wish to volunteer to help on one or more of these great events, please contact me right away, and I will put you in touch with the chair of the event!

5. Less Than 3 Million Steps to Go. We are now even closer to our goal of 50 million collective steps as a Lodge. It’s within our reach! As of last night, the step count is 47,086,803. Only 2,913,197 steps to go and we meet our goal. If you have steps to report, please get them to Dave at daverose@jps.net. 50 million steps equals 25,000 miles – or once around the Earth.

6. Bingo Committee Could Use Three More Volunteers. We have a very active Bingo Committee in the Lodge that organizes Bingo on the second Sunday of the month. The Committee donates proceeds from Bingo to local community and charitable groups – some $8,000 per year is donated. In 2015, the Co-chairs of the committee are Jean-Paul Montreuil and Jeff Oblinger. (Thank you to the 2014 Co-chairs: Salie Yin and Eric Davis.) We have a number of active members, BUT we need at least three more volunteers for this committee is 2015. The committee will train you. Do we have volunteers? If so, please contact me. And the first Bingo of 2015 is on Sunday, January 11, benefiting “Team Davis” – activities for young people with special needs.

7. River Cats Oddventure. Charles Filmer is organizing another “Oddventure” – this time a River Cats game. Charles is reserving a block of tickets to see the Rivercats play the Memphis Redbirds on May 21, 2015, at Raley Field in West Sacramento. Tickets are $20 each. The Oddventure is open to members, pledges, and guests. Even though the game isn’t till May, payment will be due in January. Contact Charles Filmer at clrfilmer@sbcglobal.net for more information or to reserve your seats.

8. Club Night at the Lodge This Thursday, December 18. Don’t forget the weekly Club Night at the Lodge this coming Thursday, December 18, starting at 5 p.m. in the Lower Hall. Dinner is available at 6 p.m. And it’s Trivia Night with prizes and Trivia Master Dave Rosenberg.

9. Caroling Again This Year on December 17. Dave Reed has organized caroling again this year. The date is Wednesday, December 17. Those who wish to carol meet at 7 p.m. at University Retirement Community, 1515 Shasta Drive. For more information, contact Dave Reed at dreedng@gmail.com.

10. Odd Fellows Wine Club Meets on December 19. Mark your calendars for Friday, December 19. The Wine Club meets at Lea and Dave Rosenberg’s home, , Davis, for the annual Holiday Wine Club gathering. It begins at 7 p.m. Bring your favorite red, white or bubbly, and an appetizer to share.

11. New Year’s Eve Party at the Lodge. The Lodge will be hosting a New Year’s Eve Party for member, pledges and the community. Over half the 225 tickets have already been sold! Tickets ($40 per person) are available on line at www.showclix/events.MumboGumbo1231 and also at Avid Reader Active and Common Grounds. Doors open for the NYE party at 8 p.m. on December 31, music begins at 9 p.m. (featuring Mumbo Gumbo) and there will be a champagne toast at midnight on January 1, 2015. There will be music and dancing in the Upper Hall, and the Lower Hall will be open in a quieter venue for folks who want to watch NYE shows on the big screen TV and dine on gumbo and cornbread. For more information, contact NYE Committee Chair Juelie Roggli at juelrog@gmail.com.

12. RSVP Now for Our Annual Installation & Awards Dinner. The annual dinner and awards event is Saturday, January 17, 2015. Tickets this year are very low in price: $15 for members and pledges and $19 for guests. There will be entertainment, awards and the installation of elected and appointed officers of the Lodge. Dinner includes four buffet stations. RSVP now to save your seat. Members, pledges and guests are cordially invited. RSVP to Renee Liston at reneeliston@gmail.com.

Lea Rosenberg
Noble Grand

Noble Grand Report #20

Dear Odd Fellows and Pledges,

1. Busy Day Today. Don’t think we’re taking a “day off” today just because it’s Sunday! We still have two events at the Lodge today (November 9) and you are all cordially invited. At 12 noon the doors of the Lodge open to our monthly Bingo for the community, and Bingo games start at 1 p.m, usually ending around 4 p.m. We have been hosting Bingo for the community now for over 7 years – and have contributed well over $50,000 to community and charitable groups. This month the beneficiary is Food Bank Farms. Then at 6:30 p.m. tonight the doors open to our Classic Film Festival, and the show begins at 7 p.m. Tonight the featured film is the classic western, “Stagecoach” with John Wayne is his first starring role. Come by the Lodge and kick back – admission is free, popcorn and drinks are available at the bar.

2. Breakfast with Santa Tickets Available Soon. Many of you have been asking. Starting this Friday, November 14, tickets go on sale for our annual Breakfast with Santa. Tickets can be purchased for $9 per person (adult or child) at Avid Reader Active and Common Grounds. And they go fast. This year, Breakfast with Santa is December 13. Thank you again to the world’s best Santa – Doug Hatton (and Mrs. Santa, Margee Hatton).

3. Would You Like to Sponsor Breakfast with Santa? Every year, we obtain a number of sponsors to help support this event. As a sponsor, you will be recognized in our press releases, publicity, programs, and posters before and during the event. We already have some Odd Fellows Lodge sponsors who have contributed $2,269 to sponsor this event: David Cougevan $500, Patric Ashby (and wife) $500, Raquel Silva $500, Dennis Corcoran $169 [clever: this is the Lodge #], Allison Zuvela $100, Joyce Trujillo $100, Beth Dovi $100, John and Elysa Hillis $100, Tim Ainsworth $100, and Lea and Dave Rosenberg $100. Would you like to join this great group? Any contribution of $100 or more will be most appreciated and will support not only the worthy BWS, but also our efforts to help foster kids and those who have recently aged out of the foster care system.

4. Request for Pre-Lit Xmas Trees. We need to decorate the stage for Santa for our Breakfast with Santa. Debbie Friend is the Head of our Design and Decoration Team – and they do a wonderful job. Debbie requests the loan of some pre-lit artificial Xmas trees for the stage – she is looking for 7 1/2 ft., 6 ft, and 5 ft tall trees (but any trees in that range will do). Please contact Debbie if you can lend a tree or two (or clear twinkle lights). Debbie’s e-mail is mynainoa1@yahoo.com.

5. 36-million Steps and Counting. Past Grand Dave Rosenberg challenged this Lodge to collectively walk around the earth (50 million steps). We are now at over 36 million steps! We are close to being 75% there. When we started we had 51 people signed up to keep track of their steps. Now, only 6 remain in the step count. We need a few more good men and women to sign up to keep track of their steps. It’s easy. Just get a pedometer, or a fitbit, or a vivo, or whatever, and keep track of your daily steps. Once a week, send your total steps for the week to Sharla Cheney (who is tracking this for the Lodge). Sharla can be reached at shcheney@gmail.com.

6. Evening of Good Fellowship. The Davis Rebekah Lodge and Soroptimist International Club of Davis are sponsoring their annual “Evening of Good Fellowship” at the Lodge on Thursday, November 20, in the Upper Hall, starting at 6 p.m. Interested Odd Fellows are invited. There is no charge. There will be homemade soups and breads, plus a silent auction.

7. Club Night at the Lodge This Thursday, November 13. Don’t forget the weekly Club Night at the Lodge this Thursday , November 13, starting at 5 p.m. in the Lower Hall. This week Chef Julie will prepare her popular Lasagne, Garlic Bread and a Mini-Salad-Bar for $7 for those who wish to partake – dinner is available at 6 p.m. And it’s Trivia Night where I will try my hand as the Trivia Master.

8. Bell Ringing. The Davis Odd Fellow’s assigned date for bell ringing this year is Friday, December 19, from 9 to 5 at the Main Davis Post Office. The funds raised support the children’s shopping spree where Davis kids from very low income families get to shop for school clothes. Your shift will be one hour and we have two people per shift. Contact me if you are interested in helping. There are only THREE slots left for bell ringers!

9. Odd Poetry is Back this Friday, November 14. From 6 to 7 p.m. this Friday, February 14, Odd Poets meet under the Odd Poet-Tree in front of the Lodge. Come to recite some poetry, and/or come to listen.

10. Wine Club Coming up on November 21. This month the Odd Fellows Wine Club meets on Friday, November 21, starting at 7 p.m. at the home of Chuck White and Carrie Shucker, 4127 Frontera Drive, in Davis. The theme is port wine. Bring your favorite port wine with either an accompanying sweet chocolate dish or savory dish.

11. New Year’s Eve Party at the Lodge. For the first time ever, the Lodge is planning a New Year’s Eve Party, starting on December 31, 2014 and ending on January 1, 2015. Lodge members and the public at large is invited to ring in New Year’s in style at the Odd Fellows Lodge Hall. The popular local group Mumbo Gumbo will be performing! I believe the price will be $40 per ticket. More details will follow in the coming weeks. But for now, mark your calendars!

12. No Meetings Till January. Because of the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays and Breakfast with Santa, there are no more meetings of the Lodge scheduled till January 10, 2015. But mark your calendars for some January dates: January 10 (breakfast meeting of the Lodge), January 17 (Installation and Awards Dinner at the Lodge), January 28 (Wednesday evening meeting of the Lodge and Initiation of the Spring 2015 Pledge Class).

Lea Rosenberg
Noble Grand

Canton Davis Musters New Members

Canton Davis #7 mustered two new members on November 10. Here is a photo of new Chevaliers Joel Mandel (left) and Christopher Young (right). In the Center is Canton Captain Arun Sen.

CantonMuster20141114Canton Davis #7 is a new Canton, having been formed and instituted in the summer of 2013, at the urging of Dave Rosenberg (now a Major, and Commander of the Second Battalion, P.M.). Even though it is new, there are 24 members in this Canton, making it the largest Canton in California, and perhaps the largest in the United States. There are only 74 members of the Patriarchs Militant in California, and with 24 members, Canton Davis represents one-third of the entire membership of P.M. in California.

The Patriarch Militant Degree is the uniformed branch of Odd Fellowship. It is the final and highest degree of Odd Fellowship, and stands for universal justice. Patriarchs Militant members are called Chevaliers, and achieve rank as they move higher in the Military Council.

Canton20141114The new Captain for Canton Davis in 2015 is Dennis Corcoran, Lieutenant is James Bledsoe, Ensign is Alekka Fullerton, Clerk is Joel Mandel, and Accountant is Sheryl Cambron.

 

A Suggestion for the Future of our Branches

At a time when Odd Fellowship had very large numbers of members – in the hundreds of thousands – our fraternal Order created Branches. We created the Encampments and Ladies Encampment Auxiliaries and Patriarchs Military and Ladies Auxiliaries Patriarchs Militant. These Branches once also had large numbers, sometimes in the thousands. We have all seen the old photographs, for example, showing hundreds of uniformed members of the P.M. marching in parades, complete with P.M. bands. We have seen the photographs of Grand Encampment gatherings with hundreds of delegates.

I imagine these Branches were created for a number of reasons. The Branches afforded opportunities for leaders of Odd Fellows and Rebekah Lodges to move on to leadership positions in the Branches, thus freeing up leadership positions in the Lodges for newer members. The Branches also afforded members of the Order to advance to “higher” degrees, and obtain the teachings of those degrees. Finally, the Branches offered members the opportunity to receive more degrees just like other fraternal orders.

This was all well and good in the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries when Odd Fellowship numbers were very large. The way our system is structured, numbers do matter. For example, one cannot become a member of the Encampment until one has attained all degrees in an Odd Fellows Lodge. And one cannot become a member of the Patriarchs Militant until one has attained all the degrees in an Encampment. So, I have always said that you can’t have a strong Encampment unless you have a strong Odd Fellows Lodge, and you can’t have a strong Canton unless you have a strong Encampment. This concept is proven by my own experience in Davis. When I joined my Davis Odd Fellows Lodge 10 years ago, we had only about 25 members on our books, our Encampment was virtually non-functional, and we had no Canton. Today, my Davis Lodge has about 230 members, and we resurrected our Encampment about six years ago (when membership had dropped to 3), and now have 45 members in the Encampment, making us the largest in California. We mustered and instituted a Canton less than two years ago, and now have 24 members, making us the largest Canton in California. Accordingly, strong Lodge = strong Encampment and strong Encampment = strong Canton.

But this is an exception in California, and I suspect, throughout North America, because we have very few large strong Lodges. It is not that easy to obtain the numbers regarding the strength of our Branches, but I have gotten them. Here’s what they show regarding the relative membership of our four Branches in California:

Encampment: 194
LEA: 170
Patriarchs Militant: 74
LAPM: 60

These numbers are staggeringly low. And the situation is even more dire because the number of local units in these Branches is dropping dramatically. For example, there are only 7 Cantons in California and less than 15 Encampments. Similar situations exist for the LEA and LAPM. Most of the local units have fewer than 10 members, and several are on the brink. (Take away the Davis Encampment and Canton Davis and the numbers are revealing. Davis alone makes up almost 25% of the Encampment membership in California and almost 33% of the Patriarchs Militant membership in California.)

In fact, the continuation of these Branches in their current form makes no sense. For one thing, we all know that the number of members on the books does not reflect the true number of “active members”. Typically, only have the members listed on the books are active. So, for example, with 74 Patriarchs Militant on the books, probably only 37 are “active” members. This is shown by participation at the Grand gatherings. For example, on October 14, 2013, at the grand gathering of the Military Council of Patriarchs Militant, only 17 members were eligible to vote. Similar numbers are presented by the other Branches. In fact, these grand gatherings aren’t so grand anymore. Certainly, 75 or 100 years ago, the grand gatherings of these Branches were truly grand with hundreds, and perhaps thousands, in attendance. Yet today, with only 17, or 38, or 45 members in attendance, the Branches go through the same motions that they went through 75 or 100 years ago – with the same opening ceremonies, the same meetings, the dinners, and so one for four or five days. If truth be told (and we are fraternally obligated to be truthful) the gatherings are a mere shell of what they once were. They are, regrettably, a facade. (Merriam Webster defines “facade” as “a way of behaving or appearing that gives other people a false idea of one’s true situation.”)

What’s the solution? In my mind, the only reasonable solution is to eliminate all the stand-alone Branches and instead convert them into Degrees in Odd Fellows and Rebekahs. So, an Odd Fellows Lodge would, with this change, now provide eight degrees to members: Initiatory, Degree of Friendship, Degree of Love, Degree of Truth, Degree f Faith, Degree of Hope, Degree of Charity, and Degree of Universal Justice. A similar arrangement would be designated for the Rebekahs. An added benefit of this approach is that it will encourage more Odd Fellows and Rebekahs to obtain the teachings of these advanced degrees.

Now is the time to consolidate our Order, not diffuse it.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Deputy Grand Master