THE NEED TO PROMOTE THE ODD FELLOWS & REBEKAHS
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows, as an entire Order must start promoting itself if it intends on a continued existence. Promotional campaigns bring attention to groups and awareness to various causes. Promotional events can bring pride to a membership and gain support from a community. Promotional ideas must continually evolve and fit the interests of those who view the Odd Fellows from the outside – the non-members.
Today, we look back on promotional programs the Order has used over the past decade or more. There is no doubt these were good ideas at the time, but our Order has fallen short in evolving with new ideas and new promotional events. We have the Arthritis Foundation, SOS Village in Cambodia, Visual Research, and a couple of others. That is all we have to promote ourselves from the promotional programs of the Sovereign Grand Lodge. There has been no new ideas presented, or at least accepted. Although these are very worthy causes, do you see these are good promotional programs to attract attention to our Order?
Right now, we have been threatened with having our dues increased – yes, threatened, as this is what the language of the resolution translates into, with regard to the increase of dues. If we do not show growth as a whole in this Order, our dues increase by $5.00 next year and again the following year. Call it what you wish, but this is a threat of a dues increase. Again, ask yourselves, “Are these good promotional programs to attract attention to our Order?” The increase in dues is not a good promotional plan for the Order.
Brothers and Sisters, not only do we need Sovereign Grand Lodge to give us the tools to meet its demand of increasing the membership by improving upon the promotional programs, we need our own Grand Lodges and Lodges to establish promotional events!
As businesses, which we are defined as by the Internal Revenue Service, as well as being 501c(8)s, having exempt statuses, we are permitted to conduct promotional events and programs to attract potential members and create support for our organization. A business must promote itself if it is to survive. Too many members refuse to recognize their lodges as businesses or know they may set promotional goals.
What kinds of promotional events or ideas are available to our lodges? There are numerous ideas. Off the top of one’s head: Support a youth team, and provide shirts that read, “Odd Fellows & Rebekahs.” Purchase promotional items with the name “Odd Fellows & Rebekahs” on each items and give away at a local county fair, event, etc. Participate in a local county fair or march in a local town and city parade carrying a banner that reads, “Odd Fellows & Rebekahs;” these are promotional events.
Collaborate with other organizations, which are doing good works, such as Cancer Awareness, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and other charitable groups. Make the public aware that the “Odd Fellows & Rebekahs” strongly support these kinds of groups – and you have a wonderful promotional. There are many ideas for promotional events.
A warning, stay away from political support groups, supporting candidates, and aligning with any religious groups, such as raising money for these kinds of entities, as our tax-exempt classification does not allow for these kinds of promotions.
Perhaps one of the best opportunities for a promotional event presented itself in late September, 2017, when two members of the Odd Fellows (brother Bo Huang of Yerba Buena Lodge #15), one who works for Samsung Development in Silicon Valley, listened to a guest speaker talk about his own accomplishments and the cause he supports. The speaker was the world renowned Robert Swan, who was the first man to walk to the North and South Poles. He was planning another trip and promoting renewable energy in his presentation.
Sister Bonnie Sellars, who attended this event with brother Bo, met Robert Swan after the presentation came up with an idea for a promotional for the entire Order. They spoke about the Odd Fellows. She asked if he could take a patch to the South Pole on his next expedition and in exchange, we would ask for support for his 2041 Foundation, Inc. from the lodges and members. He was happy to do it for the Order and offered to take a picture of himself with the “Odd Fellows & Rebekahs” patch.
Subsequently, several articles shall be written of the event, postcards of the patch shall be printed, and sharing of the event with non-members are part of the promotional. Perhaps we have found a candidate for the SGL’s Honorary Member recognition, which it has not awarded for years.
We received limited support for the idea, but came up with an adequate amount of money to contribute to the 2041 Foundation, Inc. and its upcoming expedition to the South Pole. During this time, we discovered that far too many lodges do not have any promotional programs. Other lodges did not see the advantage of a promotional event or how it related to gaining the awareness of the public or creating potential members.
A special patch was embroidered adding the words, “South Pole” on the “Odd Fellows & Rebekahs” three-link patch, and then sent to Robert Swan, who shall carry this with him on the 600-mile trek across the Antarctica. Robert Swan has been received numerous awards and recognition, including being awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in 1995.
So, you see, ideas for promotional events may come from every place. The aforementioned idea is just one example of a promotional. We, as an Order, must embrace those promotional ideas that will shed a positive light upon our lodges. We need to make the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs more dynamic and appealing to our communities.
Peter V. Sellars
PGM / PGP
A master musician will be performing on Saturday, September 16 7:30pm at the Davis Odd Fellows Hall (415 Second St, Davis).
David Grier, who began playing guitar at age 6, is regarded as one of the premier acoustic guitarists in the world, along with his early influences, Doc Watson, Tony Rice, and family friend Clarence White. Recognized by Acoustic Guitar Magazine in 2000 as one of the Artists of the Decade, and named Guitar Player of the Year three times by the International Bluegrass Music Association. Grier has played on four Grammy Award-winning albums, and in 1998 launched his own label, Dreadnought Recordings, which includes some of his own albums Hootenanny (with Dirk Powell and Tim O’Brien) and Evocative (with a rich complement of collaborators e.g. Victor Wooten).
David was also a member of Psychograss, one of the most eclectic bands in the history of American string music whose members included Darol Anger (violin), Mike Marshall (mandolin), Todd Phillips (bass) and Tony Trischka (banjo). Local favorite Joe Craven has also provided percussion for the band.
Grier’s music has been hailed for its “deep musical introspection” as well as his “unmatchable mastery of the guitar”. His appearance in Davis will give you a rare chance to see one of the greatest flatpicking guitarists who ever played the instrument.
Tickets are $20 at the door. There will be a no host bar. Doors open at 7pm. For information contact Juelie Roggli at email@example.com or call (530) 756-3276.
In historical terms, a human “generation” is considered a period of time spanning some 20 to 25 years. Using that measure, it has been almost a full generation since the Sovereign Grand Lodge, the Grand Lodge of California, and Grand Lodges in other jurisdictions, opened membership in Odd Fellows Lodges to women. The Rebekah Degree and Rebekah Lodges were always open to women since their inception in 1851, and ironically, men could join Rebekah Lodges almost from their beginnings. Yet Odd Fellows Lodges were closed to women until the turn of this Century. In the 21st Century, all Odd Fellows Lodges are open to women to apply and to join and to advance to any and all degrees and offices. This is the Law of Odd Fellowship.
Yet, it is distressing to say that there are still Lodges in California and in other jurisdictions that have no female members. I can certainly understand that there may be a brief period of time (perhaps one or two years) when all-male Lodges would transition to admitting their first female members. But that time has long since passed. It’s been almost 20 years since the decision to open our Odd Fellows Lodges to women, and – sad to say – in 2017 there are still Lodges with no female members. This is unacceptable, and violates basic principles of our Order. The Odd Fellows Membership Application states, explicitly, the following as to who may become a member: “A man or woman over the age of 16 years, of good character, whose life and acts have been worthy and honorable, is eligible for membership.”
Significantly, nothing less than the Code of General Laws of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows makes crystal clear, in Chapter III, Section 1 that membership in an Odd Fellows Lodge is open to “a person”. It does not limit membership to “a man”. And to reinforce this egalitarian requirement of the Code, that same Section states the following warning to non-complying Lodges: “Continued rejection of women may result in revocation of an Odd Fellows Charter after notice and hearing.”
I have heard the excuses (and they are, truly, excuses) from members of Lodges that have no women on their membership rolls. And these are not just small Lodges of less than ten members. There are Lodges of 40, 50, even Lodges with over 100 members, that have not one female member.
Some members offer excuses that are brutally frank, and say things like: “I don’t want a woman member in my Lodge. If a woman joins, I would leave.” But let’s substitute another word for “woman” in this statement. What if the member had not used the word “woman” in his statement, but instead had used the word “African-American” or “Asian-American” or “Hispanic” or “Jew” or “Catholic” or “Hindu” or “Muslim” or “Buddhist”? Would that be acceptable? Of course not. It would display intolerance and prejudice and would be a show of blatant discrimination. How is it any less reprehensible or more acceptable because the member used the word “woman”? It is demonstrably unacceptable and should be so to every Odd Fellow who professes belief in Friendship, Love and Truth.
Some offer what they must consider to be reasonable or logical “excuses” and say, “No woman has ever applied” or “I don’t know any women who would want to join” or “the women I know have their own organizations.” These sorts of “reasons” are simply thinly veiled excuses for discrimination. Give me a break. Half the population of this country is female, as is the population of every state and province and every city and town. Are you really telling us that in a Lodge of 30 members, not one male member is able to find even one woman who would like to apply to join? Nonsense. Of course they can. But either through laziness, inertia, prejudice or just because they want the Lodge to remain an “old boy’s club” no women are sponsored for membership.
This sort of behavior should be anathema to good fellowship and should be rejected by every true Odd Fellow. Odd Fellowship professes, right on the website of the Sovereign Grand Lodge, “to elevate the character of men and women”. Relegating women to second-class citizenship is not acceptable. Creating structures for women which are “separate but equal” is no longer acceptable. Odd Fellows Law requires Lodges to accept men and women. For any Lodge to admit men, but reject women either de jure or de facto, is a violation of Odd Fellows Law and Odd Fellows principals. After a generation – almost 20 years – a Lodge today that has no women on its membership rolls must be viewed as a Lodge that rejects women. For all those men who routinely profess that we must all “follow the Code,” I remind them that not admitting women into their Lodge is a violation of the Code.
And even from the very narrow perspective of membership development, the exclusion of half the population makes no sense. Particularly Lodges that are struggling to survive as membership declines can ill afford to turn their collective backs on women.
The Lodges that have no women as members know who they are. I hope and trust that they will – after all these years – finally do the right thing. Follow the Code.
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
The 8th annual “A Taste of Davis”, organized and hosted by the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge, was another smashing success. We wish to say “thank you” to the 250 members of the public who attended and enjoyed the food, wine, beer and other culinary treats served by 20 local purveyors on both floors of the Odd Fellows Lodge Hall. We heard many positive comments and saw many satisfied smiles.
Many individuals and businesses deserve a big “thank you”.
The Purveyors of good food and beverages at this year’s Taste of Davis were: Berryessa Gap Winery, Blue Note Brewery, Bogle Vineyards, ChickPeas, Common Grounds, Davis Creamery, Gesche’s Gourmet Catering, Hunan Bar & Restaurant, Let Them Eat Cake, Maria’s Cantina, Papa John’s Pizza, Putah Creek Winery, Sudwerk, The Lodge Catering, Three Mile Brewery, Tres Hermanas, Turkovich Family Winery, Wing Stop, the Upper Crust Baking Company, and Zumapoke.
Major sponsor for the 2017 Taste of Davis was Pacific Gas & Electric Co. Super sponsors supporting the event are the Davis Enterprise (and Editor Debbie Davis and Advertising Manager Nancy Hannell) and Davis Downtown (formerly know as DDBA). Sponsors include Dawn Coder, Davis Firefighters Local 3494, Mayor Robb Davis, Beth and Bob Dovi, Stacie and Lucas Frerichs, Supervisor Jim Provenza, Sherry and Tony Pruitt, Kathy and Ted Puntillo, Lea and Dave Rosenberg, Charlene Sailer and Howie Spero, Lisa and Jesse Salinas, Diana and Paul Schmiegel, Arun Sen, Andrew Skaggs, Greg Tanner, Timmons Owens Jansen & Tichy Inc., Joyce Trujillo, University Retirement Community, Allison Zuvela.
Thank you, also, to the many Odd Fellows who volunteered their time and energy to this event: Dawn Coder, Robb White, Joyce Puntillo, Joel Mandel, Steve Lin, Nancy Schrott, Elizabeth Lasensky, Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald, Kelli O’Day, Kati O’Day, Joe Otto, Ed Lewis, Tony Pruitt, Sherry Pruitt, Robin Dewey, Amanda Maples, Danny Tomasello, Aaron Wedra, Bill Grabert, Renee Liston, Alex Saldivar, Arun Sen, Greg Tanner, Diana Schmiegel, Mary de Soto, and co-Chairs Lea and Dave Rosenberg. Thank you also to the Lodge Operations Manager Allison Vickrey and Lodge Assistant Operations Manager Daniela Gutierrez. And special thanks to the two vendors who sold tickets for us: Avid Reader Active and Common Grounds. Thank you to the Lodge webmaster and Noble Grand Stewart Savage.
Every year the Davis Odd Fellows designate a beneficiary for some of the proceeds of this event. The Elderly Nutrition Program will be the beneficiary of a financial donation this year.
This great community social event will continue. We have already chosen the date for the 9th annual “A Taste of Davis”. Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 26, 2018.
Lea and Dave Rosenberg
Taste of Davis Co-Chairs
Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
I am pleased to submit to you an article written by one of the founders of DMC Rick Boyles, Past Grand Master of this jurisdiction. Rick always presents a thought-provoking submission.
Also, attached to this newsletter is a flier announcing our DMC event at Grand Lodge Sessions. We will hold our annual event OPEN TO ALL on Thursday, May 18, from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Sierra Nevada Ballroom of the Grand Lodge hotel – the Visalia Marriott. It will feature live music, an all-you-can-eat Taco Bar, a no-host bar, and some brief welcoming comments from leaders of our Order. This “Friendship Evening” promises to be a fun and relaxing evening for all. We cordially invite all Grand Lodge and Rebekah Assembly representatives, and their guests, to attend. The cost is a remarkably low $15 per person if you RSVP and pay by May 8 (we are able to keep the cost so low because a number of Lodges and members sponsor and subsidize this event – we will list the names of those generous Lodges and members in future newsletters). If you don’t RSVP and pay by May 8, you may still attend the event on May 18 and pay at the door, but the cost at the door is $35 per person – representing the actual per person cost of the event. Obviously, advance reservation will save you money! Please clip the bottom portion of the flier and mail it in with your check(s) to reserve your spot at the “Friendship Evening.”
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
Tote that barge, lift that bale …
Many times I have heard the notion that we must do more work, perform extensive chores, carry additional loads, and become in essence beasts of burden for our order. Nothing to me seems to be of a greater absurdity. A great percentage of our members are already at their breaking point. The idea that we should ask ever-increasing effort from them borders on the insane. Yet there are some among us who measure a member’s worth based solely upon the number of order-related duties they put in. This must not be the basis upon which we judge a member. All members have value and to place a gauge on them purely based upon physical effort only succeeds in belittling the order itself and really by its own definition generates a lessening of our membership base. I have spoken to many of our members who have left our order simply because they don’t have the energy or time to serve the order in this manner.
A joke in my family is that if a warning light is glowing in one of our cars, we simply turn the radio up! This is similar to the way I see the order. Rather than thinking of basic change within our order, we are lulled into a false sense of security when those of us who attend regular order-related events see 100 people in attendance, but in actuality, that has become an ever-diminishing amount. Receptions 50 years ago had hundreds of people in attendance. Then, those of us who aspire to bigger positions within our order seem to imply that the few of us still willing to attend events work even harder to build membership. I wonder if we really ever grasp the incongruity of this demand. If our membership is decreasing, it’s difficult to see how a new membership by brute force plan will increase membership by comparison. I often see members forcing applications into visitor’s hands and rarely do these people join. Why? Simply put, the visitors will join if they see something of value to joining. They will not join because we plead with them to join. Some of our members are absolute dynamos – but all of us are unique, and many are too busy in their normal lives to take on additional responsibility. Rather than forcing responsibility on a harried new or prospective member, see what they would like to do, and then you may be pleasantly surprised.
There clearly are ways to get new members, but telling each prospective member that you expect them to lead a charity drive, head up a committee within your lodge, or to walk around pleading with others to join is short-sighted at best. Most people with jobs simply don’t have the time needed to solidify your lodge. You can find people willing to do charity work, but it should not be a requirement for membership. And yet, I have heard prominent members say that they feel the secret to membership is to encourage people to do charity work. While this may seem admirable, it is rather ludicrous to assume that in today’s world, the normal person, working 40 hours a week, in their few free hours is willing to work tirelessly to wave the Odd Fellow flag. We do have many members who put in countless hours without complaint, who march in parades, or visit the homeless, or help with the aged, and this is clearly admirable, but also time-consuming, and not always transferable. So, before we who put in extra hours demand new people emulate our endeavors, we need to look at the new and prospective members and see what they view as necessary to make them happy. I find that if we ask the new member what they themselves seek in joining our order, we may be happily surprised why they want to join. But charity by force will not work. In fact, force itself is meaningless, and just makes us look like bullies. If we want new members to contribute, we need to encourage them to show us what they want themselves. Some lodges have many committees and different charitable goals, but the successful ones lead by example, not by force. I have faith in the individual. Forcing new members to walk in lockstep will do nothing more than force them to abandon the march.
In Friendship, Love, and Truth, Rick Boyles
Dave Rosenberg was promoted to the rank of Colonel and elected to the position of Commander, First Regiment, Patriarchs Militant, Jurisdiction of California. The PM is the “Degree of Universal Justice” and is the highest degree in Odd Fellowship.
Arun Sen was elected Lieutenant Colonel and Dennis Corcoran was elected Major.
Rosenberg, Sen and Corcoran received their commissions on October 19.