The Odd Fellows

I haven't posted for a while now. Recently Don Lang of the California Jurisdiction enlightened the Odd Fellows IOOF Yahoo Group on the current membership numbers.

In North America, we have aproximately 50,000 Members. There are now less than 2,000 Lodges. First of all, we should remember that many of these members, a high percentage, are very old and feeble. Secondly, many of these lodges exist in name and charter only. I am wouldn't be surprised if over a third of our lodges don't meet regularly and are only attempting to keep their property from falling into Grand Lodges hands.

The reason I make this point is that I believe we have too many Offices to fill. I don't even want to count the number of positions in our degree rituals. But look at our regular meetings. The Officers: Noble Grand, NG Left Supporter, NG Right Supporter, Vice Grand, VG LS, VG RS, Past Grand, Chaplain, Conductor, Musician, Warden, Colour Bearer, Outside Guardian, Inside Guardian, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Secretary. How many is that? 17. OK, let's be fair and lose a few. Musician, and Colour Bearer. Down to 15. I don't know of many lodges that actually have them. Now let's lose the Right and Left Supporters to the Noble Grand and Vice Grand. Now were down to 13. OK, Do we really need an Inside and Outside Guardian? Down to 12. Financial Secretary? 11.

We have positions for 19 in our lodges. The average lodge has 25 members. From what I have been told, in most organizations, 10% of your membership will show up for meetings. (My Elks gets about 7% and my church gets about 4%) These numbers simply don't add up.

In the Odd Fellows, the people that pay their dues and stick around like the waythings are. The rest, well they aren't around. That is why we have small lodges that have as high as 50% turn outs at meetings.

If this were a business, and it is-sort-of; the first thing I would do as Chairman, is purge the rolls of so many offices.

There is very little reason that I can see to have Supporters for the Noble and Vice Grand. What do they do? Are they really that honored to sit beside out Grand Poobah? Now let's lose the Guardians. Most lodges can't beg people to come to a meeting, why are we trying to guard the door? I really don't think we need a Colour Bearer and the Musician is optional. Cut out the Financial Secretary, my lodge did. Most lodge's have pretty simple bookwork, there isn't much to record.

My version of the Officers would be only 5, plus the Treasurer and Secretary. I am not sure if we really need them either. As most lodge rooms are square with four walls, it does make sense to have an Officer on each side. I don't think we should have a Past Grand, let's change the title.

It just makes sense. Almost every corporation has downsized. The Odd Fellows has only a small fraction of the membership it once had. Why do we have to have such a large roll of Officers? With only 25 members in the average lodge it takes 70% of the membership to fill the offices. If we only used 7 Officers, it would still take 30%. If only more Odd Fellows could comprehend numbers...


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