Wandering In The Wilderness – by Toby Hanson, Sovereign Grand Musician

If you’re reading this and you’re an Odd Fellow who has taken your Degrees (and remembers them) then you no doubt see the parallels between my experience on the road as a musician and what we teach in our Degrees. The idea of our Degrees is to try and simulate that very experience I had in my time of crisis while on the road playing music. Leaving the safety of home can be dangerous, whether you’re flying down the interstate highway with other musicians from town to town plying your trade or you’re traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho on foot.

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Religion and Odd Fellowship -by Toby Hanson, PGM, PGP

The end result of all of this is that Odd Fellowship is left in a kind of middle ground. For some, the secrecy of our operations is reason enough to raise suspicions of our activities. For others, our religious inclusion makes us unsuitable. For still others, there’s already too much inclusion of religion within Odd Fellowship. We’re non-political and non-sectarian. You can support the political philosophy of your choice and worship in the way that suits your conscience and still be an Odd Fellow.

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Do We *REALLY* Want New Members? -by Toby Hanson, PGM, PGP

All of us would agree that we say we want members, but when those members do actually join, what kind of experience are we giving them? Are we treating them in a way that shows them that we appreciate them? We do a pretty good job of selling the ideal of Odd Fellowship: a universal brotherhood where we meet together regularly in active, interesting lodges with meaningful rituals and tasteful regalia…However, we need to be honest with ourselves about whether that’s actually the experience we’re offering potential members when they make the commitment to be Odd Fellows.

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New Arrangements of the Odes- by Toby Hanson, Sovereign Grand Musician

I have prepared fresh arrangements of the opening and closing odes for the Odd Fellows, Rebekahs, and Encampment. They are written in a clear, accessible style that will be easy for pianists to read and singers to follow. There are introductions to each ode so that singers can find the key and know when to begin singing. Knowing that there is a greater diversity of musicians in Odd Fellowship than just pianists, I have also included a melody line with chords so that guitarists and players of other chordal instruments can easily read along and accompany singing.

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NEW PODCAST! The Three Links Odd Cast!

Odd Fellowship is about to make a major stride into the Twenty-first Century with the launch of The Three Links Odd Cast, the first major podcast focused on the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Hosted by Sovereign Grand Musician Toby Hanson, SGL Communications Committee member Ainslie Heilich, and Brother Sergio Paredes, the podcast will feature discussion of various topics of interest to Odd Fellows including history, origins, traditions, current situations, and others. The format of the podcast is a guided discussion with each episode having a particular focus. For the first episode, the hosts discussed their experiences in joining the Odd Fellows and shared observations on the process.

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Using Arts Events to Connect to Your Community – by Toby Hanson

There are many different kinds of arts events that lodges can participate in. They can host concerts, lectures, dance recitals, art shows, plays, and many others. If your town has an Art Walk near your lodge hall, you can become a host and bring artists into your lodge to display their work on Art Walk nights. This also gives an opportunity to have members on hand to answer questions about Odd Fellowship.

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Encampments: What Do They Do? by Toby Hanson, PGP

The Encampment branch of Odd Fellowship is intended to be the place where more active, more experienced Odd Fellows can come together and share ideas and information with one another. It’s supposed to be a meeting of more advanced Odd Fellows who have gained wisdom from their years of service within the Order. It’s also supposed to be a place where those learned Odd Fellows can pass their knowledge and experience on to younger, newer Odd Fellows. I like to call Encampments the “think tanks” of Odd Fellowship.

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Coronavirus and Odd Fellowship -by Toby Hanson PGM WA

The best and most complete answer to this situation is found within the walls of our lodges. Odd Fellowship has its roots in the need of for self-preservation for the most vulnerable in society. The only means by
which early working families had of blunting the cruel torrents of life was by contributing to mutual aid groups like the Odd Fellows. In our lodges, they found stability in an unfeeling, unstable world. We provided a measure of comfort when difficult times arrived.

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Does your Lodge have an ACTUAL Finance Committee? -by Toby Hanson

Everyone who has spent any time with the Order of Business in lodge knows that there’s that line: “Report of the Finance Committee.”  Those of us fortunate enough to belong to larger, more active, more informed lodges know all about this mysterious committee and what purpose they serve in the lodge.  For the rest of us, though, it’s a mystery.  What do they do and why do they do it?

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Lodge Meetings don’t have to suck- By Toby Hanson, PGM

All of us who have had any level of professional experience have sat
through meetings.  At best, they can be productive and informative.  At
worst, they can be mind-numbing.  Since we all have to endure meetings
of various effectiveness in our professional lives, why would we ever
allow our lodges to hold sloppy, disorganized meetings?  Such meetings
represent a disregard for members’ time and a disincentive for their
continued participation in the lodge.

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