You Might Be A Good Odd Fellow If . . . .

April 10, 2014 in Grand Lodge

Julie Machado, Sycamore Lodge #129, and one of the real spark plugs to
the resurgence and progress of that Lodge, recently wrote to me and challenged
me to write an article on “what makes a good Odd Fellow”.  I
accept the challenge!

Here is my list of 25 (gotta be an “odd” number) qualities that, at
least from my perspective, make a good Odd Fellow.  If you have
suggestions, please feel free to send ‘em in!

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you feel that the initiation ceremony and
your receipt of the Initiatory Degree was a meaningful and memorable
experience.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you look forward to attending meetings and
events at your Lodge, and attend on a regular basis.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you try to bring in at least one new member
each year and don’t rely on other members to work on membership development.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you have earned your three degrees so that
you could hold an office some day and advance in your Lodge and in the Order.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you take the time to ask your Lodge brothers
and sisters how they are doing and what’s new in their lives.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you volunteer to help on a committee of your
Lodge.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you helped clean up the Lodge after a meeting
even though no one asked you to do so.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you spoke during Good of the Order and said
something really nice about one of your Lodge mates.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you visited a member who was sick or took the
time to talk to a member who was in distress.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you proposed a new idea or event for your
Lodge and then volunteered to work on it.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you introduced yourself to a prospective new
member of your Lodge and spent some time chatting with that applicant.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you had a good, friendly word for a member of
your Lodge.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you found a way to diffuse a disagreement
among members in the spirit of F-L-T.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you memorized the Odd Fellows Valediction.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you paid your annual dues timely, without
waiting for a reminder.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you carried your dues card in your wallet or
purse.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you keep an IOOF bumper sticker on your car
or wear an IOOF shirt around town.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you have visited a neighboring Lodge.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you urged your Lodge to work on a community
project to benefit your town.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you urged your Lodge to contribute funds to
benefit an Odd Fellows charity.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you worked to bring women and people of color
into membership in your Lodge.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you didn’t immediately say “no” to
a new member’s idea for a Lodge project.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you helped a brother or sister who was in
distress.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you never disparage or say a negative word
about another Odd Fellow.

You might be a good Odd Fellow if you didn’t just talk about “friendship, love
and truth”, but actually lived your life in accordance with those
principles.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Grand Warden

Odd Fellows – History Of One Of The Oldest And Largest Worldwide Fraternity

April 9, 2014 in Grand Lodge, Videos

Vindictiveness or, the End of Our Order, or…Love for Each Other Unconditionally

April 9, 2014 in Grand Lodge

Our order is bounded and guided by our underlining precepts “Friendship, Love & Truth” however some don’t exhibit this behavior externally.  Some view the order as a pitched battle for some weird version of superiority.  This is almost ludicrous and really presents only a myopic view of a finite area.  In my year as Grand Master, I have attempted to remove any political colorings from my judgment.  It is not beneficial to our order to act vindictively, and it clearly is not helpful to solidifying our future.  A friend of mine says that I have a bit of Pollyanna within me, and I agree, but if we don’t all start to take that attitude, we will cease to exist very quickly.  There are many ways in which our order can improve, but first we must admit that other views exist, and that other answers besides our own may have some validity.  We should not pass judgment on another member or another lodge without realizing that hatred is in itself self-defeating and by itself affects our good judgment.  As Grand Master, sometimes I get negative reports on this lodge or that, but to me that alone is not the defining factor.  The first rule of thumb on a lodge or a person is whether or not that person or lodge is a good example of a caring individual or lodge.  We must remember our heritage.

A good member should greet every other member with a smile on his face and a smile in his heart.  All of us have differing views.  All of us no matter how similar also have our own idiosyncrasies.  We really can’t all just walk in lockstep, and we should stop attempting to do so.  Our order is failing quickly and if we don’t begin to celebrate our diversity, we are in danger of collapsing within the cocoons we are creating for ourselves.  Remember that what makes us unique gives us flavor as human beings.  Remember that what makes us happy also drives us forward.  As long as we don’t hurt anyone else, our happiness and the happiness of those around us should be our main concern.

Because many if not most of us are elderly many of us have had sad experiences in dealing with the deaths of loved ones or longtime companions.  Just like many of us, I have had to talk to someone at or near the end of life, and often their last words are filled with regret with either bad decisions or bad words that they have been party to.  We need to realize that when we send messages of hate or displeasure we not only harm the recipient, we harm ourselves.  If we were to examine the other person’s heart, I believe that we would find that in most cases they are just like us.  We need to realize that love for each other is paramount to the growth of our order, and stop acting as if a view on attracting membership or running a lodge is an ironclad truth.  None of us have the inside track on truth or morality or honor, and to taunt the code or codes as some type of defense only turns our order against ourselves.  Codebooks are tools, not weapons.  Just as laws in the outside world have been refined and changed over years, so will codes.   An old philosopher said that “Common sense is not necessarily all that common” and that certainly is appropriate here.  Let’s remember that first we are guided by our love for one another, and we should see that the codes pale beneath the blanket of our own love.

At our various receptions, I like when we emphasize a person we are honoring favorite things because that gives that person flavor.  All of us have favorite things, loves, hobbies, pleasant diversions, and other things that make us happy.  Let’s continue that great thing.  At this year’s Grand Lodge, first, I am hoping to have about a one minute fun event every morning, such as a song or quick game, also since my mascot is Sherlock Holmes, my appointive officers will all be named “Watson” because that was Sherlock Holmes sidekick (they often traded barbs, and Watson often seems more ingenious than Sherlock Holmes, which is clearly the case here).  In short, I want us all to have a good time and remember that through it all, we don’t grow if we don’t learn to enjoy and tolerate each other.  All of us have good value, all of us are friends, and all of us should go forward together or we surely will fail beneath a shower of distrust.

In Friendship, Love and Truth, Rick Boyles, Grand Master

2014 Convention Registration

April 9, 2014 in Grand Lodge

2014ConventionRegistration 

Click On The Link Above For All Forms

GRAND LODGE & REBEKAH ASSEMBLY CONVENTION 

TO ALL ODD FELLOWS AND REBEKAHS OF CALIFORNIA

FROM YOUR 2014 CONVENTION COMMITTEE

DEAR BROTHERS, SISTERS, FAMILY AND FRIENDS,

THE ANNUAL CONVENTION OF GRAND LODGE AND REBEKAH ASSEMBLY WILL CONVENE IN MODESTO ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 14TH, WITH THE JOINT FORMAL OPENING AND BANQUET, WHICH IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE OF REGISTRATION. WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO PROVIDING AN EXCELLENT PROGRAM FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT. THE SESSIONS WILL END ON SATURDAY, MAY 17TH, WITH THE INSTALLATION OF OFFICERS. REMEMBER TO INCLUDE SATURDAY NIGHT WHEN YOU MAKE YOUR HOTEL RESERVATIONS. CHECKOUT SHOULD BE ON SUNDAY, MAY 18TH.

HOUSING RESERVATION FORM: PLEASE USE THE FORM ENCLOSED AND MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS DIRECTLY TO THE HOTEL AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. THIS WILL HELP INSURE YOUR RESERVATION. WE NEED THE ROOM NIGHT COUNT IN ORDER TO RECEIVE THE FREE MEETING ROOMS. ANY MEMBERS NEEDING A SPECIAL HANDICAP ROOM WILL NEED TO CONTACT DIANA CARRANZA @ 707.3728063 FOR INFORMATION.

PARKING: VALET PARKING IS AVAILABLE ($16.00/PER DAY). THERE IS A CITY OWNED PARKING FACILITY DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE HOTEL.

FLOWER SERVICE: ARRANEMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE WITH THE FOLLOWING FLORIST:

HART FLORAL
1201 McHENRY AV.
MODESTO, CA. 95350
209.524.1401
THE FLORIST SAID THEY WOULD DELIVER TO THE HOTEL.

 

DMC DINNER: THE DMC (Dedicated Members for Change) COMMITTEE IS HAVING A BUFFET DINNER ON THURSDAY EVENING (ATTENDENCE IS NOT REQUIRED). THE DINNER WILL HAVE NUMEROUS DIFFERENT FOOD STATIONS, WINE TASTING AND ENTERTAINMENT. THE COST IS $35.00 AND IS NOT REQUIRED, HOWEVER YOU CAN REGISTER FOR THIS DINNER, IF YOU WISH, WHEN YOU FILL OUT YOUR REGULAR REGISTRATION FORM.

ANY QUESTIONS PLEASE CONTACT GRAND LODGE, AT THE FOLLOWING:
PHN: 408.867.0231        FAX: 408.867.6272        EMAIL: gs@caioof.org.

Sung to the tune of David Byrne’s Stop Making Sense

March 12, 2014 in Grand Lodge

If we all agree to show love and affection for each other, we need to take a look at the inner workings of our order.  Of late, I have been discussing attendance issues with many influential members and it has become pretty clear that there are prevalent problems with many of the functions we have.  Specifically, attendance at many events is dropping quickly.  Not too long ago, receptions and other events were attended by hundreds of members.  But now, most events are lucky if they garner 50 members.  This is sad, but it is not necessarily indicative of the failure of our order, but rather indicative of the expense, and nature of today’s world.  As Grand Master, I am often invited to events, and attend as many as I can, but I find it sobering that upon arrival, I am often one of a dozen or so hardy individuals in attendance.  And yet, I have found that we may actually record a negligible loss or even a slight increase of members for the first time in many years.  So, how can we explain this phenomenon, the fact that membership is increasing and yet attendance to events is dropping? Is it really that hard to understand? Our Members are getting older, hotels cost at least $100, gas often matches that, time is of the essence and many we honor we have honored previously or even repeatedly.  We need to take a look at each event and ensure that we are not just becoming repetitive in everything we do.

       Every year, our officers, each of them, in each arm of the order, receive a reception in their honor.  This is a wonderful thing, and I certainly will always treasure my own.  Yet, many have suggested that we need to start having more joint receptions.  This year, two of my officers did this and it was very nice and did not lessen each officer’s importance.  The underlying issue was that it made those in attendance spend half as much on gas, and other assorted expenditures.  In the future, I recommend more such events.  Also, at these events, we need to free them up and not just “bring greetings”.  To be frank, this is terribly ponderous, and I have heard assorted members talk about how boring this has become, and those who are “bringing greetings” often have no idea who that they are honoring and this becomes pretty near farcical.  We need to make common sense.  If we bring greetings, we need to at least know whom we are greeting and why.

       I have heard from a number of individuals regarding the dress codes.  I personally abhor the tuxedo routine and I have heard now from at least 20 men who find it too confining, and probably won’t attend such events.  Generally, if you hear from 20, there are
many who feel that way but won’t vocalize their displeasure.  One prominent member sent me a flyer for an event where tuxedos were required to attend pot luck! We both found this pretty ridiculous.  Often times, we require the buying of flowers for our partners.  If we do, please be specific and don’t require it of everyone.   One thing we seem to ignore is that while the main branch or branches of our order are given budgets within which they may operate the other branches are not and like it or not, those branches are diminishing quickly.  We have to stop acting as if everyone in the order is John D. Rockefeller.  Many of us are on fixed incomes, many of our lodges are in depressed areas, and still others are working full time or collecting welfare.   It’s time to act human and not robotic.  If we want to grow we have to make sense in what we do.  I think we can grow if we begin to realize that the world would join us if we would join the world.  While the Robert’s Code talks about the lodge as being a refuge from the turmoil of the outside world, it is referring to the hardship and the strife of the outside world, we should not be party to our own.  We need to realize that all people want to be loved and honored for who they are, treated humanely, and respected for their unique personalities.  To me, it almost seems contradictory to call ourselves Odd Fellows and yet carry on in the same old way as everyone else always has.  Doesn’t our name itself denote singularity? Shouldn’t we each try to be unique and different? Let’s try something new and not just do what our forefathers did 150 years ago.  After all, our forefathers were unique in their time, so we should attempt to emulate that attitude in our own.

In Friendship, Love, and Truth, Rick Boyles, Grand Master.