Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
A Century ago, there were some 60,000 Odd Fellows in California. Today there are but 4,000. The focus of DMC – since its inception in 2010 – has been all about the ways we can increase membership in our great Order. All the storied ritual, shiny regalia, and good intentions ultimately mean nothing if a Lodge disappears because it can’t muster even the minimal quorum of five. Over the years, in our DMC Newsletters, we have offered many suggestions on how Lodges can increase their membership. And we have emphasized the fact that membership development is the job of every single Odd Fellow – we can’t just relay on “the other guy” to do it. It is our individual obligation to keep this fraternity alive.
That said, from time to time, it’s important that we return to our roots – to basics. There are certain fundamentals that make Odd Fellowship unique among fraternal orders. A member of our Order for over 60 years, Brother Robert C. Furthun, PG, is a member of America Lodge #385. For decades, Bob has served the order locally, in his district, and statewide (including the position of Grand Instructor). He has written the following article for our Newsletter and I publish it here as an important reminder of who we are and what we stand for as Odd Fellows.
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
COMMENTS ON ODD FELLOWS
Odd Fellows live with UNCONDITIONAL Friendship. There are NO conditions on our friendship. We entered into a Covenant of Friendship with all other Odd Fellows and their families. It never matters how much we disagree or even argue, we don’t let our friendship dissolve. We strive to overcome differences in a peaceful and calm manner while maintaining our friendship.
Odd Fellows treat each other with Brotherly Love. We preserve members’ dignity by including them, showing that we care about them, and eliminating strife. We give our members moral support, comfort, and help when necessary. We warn our members of approaching danger, whether from their own imprudence or from the evil designs of others.
Odd Fellows live lives of truth, which is equal to honor. Odd Fellows can only be Odd Fellows if they act honorably. We never wrong a lodge or a member to the value of anything. That includes ones’ self-respect and reputation. We discuss actions, not people; and do not spread rumors.
Odd Fellows visit our sick either in hospitals or at their home. We make our presence known to them in-person, otherwise by cards, letters, phone calls, or other communication. They are never alone.
Odd Fellows relieve members and families in distress by providing moral support in their anxiety or sorrow. We assist them in coping with the problems that cause the distress.
Odd Fellows, when asked by a deceased’s family, perform our funeral ceremony to bury the dead. We hold memorial services for a member in our temple when other arrangements cannot be made. And, our lodges often have a funeral benefit to assist with arrangements.
Odd Fellows educate the orphan. Although government has taken over many financial aspects of this important Odd Fellow law and our orphanages have become children’s services centers. We still have a duty to distressed children and our local half-orphans. We provide education by helping distressed children in group-homes where they are separated from their families. And, we find half-orphans in our communities whose remaining parent struggles with the trials of life and we assist the parent as needed to ensure their children can attend school.
Odd Fellows have something special that no one else has. Our ritual sets us apart from the average person and helps us to elevate our character. In addition, we learn public speaking and parliamentary procedures to help us with improving our lives. Everyone should want to be an Odd Fellow.