Submitted by Seth Anthony
Triune Lodge #307 Middletown, PA
As I toured some new members around our Lodge room, I pointed to an old Encampment apron and collar on the wall. It was beautifully mounted and displayed. The bullion thread showed nary a bit of tarnish. It looked as if the regalia had been boxed up the minute it was made. “So, do we get to wear something like that?” inquired the wide-eyed neophyte. I sighed. “No. Here’s your white collar. I’m sorry about the stains.”
I can’t stress enough about how important the member experience is for fraternal groups. When someone joins an Order such as ours, they are looking for something. Often, that “something” is as simple as a place where they belong. When someone joins our organization, and pays our dues, they are exchanging their hard earned money for two concepts – community and opportunities. How we deliver on those two items varies with each member. Ensuring that every neophyte feels that their needs and expectations were met is important, and it is what keeps people coming back and recruiting new members.
What’s the impression we give when someone walks into one of our Lodges and sees beautiful regalia behind glass, only to be given a stained and well-worn white collar to wear during the meeting? What vibe do we give off when the officers don their cords and jewels, finding them frayed, discolored, and in held together by jury-rigged methods? How we wear the trappings of the Order matters, as it outwardly conveys our pride.
This pride extends beyond the walls of Lodge as well. Does your Lodge encourage your members to wear shirts, hats, or other apparel? How about lapel pins or other jewelry? As a Mason, I don’t go a day without wearing my ring. But, I’m proud of my Odd Fellows membership as well. My simple, gold three-link lapel pin has become my go to. I wear it every chance I get, in hopes that I’ll be able to talk about Odd Fellowship to someone new. Does your Lodge encourage your members to wear pins or jewels signifying their rank as past presiding officer? These are great ways for members to show pride in their work.
One project that I am looking forward to undertaking when and if I’m elected Noble Grand is creating a new members package. It will include a lapel pin (hopefully one unique to our Lodge), a high quality patent of membership (like the one that was shown earlier on this blog), an introductory guide to our Order and more. Helping a new member feel welcome and giving them tools to answer their questions, will help instill pride in them from the beginning. With this, you’ll be able to continue to build pride in your members, your Lodge, and the Order.
Having pride in our Order, and outwardly showing it, is not only acceptable, but encouraged. By showing that you are proud to be an Odd Fellow, you are demonstrating our Order has value to you. This, in turn, will help others see value in membership, helping to build your Lodge.
I am an Odd Fellow and damn proud of it.
7 thoughts on “Wearing the Pride of the Order- by Seth Anthony”
Nice story Seth,I like to wear the old collars at our lodge meeting,but I am the only one who does.I am wondering does your lodge participate in parades or other functions,and if so do you wear any regalia or robes at the functions.
I don’t know what Seth’s lodge does. We all wear chains in my lodge but I hope to score a set of collars someday
I like the chains and the collars. The emblems on the chains are really cool. But I do get a thrill when i visit the Peninsula Lodge (Portland, Oregon) and get to wear an old school collar. I would love to see a design on the the plain white ones though. I always feel bad wearing a cool collar or chain when the people who just have the initiatory degree are wearing the plain white one.
The white collars are symbolically left white with no embellishments to show purity/innocence as they have not obtained the wisdom of the Degrees yet.
The nice thing about collars is that they can’t be missed. You can read a member’s rank and office from across the room based on their collar. The jewels on the chains make it easy to miss in a group photo and it’s hard to seen what jewel is there until right on it. As a group identity the distinctive collar is a unique visual symbol that differentiates us from other groups.
As a newly formed lodge in Oregon, we had the opportunity to get regalia from our Grand Lodge as well as from a lodge in another town that was closing. We now have more regalia and robes than we know what to do with.m, and we couldn’t be happier. Our members and officers love wearing lodge regalia and plan on creating lodge clothing and jewelry as well. I have found it can be difficult to order official IOOF jewelry or other pins from Sovereign through our GL. It would be very helpful to encourage wearing pins and jewelry if it were easier to acquire. Let me know if you have any tips! Occidental Lodge 30, Mcminnville, Oregon.
The current process for ordering items is very difficult and cumbersome at best. There are very few companies you can get new rings from. You can at least get custom enamel pins made if you order a large enough amount. That might be something to pursue.
Good luck with your new lodge. Rush Lodge 471,Rush Pennsylvania