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.Read More Wandering In The Wilderness – by Toby Hanson, Sovereign Grand Musician
As Odd Fellowship was a visible part of 19th Century daily life, there was no shortage of popular music written by and for Odd Fellows. There were marches, rags, waltzes, two-steps, and other popular forms of the day, all written to commemorate members, lodges, or entire jurisdictions.Read More Musical Heritage of Odd Fellowship -by Toby Hanson, Sovereign Grand Musician
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.Read More Do We *REALLY* Want New Members? -by Toby Hanson, PGM, PGP
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.Read More New Arrangements of the Odes- by Toby Hanson, Sovereign Grand Musician
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.Read More Using Arts Events to Connect to Your Community – by Toby Hanson
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.Read More Encampments: What Do They Do? by Toby Hanson, PGP
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.
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?Read More Does your Lodge have an ACTUAL Finance Committee? -by Toby Hanson
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.
I have just finished my term as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of
Washington, IOOF. We had an excellent session of the Grand Lodge at
which we conducted a lot of very important business and then I turned
the gavel over to my successor. The whole process of proceeding through
the chairs of the Grand Lodge felt like a whirlwind but now that it’s
complete I have the opportunity to reflect and share what I’ve learned.
The easiest way to share the story of Odd Fellowship is person-to-person. When the grocery checker asks if you have any plans tonight, you can answer her by saying that you’re going to your lodge meeting. That’s a great opener for talking Odd Fellowship because it always leads to a question about the lodge. Wearing an identifying piece of clothing like a hat or shirt is another great way to prompt questions about Odd Fellowship. Make sure that you’re able to give a concise, accurate answer when the question comes up…Read More How to Promote Your Lodge – by Toby Hanson, GM
Since I joined the Executive Committee of the Grand Lodge of Washington upon my election as Grand Warden, I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of traveling and visiting lodges in my jurisdiction. The experience has taught me a lot about the workings of various different lodges. One of the most important things I’ve picked up in my travels is that some lodges tend to have more of an internal focus and some have more of an external focus.Read More Where is Your Lodge’s Focus – by Toby Hanson DGM