Odd Fellows 200th Anniversary

Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

This year – 2019 – is a significant and important year in the history of Odd Fellowship. This is the year generally recognized that Odd Fellowship began in North America, through the work of Thomas Wildey and his associates. So, it’s the 200th year of the founding of our Order. It’s also a unique opportunity to celebrate our Three-Links Fraternity, and to further expose your Lodge to your community. Shame on you if you let this opportunity slip by.

One of the best ways to increase the membership of your Lodge is to increase the visibility of your Lodge in the community. If your Lodge is invisible and inactive, then chances are you will not attract new applicants. On the other hand, if your Lodge is visible and active, the odds of new membership increase significantly. And our Bicentennial Anniversary as a fraternal Order is a unique opportunity to create some community visibility and interest.

Every Lodge should have at least one community event in commemoration of our fraternal bicentennial. The simplest and easiest such event is to have an open house. Invite the community into your Lodge for tours, and perhaps a brief historical presentation about the Order and the Lodge. Don’t be afraid to open your doors and windows to your community. Some Lodges have been in their communities for over a century, but are still virtually invisible to that community. It’s long overdue time to change that perspective.

But don’t stop there. Use your imagination to develop other ways to commemorate the milestone. Let me give you just one example to help get your creative juices flowing.

My own Lodge in Davis, California, has launched an imaginative way to commemorate this anniversary. We have started our “Walk the World” project. A committee of Lodge members has invited the brothers and sisters, the applicants for membership, and their families, to participate in the “Walk the World” project. Our intent is to collectively walk the circumference of the Earth. That circumference, at the equator, is 24,901 miles, which translates into 131,477,280 feet (at 5,280 feet to the mile). The average step by the average person covers 2.5 feet so that means it will take 65,740,092 steps to “walk the world”. The Lodge has created a spreadsheet to keep track of each participant’s steps, and an online link where participants can record their steps – it’s a very easy process where participants input just three things every time they use the link: their name, the week in which they walked, and the steps that they walked in that week.

We hope to have at least 50 people signed up to undertake the project, but could have over many more – perhaps as many as 200 (which would be a nice touch as it is our 200th anniversary). Clearly, it will take us a year, or more, to complete the effort. But it’s worth it. We will focus on our fraternal anniversary all year long, we will engage in serious walking which is a very healthy project for the participants, we will launch a project that has great appeal to younger members and applicants, and we will generate a fair amount of community visibility through press releases and social media.

Let’s not let this opportunity slip away. Happy 200th Birthday, Odd Fellows!

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

 
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