You must have long-range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-range failures.
It’s a new year. Our lodges are adjusting to their new officers. Some officers have been there before. Others are newcomers.
Hopefully, you are thinking about what your lodge will do this year. What are they going to do this year that they haven’t done before? Some lodges have certain events that they repeat every year. They are fun. They are successful. They uplift their members. Or they uplift their community too.
I have visited a lot of lodges over the past few years. It is interesting to see how the lodges are similar and how they are unique. I wondered about how many lodges have a mission. How many lodges have a mission that identifies their lodge? A mission that make them unique? A mission that draws people to accomplish its goals? What is the mission of your lodge?
We all remember that the historic mission of the Odd Fellows is to “visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan.” The Sovereign Grand Lodge website describes our mission. It says we are “dedicated to the following purposes:
• To improve and elevate the character of mankind by promoting the principles of friendship, love, truth, faith, hope, charity and universal justice.
• To help make the world a better place to live by aiding each other, the community, the less fortunate, the youth, the elderly, the environment and the community in every way possible.
• To promote good will and harmony amongst peoples and nations through the principle of universal fraternity, holding the belief that all men and women regardless of race, nationality, religion, social status, gender, rank and station are brothers and sisters.”
That’s a pretty good set of goals. But how does that translate into my lodge and your lodge today? How do our lodges measure up in pursuing those ideals? Some do pretty well. Others, not so well. Lodges do a pretty good job of social, fraternal activities. These types of events are good. They are even better if they are events that will interest newcomers. Events that will make newcomers want to be part of your lodge and its activities.
Some lodges have missions to raise funds for a particular charity or local event. They may have more than one event to promote the target. Their fundraisers are designed to raise money for that beneficiary.
One lodge is dedicated to music. Many members are musicians. They play together. They have house bands. Music events are held for both members and the public. The music is for both the members and the community.
One lodge helps foster children and foster families. They have a dinner party. They participate in a shopping spree with foster children. They send foster kids to summer camp. They help foster kids transition from foster care to adulthood. They fundraise to do these things.
You can see that all of these things would appeal to some people. Every lodge should find their own mission. They should choose a mission that interests their members. It can be unlike any other lodge or it can be very similar to another lodge’s mission, or somewhere in between.
A mission does not have to last forever. It can change as the interest and energy of the lodge shifts. A lodge can have more than one mission. The important part is having a long term direction. Then, find ways to fulfill that mission. Find ways that will interest your brothers and sisters. Find ways that will interest a newcomer.
What is the mission of your lodge? If you don’t have an answer, what does that tell you? It’s time to start the conversation in your lodge. It’s time to do something. Can you find a way to help make the world a better place to live? Can you find a way to promote good will and harmony in your lodge and in your community? If you do, you will have improved and elevated the character of mankind.
Every lodge can do it! It’s possible. Mission: Possible!
In Friendship, Love and Truth,