On August 2, 2017, Davis Encampment #21, at a special meeting, conferred all Encampment Degrees on eight new Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Receiving the Patriarchal Degree, the Golden Rule Degree and the Royal Purple Degree were:
Supervised by Chief Patriarch Tony Pruitt, the Davis Encampment Degree Team was headed by Past Chief Patriarch Dave Rosenberg, who was joined by Encampment members Cathy Aubill, Dennis Corcoran, Juelie Roggli, Kurt Roggli, Arun Sen and Kevin Sitz.
With the addition of these 8 new Patriarchs and Matriarchs, Davis Encampment #21 has 49 members, making it one of the two largest Encampments in the State of California. The 49 members of the Davis Encampment comprise about 20% of the total Encampment membership in the state.
The Davis Encampment is part of the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge #169
Where have all Our New Members Gone?
Many times, I have visited lodges throughout our state and I have heard good news about new members joining a lodge. Often, if I return to that lodge, I ask about the new members and I hear similar responses; they stopped attending, they couldn’t attend on their meeting night, they’re too busy, or any of a myriad of other excuses. Eventually, many, if not most, of the new members discontinue attending, and our lodges tend to continue much as they always have, with the same “tired old faces”, (to quote a long-time member), and bereft of the new and fresh faces we should all be in search of. This then illustrates the other facet of the membership issue; the problem is not solely obtaining new members but also retaining them.
Why is retention of members in a lodge an issue?
Of course, the answer does not fit every lodge, but every lodge in an age where membership is problematical should at least pose the question. In my view, lodges on the downward trajectory tend to be boring, filled with ponderous individuals reciting passages from our ritual with little or no feeling. Conversely, if a new or fresh face appears, the same tired old face tends to brighten measurably, and what just seemed ponderous, can look suddenly new. Consider this sobering fact: our order gets hundreds of new members every year in our state alone, yet, hundreds more fall off the membership rolls as well. This tends to illustrate that this problem is more than an isolated problem in a lodge far from your own. In fact, many, if not most, of our lodges, are symptomatic of this issue. In many lodges, there is a core attending continually, of 5 to 15 individuals who not only rarely change, but apparently find a great deal of comfort in remaining static. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but it is clearly one of the reasons for the problem itself. Eventually, this group becomes almost impenetrable, quite evidently reluctant to change in any significant way. In other words, while they may claim they want new members, they want only those who are philosophically and idealistically identical to the group itself.
How do we solve this issue?
Simple. We listen to those who fail to attend and then leave. Why did they leave? In many lodges, the reason for this is painfully obvious. In some lodges, they meet at an obscure time or place, inconvenient in some way. In other lodges, the old-timers are not friendly or welcoming of new members. And in other lodges, there is either unrest between members, genuinely mean people who seem to decide all rules, or simply other methods by which they tend to constrict growth. Brother Rosenberg is correct – some lodges simply don’t want new members, in fact, they show it in all their actions.
We need to practice a little self-examination. If we fear new members for one reason or another, then there is something basically wrong with our lodge. If we can fix this problem, not only can we move on unencumbered, we can exhibit our lodge as something all members may be proud of.
In Friendship, Love, and Truth, Rick Boyles
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
August 2017 Davis Odd Fellows Event Listing
Note: Many of our Committees (including Music and Concerts, Wine Club, Golf, Odd Bowling, etc.) take July and/or August off, so the events over the summer months are reduced. Rest assured, they will be back with vigor in September.
As a convenience to Members and Pledges, here is a calendar of meetings and events for August 2017. This list contains meetings and events that have been brought to my attention at email@example.com. For a complete list of activities, please refer to our website at http://davislodge.org. Here is the upcoming calendar for August:
Tuesday, August 1 – Davis Encampment Special Meeting to confer Encampment degrees, 7 p.m. in the Lounge
Wednesday, August 2 – “Mysteries of the IOOF” presented by Dave Rosenberg in the Lounge, 7 p.m. All Odd Fellows, Pledges and Guests are welcome. No RSVP necessary.
Thursday, August 3 – Club Night at the Lodge, Lower Hall, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Dinner (Pork Ribs, Veggie Beans, Cole Slaw, Hawaiian Rolls) served around 6:00 p.m. Trivia Master is Matthew Elliott.
Friday, August 5 – Cave Degree weekend in Yreka. Contact Dave Reed for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, August 6 – Odd Fellows Sports Committee goes to a SF Giants baseball game, 1:05 p.m. Contact Kevin Sitz for times and travel info at email@example.com.
Monday, August 7 – Odd Fellows Gaming Committee meets – Mah Jongg Night, Lounge, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Contact Jean-Paul Montreuil for information and details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, August 10 – Club Night at the Lodge, Lower Hall, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Dinner (Chili – both Veggie and Meat – Corn Bread, Green Salad)) is served around 6:00 p.m. Trivia Master Kevin Sitz.
Saturday, August 12 – 2nd Saturday Breakfast Meeting of the Odd Fellows Lodge, Lower Hall. Breakfast served at 8:45 a.m. and social meeting begins at 9:30 a.m.
Saturday, August 12 – Davis Encampment meeting starts after Odd Fellows meeting around 11:00 a.m. Contact Tony Pruitt for more information email@example.com.
Sunday, August 13 – 2nd Sunday Odd Fellows Bingo, Lower Hall, doors open at 12 noon, and Bingo begins at 1 p.m. The beneficiary this month is NAMI. For information, contact Dawn Coder at DawnCoder@gmail.com.
Monday, August 14 – Hall Board Association meets in the Committee Room, 5:00 p.m. For more information, contact Dave Rosenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, August 14 – Odd Fellows Gaming Committee meets at the Lodge. Times and locations may vary. Contact Jean-Paul Montreuil for information and details at email@example.com.
Monday, August 14 – Odd Needlecrafters meets from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Lounge. All welcome – experienced or novice. Contact Kathy Hemness at firstname.lastname@example.org..
Thursday, August 17 – Club Night at the Lodge, 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Dinner (Meatloaf and Falafel, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans) is served around 6:00 p.m. Trivia Night with Trivia Master Lea Rosenberg.
Friday, August 18 – Gourmet Dinner Night with Premium Wine Pairings, in the Lounge. Reservations required. Contact Allison Vickrey at email@example.com.
Monday, August 21 – Odd Fellows Gaming Committee meets at the Lodge. Times and locations may vary. Contact Jean-Paul Montreuil for information and details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, August 22 – Odd Fellows Tuesday Movie Matinee group will meet at a local theater to enjoy a movie. To join or for more information contact Diane Steele at email@example.com.
Wednesday, August 23 – Canton Davis #7 meets in the Committee Room, 5:45 p.m. Contact Sheryl Cambron for more information firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, August 23 – 4th Wednesday evening meeting of the Odd Fellows Lodge. Social hour at 6:15 p.m. in the Lower Hall. Meeting (members only) at 7:00 p.m. in the Upper Hall.
Thursday, August 24 – Club Night at the Lodge, 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Dinner (BBQ Chicken, Grilled Portobellos, Corn on the Cob, Green Salad)) is served around 6:00 p.m. Trivia Night with Trivia Master Dave Rosenberg.
Saturday, August 26 – Odd Fellows Sports Committee goes to an Oakland A’s baseball game, 1:05 p.m. Contact Kevin Sitz for times and travel info at email@example.com.
Sunday, August 27 – Odd Fellows Cigar Lounge Committee meets at Westfield Park, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Contact Dave Rosenberg for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, August 28 – Odd Fellows Gaming Committee meets at the Lodge. Times and locations may vary. Contact Jean-Paul Montreuil for information and details at email@example.com.
Monday, August 28 – Davis Rebekah Lodge meets, 7 p.m. Contact Diana Schmiegel for more information firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, August 31 – Club Night at the Lodge, 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tonight is Potluck Night – everyone invited to bring a dish to share. This will be a relaxing social evening.
F – L – T
Long range Major Events calendar dates:
September 3 – Odd Fellows Children’s Sunday Movie Matinee – “Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”
September 17 – Annual visit to the Historic Volcano Lodge.
September 17 – Odd Fellows Classic Film Festival – “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”.
September 24 – Odd Fellows Classic Film Festival – “The Philadelphia Story”.
September 30 – Wine Club Trip to Clarksburg Wineries.
October 1 – Odd Fellows Classic Film Festival – “Bell, Book & Candle”.
October 8 – OddtoberFest.
October 15 – Grand Encampment and Military Council meets in Fresno.
October 15 – Davis Storytelling Festival.
October 25 – Initiation of the Fall 2017 Pledge Class.
November 5 – Davis Odd Fellows Chocolate Festival.
November 19 – Tellebration.
December 16 – Breakfast with Santa.
January 5-7 – Member Educational Seminar in Reno
January 20 – Davis Odd Fellows Lodge Installation and Awards Dinner.
Open to the Public – All Vegetarian Dinner with Wine Pairings – Reservations Required
The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge is now accepting reservations for a unique, delicious, healthy All-Vegetarian Gourmet Dinner with Wine Pairings, to be offered on Friday, August 18, in the Odd Fellows Lounge. This is a multi-course dinner with wines paired for each course. Wine is provided by the folks at Steele Winery.
Dinner will be prepared by our talented in-house Chefs Sarun and Michael. The hosting winemaker from Steele is extremely knowledgeable about wine and will join us for dinner to explain each of the several wines that are offered.
Appetizer – Baked Brie with Local Honey and Fresh Fruit paired with Shooting star Sauvignon Blanc 2016
First Course – Waldorf Salad filled Endives paired with Steele Pinot Blanc 2015
Entrée – Ratatouille with House-made Pesto paired with Steele Pinot Noir Carneros 2013
Dessert – Opera Cake with Fresh Peaches paired with Steele Touriga Nacional
The multi-course dinner, including wines, is priced at a reasonable $45 per person, but seating is limited so we suggests you RSVP soon and reserve your seats. Checks payable to “The Lodge”.
RSVP deadline is August 11.
RSVP to Allison at email@example.com or call (530) 758-4940.