On July 18, Mason and Debbie happened to be driving through Virginia, and midway between New Market and Baltimore, they came upon the beautiful little town of Warrenton, where the Odd Fellows of Charity Lodge #27 were just about to have their meeting. While not members of the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Virginia, they were in possession of a current dues card and the annual traveling password, so they were welcomed as brother and sister members from afar.
The lodge building includes generous merchant space, including 6 retail renters in the rustic downtown. Charity Lodge 27 was built in the 1840’s and has been lovingly preserved and renovated. The stairway to the upper meeting room is steep, but includes a chair lift to assist members with mobility issues.
Their building hosts the “Transitions” educational program for 18-21 year olds with developmental handicaps, helping them graduate to a certain level of independence once they leave the school system. The group meets there for free, a service the lodge provides to the community, and one of the teachers is also a new member.
Although the building is clearly built in an old style, it’s got a modern kitchen and no obvious indications of wear, inside or out. The members were rightly proud of how well they’ve maintained their building.
While Mason and Debbie were there, the members of Charity discussed their recent distribution of $25,000 in scholarships to 10 college students from their community. To receive these, the students had to have some connection to the order, typically through a parent or grandparent, and they’ll need to provide a couple of letters each year to explain what they’re doing with the funds.
Charity lodge definitely lives up to its name. Aside from the scholarships, the members were able to name a long list of projects they contribute to in their community and beyond. One project they’re proud to support is the Rose Float, which Mason and Debbie were both very familiar with, having each worked on it at some point in the past.
The meeting actually didn’t take very long, until it was time for good of the order, which became a long happy discussion of the activity taking place in both Charity Lodge 27 and True Fellowship 52. Mason handed them an inscribed pen from our lodge, along with one of our “Keep San José Odd” pins, and they in turn presented Mason and Debbie with a pair of gorgeous custom ceramic mugs.
Janelle, Tom, Paul, David, Ralph, Pete and Rene, you were wonderful hosts, and we think you are a huge blessing to your community, and a great credit to our Order.