Odd Fellow and Rebekah Publication

December 21, 2014 in Grand Lodge

Logo for the California Odd Fellow and Rebekah Publication                                                                                           Jan2015
2015
2014

Is the DDGM Program Viable?

February 1, 2015 in Grand Lodge

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Declining membership claims many victims in a Lodge

One victim may be the inability to fill all officer positions. Another victim may be the lack of talent to fill specialized positions such as Treasurer, or to fill leadership positions such as Noble Grand. Another victim may be so few members that the officer positions simply rotate among a handful of members, year after year. Still another victim may be the inability to have sufficient numbers of members to organize functions which might attract new members. The list goes on and on. And the conundrum grows more intense and convoluted as the years go on.

Another victim of declining membership that doesn’t often attract mention is the District Deputy Grand Master (DDGM) program. This was a program developed decades ago when the Order was large, with hundreds of Lodges and tens of thousands of members. It was devised to assist Grand Masters. DDGMs were to be the eyes and ears of the Grand Master. Clearly, the Grand Master could not visit every Lodge in a far-flung state like California. And even if a very vigorous Grand Master could do so, the visit would only be a brief one for an evening and only perhaps once a year. So the DDGM system was devised as a way for deputies to be charged with a manageable district of Lodges. The DDGM could maintain regular liaison with those Lodges in his/her district, could install the officers, attend to problems, and provide regular reports to the Grand Master. In fact, the DDGM system was so vibrant, that DDGM’s appointed subordinate officers – such as District Deputy Grand Secretary and the like – to assist the DDGM at installations of Lodge officers, and otherwise. It was an intelligent approach, and good management in a fraternal system.

However, the reality has failed to live up to the ideal.

The steep decline of our Order’s membership has converted the DDGM system – at least in California – into a facade. In California, we have devolved into 24 districts. Some districts have as few as 3 or 4 Lodges. How is it failing in California? Let me count the ways. We have districts where no one serves as DDGM – primarily because no one volunteers to serve. We have a system in place where Lodges must submit their recommended candidates for DDGM by February 1. As of this date, only 4 recommendations have been submitted statewide. Some DDGMs don’t visit the Lodges in their districts. We have districts where the DDGM does not appoint subordinate officers, because no one is available or no one is willing to serve. And it is the rare DDGM who submits reports to the Grand Master.

How have we fallen into this well of inertia?

The reason comes back (it always comes back) to the lack of members in this Order. As membership declines, we have fewer and fewer members capable of, and interested in, serving as DDGM. Frankly, it is virtually impossible to maintain a system which supports 24 DDGMs.

What’s the solution?

In my opinion, we need to eliminate the DDGM from our Codes and move to a Special Deputy program. Special Deputies would be appointed by the Grand Master for one-year terms. The Special Deputy should be a Past Grand, but the Grand Master should not be restricted to choosing a Past Grand if, in the Grand Master’s opinion, no suitable Past Grand is available. The Grand Master will assign Special Deputies to Lodges, and the intent is to assign to all Lodges in California. The Grand Master should have the flexibility to appoint as few or as many Special Deputies for the state as he or she feels a need to appoint. For example, the Grand Master might appoint as few as 10 Special Deputies, or he or she might appoint as many as 40. And the primary function of the Special Deputy should go back to the original purpose: being the eyes and ears of the Grand Master. Special Deputies should not be obliged to conduct the installation of officers of a Lodge, and the Grand Master should have the ability to appoint any Past Grand of a Lodge (at the request of the Lodge) to conduct a Lodge’s installation of officers. In this fashion, the Grand Master is given flexibility, but more importantly, the Grand Master can appoint truly competent and experienced members of the Order to assist Lodges in their operations, to ensure that proper procedures are followed, and to report back to the Grand Master any problems that are observed.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Deputy Grand Master

2015 Grand Lodge and Rebekah Assembly Sessions

January 21, 2015 in Grand Lodge

Below is an attachment / link for the first 2015 session mailing.

2015 Session Mailing – 1

Deputy Grand Master and RA Vice President’s Social Hour and Pizza Party

January 21, 2015 in Grand Lodge

You are cordially invited to the

Deputy Grand Master and RA Vice President’s

Social Hour and Pizza Party
Thursday,May 14, 2015
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
At the DoubleTree Hotel in Modesto
Deputy Grand Master Dave Rosenberg Rebekah Assembly Vice President Donna Morrison
Cordially invite delegates and guests To a social event featuring music,
all-you-can-eat pizza and a no-host bar

Attire is comfortable and casual- jeans and sweatshirts are welcome.

Just kick back,relax,and enjoy

$10 per person- payable to “Grand Lodge”

Mail your check to Grand Lodge, 14414 Oak Street #B, Saratoga CA 95070
Write “Pizza Party” in the memo section of your check

RSVP to Rod Metoyer at tiloyerrod@att.net

The Secret of Success Is Right Before Our Eyes

January 21, 2015 in Grand Lodge

At the end of this month, there is a Lodge in California that will be initiating 15 new enthusiastic and energetic new members into the Order. As I was reflecting on this fact, I also reflected on the fact that we have 31 Lodges in California (that’s 25% of this state’s Lodges) which show membership below 15. The juxtaposition of these two facts is, to be very frank, disturbing. And here’s another disturbing juxtaposition of facts: Last year, that Lodge initiated 28 new members. When I examined the statistics of California Lodges, I found that there are 70 Lodges in California (that’s almost 60% of this state’s Lodges) showing less than 28 members.

How have we come to this juncture? How can one Lodge add more new members in one year than the entire membership of 60% of the Lodges in California? How can one Lodge, in one initiation, add more members than the entire membership of 25% of the Lodges in California?

The statistics show an alarming trend for Odd Fellowship. Year after year, the statistics reveal that the vast majority of our Lodges show a net loss of members (a net loss occurs when a Lodge loses more members than it gains). A few Lodges show a “wash” – no net gain or net loss. And only a small number of our Lodges show a net gain of members. In short, while the bulk of our Lodges statewide are losing members year after year, or losing their charters or consolidating – a small cadre of Lodges are growing steadily, year by year.

Why are some Lodges growing, while others are diminishing?

Well, there’s good news and bad news in the answer to that question. On the plus side, the mere fact that SOME Lodges are growing is strong evidence that Odd Fellowship is relevant, alive and well and that folks do want to join this Order. On the negative side, however, the fact that most Lodges are diminishing in numbers shows that we are a shrinking Order – a fraternity showing a handful of large Lodges and a vast array of small Lodges.

But it doesn’t profit us to focus on the negative. Let’s focus on the positive. The secret of success for Odd Fellowship is right before our eyes. If we wish to sustain (and even grow) this Order, we must look to the handful of successful Lodges and find out what makes them tick – what makes them so successful at adding members. There is no better measure of success than to look at success, evaluate it, and try to replicate it.

So, what is the formula for growth of a Lodge?

If one studies the growing Lodges – as I have – one sees a commonality, a thread, that defines all of them. The growing Lodges know the formula quite well. It takes much more than putting on regalia and running a meeting pursuant to a script. That’s all well and good. But it won’t grow a Lodge in the 21st Century. The growing Lodges all do two other things: (1) They know how to have fun and enjoy each others’ company as Lodge members. They organize social events that bring out the true spirit of fraternity and good fellowship. (2) They invest their time and effort reaching into the community to do good works. And they open the doors of the Lodge to invite the community inside. We can no longer afford to be a secret society. Instead, we have to learn how to be a society with secrets.

Having some fun and doing good community works should not be for just a few Lodges. It should be the focus of all our Lodges.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Deputy Grand Master

And Now, a Sad Story . . . . . .

January 9, 2015 in Grand Lodge

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I correspond with Odd Fellows throughout the country who are interested in renewing, refreshing and revitalizing our Order.

I just received the e-mail, below, from a young man who recently joined the Order. I’m not going to reveal his name, or his Lodge, but I will say that he and the Lodge he joined are in a state other than California. I had received several e-mails from this young man prior to the one below. He was excited about Odd Fellowship and about joining his new Lodge. He was all geared up to bringing a number of his young friends into his new Lodge, as well, to help the Lodge grow. The young man was very upbeat, and expressed to me the possibilities he saw going forward. Finally, the young man was initiated and was able to attend his very first formal Lodge meeting. And the results of that first meeting are the subject of his e-mail to me. I was saddened when I read it. Here’s what he said:

****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Dear Dave:
I’ve already received my initiation, and tonight was my first real lodge meeting.

It was a disaster. The arguing and bickering that took place during the order of business is something I do not wish to experience again. I believe there were 10 or 12 in attendance at —- Lodge # –. I will not divulge of course, what the issues were.

When the lodge was closed, I very gently removed my regalia, and simply eased out the front door and left immediately. I said nothing to anyone. I wasn’t angry at all, just shocked–absolutely shocked. My god, what kind of way is it to run a meeting like that when there is a new member present?

I have no incentive to return, and I cannot in good faith ask friends to join this lodge. I will not have friends of mine sit through something like that, on my word that Odd Fellowship is a good thing. I thought about sending an email to the person who is over our state, but that would make me the lodge bad guy. This is not worth the fight and energy it will take to make it work.

Thanks for giving me some encouragement on the front end, and here’s wishing I was a California Odd Fellow! Maybe some day!

———–

****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

There’s really not much more to say. The young man’s letter speaks for itself. The Lodge members should NEVER engage in that sort of arguing and bickering at any time – let alone at a meeting with a brand new member. Whatever happened to friendship, love and truth? Has it been replaced in that Lodge by arguing, acrimony and antipathy? Has our Order shrunk to such an extent that our gene pool is limited to those who harbor belligerence, lack of self-esteem, and inability to govern? Where was the Noble Grand in all this – why didn’t the NG exert some leadership to nip the bickering in the bud? Where are the senior members of this Lodge who can bring a calming and collaborative influence to the discussion?

To be frank, the Lodge reflected above is lost. It will certainly diminish and pass into an historical footnote.

I can only hope that the e-mail above is not reflective of YOUR Lodge or a Lodge that you know. This is no way to grow the Order.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Deputy Grand Master