June 9, 2015 in Grand Lodge
July 2, 2015 in Grand Lodge
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Recently, I attended the annual “Camp Festival” at Three-Links Camp. As part of the event, early Sunday morning before breakfast, we all wandered up the hill to the small camp chapel and were inspired by comments from the Rebekah Assembly Chaplain Marjorie Knieriem and the Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge Rita Cooper. It is my pleasure to republish the comments of Grand Chaplain Rita Cooper, which ring very true and which inspire us.
F – L – T
Jurisdiction of California
Comments from the Grand Chaplain Rita Cooper Presented at Three Links Camp on June 28, 2015
Odd Fellowship is not a religious organization. It is more inclusive than any single religious organization. We share our Fellowship with all faiths, all races, all stations in life. Male and female, young and not so young, rich and not so rich, all are welcome to Odd Fellowship.
But the work we do is rooted in universal religious doctrines. As you study the scriptures and tenets of the many religions in which the people of this world find hope and the meaning of life, you can find a common theme, a divine message if you will: the simple command “Love your neighbor.” It is familiar to many of us as a version of the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The 17th century Dutch philosopher, Benedict Spinoza, declared that within the doctrine of every true religion is the very basic moral imperative that we “love others and live by justice and truth”. Doesn’t this sound like the very essence of the Odd-fellowship philosophy?
So although Odd Fellowship is not a church, not a religion, it was created, and has been sustained these many years, to do what we see to be God’s work. Our time-honored Mission includes among other things, the mandates:
– to promote, love, charity and justice in our communities;
– to aid each other in times of need;
– to recognize that all mankind, and woman kind, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, race or status are, when all is said and done, brothers and sisters.
So as Odd Fellows we have dedicated ourselves, among other things, to:
– feeding the hungry;
– aiding the afflicted;
– comforting the bereaved,
– supporting the educational goals of the community’s young people;
and helping our local communities come together, effectively, for a good cause.
And being Odd Fellows, we get a great deal of pleasure from working and playing together to achieve these goals. Odd Fellows like to have fun, too! Having a good time while raising money for a good cause is an Odd Fellow hallmark, with fund-raising fun such as themed parties, or a day at the races or the baseball park, or trips to remarkable places, oh the list goes on.
Fellowship in an environment of love and truth, trust and commitment, is a bonding force that has held us together for these two centuries while our country has been through tumultuous social, economic and political changes: territorial expansion, civil war, liberation of an enslaved people, world wars, cold war, depression, population explosion, mass communication-and-entertainment, continued immigration, the atomic age, the space age, the digital revolution – it goes on and on. The only thing that has stayed the same is that change is constant. Yet one of the things that has endured through all of this is the Odd Fellow idea and its Mission.
Since the founding of American Odd Fellows almost 200 years ago there have been many changes in America, innovations in government programs, the development of social safety nets to deal with the needs I mentioned earlier, some of which are needs that the Odd Fellows were founded to meet. But there is never enough! The need will always out-strip the supply. What the Odd Fellows bring to the world will always be in demand. People will always need comfort, support and friends will always seek justice in their lives.
The world is changing, it’s always changing. The Odd Fellows have changed too, but our core principles, our Mission, remain the same. And when you look at the world today with its swelling tide of violent intolerance, religious and racial hatred, fear and suspicion between races, creeds and nations, it becomes clear that our mandate to promote justice, goodwill and harmony through the principle of universal fraternity is needed more than ever, is needed now and will always be needed.
There is a hunger among peoples of the world, among our neighbors, among young people just coming to adulthood, for truth, justice and harmony, the core principles of Odd Fellowship. Let us reach out to them, share with them our hopes for our local communities, hopes for this world and the world that is newly arriving every day. Embrace them fraternally, ask them to join the fun, feel the warmth, and enlist them in our project, doing God’s work with our brothers and sisters in our respective Lodges, doing it today and forever.
In Friendship, Love and Truth
June 29, 2015 in Grand Lodge
Dear Brother and Sisters,
One of the absolute best programs we have ever devised for membership development is the Grand Lodge Membership Event Grant Program. This program supports Lodges in their unique efforts to generate new member applications. No one tells you what to do or how to plan your event. YOU choose. And you can obtain a grant of up to $1,000 from the Grand Lodge for your plan. What is stopping you?
Below is a full explanation of the program, written by Deputy Grand Master Peter Sellars, who also serves as the active Chair of the Membership Committee. As Grand Master, I am in complete support of this program. I have chatted with the members of some Lodges and they tell me that they aren’t aware of this program. So, we are trying to get the word out as best we can.
I would think every Lodge in California would be interested in applying for these grants. The process is simple and quick. I know, of course, that most Lodges won’t apply. That’s a shame. But I will be delighted if, in this year, we have at least 30 Lodges that apply for the grants. Get on it!
F – L – T
Jurisdiction of California
The Membership Event Grant program was launched over two years ago and has provided funding up to a thousand dollars for Odd Fellows lodges’ membership events.
In 2013, on the last day of sessions, Resolution #8, was presented to the Grand Body by Brother Randy Krassow. It passed. The program committed $150,000.00, $50,000.00 per year for up to $1,000.00 grants for lodges over a three year span.
We are in year 3. The the first year, twenty-two lodges participated. The the second year, only seven lodges participated, despite notices being sent to lodges. The third year started on May 18, 2015. Already, within one month, seven lodges have been awarded grants. We are on a good pace!
Brothers and Sisters, what is stopping you from applying for the grant? Have you ever had an idea where an older member gets up and says, “We can’t do that, because it isn’t in the budget!” We all know those members too well. The failure mechanism, before the plan even gets off the ground. There is no greater good to place money, but in a sound Membership Idea – including an event.
The Grand Lodge has made it possible to get funding for your event. It is easy! Simply draft a one-page letter with three paragraphs. The first paragraph should explain the event (or need); the second paragraph should give a cost for the event. The last paragraph must include your explanation on how you believe this event shall attract applicants. Then email your letter to the email address below. Include your Secretary and Noble Grand’s names, along with your lodge heading. If you do not have email, simply send it to the below address.
Some of the things lodges have done to attract new members:
1. Art Show
3. Created Brochures
4. Created Banners
6. Participation in City events (parades, festivals, car shows) where the lodge set up a booth
7. Dinner events with guest speakers and much much more.
Let’s get into our communities!!! Send requests to: Peter V. Sellars, Membership Committee Chairman IOOF 26 – 7th Street San Francisco, CA 94103 Or Email: email@example.com
June 20, 2015 in Grand Lodge
(Click on the above link for all the information and forms)
The Annual Membership Educational Seminar is upon us again! This year’s seminar shall be held at the beautiful El Dorado Hotel & Casino in Reno, Nevada. The seminar is being held on January 16 and 17, 2016. Arrive on Friday January 15th.
What started out as the Noble Grand/Vice Grand Seminar twenty years ago, has evolved into a popular gathering of members throughout the state. The seminar expanded to include all members. It had been held in Santa Nella, but several members complained over the years of the hotel being too isolated or outdated.
In response, those who have been conducting the seminar since its inception, decided to look for a new location. This was based on the attendees’ evaluations. Reno seemed a great location, given our Grand Encampment of California held its Session at the Sands Hotel a few years ago. We are also inviting the members of Nevada to attend our seminar.
The El Dorado offers us beautiful rooms and a wonderful meal selection, and it is not isolated, allowing the instructors to respond to those concerns of past attendees.
Brothers Ronald and Dennis Carrey, Deputy Grand Master Peter Sellars, our Grand Master Dave Rosenberg, and others shall be presenting various topics. Membership shall be the focus.
The price is only $190 per member! The price has only increased $10 from previous years. The cost includes a two-night stay at the El Dorado Hotel, meals, and materials.
Come and meet members from two jurisdictions. It shall be as enjoyable as previous seminars. All reservations and applications to attend must be received by December 10, 2015.
More information shall be provided by brother Don Lang, who is handling registration for the seminar. All payments should be sent to brother Lang at:
Don Lang, PGM
11220 Monterey Court
Cupertino, CA 95014
You may call brother Lang at 408-252-3954 or Sellars at 415-861-1737. Come and join everyone for a fun time!
June 11, 2015 in Grand Lodge
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
An unusual thing has been happening at my home Lodge – Davis #169
For the last year, a month doesn’t go by that the Lodge isn’t contacted by one or two unsolicited prospective members. When I say “unsolicited” prospective members, I am referring to individuals who contact us directly, and not through a member sponsoring an applicant. These men and women contact us through our website, by e-mail, by phone, or they simply drop by our public events to talk to us about joining the Lodge.
Although unusual in 2015, I imagine that this is the way things were in the halcyon days of Odd Fellowship in the 19th and 20th Centuries, when over a million Americans called themselves Odd Fellows. In those heydays, Odd Fellows Lodges were the center of town – not just physically, but also in truth and spirit – a Lodge of leading citizens who were active and visible in those communities. Why is this happening in 2015 in Davis? For precisely the same reasons. This is a Lodge that is active and busy, and very visible. In addition to the meetings that are held like any other Lodge, this Lodge has 35 committees that cover the spectrum. These committees can be divided into three general categories.
First, there are the administrative committees that most Lodges have, that perform the functions required to operate a Lodge. These include, for example, a Finance Committee, Bylaws Committee, Visiting Committee, Membership & Initiation Committee, Installation Dinner Committee, and the like.
Second, the Lodge has a whole panoply of social committees that provide fun social outlets for the members. These are important. Without the “fun” part of our fraternal life, we would be a boring entity, indeed. These include, for example, a Good Fellowship Committee (that plans events for the entertainment of members and applicants such as wine country bus trips and Thursday evening social hours), a Wine Club (which meets once a month at the homes of members to do wine tasting), a Take a Hike Committee (which plans hikes in the country for members and their families, typically once each month), a Zymurgy (the art of beer brewing) Committee, a “OddtoberFest” Committee (which organizes the Lodge’s annual Oktoberfest), a Halloween Costume Party Committee (organizing an annual costume party for the members and friends), a New Year’s Eve Party Committee (organizing a big party on New Year’s Eve for the Lodge members and community), a Cigar Lounge Committee (sampling fine cigars), an Odd Poetry Committee (poetry reading once each month in front of the Lodge), a Picnic Day Float Committee (building a float for a local community parade), and many more. At the request of members, our Noble Grand recently approved the creation of a Davis Odd Fellows Theater Committee – to facilitate a group of our members who wanted to put on theatrical performances for the members and the public.
Third, the Lodge has a large assortment of community outreach committees that allow the members to perform good works in the community. Members (and applicants for membership) today, want to be involved in the community, locally and beyond, to help elevate the character of man. These committees include the Community Support Committee (which has a budget to contribute to worthy local causes and can organize co-hosted events at the Lodge for the benefit of local community and charitable groups), Music & Concerts Committee (which puts on monthly free musical concerts at Lodge, open to the public), the Bingo Committee (monthly bingo for the community, all proceeds going to a designated group each month), Breakfast with Santa Committee (for the children of the community), Taste of Davis Committee (hosting 24 local restaurants, wineries and breweries, open to the public), Breakfast with the Bunny Committee (kids get to meet “the Bunny”, find chocolate eggs and participate at a kid’s carnival), Odd Fellows Film Festival Committee (showing classic films at the Lodge, open to the public), Picnic Day Breakfast Committee (serving breakfast to the community during an annual major event at the local university), Social Services Committee (helping the hungry and folks with mental illness), and many more. Recently, the Noble Grand approved the creation of a Neighbors for Nepal Committee which is coordinating a major event featuring music and food to raise money for earthquake relief in Nepal.
If one or more members has a passion about a project, those members need only talk to the Noble Grand who can approve the creation of a new committee and the effort is launched. In other words, the Lodge doesn’t say “no” to creativity and new ideas – the Lodge says “yes”.
Every month, there are numerous events at the Lodge – sometimes as many as a dozen – open to the public. The Lodge makes sure that the events – both before and after – are well-publicized in the local press. It is these events which attract community members to the Lodge and which ultimately cause many of them to contact the Lodge about joining.
Does it work? Indeed, it does. The Lodge currently has 31 applicants for membership. In part because of the large number of applicants we receive, we do not interview, vote and initiate them right away. On the contrary, we make all applicants go through a process to ensure that they really do want to become members of our Lodge, and to ensure that the Lodge members really get to know the new members. This process of joining the Davis Lodge takes at least six months. During the six-month process, the prospective members learn about Odd Fellowship and the Lodge, attend a minimum number of events, and “interview” a minimum number of Lodge members. We call this six-month process of joining the Lodge, the “Pledge Process”. If any of the readers of this article are interested in learning more about the process, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
F – L – T
Jurisdiction of California