Message From The Grand Master

Grand Master Richard Boyles 2013 – 2014

GM@caioof.org

21st Century Survival

It’s hard to believe that we are in the 21st Century.  Not only that, we are in the midst of the 21st century. Remember 2001, A Space Odyssey? We are 12 years beyond that! We are 29 years beyond George Orwell’s futuristic novel 1984.

And yet, within our order we still have lodges that don’t even answer their telephone, an invention now much more than 100 years old (Alexander Graham Bell would be stunned!). Not to mention computers, or faxes, facebook, twitter, or any of the other newfangled devices that have come down the pike in the 160 or more years since our order began in California.  We wring our hands and say why can’t we attract the young? Are we kidding or what? The young want what’s new.  They don’t want to hang out with a bunch of people who are permanently out to lunch. Let’s get with it. If you don’t want to connect up to a computer that’s fine but don’t bring everyone down to your regressive level.  It’s time to wake up!

My mother is going to be 86 years old shortly and she has two computers, which I am constantly working on to make sure that she is always connected.  She can’t stand to be without them.  Face it if you are not now on-line, you are now off-line.  There is no better way to phrase it. Look at the lodges that are growing.  Most if not all lodges that are growing are connected in one way or another.  Davis, San Francisco, Hayward, all these lodges are well-versed electronically.  Those who are not are doomed to inevitably go dark.  We must embrace this new media or we will be squashed by those who do.  You snooze you lose.  We talk about our aging membership as if it is our defense.  And yet, my 86 year old mother connects with everyone on line.  There is no age disparity on the internet.  This is what we seem to forget.  We are killing off ourselves by not embracing today’s world, and yet we see that there are many our age who do embrace it.  So, give it a shot and try to see what the other half is excited about.  Most of you won’t be sorry.There are some of us who don’t want change in any form.  However, this is wishful thinking at best.

Change comes to us all.  Try as we might, we can’t stop change.  We must adapt.  Just as tomorrow’s weather will be different from today’s weather, the technology about us will improve, we will age, others will come into our space and threaten our private worlds and we may just find that their inclusion invigorates our world.  This is as certain as death and taxes, and by huddling in our lodges like turtles in shells we only hasten our own demise.

Lodges that ignore the present shun the future, and shut out the world are only going to inevitably close, while lodges that are in the present, embrace the future, and invite in the world are the ones whom will succeed.  We make history by living in the present and creating memories one by one.  We need to take first one step and that is to ask ourselves, are we ready for today? If we are, then today may also be ready for us.

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


June 4, 2013

Brothers and Sisters,

First, let me thank all of you for allowing me to serve as your Grand Master.  This is a job that I take seriously, and I will do everything in my power to do a good job.  I wish to thank the Past Grand Masters who have gone before me, all of whom have done a job with no salary and yet in each case, each man has done his best to uphold the finest of Odd Fellow traditions.  Whatever your political view, these men should be admired for taking a difficult job and doing their utmost to keep us going.  Of course, I would like to thank Past Grand Master Rod Metoyer for all he has done to keep the order on an even keel.  And, I certainly want to thank my sponsor and my friend, Past Grand Master Gene Breeland for all of his tutelage and kind words.  I have learned a lot from him, particularly to keep personal animosity at low ebb and to view the order with a long history and hopefully just as long a future.  He is a great man and I am proud to call him my friend.  Of course, I am pleased to have a partner like Paulette Lamphere, and my Deputy Grand Master Tim Brown, and his partner, Debbie Shuler who are all very helpful.  I also wish to congratulate the new Rebekah Warden Donna Morrison and Grand Warden Dave Rosenberg.

Secondly, I wish to thank my family, my wife Laurie, my daughter Jamie,  who are here today in attendance. My family has always been supportive of my membership in this fine group and is always willing to assist me in my various endeavors.   My son, Michael and my eldest daughter Jessica could not attend but also have shown their support constantly.

Of course, I wish to thank my lodges for their support, the Alameda and Fremont Lodges on the Odd Fellow side and the Fremont Lodge on the Rebekah side have all shown their support and I have been happy to serve all three lodges however I can.

Then there are my favorite people in the order that I should take note of.  I am thankful for Peter Sellars for accepting the position of Grand Instructor.  Not only is he instructing our members he is instructing the Grand Master as well, who probably needs it most of all.  I am thankful for brothers Dave Rosenberg and Don Smith.  Dave, Don and I formed the DMC committee a few years ago and it has grown to become an important force within our order.  I am sorry that some seem to think it has a political agenda.  Change is evolution, nothing more, and we must change in order to grow.  Both Dave and Don are tremendous members who have nothing but good things in mind for the order.  Any resentment that is directed towards them is simply childish, and somehow we have to realize that turmoil is an enemy of all of us no matter what agenda any of us may have.  All those who oppose change or oppose the status quo, in other words, either side of the issue, must someday come together and become as one or we will collapse from the additional stress of simply attempting to connect with one another.  I am thankful for my friend Bob Murphy from my own lodge.  I give him a lot of grief but he has been a great help to me over the years, and a true honorable Odd Fellow.  I thank the Grand Secretary Ray Link, who has helped me a great deal and kept me focused on important issues.  I thank my friends John Morgan and Randy Krassow for being friends and being intent on doing a job that has many detractors and yet no one seems to provide a viable alternative.  Without the Board of Directors, we would be reliant upon mainly the Grand Master to make all decisions and quite frankly, most Grand Masters are not knowledgeable enough to make fiscal decisions.  We need to remember that this state controls probably more property, more business interests, and has to make delicate choices that may go beyond the ability of what just one man is able to make.

Lastly, I have reeled off some of my favorite Odd Fellows, and have left one out on purpose.  He and I have been great friends for many years now.  I seek his advice continually and have found him to always be wise and a great help to me.  We like to make fun of each other, but in truth I defend him wholeheartedly and he defends me even though he always says I should ride in his trunk.  I wish to thank my friend Jay Johnson and his wife Nancy Johnson.

In the medical profession there is a phrase in the Hippocratic Oath that goes Primum non nocere in Latin; in English that means “first, do no harm”.  This is my initial goal.  To do nothing whatsoever that would take away from our future.  We must stop all this turmoil.  We must end all these tireless disputes.  No one is wrong.  Everyone is right.  Each person has their own point of view and who are any of us to imply one or another is incorrect?  In order to grow, first we must do no harm to ourselves, we must remember that we are all brothers and sisters and walk hand in hand to our future.  Our future is entirely up to all of us.  We must carry the burden together, or individually it will cripple us one by one.

In closing, I just want to state that we all need to connect somehow.  We all have to realize that the leaders don’t matter, if we just want to disagree about everything.  There will always be disputes, but we need to remember that we are here for one reason, and that is to remain a viable group and quit trying to burn our own bridges.  Our history is very significant, and should be greatly admired, but we also want to work on our future and ensure that, like our wonderful history, we allow the brilliance of our future shine through.


Grand Master’s Speech Given At Sessions

Brothers and Sisters,

First, let me thank all of you for allowing me to serve as your Grand Master.  This is a job that I take seriously, and I will do everything in my power to do a good job.  I wish to thank the Past Grand Masters who have gone before me, all of whom have done a job with no salary and yet in each case, each man has done his best to uphold the finest of Odd Fellow traditions.  Whatever your political view, these men should be admired for taking a difficult job and doing their utmost to keep us going.  Of course, I would like to thank Past Grand Master Rod Metoyer for all he has done to keep the order on an even keel.  And, I certainly want to thank my sponsor and my friend, Past Grand Master Gene Breeland for all of his tutelage and kind words.  I have learned a lot from him, particularly to keep personal animosity at low ebb and to view the order with a long history and hopefully just as long a future.  He is a great man and I am proud to call him my friend.  Of course, I am pleased to have a partner like Paulette Lamphere, and my Deputy Grand Master Tim Brown, and his partner, Debbie Shuler who are all very helpful.  I also wish to congratulate the new Rebekah Warden Donna Morrison and Grand Warden Dave Rosenberg.

Secondly, I wish to thank my family, my wife Laurie, my daughter Jamie,  who are here today in attendance. My family has always been supportive of my membership in this fine group and is always willing to assist me in my various endeavors.   My son, Michael and my eldest daughter Jessica could not attend but also have shown their support constantly.

Of course, I wish to thank my lodges for their support, the Alameda and Fremont Lodges on the Odd Fellow side and the Fremont Lodge on the Rebekah side have all shown their support and I have been happy to serve all three lodges however I can.

Then there are my favorite people in the order that I should take note of.  I am thankful for Peter Sellars for accepting the position of Grand Instructor.  Not only is he instructing our members he is instructing the Grand Master as well, who probably needs it most of all.  I am thankful for brothers Dave Rosenberg and Don Smith.  Dave, Don and I formed the DMC committee a few years ago and it has grown to become an important force within our order.  I am sorry that some seem to think it has a political agenda.  Change is evolution, nothing more, and we must change in order to grow.  Both Dave and Don are tremendous members who have nothing but good things in mind for the order.  Any resentment that is directed towards them is simply childish, and somehow we have to realize that turmoil is an enemy of all of us no matter what agenda any of us may have.  All those who oppose change or oppose the status quo, in other words, either side of the issue, must someday come together and become as one or we will collapse from the additional stress of simply attempting to connect with one another.  I am thankful for my friend Bob Murphy from my own lodge.  I give him a lot of grief but he has been a great help to me over the years, and a true honorable Odd Fellow.  I thank the Grand Secretary Ray Link, who has helped me a great deal and kept me focused on important issues.  I thank my friends John Morgan and Randy Krassow for being friends and being intent on doing a job that has many detractors and yet no one seems to provide a viable alternative.  Without the Board of Directors, we would be reliant upon mainly the Grand Master to make all decisions and quite frankly, most Grand Masters are not knowledgeable enough to make fiscal decisions.  We need to remember that this state controls probably more property, more business interests, and has to make delicate choices that may go beyond the ability of what just one man is able to make.

Lastly, I have reeled off some of my favorite Odd Fellows, and have left one out on purpose.  He and I have been great friends for many years now.  I seek his advice continually and have found him to always be wise and a great help to me.  We like to make fun of each other, but in truth I defend him wholeheartedly and he defends me even though he always says I should ride in his trunk.  I wish to thank my friend Jay Johnson and his wife Nancy Johnson.

In the medical profession there is a phrase in the Hippocratic Oath that goes Primum non nocere in Latin; in English that means “first, do no harm”.  This is my initial goal.  To do nothing whatsoever that would take away from our future.  We must stop all this turmoil.  We must end all these tireless disputes.  No one is wrong.  Everyone is right.  Each person has their own point of view and who are any of us to imply one or another is incorrect?  In order to grow, first we must do no harm to ourselves, we must remember that we are all brothers and sisters and walk hand in hand to our future.  Our future is entirely up to all of us.  We must carry the burden together, or individually it will cripple us one by one.

In closing, I just want to state that we all need to connect somehow.  We all have to realize that the leaders don’t matter, if we just want to disagree about everything.  There will always be disputes, but we need to remember that we are here for one reason, and that is to remain a viable group and quit trying to burn our own bridges.  Our history is very significant, and should be greatly admired, but we also want to work on our future and ensure that, like our wonderful history, we allow the brilliance of our future shine through.

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


Past Grand Master Rod Metoyer 2012 – 2013

Freedom to Be Who We Are

September 2012

America is a wonderful place: a place founded upon the ideals of religious freedom, democracy, and the pursuit of happiness.  There is nowhere else quite like it.  Other countries try to mirror our ideals but they can’t quite duplicate them.  This is what gives us strength and the ability to look at each citizen with empathy even though they might have totally different political or religious views than we do.  When we band together, our strength is as much our differences as it is our similarities.  Our unifying bond is our love for our country.  No one person knows the correct path.  No one person can decide for others the proper religious views, the ideal sexual or personal moral attitude, or even how we conduct our lives.  This is what America in her wisdom has given us; the freedom to be who we are.

Many wars are initiated by dictators thinking they have the divine right to guide other countries, but America gets it right.  America’s strength is its own permissiveness; its own ability to see that all men are created equal and that all men have the same privileges by law.  As long as a man or woman does not do injury to another, they are within their rights to live as they choose.  This is America, as lined out within our constitution, as stated purely by our bill of rights, and as practiced by all our happy citizens down through our history.  All mistakes, by all peoples, are made when one person, one political group, or one moral attitude believes that they can control all other people.  This is where mistakes can be made, both within and without, our order.  Simply stated, we are a microcosm of the world itself, because within our lodge halls can be many religious beliefs, different socio-economic backgrounds, contrasting sexual attitudes, and a multitude of differing points of view.

Lately, within our lodges there has come discussion about religion.  Some feel that since we say the Lord’s Prayer in our ritual, that we are a Christian group.  True, many of our members were Christian to begin with, but in the last 200 years, we have added many faiths, and many different attitudes even within the wide moniker of “Christian”.  It should be our goal, just as in our country, to be understanding of all faiths, to realize that all members who practice friendship love and truth are as one and not be divisive no matter what the religious faith, no matter what the sexual practice, no matter what the opinion may be of our partner in our lodge.  We are one in Odd Fellowship.  This is what will give us our strength to grow and attract other people to our group; our own acceptance of each other, and of the world.  When we fail to be accepting, we tell the world that most people are not welcome and most people will not be accepted as part of our Odd Fellow universe.

Let’s try and remember that we want members and accepting the fact that someone who does not think just like you may be just as good, just as loving, just as moral, as those we already have in our midst.  If someone in your lodge does not want to say the Lord’s Prayer, find out what would make them happy.  Don’t be punitive because that person may be as devout in their religion as you are in your own.  Remember, that religion is a personal right, just as is the pursuit of happiness, given to all souls thankfully in this great and unique country called America.

In Friendship, Love and Truth, Rod Metoyer and Rick Boyles


2012 Cave Degree

September 1, 2012

The 2012 Cave Degree Ceremonial will be on September 1, 2012

YREKA – The 66th Annual Second Degree Cave Ceremonial in the Yreka Cave will be held on Saturday, September 1, 2012. Moonrise will be about 8:20 PM, which is good. Barring cloud cover, we should get to watch the moon rising near Mt. Shasta.

The usual catered buffet dinner will be served at 5:30 PM, ending prior to the 7:00 PM departure of the bus to the cave. Cost of the dinner is $18 per person. It is being prepared by Olivera’s Catering, the excellent caterer we have used for several years. Reservations, with checks payable to Yreka Lodge #19, need to be mailed to the Yreka Lodge, No.19, PO Box 445, Yreka, CA 96097 by August 1,2012. Telephone contacts are Past Grand Frances Morton at (530)459-3433 and Secretary Alfred Brandon at (530) 468-2477. The email contact is brandonap@ sisqtel.net.

To prepare additional candidates for the Second Degree at the Cave, there will again be a special afternoon meeting of Yreka Lodge No.19, at which the Initiatory and First Degrees will be conferred on any candidates available and qualified to receive them. These degrees will begin at 1:00 PM in the Yreka IOOF Hall and conclude in time for the evening dinner. We will be conferring the Third Degree at 8:00 AM on Sunday morning, after breakfast has been served, starting at 7:00 AM, by the regular and cave Associate members of Yreka Lodge No.19 and by members of the Cave Degree Committee of Grand Lodge.

All Lodges are Invited to bring candidates. A letter under the seal of the Lodge, giving the names of the candidates and the degrees for which they are qualified, should be mailed to Yreka Lodge, No.19, PO Box 445, Yreka, CA 96097, or hand-delivered by a member of the Lodge before the first of the Degrees is scheduled to be conferred. Grand Master, Rodney Metoyer has arranged for the teams from Sacramento to confer the Degrees, with Past Grand Master/Grand Patriarch Gene Rasor as acting Noble Grand for all of the Degrees.

All Cave Associate members of Yreka Lodge should make a special effort to attend and be prepared to assist in filling roles in some of the Degrees. For Motel reservations, call Miner’s Inn (Best Western) at 1-800-444-1320 or Holiday Inn Express at 1-530-842-1600


Grand Master August – September Message

Congeniality is the Key

Lately, our order has become fractured along philosophical differences. Some of us desire change and want to revamp many facets of the order. Others of us want to stick strictly to historical rituals and merge our future with the past. Whatever our personal philosophy may be, we must remember that all of us are Odd Fellows; all of us live under the masthead of friendship, love and truth. Change or no change is not the most important issue, it is merely the means to an end; the most important issue is our survival. We can’t survive by arguing. No one person is absolutely right. Each person is right for themselves. Our order has had many critical junctures, but in each case, it is important to face it together. Divided we fail, united we succeed. Many lodges we have encountered in our journeys are failing or barely making a quorum; therefore, it seems ludicrous to not encourage some change in those cases. Other lodges are successful and have many happy members on different committees, structured around their own personal interests. In the case of successful lodges, we should encourage their success, and in the case of unsuccessful lodges, we should do what we can, congenially, to encourage growth. If one person screams and hollers and disrupts a lodge, that one person can disrupt a lodge and cause its closure. Conversely, a lodge which practices congeniality can often survive decades, and even grow, merely due to their own congeniality. So, it becomes obvious that nothing nurtures a lodge like happiness and nothing destroys a lodge quicker than disruption. It’s important to take note that while controversy exists; controversy always exists, as long as we are living. It is not endemic to one lodge or one personality. One person can cause considerable damage if all they do is disrupt a lodge. Let’s try and remember that all members deserve respect, and that all of us are in search of the same goal, which is the growth of our order. Obviously, congeniality may not alone lead to our survival, but it would not hurt to practice it with every member we see. Lodges are like our souls. Most of us want happiness and contentment. What makes us happy? We can find the answer if we ask the question in earnest. Why did we join? What would keep us as a member? If we can answer those simple questions, we are on the path to survival, both as members and as human beings. We must realize that all members search for similar rewards.

In Friendship, Love, & Truth, Rod Metoyer & Rick Boyles


News Flash

Membership in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in California increased to nearly 10,000 members, as of June 30, 2012. While many volunteer organizations and fraternal orders report declining membership, the Odd Fellows experienced its fifth straight year of membership increase in California.

Grand Master Rod Metoyer commented, “We expect to give charters to 20 new Lodges in 2012-13, bringing the number of Lodges in California to over 150. We’ve seen a net increase of almost 2,000 new members in the last year alone.” Fiction? Unfortunately, yes. For the Odd Fellows this is indeed, fiction.

BUT, it’s a true story for another volunteer organization, the Lions Clubs International. A recent news release about the Lions noted that membership in that organization increased to nearly 1.35 million as of June 30, 2012, the fifth straight year of membership increase. Wayne Madden, the 2012-13 President of Lions Clubs International was quoted as saying: “We chartered more than 1,500 new clubs, bringing our total number of clubs to a record high of more than 46,300 clubs. In the last five years we have increased our membership by nearly 60,000 members.”

How did they do it? They did it in a surprisingly simple way. They used a formula that has been proven to work – a formula that others (such as the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge) have used with remarkable success. And what is especially noteworthy is that the Lions did it without two of the important assets that Odd Fellows possess – Odd Fellows have a rich history and ritual, and Odd Fellows, for the most part, have Lodge Halls that they own. Using the Lions’ formula, and the added assets of Odd Fellowship, we can do the same.

So, what’s the formula for success used by the Lions? It encompasses three simple things: First, quoting the article: “Lions membership has grown as Lions have concentrated on expanding the programs and service they are providing to their communities.” Good community outreach and good community works. This is something that ALL of our members and Lodges can do. We simply need to get off our collective derrieres, get outside of the four walls of our Lodges, and reach out to our communities. We have to do so in ways that make a difference. We can plant trees, we can help frail seniors, we can organize bingo for the community, or we can offer music for the community at our Lodges. The possibilities are endless. Good community works not only helps the community, but it exposes the Lodge to the community, and most importantly it is the source of new members.

Successful Lodges in California can attest that many of their new members have come to the Lodge as a result of community project initiated by the Lodge. Good community works just makes good sense. Second, again quoting the article: “The fastest growing demographic group in Lions clubs is women. Also expanding rapidly is the number of members from the same family.” Those Lodges that primarily seek out and admit men in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, are sowing the seeds of their demise. We simply cannot ignore half the population of women, and we cannot ignore half the population of people under 40. Successful Lodges today are almost 50-50 men and women. Successful Lodge seek out not only mom and dad, but teenage children as well. Bringing the family into the Lodge is just smart. Third, once again quoting the article: “We are reaching out to younger people by increasing our efforts in social networking.” It’s the young people who are the future of Odd Fellowship. In some of our Lodges, everyone is connected by e-mail and newsletters are electronic. In other Lodges, virtually no one has e-mail and virtually everything is done with paper. That’s not the world of the 21st Century. Successful Lodges focus on activities within the Lodge and community service that appeal to folks in their 20’s and 30’s. These potential members aren’t interested in potluck dinners. They are interested in music, and movies, and wine tasting, and beer making, and hiking, and Facebook. This is the future of our Order. We have looked at the Lodge books of successful Lodges in the 1850’s and 1860’s. It’s interesting to note that the members who joined Lodges in those days were primarily in their 20’s and 30’s. Let’s go back in time to discover the secrets of success to the future.

As a great sage once said: “The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.” So, we ask YOU and your Lodge to start using the formula for success. But don’t try to do everything at once. Take that single step, then take another, then another. Develop that one community project that your Lodge can handle, that will do a good turn for the community, that will raise the visibility of Odd Fellows, and that can expose your Lodge to potential applicants for membership. Seek out that one dynamic community leader (city council member, county supervisor, school board member, bank president, lawyer, judge, physician, teacher, etc.) who could become a Lodge member and who has the potential to bring in more new members. Talk to husbands and wives as potential members of your Lodge. Take that single step.

In Friendship, Love, & Truth, Rod Metoyer & Rick Boyles


August 2012

Does Your Community Know You Exist?

Sometimes in our order, we become jaded.  A number of our lodges are large enough to feel like their own separate worlds.  But many of our other lodges have become simply a refuge from society.  Ask an onlooker how they view the I.O.O.F. and they will probably give you a puzzled look.  Very few of the public have ever even heard of us.  If you point out that the lodge is the biggest building in the oldest part of town often times the person will remark that they had no idea that the order even existed.  Or, even worse, they may say that they had no idea that the order still existed.  In some cases, the public will respond in a startled manner, almost in disbelief.  Our order could easily become a vestige of history, an afterthought to the history of a town.  Yet, if we were to delve into our history, we would usually find that many prominent citizens were members, in years long past.  This is one of our strengths.  We have a long and vibrant history, with many instrumental members from almost every community in this populous state of California.  This is a factor that we should not forget.

In our journeys as elective officers we have found lodges that are on the cusp of dissolution.  These are lodges that without one or two of their most influential members in attendance that will inevitably close.  In most cases, the influential members are elderly, often quite elderly.  While we owe a vote of gratitude to these fine individuals, we have to seek new ways in which to attract new and vital members.  Without new members, our order will cease to exist within the next 20 years.  Whatever your view of our order may be, there can be no disputing, that we must work together to mobilize our lodges to invigorate our present members and to somehow attract new members.  It can be done.  There are a number of lodges throughout the state that have experienced growth, and they have done it using various methods, but simply sitting in a lodge building behind a locked door will not do the trick.  We can’t attract anyone if we don’t make an effort.  Think about your role in your community.  Is there something your lodge could do to attract new members?

Look at the interests in your own lodge and in your own local community.  Perhaps your lodge likes antiques, old cars, board games, music, art, or any of a myriad of other interests.  This connection tends to draw prospective members.  Often times, a lodge forms a committee devoted to a single interest and this may attract new members.  One lodge has a beer-making committee, another lodge has an antique car committee, a third deals with historical memorabilia, a fourth celebrates music of all types; you get the idea.  The public will join if it sees something of interest.  Advertise your interest, and you could be surprised at the interest it creates.  If a lodge has as one of its interests an antique car club, does this make it less of a lodge? Certainly not.  Lodges have always been connected by shared interests.  No one was born an Odd Fellow.  They have to be created.  What is an Odd Fellow Lodge without specific interests? It is a lodge waiting for the end.  This notion that somehow a lodge with a specific interest transforms itself into a club is clearly negative thinking.  A lodge should be what it has always represented, a loving parent with encircling arms.  One lodge can house many clubs, or interests.

The Odd Fellows must step back and ask themselves what are they, exactly? This is clearly one of our core issues.  In every lodge, we should begin to develop a core interest or multiple interests.  Otherwise, ask yourselves what draws new members? Simply stating that we have a pot luck at 5pm on Tuesday nights will not do the trick.  Times, they are a-changing.  We must learn to change with them.

Around the order there are those who speak of lodges with success with almost derogatory speech, but those larger lodges now are the reason we still exist.  Can you imagine an order with lodges of less than 10 members each thinking somehow that they are the example for the future? It simply is not feasible to have an order where lodges have no real core, no interest, and no point to existence.  Yet this is the position now of most failing lodges.  If you as a member of a failing lodge can’t tell an onlooker why they should join your lodge than your lodge has failed.   Some members think that each lodge should develop a lodge Mission Statement, and this is an excellent idea, but it should have consistency.  It should say something substantial.  Just repeating the terms Friendship, Love, and Truth, ad infinitum, will not do the trick.  All of us should give serious thought to why we are members, and prepare a speech, written or vocal, to tell to anyone who may show interest in our order.  If we can imagine why a prospective member might join our order, it may just happen!

In Friendship, Love and Truth, Rod Metoyer & Rick Boyles


Loose Lips Sink Ships

July 2012

Our order is older than the proverbial hills.  This wonderful state of California is literally laced together with the history of Odd Fellowship.  A study of Western Americana would show that many of the historical figures in our state were members of the Odd Fellows.  Peter Sellars has written 2 tremendous early histories of our order in this state, and it shows what an investigation into our early order might emphasize which is that Odd Fellowship served a purpose in those early desperate times.  It was a security blanket to those who were hard-pressed to wear much else.  If you were a gold-miner or a merchant in those times, you were often cold and hungry.  In those hard times, a lodge must have seemed like a palace to those cold and hungry early settlers.  The idea of a warm meal, a welcoming handshake, and a smile from a fellow member must have appeared almost alluring in that otherwise barren time.

Now, it is a different world.  Odd Fellowship has regressed into the recesses of local society.  All of us are filled with responsibilities and jobs beyond the scope of a lodge hall.  Many of us attend almost as an afterthought, leaving our families and our ball games to sit through a meeting which sometimes seems too long or becomes rancorous, too often complete with divisions and angry members, voting on decisions or subjects which may cause dismay on one level or another.  In today’s world, one can see a lodge meeting as a burden to endure, a discussion about a lodge issue can appear frightening when illuminated by someone packed with personal agenda.

An onlooker tasked to look into our order might compare us with other orders which are on the downswing.  The following traits accompany a downswing: turmoil, short-sightedness, loss of caring, fear of the public and of ourselves and mean-spirited rumors.  If we are not careful, we will soon epitomize these very traits.

Rumors in particular serve no purpose except to besmirch another person or persons.  They have no place in an order professing to admire the precepts of Friendship, Love and Truth.  Conduct unbecoming an Odd Fellow is a charge we level if we feel an Odd Fellow has wronged another member, but we are all somewhat guilty.  We must lose our hatred in order to grow.  We must see that most if not all members mean well, and that it is not our implied duty to discern who the bad members are.  Lately, rumors seem more rampant than ever, and we should all do our best to dispel them.  If a member does something against our code or wrongs another member, it is certainly appropriate to call attention to it, but it is not appropriate to spread rumors about that individual.  Rumors serve no purpose beyond blowing off steam.  No member should feel compelled to insult another member.  If a member does something contrary to code, there are remedies, but rumors are not the remedy.  No one gets a pass on hatred.  In order to grow, this is the first step we must all take – the purging of hatred.

If we want to grow and survive into the future, we need to band together as a unit.  Many members talk about change, and many members idolize our heritage.  It bears repeating that these ideas need not be in conflict.  The future is something none of us may foresee.  If we possess the inner strength to love each other as we profess to within our rituals and codebooks then we can’t fail.  If we refuse to get along, if we only spread vicious rumors about each other, and yell at one another in lodge halls, it will certainly only result in a mass exodus from the order in general.  When we see our members, let’s remember first that they have love for the order just like us, and realize that together we win.

In Friendship, Love and Truth, Rod Metoyer and Rick Boyles


A Message for Every Member

May 27, 2012

170 years ago, our ancestors began our order in California.  Many of our lodges were formed in the gold country of Northern California.  Meetings were held by candlelight.  Many of our members could not read or write.  Often, the third degree members were those who were literate; the mayor, the constable, and other prominent townsmen. Being a member of our order was a source of pride, chairing a position, or holding a title carried with it an implication of duties and responsibilities.  Not being a member gave one a source of shame or inadequacy and since your neighbor was probably a member, it also led to a feeling of exclusion and the dangers inherent in such a tough time and environment.  The order obviously was a security blanket for those who were members, and it helped to feed, cloth, and even educate, as many of the early lodges were even lending libraries, where the members could take a book out and read it, returning it so another member could learn as well.  The order’s place in our early California society was assured for several reasons: the order educated, the order nourished, the order entertained, and even at the end of one’s life, the order handled one’s burial.  So then, the order could not fail, because it filled basic human needs, and the axioms of friendship, love and truth, were emblems that bore no scars, that carried no personal human baggage.

Today, 170 years later, it is a different world.  We live in mainly urban areas; we are all literate we have homes and many methods by which to communicate in our communities.  Very few of us spend our days sifting for gold because of the insecurity of it, and also because we need income daily and not simply by good fortune.  Many of the goldmines are now closed or infrequently mined.  Now, the goldmines we mine are our jobs, our pensions, our social security, our families and our friends.  We should alter our mindsets accordingly.  No longer do we need a lodge setting to protect us from a harsh external environment, but there are other things a lodge may do.  Now, it’s more a question of what psychological impetus a lodge may hold.  Too many of us sit all alone in an old building waiting for another soul to enter the doorway.  Too many of us see the doorway with apprehension or fear.  It is time to ask ourselves what are we afraid of, if not simply anything new or different. Let’s try and be understanding of every individual in our order, and then perhaps we can see what it is we all have to offer.

There are many of us who desire change, and there are many of us who want to protect our heritage.  These do not need to be in conflict.  An old rock song goes “Life is change, how it differs from the rocks”; invariably, change happens whether we like it or not.  Yet our heritage can be a source of great pride and give us inner strength, so both should be embraced.  It’s not a question of conflict.  If we allow one side of the equation to dominate and the other side to fail, our order will falter and die even quicker.  We must see that as our order declines, it becomes more and more imperative for all of us to read the writing on the wall.  Either we work together or we will die.  A quick Google search can easily point out fraternal groups that have already gone away.  Do we want to be part of this ever increasing list? One key to survival is to recognize the fact that all of us deserve respect, all of us want to feel needed and appreciated, all of us are brothers and sisters under the mantle of Odd Fellowship, and together we can succeed if we lose this internal fear we seem to have of our fellow member’s new idea or dream for the future.

We are all in this together.  Our order is in a downward spiral.  It does not matter whether you want change or don’t want change; there is no disputing this one important fact.  The numbers of our order are steadily decreasing.  We must work together to forge a brighter future or we will succumb to our own fears.  Let’s remember that all of us are brothers and sisters, all of us cherish friendship, love and truth, and if we can just receive new members in this same spirit of openness, perhaps we will live to see a better tomorrow

In Friendship,
Love and Truth,
Rod Metoyer and Rick Boyles


Our New Grand Master’s First Words

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Master of Ceremonies Pete Pohlhammer

Mistress of Ceremonies Joyce Link

Junior Past Sovereign Grand Master George L Glover

President of the International Association Rebekah Assemblies C. JaNell Clark

Jr Past Grand Master Paul Pike

Jr Past Presicdent Bettty Razors of The Rebekah Assembly

All the Dignitaries on the platform and in the audience

My Family and Fraternity Brothers and Sisters.

As I thought about this moment and what to say I am going to
start out just letting you know a little about myself.

Where I come from there is cornbread and chicken, a lot of front porch sitting, hard work to make a living, church going and praying to
get to Heaven.

Those few words tell you a lot about me, what kind of food I like, how I like to spend my time off, how I work, and that I see no gray just
black and white, right or wrong.

My banner is the Teddy Bear, which was named after President Theodore Roosevelt who was greatly admired by his fifth cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt for his vigorous leadership style and zeal for reform.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, also known by his initials FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States, a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the Unites States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war. The only American president elected to more than two terms. He was initiated in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in 1911, Holland Lodge No 8.

In August 1921 while the Roosevelt’s were vacationing at Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada, FDR contracted an illness diagnosis known as polio which resulted in permanent paralysis from the waist down; For the rest of his life, FDR refused to accept that he was permanently paralyzed. He tried a wide range of therapies, including hydrotherapy, and in 1926 purchased a resort at Warm Springs, Georgia
where he founded a hydrotherapy center for the treatment of polio patients, which still operates today as the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute of Rehabilitation.  After he became President he helped found the March of Dimes. Fitting his hip with iron braces, he
laboriously taught himself to walk a short distance by swiveling his torso while supporting himself with a cane. In the public mind, FDR has been by far the most famous polio survivor.

Beginning with his inauguration address, FDR began blaming the economic crisis on bankers and financiers, the quest for profit, and the self- interest basis of capitalism:

A QUOTE ” Primarily this is because rulers of the exchange of Mankind’s goods have failed through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and have abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous moneychangers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men. True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations; pleading tearfully for restored confidence …The moneychangers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The
measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit”.

Historians categorized FDR’s program as “relief, recovery and reform”.

If our order is going to survive the twenty first century, we must work laboriously just as FDR did to walk by getting involved in the community we live and open up our lodge doors and teach the public what the Independent Order of Odd Fellows is all about, not IOOF, but the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. We must open the door of opportunity and take advantage of today’s technology and let the world know what the Independent Order of Odd Fellows can and will do for them.

Tonight starts Rod’s relief, recovery and reform to increase our declining lodges and membership across California.

In closing I would like to thank a few people;

The Junior Sovereign Grand Master George L Glover for being here, and his guidance throughout our session.

President of the International Association of Rebekah
Assemblies C JaNell Clark for being here.

My sponsor Glenn Bailey for having the faith in me that I can do this job.

My brother and sister Paul and Joan Pike, without whom I would not have made it this far, there expertise and knowledge of this order has been a tremendous help to me and will continue to help me in the future.

My sister and brother Betty and Gene Razor, without there friendship and love to help others I would not have received the knowledge and the help that only a brother and sister can give to one another.

Ron and Paulette Lamphere, and Ruth Morgan for the great Job they did on the drill team, and there knowledge of this order.

The Master and Mistress of Ceremonies’, the Installing Officer and the Installing Team, the Convention Committee.

My combined family, whom I would like to introduce;

My in laws Pat and Warner Nash.

My niece, Wendy Doyle.

My Mother Veronica Metoyer.

My sisters, Stephanie Jones, and Marie Metoyer Crumsey.

My son Chris Esteban his wife Briana Esteban my Grandson Hudson

My daughter Moncal Esteban my grandson Jayden.

And last but definitely not least is a very specal women who I am sure I do not say to her offen enough how special she is. We as husbands have a way of thinking that our wives are just going to get it done with out us saying thanks, so tonight right now I am going to take the time and say honey thank for all the time and help you have in making this night possible. and I truly can say without your help and support not only would I not be here tonight but I would not be dressed right tonight.

My lovely wife. Debbie Metoyer.

I Thank both my fraternal family and my own family for coming tonight

God bless all of you and lets have a good year.