For District 107, 2023 was the year of the return of live degrees. We initiated candidates in January, February, and May. Several of them received their first degree from Mountain View in March, June, and August. A huge class of candidates from throughout the district received their second degree at Saratoga in September, and finally, 11 candidates received their third degree at True Fellowship on November 29th.
We’ve been calling it the “degree train”.
To set the scene, at the end of 2022, we had only 6 active members at True Fellowship. It had looked, for a painful moment, like our lodge would be forced to close. But by December, we had 12 applicants ready and eager to join. Suddenly the future of our lodge was looking hopeful again. With 12 applicants to look forward to, I was the first to wonder whether, within the next 12 months, we could have 12 new third degree members.
It turned out that we could.
But credit where it is due! We could not have done it on our own. The plan only came together thanks to the enthusiastic support we received from the Cupertino, Mountain View, and Saratoga lodges.
In addition to the live degrees offered in our district, back in June, four of our members – Jane Beckman, Andrew Crockett, Helmuth Litfin, and Evonne Litfin – undertook an all-degree day in Santa Rosa in order to reach third degree right away. Several other members continued attending the live degree days, and along the way, some members of Cupertino and Redwood City joined them. In the end, in addition to the four members who attended the degree day, Scott Spence, Sara Bruce, Jeff Rively, Paul Klunder, Honor Wolf, Zandria Elbert, Alex Gentile, and Greg Gentile all joined the degree of truth as well. And it’s worth noting that three of them – Andrew Crockett, Paul Klunder, and Scott Spence – will be installed as officers this coming January.
In addition, May Serrano, Randee Chin, and Victoria Carmona, all of Cupertino 70, also completed the degree train and received their third degrees.
As Noble Grand presiding over a degree lodge with 11 members of the degree team, and 11 candidates for the degree, I was moved almost to tears. True Fellowship is back, and my heart is filled with gratitude to the people who came together to make that happen.
Thank you, all of you who either received or conferred a degree in 2023. I genuinely believe that the shared experience of the degrees, along with the teachings they present, make us better Odd Fellows, and help our beloved Order to flourish.
And a little post-script – the very next day, on November 30th, five more members, including three from True Fellowship, received their first degree at Mountain View. The journey of live degrees continues uninterrupted, and that makes me very happy.