A Remembrance of Mutual Relief – by Michael Greenzeiger, GW CA

Our forebearers in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows knew that the acts of love and compassion we performed were at the center of our collective identity and were the secret to our growth and success. Somehow, though, we have become increasingly distant from these noble ends and our Order has paid the price, becoming a mere shadow of its former self in terms of size and vibrancy. It didn’t happen all at once, but rather bit by bit until we have found ourselves in a place where many members don’t even know what our aims and principles are, let alone work to carry them out in their communities.

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Leadership in the Lodge – by Michael Greenzeiger GW CA

Leadership is a topic which should be of interest to everyone in our Order. Unlike many other types of organizations, Odd Fellowship is a democracy wherein all members in good standing have a say in the governance of the lodge. Not only do the members of the lodge have the final decision on all matters to come before it, but in a well-functioning lodge, all members are encouraged to take a turn in leadership positions and in particular to “move up the line” and become the Noble Grand. This gives our members the opportunity to develop their own interpersonal and organizational skills well beyond what a member might learn in other clubs.

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Odd Fellowship is Progressive Part II by Michael Greenzeiger, GW CA

Unlike other types of organizations, which may find it desirable to have a set of officers or leaders that varies little from year to year, in Odd Fellowship we see value in giving as many brothers and sisters as possible the chance to participate in leadership. While, the “desk officer” positions of Recording Secretary, Financial Secretary, and Treasurer do often remain with the same individuals from year to year, there also exist the “line offices” which comprise a series of steps leading up through Noble Grand which are designed to be switched every year as the members advance.

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Traditional Odd Fellowship, by Michael Greenzeiger

I have often been asked if I consider myself to be more of a traditionalist or a reformer when it comes to Odd Fellowship. I actually don’t consider those to be a contradiction, however. Odd Fellowship itself has evolved considerably over the years, from the “convivial society” of the 1700’s through the height of ritual and symbolism during the 1800’s and the charitable and service focus of the 1900’s. I do not yet know what this century will bring, but I do know that there is much of value in our past.

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Excerpts from DDGM Instruction Manual – by Michael Greenzeiger

Beyond our core principles, there are infinite possibilities for how a lodge can be. One may think of it as a platform for holding whatever social, fraternal, or service activities fit the desires and interests of its members – so long as those activities are in harmony with our principles. Lodges have been successful in many different ways: through shared meals and parties, through putting on activities, through sharing in hobbies, through serving the local community in whatever capacity, through raising money to give to good causes, through practicing and performing the Ritual of the Order, through studying the deeper meanings of Odd Fellowship and its rituals, or through engaging with our history.

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Mind the (Generational) Gap

In England, the London Underground has a famous phrase, “MIND THE GAP”, that is played over the PA system and is emblazoned on the edge of the station platforms.  This now iconic warning is to remind passengers stepping on or off of the trains to look down and make sure they aren’t stepping out into thin air, as many of the station platforms are curved and therefore create a large divide to step over. As Odd Fellows, we have our own gap to mind.  The generational one.

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More than a Social Club

We are reminded every time we begin a formal meeting that we should regard our lodge as our family and hail each other as brothers and sisters. Perhaps we hear this statement so frequently that we simply take it for granted and don’t stop to think about what it means. In truth, however, it speaks to a notion which is fundamental to Odd Fellowship and which renders us distinct from a mere social club.

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On Finding our Value and Potential Place in Contemporary American Society – by Michael Greenzeiger

Dear Brothers and Sisters, I have recently read a book entitled Secret Ritual and Manhood in Victorian America by Mark C. Carnes. This book is an academic treatment of the role our Order along with several others played in the United States during the 19th century. Although I do not agree with every conclusion that […]

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Why Can’t We Have Nice Things? By Michael Greenzeiger

Quality takes on many forms. In addition to our lodge halls themselves, we must also think about the lodge furnishings, regalia, and grounds. When we put on an event, the event needs to be well-planned. If food is served, it should be nicely presented in addition to tasting good. There should be options to fit the requirements and tastes of all those present so far as possible. When we perform ritual, it needs to be done competently and with feeling even if we don’t have the time or ability to do memorization work. If we can memorize and recite fluently, all the better!

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