Odd Fellows and COVID-19

Odd Fellows and COVID-19

Updated: December 3, 2020

By Dave Rosenberg, PGM, PGP

The Covid-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone. Odd Fellows Lodges have not been spared the negative impacts of this virus. Fraternal orders are, primarily, social entities. The members come together in Lodge Halls in fellowship and fraternity. However, during the pandemic Lodge Halls have, for the most part, been shut down and taken out of operation.

For an Odd Fellows Lodge like Davis #169, in Davis, California, such a shut down could have been devastating. The Davis Lodge has over 300 members [How to Join the Odd Fellows] and (pre-pandemic) the Lodge Hall was open virtually every day, and was busy approximately 20 days every month with fraternal events, Lodge meetings, committee meetings, community events hosted by the Lodge, or public rentals. Since the middle of March 2020, the pandemic has forced the Davis Lodge Hall to, essentially, close its doors to the members and to the public.

And yet, in the pandemic year of 2020, the Davis Lodge has actually experienced a net gain of members, and the Lodge has found ways to keep busy and maintain fraternal connections. How did the Davis Lodge achieve this? We simply re-imagined, reinvented and restructured ourselves.

Because it may provide the seeds of ideas to help other Lodges struggle through the pandemic (which will certainly continue well into 2021), here are 11 things that the Davis Lodge did over these past nine months to adjust, to continue to stay connected, and to continue to serve its members and the broader community.

  1. Meetings on Zoom. In Davis we have an Odd Fellows Lodge, and Encampment, a Canton, and a Rebekah Lodge. All members of all units have email, and we have stayed connected through email. We can’t meet physically, but we can and do meet virtually. Each unit meets once each month on zoom. In fact, for convenience during the pandemic, the Odd Fellows Lodge, the Encampment and the Canton meet on the same evening at different times, using the same zoom connection.
  2. Helping members with food deliveries. Once the pandemic struck California in March and the “shelter-in-place” orders first went out, one of the Lodge members gathered some volunteers and announced, via email, that the volunteers were available to go shopping for groceries and to deliver those groceries to any members who were home-bound because of age or infirmity. Several members were befitted in this true act of fellowship.
  3. Daily trivia quizzes. Starting on March 15, and continuing every single day thereafter, our Lodge produces a “Daily Crisis Trivia Quiz” of 10 questions. Answers are given the very next day along with the new quiz. This daily features has been fun and provides a constant connection. To date, we have produced over 260 of these daily quizzes, and we intend to continue them until we are safely back in the Lodge Hall.
  4. The “Odd Gossip Page”. In addition to the daily trivia quizzes, our Lodge produces what we call an “Odd Gossip Page” approximately once a week. The “odd gossip” is all positive (nothing negative) and provides news relating to members of the Lodge such as birth of children and grandchildren, deaths or illness of members, birthdays of members, Lodge and community event information, and more.
  5. The Odd Bulletin Board. And about once a month, a couple of the younger members of the Lodge produce the “Odd Bulletin Board” via email. The “bulletin board” provides information on items for sale by members, house-sitting, dog-walking, and the like. It’s a nice service for the members of the Lodge.
  6. Community Blood Drives. Even though the pandemic has required the closure of the Lodge Hall, we have opened it three times – with permission of local government – to work with the blood source company Vitalant to conduct community blood drives. Over 100 pints of blood have been contributed in these blood drives. The Lodge is thoroughly cleaned before, during and after the blood drive. Masks are worn and social distancing is enforced. These blood drives maintain the Odd Fellow Lodge’s presence as a leading organization in the community. A fourth such blood drive is now planned for early February.
  7. Odd Fellows Hikes. We may not be able to use the Lodge Hall during the pandemic, but the great outdoors are open to us. One of our Lodge committees – the “Hiking Committee” has continued to organize hikes every few weeks on the greenbelts and greenpaths in and around Davis. The hikes last about 1-2 hours and hikers do maintain social distance.
  8. Thursday “Meet-Ups”. Our Lodge, when the Hall was open, used to to meet every Thursday for “Club Night at the Lodge”. Typically, 50-60 members would come to Club Night to share a meal prepared by our Lodge chefs, play trivia, enjoy the open bar, chat, do jigsaw puzzles, watch sporting events on the big-screen television, and spend some fraternal time together. We can’t do that during the pandemic, but what we have started to do is have very informal zoom “meet ups” every Thursday evening. We get 10-20 Odd Fellows who join up by zoom – no agenda, just some social conversation for about 45-60 minutes.
  9. Meals for the Community. Our Lodge has a certified commercial kitchen in the basement. And we have entered into leases with two separate catering companies to provide meals to both members of the Lodge and the general public. The meals are delivered to the homes of those who order them. These food services are very well received by Lodge members and the public at large.
  10. Zombie Bike Ride. On Halloween the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge organized a “Zombie Bike Ride” for the community. Over 1,000 families participated – with masks, costumes, and social distancing – in a bike ride on the Davis Bike Loop. Most everyone was in costume. We also arranged with a local theater company to place “zombies” along the route in various fun tableau. But the icing on the cake is that we raised $12,000 from sponsors and were able to build six unique tricycles which we donated to children with special needs.
  11. Zoom Visits with Santa. Every year for the past two decades our Lodge has organized and hosted “Breakfast with Santa” for the community – a very popular event. Obviously, that could not happen in 2020. So our Lodge re-imagined and restructured the event as “Zoom Visit with Santa”. Using the Internet, parents and grandparents are signing up their children for 5-minute one-on-one zoom visits with Santa. Most are also donating $10 or $20 which will be given to our local community Food Bank to help those who need some food during the holidays.

The pandemic put all of us in what can only be described as an alternative universe. However, the pandemic doesn’t mean that Odd Fellows need to disappear into a cave of despair and inaction. On the contrary, Odd Fellows can reinvent themselves to stay relevant and involved during this difficult time. And, hopefully, emerge from the pandemic, strong and ready for a new beginning.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Pasts Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)

Odd Fellows Must Evolve

Odd Fellows Must Evolve

Updated: December 29, 2020 This month we recognize the 10th Year Anniversary of "Dedicated Members for Change" by republishing some of our past DMC articles. Following is an article I wrote on March 4, 2012, over eight years ago. It seems to be as relevant today as it...

Odd Fellows Dedicated Members Celebrate 10-year Anniversary

Odd Fellows Dedicated Members Celebrate 10-year Anniversary

Updated: December 11, 2020By Dave Rosenberg, PGM, PGP Precisely ten years ago today - on December 11, 2010 - The California Odd Fellows "Dedicated Members for Change" (DMC) was formed. DMC was the brainchild of its three founding members: Don Smith who was an august...

Odd Fellows and COVID-19

Odd Fellows and COVID-19

Updated: December 3, 2020By Dave Rosenberg, PGM, PGP The Covid-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone. Odd Fellows Lodges have not been spared the negative impacts of this virus. Fraternal orders are, primarily, social entities. The members come together in Lodge Halls...

Davis Odd Fellows Zombie Bike Ride 2020

Davis Odd Fellows Zombie Bike Ride 2020

Updated: December 1, 2020

​The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge “Zombie Bike Ride” on Halloween brought out over 1,000 children and adults in costume for a ride on the Davis Greenbelt.

But in addition, the Davis Lodge raised funds from sponsors of the Zombie Bike Ride to build six special tricycles that will be given free of charge to children with disabilities. These special tricycles will give the children mobility. Pictured with the six special tricycles are members of the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge, and representatives of NorCal Trykers, the agency that builds the special tricycles.

Left to right: Lea Rosenberg (Davis Odd Fellows), Cherie Herman (NorCal Trykers), Jim Kocsis (Davis Odd Fellows and NorCal Trykers), Zombie Bike Ride Committee Chair Aaron Wedra (Davis Odd Fellows), Maria Contreras Tebbutt (Davis Odd Fellows), Gill Williams (NorCal Trykers), Laurel Hassid (NorCal Trykers), and Past Grand Master Dave Rosenberg (Davis Odd Fellows).

 

 

 

Odd Fellows Must Evolve

Odd Fellows Must Evolve

Updated: December 29, 2020 This month we recognize the 10th Year Anniversary of "Dedicated Members for Change" by republishing some of our past DMC articles. Following is an article I wrote on March 4, 2012, over eight years ago. It seems to be as relevant today as it...

Odd Fellows Dedicated Members Celebrate 10-year Anniversary

Odd Fellows Dedicated Members Celebrate 10-year Anniversary

Updated: December 11, 2020By Dave Rosenberg, PGM, PGP Precisely ten years ago today - on December 11, 2010 - The California Odd Fellows "Dedicated Members for Change" (DMC) was formed. DMC was the brainchild of its three founding members: Don Smith who was an august...

Odd Fellows and COVID-19

Odd Fellows and COVID-19

Updated: December 3, 2020By Dave Rosenberg, PGM, PGP The Covid-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone. Odd Fellows Lodges have not been spared the negative impacts of this virus. Fraternal orders are, primarily, social entities. The members come together in Lodge Halls...

Three questions every Odd Fellow should ask (himself or herself)

Three questions every Odd Fellow should ask (himself or herself)

Updated: November 27, 2020

If you are reading this article, odds are that you are an Odd Fellow, and a pretty dedicated member at that. Today’s article asks YOU three very important questions that every Odd Fellow and every Rebekah should ask themselves, and then answer. If you think it will be useful, you might pass this article along to the members of your Lodge via email, or you might bring up this article at your next Lodge meeting under “new business” and have a discussion about the three questions.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)

By Dave Rosenberg, PGM, PGP

If the future of your Odd Fellows Lodge and the future of Odd Fellowship is not of particular interest to you, then you can stop reading at this point.

On the other hand, if you care – even just a little bit – about your Lodge’s future and the future of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, then please read on. This article asks you three important questions. Take a few minutes to ask yourself these questions, and think about the answers you would give to each of them. Don’t worry. This is not a examination. No one else will see your answers. No one will give you a grade. These questions are just for you. Ready?

1. Have you invited anyone to join your Odd Fellows Lodge in the past two years?

Many members don’t really give much thought to the concept of inviting others to join the Odd Fellows. If they think about it at all, they assume it is someone else’s job. But is it someone else’s job? Is it the job of the Lodge officers, or the Lodge membership committee (assuming the Lodge even has a membership committee). In truth, it is the job of every single Odd Fellow. In fact, I would suggest that it is the #1 job of an Odd Fellow. As important as it is to foster friendship, love and truth in our daily lives, and as important as it is to follow the rules and tenets of the Order, it all evaporates if the Lodge fails to add new members.

There was once over 400 Odd Fellows Lodges in California. Today, we have about 110 Lodges. What happened? In almost every case, the Lodge disappeared because the Lodge members were sleeping – they failed to bring in new blood. Look. It’s just simple math. Lodge members drop out over time, they move away, and eventually every single member will pass away. A Lodge which fails to bring in new members will eventually pass away, as well.

You have relatives. You have friends. You have co-workers. You know people. Have you asked them about joining your Lodge?

2. Have you thought of what you would say if the person you invite asks you, “Tell me about your Lodge and Odd Fellows”?

So, you now have decided that you will ask a person you know to consider joining your Odd Fellows Lodge. Good for you! What is the inevitable first question the person will ask you?

Certainly, they will ask you to tell them about your Lodge and about Odd Fellowship. Will you have an answer to this obvious question? You should. What is it about Odd Fellowship that originally enticed you to join? What can they expect if they join the Lodge? What does your Lodge provide for the members of the Lodge and for the benefit of the community? Why do you remain as a member of the Lodge? What does Odd Fellowship mean to you? All these are important questions you need to answer for yourself, before you can talk to others about taking the leap into Odd Fellowship.

3. What have you done over the past two years to improve your Odd Fellows Lodge?

Let’s be brutally honest with ourselves. It is unlikely that you will ever find a person who wants to join your Lodge just to sit around in a closed room once or twice a month to read ritual passages from a little red book and to discuss repairs to the plumbing or roof.

If the Lodge does little more than this, it’s not a very enticing opportunity for potential new members – particularly for the younger prospects we need in our Order. Does your Lodge provide any interesting or fun activities for the members? (Yes, it is permissible to have fun in this Order.) Does your Lodge do anything of value for the community which surrounds the Loge Hall? (Yes, Odd Fellows should not isolate themselves in the building, but should reach out to improve their community and the world at large.)

And what about that Lodge Hall? Is the exterior and the interior of the Lodge in good shape? A building that is dirty, or shabby, or has peeling paint is not a very enticing prospect to future members.

Ultimately, the Lodge is only as good as its members. What have YOU don’t to make it a better place?

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Odd Fellows Must Evolve

Odd Fellows Must Evolve

Updated: December 29, 2020 This month we recognize the 10th Year Anniversary of "Dedicated Members for Change" by republishing some of our past DMC articles. Following is an article I wrote on March 4, 2012, over eight years ago. It seems to be as relevant today as it...

Odd Fellows Dedicated Members Celebrate 10-year Anniversary

Odd Fellows Dedicated Members Celebrate 10-year Anniversary

Updated: December 11, 2020By Dave Rosenberg, PGM, PGP Precisely ten years ago today - on December 11, 2010 - The California Odd Fellows "Dedicated Members for Change" (DMC) was formed. DMC was the brainchild of its three founding members: Don Smith who was an august...

Odd Fellows and COVID-19

Odd Fellows and COVID-19

Updated: December 3, 2020By Dave Rosenberg, PGM, PGP The Covid-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone. Odd Fellows Lodges have not been spared the negative impacts of this virus. Fraternal orders are, primarily, social entities. The members come together in Lodge Halls...

Dignity within the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Dignity within the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Updated: November 20, 2020

My two recent articles on bullying and rudeness in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) seem to have struck a nerve. I have received several more emails from Odd Fellows in California, across the United and around the world regarding their own experiences with rude members and bullies. Such conduct should be unacceptable to all true Odd Fellows who believe in Friendship, Love and Truth. The Odd Fellows Lodge should be a friendly and peaceful place – a refuge from the noise and turmoil of the outside world. No Odd Fellow should be subject to abusive behavior such as bullying. No Odd Fellow should turn a blind eye to a brother or sister who is rude or verbally aggressive to another brother or sister. Bullying should be verboten in the Lodge, on fraternal social media, in emails between members and on zoom. If left to fester, it will affect the fraternal bonds and will certainly affect our ability to bring in new members and to retain members – because if the Lodge becomes an “uncomfortable” place, members will drift away.

Is the problem widespread and prevalent in the IOOF? I doubt it. However, it does exist in some Odd Fellow Lodges and it adversely affects members – particularly new members – who may decide that their Lodge experience has ceased to be enjoyable and they might opt to dedicate their limited available time elsewhere. When I served as Grand Master of our California Jurisdiction, I raised this issue and I urged Lodges and Lodge leadership to quickly nip abusive behavior in the bud. Frankly, bullying is a form of violence.

It is imperative that our leaders at Sovereign Grand Lodge and in our Grand Lodges address this concern. Our leaders should make clear that there is no place for bullies in our Order. I recommend that Grand Lodges provide membership seminars and training in this area to equip members with knowledge on how to deal with bullies, and to equip Lodge leadership on how to best handle such situations.

Today, I’m publishing the third article in this “trilogy” on rudeness and bullying. The seeds of today’s article come via an email I received from a Lodge member (who has chosen to remain anonymous). This member’s Lodge had such a serious problem with bullying behavior that the members felt compelled to develop and implement a “Dignity at Lodge” policy – a Code of Conduct if you will – to deal with abusive behavior. Following is the member’s own words about the problem. I have also reprinted the “Dignity at Lodge” policy, but I have deleted any Lodge identification. If you or your Lodge has such an issue, the “Dignity at Lodge” policy might provide a good starting point for Lodge discussion.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)

Odd Fellows Must Evolve

Odd Fellows Must Evolve

Updated: December 29, 2020 This month we recognize the 10th Year Anniversary of "Dedicated Members for Change" by republishing some of our past DMC articles. Following is an article I wrote on March 4, 2012, over eight years ago. It seems to be as relevant today as it...

Odd Fellows Dedicated Members Celebrate 10-year Anniversary

Odd Fellows Dedicated Members Celebrate 10-year Anniversary

Updated: December 11, 2020By Dave Rosenberg, PGM, PGP Precisely ten years ago today - on December 11, 2010 - The California Odd Fellows "Dedicated Members for Change" (DMC) was formed. DMC was the brainchild of its three founding members: Don Smith who was an august...

Odd Fellows and COVID-19

Odd Fellows and COVID-19

Updated: December 3, 2020By Dave Rosenberg, PGM, PGP The Covid-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone. Odd Fellows Lodges have not been spared the negative impacts of this virus. Fraternal orders are, primarily, social entities. The members come together in Lodge Halls...

Hello, Dave. Since you are talking about bullying, I will share that our lodge had this problem in the past. It was so divisive and disturbing that we actually came up with a policy that we passed a number of years ago. The policy addresses the types of behavior that are unacceptable at lodge, along with some remedies. We now feel more prepared, in case bullying starts happening again.

We call it our “Dignity at Lodge” policy. This policy is based on hours of research on best practices about bullying in the workplace, schools and other places. I will attach a model such policy with identifying information removed. Other Odd Fellow Lodges are welcome to use it or adjust it to their needs.

You are welcome to share this, but without my identifying information (and without our Lodge identifying information).

The fact that I don’t want my name publicized speaks to the drama that frequents our beloved order, and my desire to stay out of such drama.

Dignity at Lodge Policy

 

WHEREAS ____________lodge #___ seeks to pursue and encourage Friendship, Love and Truth; and

WHEREAS ____________Lodge #___ values collegial, respectful and courteous interaction, collaboration and teamwork; and

WHEREAS it is healthy for a lodge to encourage positive interaction and communication;

WHEREAS that we believe diverse opinions can be expressed and worked through while always maintaining mutual respect and kind manners toward each other; and

WHEREAS we believe it would benefit all to create a culture of dignity in our lodge; and

WHEREAS the Grand Master of California has directed that negativity such as demeaning, blaming and insulting other lodge members must stop immediately; and

WHEREAS it is reasonable to clarify to each other what behavior is desired and what behavior is not to be tolerated; and

WHEREAS it is good policy to promote dignity and discourage harassment; and

WHEREAS the following policy is guided by current best practices for workplaces and schools, as it can be applied to lodges;

THEREFORE ____________Lodge #___ will strongly encourage dignity and mutual respect at all times during member interactions with each other and the public.

FURTHER, we will not tolerate the following disrespectful, harassing or bullying behavior at lodge functions or in the pursuit of lodge business.

FURTHER, we put in place the following process, disciplinary actions that may be taken, and additional considerations spelled out below, when considering appropriate and inappropriate lodge behavior.

Behavior which will not be tolerated

  1. Abusive or profane language at a lodge function;
  2. Yelling or screaming at a lodge function;
  3. The spread of false or malicious allegations toward or about another member or member of the public;
  4. Promulgation of spurious or false written or unwritten matter;
  5. Repeated talking over others with complaints and criticism;
  6. Repeated criticism, nit-picking or trivial fault-finding or false concerns;
  7. Humiliation or intimidation of another member or member of the public;
  8. Repeated disrespectful or abusive communication toward or about another member or member of the public;
  9. Repeated domination or control over lodge activities or lodge business without allowing active participation of other members or with the effect of discouraging participation by other members;
  10. Repeated promises without follow through, where the lodge is relying on the promises;
  11. Repeated use or promulgation of untruths;
  12. Behavior that may be termed “bullying”, including any of the following:
    1. Labeling others or calling names
    2. Abuse or ridiculing others
    3. Repeatedly being sarcastic towards others
    4. Damaging the reputation of others
    5. Using physical violence towards others
    6. Instant rages over or repeated criticism of trivial matters
    7. Humiliating others or putting people down in front of colleagues
    8. Repeatedly undervaluing others’ efforts
    9. Persistently criticizing others
    10. Blaming others whenever things go wrong.
    11. Tantrums
    12. Screaming or yelling
    13. Intimidation
    14. Threats, stated or implied
    15. Repetitive behaviors that undermines colleagues.
    16. Repeated berating of another person or persons
    17. Repeated insults or personal attacks
    18. Repeated or persistent arguing

Lodge Interest

The behavior shall be deemed against the lodge’s interest if any of the following occur:

  1. One or more lodge members are emotionally upset about the behavior.
  2. Two or more lodge members are at odds because of the behavior.
  3. The behavior discourages a potential member from joining the lodge.
  4. The behavior puts the lodge in a bad light to one or more members of the public.

 

Process

If a complaint is made to any Officer about behavior addressed in this section, the following steps may be taken:

  1. Documentation of the behavior shall begin as soon as possible, and maintained by at least one Officer or Trustee
  2. A meeting of the Officers will be held to address the circumstances and behavior. If the behavior is on the behalf of an Officer, then a meeting of the Trustees will be held to address the circumstances and behavior. Such meeting may be closed session if deemed appropriate, so as to address the situation discreetly, without public embarrassment of the parties involved.
  3. One or more designated Officers or Trustees may seek more information from other possible witnesses or victims or targets of the behavior.
  4. Note that in the case of bullying, ignoring the situation will not stop a bully.

Accountability and/or Discipline

Victimization as a result of reporting bullying or harassment will be regarded as a serious breach of Friendship, Love and Truth. If discipline is determined to be advisable, the following actions, or other appropriate action, may be taken:

  1. An itemized warning of specific behaviors may be given to the member or pledge regarding his/her unacceptable behavior. This may be done in closed session or in open lodge, depending on how much containment and participation is deemed necessary.
  2. A commitment from the member to cease the behavior may be required.
  3. An apology to the offended party or parties and/or publicly to the lodge may be required.
  4. A period of probation may be imposed to ensure that the behavior does not recur. If further prohibited behavior happens during the probation period, then further steps may be taken.
  5. Other discipline as deemed appropriate, such as removal from committees or projects (especially to protect previous target/s who should not have to suffer due to the other member’s poor behavior), suspension from activities for a period of time, removal from office, etc.
  6. Pursuit of a trial per rules of the order.

Additional considerations

  1. Confidentiality of the person making allegations (“victim” or “target”) should be absolute, if requested, to protect him or her from further harassment or bullying. The victim/target should not be expected to “work things out” directly with the member using inappropriate behavior, as it is common practice for bullies to intimidate a target into backing down.
  2. Once allegations have surfaced, the lodge has an obligation or Duty of Care to provide both a safe place and a safe system of fraternal activities; any bullying that is reported must be investigated, first informally, and later, if appropriate, formally, in order to comply with this duty of care. This Duty of Care cannot be avoided or abdicated or passed to someone else for any reason. This is similar to the Duty of Care that a workplace has against harassment.
  3. When investigating bullying behavior, it can be helpful to have an impartial person who is familiar with bullying and investigation techniques specific to bullying, as bullying by its nature is almost always psychological
  4. The making of false or malicious complaints of bullying and harassment (a common practice by a bully when s/he is held accountable for his/her behavior) will be regarded as a serious disciplinary offense.
  5. Bullies often have a Jekyll and Hyde nature – vile, vicious and vindictive in private, but innocent and charming in front of witnesses; no-one can (or wants to) believe this individual has a vindictive nature – only the current target of the serial bully’s aggression sees both sides https://bullyonline.org/index.php/bullies/5-serial-bully#Types
  6. When bullying occurs, the bully is fully responsible for the situation. And the bully bears all the responsibility for change. Forcing a target to participate in conflict resolution or mediation is not recommended. Instead, there needs to be an intervention process in place that ensures the safety of the (member) being targeted. http://bullying.about.com/od/Basics/a/Normal-Conflict-Or-Bullying-How-To-Tell-The-Difference.htm
  7. Bullying is a form of violence; it is aggression expressed psychologically and emotionally rather than physically. Just because there’s no physical injury (except the symptoms of stress), don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s not harmful. It is – bullying is often more devastating than a physical injury; the suffering is often compounded by denial and un-enlightenedness. http://www.bullyonline.org/action/policy.htm
  8. If there are rumors or untruths or multiple stories being promulgated and some lodge members have mis-information, then methods shall be addressed to inform members of accurate information. One method is for the Noble Grand, Officers and/or Trustees to draft a letter to correct the record; this letter may be distributed either widely or in a limited manner, as is needed to clarify the Truth.

More Information about the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

What is wrong with this picture?

What is wrong with this picture?

Updated: November 9, 2020

Odd Fellows Must Evolve

Odd Fellows Must Evolve

Updated: December 29, 2020 This month we recognize the 10th Year Anniversary of "Dedicated Members for Change" by republishing some of our past DMC articles. Following is an article I wrote on March 4, 2012, over eight years ago. It seems to be as relevant today as it...

Odd Fellows Dedicated Members Celebrate 10-year Anniversary

Odd Fellows Dedicated Members Celebrate 10-year Anniversary

Updated: December 11, 2020By Dave Rosenberg, PGM, PGP Precisely ten years ago today - on December 11, 2010 - The California Odd Fellows "Dedicated Members for Change" (DMC) was formed. DMC was the brainchild of its three founding members: Don Smith who was an august...

Odd Fellows and COVID-19

Odd Fellows and COVID-19

Updated: December 3, 2020By Dave Rosenberg, PGM, PGP The Covid-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone. Odd Fellows Lodges have not been spared the negative impacts of this virus. Fraternal orders are, primarily, social entities. The members come together in Lodge Halls...

Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

Recently, I received an email from a long-time and active member of our Order (and of DMC), who resides in a state other than California. I will not reveal the member’s name, or gender, or Lodge to protect the member’s privacy. The member told me the following:

I resigned my membership from my lodge today.

The Noble Grand belittled me in front of my family. This type of treatment caused me to drop out of the Lodge completely.

All the best, sorry to have to give you notice on a sad note. But I will no longer be a member.

All The Best,

This is one of the sadder notes that I have received since we organized DMC ten years ago. The letter-writer goes on to say that he/she has brought in many new members into the Odd Fellows Lodge including the member’s spouse and son – but the Noble Grand was antagonistic to these new members. Apparently, the Noble Grand felt that new members brought change to a Lodge and the Noble Grand was resistant to any change which would alter the status quo to which he has grown accustomed.

There are several things very wrong with this picture.

First, we see the abject failure of that Odd Fellow Lodge’s Noble Grand to exercise the most basic teachings of Odd Fellowship – in particular of the First Degree of Friendship. We have all come into contact with Odd Fellows who act like that Noble Grand, haven’t we? These are people who are often rude or abrupt. They have their way of doing things, and if you don’t like it then too bad – it’s either their way or the highway.

Second, and perhaps even worse, we see the Noble Grand’s conduct played out in public – in fact, acted out right in front of the member’s family. It’s one thing to be rude in private – that’s bad enough. However, it’s geometrically worse to be rude in public, particularly in front of another member’s family.

Third, we see a Noble Grand who is acting as the chief gravedigger at the funeral of his own Lodge. New members are the lifeblood of a Lodge. The status quo is nothing to covet – it is merely a slow demise. An Odd Fellow Lodge’s viability is limited by the lifetimes of its members. It’s really just simple math. A Lodge that fails to bring in new members at least commensurate with departing members is a Lodge on a slow spiral to oblivion. What this Noble Grand seems to ignore is the simple fact that every single member of his Lodge was once a “new member”. Even the Noble Grand was a new member at one point in time.

Rather than criticize a member for being interested in new members, a Noble Grand would be well served in praising members who bring in that essential source of the Lodge’s future viability.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)

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