Messages and Poems
Pete Sellars, Past Membership Chairman
A DIRECTION OF LEADERSHIP
If you have been an active member in this organization for over a year you have probably asked yourself some familiar questions by
now: How does one become a leader in this organization? What is the Grand Lodge?
How do I become active in the Grand Lodge? Where do I learn more about the history and the terms used in this organization? Who is in charge?
How did that person become the Grand Master or a Grand Lodge officer?
And more questions…
True, in some lodges a member will have a difficult time finding any of the answers to these questions. If a lodge lacks leadership and experience, the answers may never come unless you work to get the answers yourself. Because there are lodges with so few members and most of those are members have never attained the title of Past Grand, there is little chance of knowing what lies out beyond your lodge doors. A Past Grand is the key to getting most of the answers to your questions.
Becoming a Noble Grand and then graduating from that seat and becoming a Past Grand is the key.
As a lodge member, your goal should be to visit a session of the Grand Lodge. Any Third Degree member may attend a session as a visitor. You may not be a representative (a Past Grand who has been elected to attend the session as a voting member), but it is at these sessions where you will learn how Odd Fellows laws become laws. The sessions are where you meet your contacts and the committee chairpersons. That is the place you will discover more answers to your questions. This is where you have all of the Order’s
leaders in one place. Most of them are very approachable and feel honored to be asked questions. It makes them feel important even in this all-volunteer organization. It actually makes them feel appreciated. These volunteers put a great deal of energy into helping the Odd Fellows survive in today’s fast-paced competitive world.
If you attend the sessions, which are held every May, either as a Third Degree member or a representative, then you will become more
knowledgeable because of the exposure you will have from listening to bills and new laws being presented by the members of our Order. You will hear the reports being given by the various committees. The State of the Order, Membership, Legislation, Judiciary, Historical and many more reports all play an important role in the success or failure of the Odd Fellows. Many of these reports are in
writing. You become a leader by showing that you are interested in what happens beyond your hall’s four walls. You learn by asking questions. There is no dumb question. When you listen to the reports being read or read what has been written, you will have the opportunity to ask the writer your questions. There are breaks during the sessions. Find an opportunity to ask your questions.
The more answers you get to your questions, the quicker you will become a leader.
THE FOUNDATION OF ODD FELLOWSHIP
Rests securely upon a belief in the Fatherhood of God (a Supreme Being) and the Brotherhood of Man.
Its aim is the development of a higher, nobler, practical manhood; the elevation of character to antagonize selfishness; to extend sympathy and aid to those in need, making their burdens lighter, relieving the darkness of despair; to war against vice in every form, and to be a great moral power and influence for the good of humanity.
The first tenet of the Order is purity—a purity of life and conduct; the three golden links, friendship, love and truth weld us together—the foundation of our Order. The three pillars of, faith, hope and charity, staunchly support us through the journey of life. As a final crown, our Order teaches universal justice for one and all.
True fraternity is of the spirit. If you have true spirit of fraternity, you will live and promote the principles of Odd Fellowship.
The Door of Odd Fellowship
The Initiatory Degree is the door of Odd Fellowship. Once across the threshold we find the first lesson of our fraternity, in which there is an endeavor to create a light of understanding, to remove the bonds of selfishness or envy, to establish the first lessons of faith, hope, purity of life and conduct, love, truth and to offer a challenge for a pathway of life.
Here is unfolded in brief the story of creation, wherein God created the heavens, the earth, the plants, all forms of animal and bird life, and as his final masterpiece he made Man. Here is awakened the responsibility of the individual to God the Creator.
As the sands in the hour glass slowly trickle through the narrow neck to the bottom of the glass, so are we reminded that our span of life here on earth is slowly passing away. It therefore behooves us to awaken to a sense of our responsibility, utilizing, to the best of our ability, the amount of time we have upon this earth in the services and causes of humanity. In the performance of such services there will be found a happiness, a contentment, and a fuller and richer life.
Only one life, so live it well,
Keep thy light trim and bright;
Eternity, not time, will tell
The worth of that Life’s light.
As the evening of life draws to a close, may we hear that plaudit, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.” Thus is the lesson of frail mortality brought forth; an admonition for purity of life and conduct, with a pathway of life presented for us to follow, but there is also presented the Hope of eternal life.
Upon this broad basis the door of Odd Fellowship is opened—a fraternity established, and as other degrees of the Order are presented, a richer and fuller aspect of Life is given, extending through the Odd Fellow Lodge and into the Encampment or Patriarchal Branch, wherein is unfolded deeper lessons in Faith, a broader scope of labor in the cause of humanity, a richer meaning for Hope and Charity.
The First Link in Odd Fellowship
The greatest lesson of Friendship is that portrayed by the lesson of Jonathan and David in the book of Samuel, for here you find one who was born of royalty, raised to be a King, an heir to a Kingdom, every want, desire and wish to be his, drawn close in the bonds of a deep faith, love and tenderness, to a shepherd lad of lowly position, through his virtues of courage, judgment, faith and wisdom; a friendship so deeply rooted that Jonathan was prepared to sacrifice not only his rights to a Kingdom, but his own life in defense of his friend.
We find so many elements in friendship—faith, tenderness, love, truth, sympathy, sincerity, unselfishness, confidence, generosity, all of which are freely given; for we do not choose our friends—they are self-elected. The root of all friendship is Faith, the first pillar of Patriarchal Odd Fellowship, for without faith the other elements of friendship would vanish as though non-existent, for there would be no bond to cement all the other elements into that firm compact of understanding and trustworthiness.
When friendships are real, they are not fragile—but the solidest things we know. A friend is a person with whom one may be sincere; be one’s self, taken at his own values and respected for what we each may be. A friend would not have you other than you are, with all your faults; yet may criticize you in a tender manner, will be truthful, sincere and devoted.
Friendship is that higher virtue which destroys envy; releases man from his tendency towards selfishness and isolation, placing him on that higher plane where generous deeds, unselfish purposes, tenderness, sympathy, love and protection rule his thoughts and actions, uplifting his character and bringing joy and happiness to all with whom he comes in contact. Life is sweet because of the friends we meet; the smiles we share, the clasp of hand; for where would we be if we did not have a friend?
In Odd Fellowship, Friendship extends to many cities, states, provinces and lands, assuring you a warm reception in clasp of hand and a welcome such as only a friend can give.
The Second Link of Odd Fellowship
The central link in the chain of Odd Fellowship was forged by the fires of Friendship.
Love is one of the basic elements of a true friendship, creating within the individual unselfishness, tenderness, sympathy and understanding. Brotherly Love hears the cry of humanity and answers its call. Thought of one’s self is pushed aside in answering the call of humanity, in the performance of deeds of goodwill to those less fortunate; assisting in the building of a stronger character; affording the opportunities of education to those who need it; rendering assistance for the physical needs of those less fortunate; uplifting those who are despondent by a cheery word, a smile, a comforting thought and a clasp of hand. Through Brotherly Love, unselfish purposes and generous deeds form a bond of unity, creating an estate wherein no man lives unto himself alone.
In Brotherly Love, forged by the fires of Friendship, wide vistas of opportunity are opened before us—opportunity for service to humanity, to our friends, to society and to God. Those opportunities are ours to grasp and whenever we accomplish one of these opportunities it enlarges the field of our labors and opens up to us new and greater opportunities for our accomplishment. Love gives us the strength and ability to perform these greater responsibilities; to make of our own life a richer meaning; to enrich the principles of our great Order by acts and deeds and to strengthen the importance of Odd Fellowship by its usefulness.
A component part of Brotherly Love is the principle of Charity, the third pillar of Patriarchal Odd Fellowship, wherein these lessons in Charity are the motive and power which provides the means for creating all of the opportunities for greater responsibilities for the betterment of mankind. Without Charity, the journey of life, Brotherly Love would have no meaning and acts of humanity would be non-existent, for there would be no thought of welfare of others, but only selfishness and greed.
Our bonds of Unity, Brotherly Love and the Pillar of Charity, bring richness to our principles and through their acts and deeds show to the world the usefulness of Odd Fellowship.
The Third Link in Odd Fellowship
The third link of Odd Fellowship — Truth — is a natural result of faithfulness to the duties and principles of friendship and love. It is the fundamental element of true moral character.
Truth condemns the wrongs, the sins and the falsehoods of society—the culmination of calm investigation by an open mind. Truth strengthens character; affects man’s speech and actions; creates justice; wins respect from one’s neighbor; purifies the soul and blesses all with whom it comes in contact.
Truth as taught by Odd Fellowship is derived from the person and life of Jesus of Nazareth, thus presenting to all Odd Fellows, a pattern for a way of life. Following this pattern of the pathway of life required a reverence for God, a trust and belief that He guides and directs our daily walk of life, a realization that our actions, our deeds and our thoughts and speech affect all with whom we come in contact, requiring a striving for perfection in the practices of the principles of friendship, love and truth.
Exemplification of this way of life has its material reward in sterling character, the securing of involuntary respect from all with whom one comes in contact, the knowledge that this way of life has been one of justice towards all and an inspiration for others to live the truth from day to day, spreading not darkness and doubt, but a shining light to all the world.
Rebekah - Odd Fellowship
Odd Fellows, recognizing the need of a woman’s touch and her helpfulness in carrying out the principles of Odd Fellowship, brought into being the Rebekah Degree, founded upon the principles of faithfulness, hospitality, unselfishness, helpfulness, purity and dedication of self to the principles as portrayed by women characters of the Bible.
Among the duties of Odd Fellowship are ‘visiting the sick and relieving the distressed, caring for and educating the orphan’. Woman is especially adapted for this work—a natural and practical nurse, and with experience of sickness in her own home – better qualified to minister to the sick in other homes. Sympathy and tenderness with the ill and suffering is intensified by her own past experience and she has learned the best course to pursue to relieve pain and to quiet restlessness. She has thoughtfulness and a delicate caution, a depth in her sympathy, a magnetism to her touch and more tenderness than that of man, better qualifying her for the care of orphans. Men have not the yearning pity and the delicate tact of woman, and there is helpfulness in everything that she does and very often in what she may say. Women know all the minute details of homemaking and the material needs to make a family comfortable—they know what to do and just how to do it, and have more delicacy and tact in learning the needs of the family and the best way to supply without causing humiliation or giving offense.
She is the natural comforter for those in sorrow, for her tender, sympathetic nature enables her to share the sorrow of others, lighten their burdens, lessen their grief, provide them with courage and show them there are those who care and wish to help them carry the load of sadness.
She is refined, has a moral sense of right, a love of the pure and good, and an abhorrence of all things vile, and a direct influence for good upon the character of man. She is thus endowed with the characteristics necessary for the promotion of the principles of Friendship, Love and Truth.
Such are the object and purposes of Rebekah -Odd Fellowship. It is therefore highly essential that there be a close harmony and cooperation to the fullest extent between the Rebekah and Odd Fellow Lodges if the obligations they have assumed are to reach full realization, that the true principles of Odd Fellowship may render the service to their communities for which it was organized. — SERVICE IS OUR GOAL.
Odd Fellowship Messages and Poems
by Earl G. Whipple
Past Grand High Priest of the Grand Encampment of California
Tonight we have met in this Hall –
It should be filled with members from wall to wall.
We should all do our part to strengthen this great Order.
We should extend a hand of Friendship
To our friends and relatives
That we might have our Halls filled
with members from Wall to Wall.
We should be proud of our membership
In the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Let us extend a helping hand in –
Friendship, Love & Truth,
Faith, Hope & Charity,
And for the Principles of Universal Justice.
We all have an Obligation for each other and this great Order.
Let us not sit back and criticize,
Let us get out and socialize,
Let us all live up to that Obligation
And Be Proud.
THE TRUE ODD FELLOW
Odd Fellowship means much more than to wear the pin,
Or to carry a paid up dues receipt, so the lodge will let you in.
You may wear an emblem on your coat, from your finger flash a ring,
But if you’re not sincere within your heart, this doesn’t mean a thing.
It merely is an outward sign to show the world that you belong.
To a great fraternal brotherhood that teaches right from wrong.
What really counts lies deeply hidden within the human breast,
‘Till our Order’s teachings brings it out, and puts it to the test.
If you would practice out of lodge the things you learn within,
Be just and upright to yourself, and to your fellow-men.
Console a member when he’s sick, assist him when in need,
Without a thought of personal gain for any act or deed.
Walk and act in such a way, that the world without can see
That none but the best can meet the test of our Fraternity.
Always live up to the Golden Rule, and do the best you can,
Then you can truly tell the world, you’re an ODD FELLOW and a MAN.
A WORLD OF DREAMS
God made A World out of His dreams –
Mountains, streams and mighty oceans,
Prairies plains and wooded valleys.
Then paused and thought –
“I need someone to stand on top of the mountain,
To sail the oceans, explore the plains and cross the prairies;
Someone to start out small and grow big, sturdy and strong.”
So He Created you and me –
Full of spirit and fun,
To romp and roam,
To explore and conquer
With courageous hearts and sheepish grins,
Sometimes with dirty faces and bandaged shins.
When He had completed the task He started
He surely said “That’s a Job Well Done.”
Because He created the World and you and me.
A TRUE REBEKAH
One who believes in the Principles of Rebekah Odd Fellowship;
One who is Proud of the Friendships she has made;
One who Works for the Good of the Order
Without a thought of personal gain;
One who says, I am ready at all times to extend a helping hand to those in need;
One who will practice out of Lodge the things she learns within;
Walk and act in such a way that the world without can see
That none but the best can meet the
Test of our Fraternity.
Be just and upright to herself, and to her Brothers and Sisters.
She may wear an emblem on her dress,
From her finger flash a ring,
But if she is not sincere within her heart, this doesn’t mean a thing.
Always live up to the Golden Rule and do the best you can,
Then you can truly tell the World,
I am proud to be a Rebekah.
A KIND WORD
If you hear a kind word spoken of some worthy soul you know
It may fill his heart with sunshine
If you only tell him so.
My Brothers and my Sisters
As over life’s rough path you go –
If God’s love has saved and kept you
Do not fail to tell Him so.
Odd Fellowship is a non-political and a non-sectarian Organization – but its principles are based on religion.
Our teachings are all taken from the Bible.
To become an Odd Fellow, you must believe in a “Supreme Being” which is a belief of all religious groups.
“We war against vice in all its forms; Friendship toward man prompts the contest; the Gentle influences of Love supply the weapons;
Truth consecrates the effort and Leads to Victory.”
These are just a few of the basic guides to be a true Odd Fellow.
OVER 50 YEARS
I joined the Independent Order of
Odd Fellows over 50 years ago –
The miles I have traveled,
The Friends I have made,
The receipts I hold, are all more precious than gold.
I have received many honors, but
Odd Fellowship means much more to me
than to wear a pin or carry a paid up
dues receipt so the members will let
me in – it means I belong to a Great
Organization – The Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
One day I will sit in an Old Folks Home;
Old and weary and gray – yet filled with the spirit to work and play;
Oh, that will be the day –
If I can only stay happy and gay
And be a friend among friends each day.
To be a little kinder with the passing of each day,
To try to leave happy memories as we go along our way.
To use possessions that are ours, in service full and free,
To sacrifice the trivial things for larger good to be.
To give of labor in a lavish way that Friendship true may live,
To be less quick to criticize, more ready to forgive.
To use such talents that we own, that happiness may grow,
To take the bitter with the sweet, with assurance “Tis better so.”
To keep our faith in God and right no matter how things run,
To work and play, to trust and pray, until this journey’s run.
God grant us the strength of heart, of motive, and of will,
To do our part and falter not, His purpose to fulfill.
WHILE I LIVE
I don’t know how long I will live
But while I live let me give
Some comfort to someone in need,
Whether it be by a smile,
Kind word or deed
Then I will not care how long I live.
If he gives you recognition
When your clothes are patched and torn,
If he comes to see and cheer you
When you’re lying sick and worn.
If he takes you by the hand and lifts you up
When you’re on the downward track,
If he says the same thing to your face
That he says behind your back.
If when the odds are strong against you
He fights for you to the end
Bind him closer than a brother
For that man is your Friend.
A thought for today and tomorrow –
We cannot live with hate
We cannot live with shame
We cannot live with fear.
We must wear a smile
We must have pride
We must have dignity.
Then we can live today and tomorrow
Filled with Joy
Filled with Happiness
Filled with Love for each other;
Then we will not have lived
Today and tomorrow in vain.
A LITTLE MESSAGE
No matter how rough the road
No matter how high the mountain
No matter how deep the ocean
There will always be a place for all of us
Because We Believe in the Fatherhood of
God and the Brotherhood of Man.
We are Odd Fellows and Rebekahs.
THE LATCHSTRING OF LOVE
‘Tho the Odd Fellows’ Temple may stand on a spot remote,
‘Tho its roof may need some patches new,
‘Tho its rooms may be small and filled with things that present an unsightly view,
‘Tho you enter the Temple and find therein Odd Fellows and Rebekahs galore,
There’s a Joy and Warmth that reveals to you
There’s a Latchstring of Love at the door.’Tho an Odd Fellow or Rebekah may wear the simplest garb,
Their manner and speech be plain,
‘Tho they be not learned or rich in bonds and wholly unknown to fame,
Yet take them and test them along by the side of some whom fate favors more,
You will find their hearts ring truest and best
For the Latchstring of Love is at the door. It’s the Latchstring of Love that is most worth while,
Far better than keys of gold, or strings of trophies or medals for power
For it unlocks the human soul,-
It brightens the world and brings to earth a bit of Heaven from above,-
Grand is the Temple and great is the Heart
That hangs out the Latchstring of Love.
AN ODDFELLOW POEM
An old man sat in an Odd Fellow Home
Old and feeble and gray
With trembling limbs and wrinkled brow
Just at the close of day.
Out there by a row of evergreen trees
An Angel from Heaven came down
And Looked the old man straight in the face
An Angel with flowing gown.
As the old man gazed on the heavenly form
He asked, “Are you looking for me?”
“For you my Brother” the Angel replied
“It’s time for your last Degree.
You have passed through the wilderness of life
You have traveled its treacherous way
I’ve come to conduct you to the Grand Lodge above
The grandest of all the Degrees.”
The old man said, “My teeth are gone,
My eyes are growing dim
This wrinkled old hand is feeble now
But still it’s open wide.
The march of time is on my brow
My hearing is almost gone
This weary old head is bowed with years
Life’s race is almost run. I’ve seen the rose in its beauty
Spreading its leaves to the morning sun
Its leaves were scattered to the ground
When the light of the day was gone.
I’ve seen man in the pride of his strength
With his head held proudly high
Yet like the rose he withered away
For all that is born must die.
I have the longing to meet again
My Brothers up there with the blessed
This weary old head is bowed with years
And I long to go to my rest.
Conductor, I’m ready this journey to take
And I hope they won’t blackball me
Just whisper the word to the great Noble Grand
And conduct me to my last Degree.
LET US WORK TOGETHER
Let us not say – No, I won’t
Let us not say – No, I can’t
Let us not say – I don’t have time for that.
Do it yourself – if you want it done.
Let us all think positive,
Let us all work together with an open mind.
We are a part of a Great Organization.
Let us be friends and keep it that way.
A Beautiful World and You and Me
God Created the World and you and me;
He created the mountains and the streams,
The mighty ocean and the pleasant land,
The beautiful wooded hills and valleys,
The desert and the wide open plains.
Yes, that is why he created you and me.
We have tilled the soil, we have sown the seeds,
We have seen the beautiful flowers bloom,
We have walked thru the gardens and roamed the woods,
We have seen their leaves fall and lie thick upon the ground.
We have seen man in the pride of his strength,
His limbs were full of activity,
He ran, he leaped, he rejoiced,
He was more excellent than the rose.
We have stood in the valleys and dreamed of tomorrow,
We gazed into the sky wondering what might be on top of the mountain, or on the other side.
Many climbed those mountains and crossed the plains;
This was the time when we were taught –
to visit the sick, to relieve the distressed, the strong to help the weak,
The young to reverence the old and to love thy neighbor as thy self.
It is my hope everyone can understand what this means to millions of friends and families
Because God Created a Beautiful World for you and me.
WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ODD FELLOWSHIP?
Are we proud of an organization we were asked to join 50 years ago?
Or are we tired of the work we have put into this great organization.
Why can’t we reach out and tap our friends on the shoulder and talk about Odd Fellowship?
Why should we listen to the critics – the ones who feel there is nothing left; the ones that do not want to do anything for the good of the Order;
the ones who want to make it just a social function.
Should we who are proud of this great Organization, sit back and let it die?
I am proud of what I have received from Odd Fellowship – Are you?
Let’s all think before we speak. Let’s all remember the teachings of this great Order and WORK to build – not tear down.
As we go about from day to day
Whether it be work or play, Let us –
Take time to smile,
Take time to shake hands,
Take time to share a little love,
Take time to show you care for those near and dear to you.
Take time to be proud you are an Odd Fellow,
Take time to be proud you are a Rebekah.
Take time to be proud you belong to a Great Organization –
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Take time to be Happy with the Friendships you have made.
Take time to share the things we have in life –
Friendship – Love – Truth Faith – Hope – Charity
Kindness and the Joy of being together.
© 2020 Grand Lodge of California - IOOF