Odd Fellows Three Degree Night – April 16, 2018

There are four degrees in an Odd Fellows Lodge:  The Initiatory Degree, the First Degree (the Degree of Friendship), the Second Degree (the Degree of Love), and the Third Degree (the Degree of Truth).

Almost everyone in our Davis Lodge has all four degrees of Odd Fellowship.   There are a few of you who don’t – particularly the newer initiates – and we are pleased to offer the degrees (free of charge) to those who wish to obtain them.   Also, there are members who already have all the degrees, but would like a simple “refresher” on the degrees and the secrets and unwritten work pertaining to the degrees – all are welcome to come for that refresher.

We have set up a special “Three Degree Night” at the Lodge where you can obtain the advanced three degrees available in an Odd Fellows Lodge:  The First Degree, the Second Degree and the Third Degree.   This will all be done in one fun-filled and interesting evening!   You will be given all three degrees (by video) and all the secrets and unwritten work relating to the degrees by Past Grand Jean-Paul Montreuil.

The date for the Odd Fellows Three Degree Night is Monday, April 16, at 7:00 p.m. sharp (please be on time) in the Lower Hall, at the Lodge.

The three degrees can be conferred in about 90 minutes, so we should be done around 8:40 p.m. (counting breaks).   Please feel free to bring soft drinks, beer or wine and snacks or dinner if you wish.

Once you receive all these degrees you are eligible to hold elected or appointed office in the Davis Lodge, and to wear the red collar or red cord regalia.   In addition, once you have all the degrees of the Odd Fellows Lodge, you are then eligible to join the Davis Encampment and receive three advanced degrees in the Encampment – the Patriarchal Degree (Degree of Faith), the Golden Rule Degree (Degree of Hope), and the Royal Purple Degree (Degree of Charity).  As a member of the Davis Encampment, you can (if you wish) wear the coveted purple fez with the golden tassel.  And you are also eligible to obtain the highest degree in Odd Fellowship – the Degree of Universal Justice – by joining Canton Davis.   Those who are interested can also join the Rebekah Lodge and obtain the Rebekah Degree.

If you are interested in joining Davis Encampment #21 and/or Canton Davis #7 and/or Davis Rebekah Lodge #253, please let me know and we will discuss next steps.  The Davis Encampment and Canton Davis are the largest Encampment and the largest Canton in California, and both are active!   The Davis Rebekah Lodge is one of the two largest in California and is also very active.

Any questions?   Please feel free to ask!

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Chair, Membership & Initiation Committee
Davis Odd Fellows Lodge #169

DMC – Prejudice is Infectious

What makes prejudice so infectious? Because those who have similar beliefs can bond together and share thoughts and hatreds normally left hidden. It’s a lonely world and all of us want to belong, so we tend to look to those who look like us, who think like us, who feel like us, to immerse ourselves beneath a blanket of what we think of as “belonging”. Sometimes we wear that blanket as a shield to block ourselves out from the world. We see anyone else as an invasion of our space, and really don’t know how to react to what we view as an intrusion. But prejudice has no place in our Order.

As most of us must know by now, Sovereign Grand Lodge has mandated that we adhere to a strict policy of non-discrimination. They have instructed us to insert a statement to this effect within each Lodge’s bylaws. Yet, to some, this is an affront to their ordinary mindset. One member, for example, has sent racist-tinged tests to a wide selection of acquaintances for years. I have saved some if you wish to view them. I asked him about it once and he said that he did not even read many of them, just passed them on. This is unacceptable. We see from actions such as these that it’s sometimes hard to recognize it on one’s self because it tends to act as a preventive mechanism meant to defy change or loss of status. Our Order has been literally decimated by bigotry of distinct types, whether knowing or unknowing. For example, texts in our rituals talk of all members as “he” (and Lodges still read from these verbatim), and in older texts, everyone other than white, are the “lower races”. Most of us are by now aware of the legal cases our Order has dealt with in defending ourselves against charges for cruelty against those with disabilities. Yet we have religious zealots, extreme fundamentalists, who are generally the most hateful among us, who see others as outsiders, yet are so confused in their own beliefs, they fail to even define what they themselves believe. Basically, then, bigotry is a blind hatred and cruelty towards anyone not in one’s own circle.

Of course, we must return to today’s main and indisputable fact: the fact that the issue of non-discrimination is currently number 1 in priority at Sovereign Grand Lodge. As your current Sovereign Grand Lodge Representative, I can tell you that SGL is extremely serious about non-discrimination, particularly in any interaction with the public. They had a two-hour seminar last year led by attorneys devoted to ensuring that all members practice (not just talk the talk, but walk the walk) genuine non-discriminatory behavior. Unfortunately, we have some members within our own state who have failed to get the message.

One example: The North-South Group. Many of you have probably never heard of the North-South Group. It is a group made up of about 30 individuals, purportedly influential members, some from Northern California and others from Southern California who meet once a year on the Tuesday evening prior to Grand Lodge Sessions. Originally, they met to discuss legislation, elections, and other issues that were to be brought up during sessions. I am a member of this group. Many of the members are fine, moral members. However, prospective new members of this group are nominated at the dinner and then may be objected to in secret messages to the Secretary. This, alone, should be a red flag to any onlooker, but of course there are none. Why is such a thing shrouded in secrecy? Three “no” votes will blackball a prospective member. The problem is that prominent women members of the Order have been nominated by myself and by others to join this group – some several times – and on every occasion these women have been blackballed. Thus, a minority of three – operating in secret – has made the North-South Group an icon of prejudice and discrimination. I am including this in my article because discrimination must end and hateful individuals must either change their ways or leave the order. It’s almost absurd to say this to Odd Fellows – people who profess to be all about Friendship, Love and Truth – but we still have members in our Order who do not interact with their brothers and sisters in the spirit of FLT. As a member of the North-South Group, I have asked the Secretary to tell me who has been barred from joining this year, and he has refused to respond to me other than saying that “some” have been excluded. No reason is given, and only casual winking by misogynistic and prejudiced types is allowed. This group has no right to exist if it thinks somehow it can lead by exclusion. If a group of friends want to have dinner, fine, but a group that gathers under the pretense of future planning for the Order that consistently and regularly allows a minority of three to bar women is unacceptable in this era of non-discrimination. It must stop now.

Example two: A.M.O.S. “The Ancient Mystic Order of Samaritans” – another small group that is men only, and fading quickly, also explicitly bars women, although they have a tiny, almost non-existent “sister group”. The point is why even bother with this pretense? Although it is a congenial group of male members they look at prejudice through that congenial lens, as though continued prejudice is a lark to be coveted. If this group barred anyone in a wheelchair, or anyone who is Chinese-American, or anyone who is Latino, would that be acceptable to you? Barring women is no less unacceptable. We should not tolerate a group that blatantly discriminates against people based on their gender.

It’s really time to stop all the prejudice. If you, dear member, want to wear prejudice as an emblem, at least have the courage to declare it openly. If you think women are not equal to you, say it out loud. If you object to other religions, declare that as well. It’s time that those who bear prejudice are no longer borne by our Order.

In Friendship, Love, and Truth, Rick Boyles

Davis Odd Fellows Club Night – March 22, 2018

Dear Odd Fellows and Pledges,

WHEN:  Tomorrow evening, March 22, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.

WHERE:  Lower Hall, Davis Odd Fellows Lodge.

WHO:  Members and Pledges, and their Guests, are cordially invited.

WHAT: Thursday evening’s “Club Night at the Lodge” features: (1) Dinner at the Lodge. It’s a crowd favorite, prepared by our Chefs Sarun and Michael –  Lasagne (both Meat Lasagne and Vegetarian Lasagne), Greed Salad, House-Made Dressing, Garlic Bread. Delicioso! Dinner will be available soon after 6:05 p.m. (2) Our Full Bar will be open with a complete selection of mixed drinks, spirits, craft beers and wines. (3) Trivia Night. Trivia Master Raleigh Klein will return and will challenge you with three rounds of Trivia, including prizes for the winning tables.Trivia starts around 6:35 p.m. (4) Social Time. There will be plenty of time to chat and socialize with your Lodge mates. (5) Jigsaw Puzzles. Lea Rosenberg will supply the ever-popular jigsaw puzzles for the tables. (6) The Big-screen TV will be on with your favorite sporting event. (7) The Odd Fellows Store. Back by popular demand, Dave Rosenberg will have the coveted All-Seeing-Eye sweatshirts for sale, as well as the Little Red Books for sale, Odd Fellows pens for sale, magnetic bumper strips for sale, and Odd Fellows flashlights – all for sale.

WHY:  Club Night at the Lodge is brought to you virtually every Thursday evening – just to kick back with your Lodge mates, relax, socialize and have some fun.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
For the Club Night Committee

Davis Odd Fellows 148th Birthday and Open House

1870 was an interesting year.

In that year, construction of the Brooklyn Bridge was begun, the soda fountain was patented, the first motion picture was shown to a theater audience, the Cincinnati Red Stockings went on tour as the first professional baseball team, President Ulysses S. Grand met in Washington with Sioux Chief Red Cloud, the U.S. Department of Justice was created, the Franco-Prussian War began, the Transcontinental Railway was completed, and the Davis Odd fellows Lodge was chartered on April 12, 1870, in the little hamlet of Davisville.

In commemoration of the event, Davis Odd Fellows Lodge #169 invites the public to an Open House and 148th “Birthday Party” at the Lodge Hall on Thursday, April 12, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. The Lodge Hall is located at 415 Second Street in Downtown Davis. Odd Fellows will provide mini-tours of the historic Hall. There will be music, the Odd Fellows bar will be open for members of the public to purchase libations, and dinner will be available for purchase at $7 per plate.

Odd Fellows came to California in 1849 with the establishment of the first Lodge (California #1) in San Francisco. The Davis Lodge was the 169th Lodge instituted in California, on April 12, 1870 – a mere five years after the end of the Civil War and death of President Abraham Lincoln. “To put this in perspective,” said long-time member Dave Rosenberg, “the University Farm which later became UCD was founded in 1905, and the City of Davisville which later became Davis was established in 1917. Our Odd Fellows Lodge predated UCD by 35 years, and predated the City by 52 years. We’ve been around for a long time.”

The Davis Lodge (then known as “Yolo Lodge” because it predated the City of Davis) was instituted by Grand Master John Brown Harmon who traveled from Apollo Lodge #123 in San Francisco. He was accompanied by the Sovereign Grand Master Elias Driggs Farnsworth, who was visiting California at the time. A number of members from other California Lodges including Sacramento, Mokelumne Hill, Eureka and other locations also attended. The first Noble Grand of the Davis Lodge was Jacob Horning.

In 1876, the Odd Fellows dedicated their first Lodge Hall located on G Street. There was a downtown parade and the Odd Fellows wore their regalia during the parade and dedication ceremony. At the time, the Davis Odd Fellows numbered 53 members. The Odd Fellows remained at the G Street location until 1956 when they sold the building to the Masons, and moved into their current location on Second Street.

On April 12, the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge numbers over 293 men and women ranging in age from 19 to 91, have been in Davis for 148 years, and have been at their current Lodge Hall for over 60 years. The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge is one of the fastest growing Lodges in the United States, and is the largest Odd Fellows Lodge in California in terms of membership. Members of the Lodge are very active in the community, and engage in many charitable and community supportive events, including Second Sunday Bingo, Breakfast with the Bunny, Breakfast with Santa, A Taste of Davis, Thursday Night Live music at the Lodge, the Classic Film Festival, the Davis Chocolate Festival, and many more. The Lodge website is www.davislodge.org.

DMC – What Becomes Us?

You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole, goes the old saying.

Sometimes I think that’s exactly what we are trying to do. Many of us look at charity work to somehow make us progress and grow membership, but it’s not clear that this is how charity works. Charity is admirable, to be sure, and we should all practice it, but does it help us gain members? Many will quote the Shriners and their children’s hospitals, or other fraternal groups which do acts similarly inspiring, but if you delve into the numbers in all fraternities, you will see that all groups are losing members.

Why is this? A mix of reasons, of course, but neither the rise in membership nor the decline are influenced much by charity work, unless it is, wait for it, of a directed poignancy. Why is this? Several reasons, of course, but this may be easiest borne out by looking at our history, or, in fact, almost all fraternal histories. Our order was at its biggest when it had its most direct relevance upon its own members. The problem with most modern groups, not just our fraternity, but almost all groups, is that they fail to retain relevancy. Over time, many lodges have, essentially, become groups of one socio-economic level. The lodges that retain relevance have a clear amount of influence on their members lives and are capable of growth. Lodges that fail have lost any relevance to their own members. If you the reader have never been to a failing lodge, I implore you to visit one and see for yourself. Lodges that are failing, are skeletal, full of artifacts, perhaps, but lacking in any trend in modernity. In fact, often failing lodges are a window on our past; they show photos of eras long gone and tell of groupings much larger than their composition today. Successful lodges, such as Davis, Yerba Buena, and others are practicing events modeled around today’s world. The Davis Lodge, for example, does community and charitable work based upon today, such as environmental cleaning of roadways and helping foster children who have “aged out” of the foster care system. Yerba Buena Odd Fellows Lodge, along with several other Bay Area Odd Fellows Lodges, such as Alameda and Berkeley sponsored appearances in the largest parades in the Bay Area, including, to the horror of some regressive members, the Gay Pride Parade, never mind the fact that hundreds of veterans traditionally march in the Gay Pride Parade. Many successful lodges have experienced at least a leveling of their membership by practicing diversity, not charity directly, of course, but practice of a charitable spirit.

We see that we can sustain growth by having some influence with our members. If a member among us is tired, hungry, homeless, depressed, we should feel compelled to help in some way. If we do not, how are we practicing our own mandates? Almost out of a work by Dickens, we can’t house all the homeless, feed all the hungry, lighten the load of all those depressed but those among us who are in need, physically or spiritually, should be the recipient of something relevant from our own lodge. Isn’t it tiresome to hear that another failing lodge closed without even a sign of relevance? To grow, requirement one should be to assist one’s own members in their times of need. Show a sign that we care. To me, lodges close, because first, they have made the conscious decision to fail to care. Lastly, some members look at their lodges as a profit center. This was never the point of the Odd Fellows. We must maintain our lodges, but we are also compelled by no less than the IRS code to assist our members. We are all brothers and sisters, theoretically, at least that is the pronouncement we make at every occasion.

Do any of us go home hungry, or lonely, or embittered? Then we have failed at a basic lodge level. This is not just a gesture to be extended at Christmas time, but every day within every year. Either we practice what we preach or what we preach is a lie. Membership growth is fostered by an exhibition of the human heart, nothing less. Lodges fail, and we all fail, when we fail to care about our own members. I remember when I was still new in the order and riding with another member to visit a distant lodge passing a member who had broken down in her car. We didn’t stop and help her and that has haunted me to this very day. I have no recollection why we didn’t stop, but if we fail to help a member in their moment of need, what does that say about all of us and our precepts? We are all mortal, and particularly those who profess deep religious beliefs are truly fooling themselves if they are looking for a spot in heaven while denying a crust of bread to someone we encounter on this earth.

In F., L., & T., Rick Boyles

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