Sunday, June 1, 2014
Community Service: Making a Difference - My Address to Odd Fellows
This is the script to my address to the Regional Meeting of the Odd Fellows where I was invited to represent the Town and to be the guest speaker... Many thanks to the local Odd Fellows organizing committee. I appreciate the invitation and the opportunity to speak.
Making a Difference
Thank you…Newfoundland and Labrador delegates of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows., On behalf of Mayor Frazer Russell, Council and the entire town, I would like to wish you a warm welcome to Clarenville. I trust your meetings over the course of this weekend will be productive and you fellowship inspiring.
It always gives me great pleasure to see people from all over the province come to Clarenville because I know that the people in this town, especially the people who make up this lodge locally are some of the same people who have contributed to making Clarenville such a great home for me. I also know these people embody the ideals of the IOOF within our community (Friendship, Love and Truth)– and I would suggest that in fact all of you embody these same ideals in your own communities.My name is Paul Tilley, and although Tilley’s are one of the founding families of this town, I am not one of them – I’m a Buchans Tilley and I can proudly say that I am a child of an Odd Fellow – my mother, Rosanna Tilley was a Rebecca at the lodge in Buchans. Early on, I understood what the IOOF and FLT rings stood for. Of course my major kick with the IOOF hall lay in the fact that as a 12 year old I got to play bingo there a couple of times and won on both occasions! ($25!). My mother was an active member and both my parents were active in the community (particularly in the church) in Buchans. They too embodied the basic ideals of the lodge and I would hope that some of their influence has rubbed off on me.
On those basic ideals, the IOOF is dedicated to the following stated purposes:
· To improve and elevate the character of mankind by promoting the principles of friendship, love, truth, faith, hope, charity and universal justice.
· To help make the world a better place to live by aiding each other in times of need and by organizing charitable projects and activities that would benefit the less fortunate, the youth, the elderly, the environment and the community in every way possible.
· To promote good will and harmony amongst peoples and nations through the principle of universal fraternity, holding the belief that all men and women regardless of race, nationality, religion, social status, gender, rank and station are brothers and sisters
· To promote a wholesome fraternal experience without violence, vices and discrimination of every form.
Noble virtues indeed!
Over the years I’ve done a lot of courses and, in my capacity as a College instructor, I have had the opportunity to teach a lot of students. From all of this, and into all of this, I have developed and I promote a real appreciation for the importance of these basic ideals and of being involved in one’s community and contributing one’s time, talent and treasure as much as possible to making the places we call home better for everyone.
Today, we call this “citizenship”.
Many people are lamenting the fact that citizenship activities are on the decline as we see a trend of busy people with busy lives focusing more on themselves and less on the health of society.
This self-focus is not new to our “civilized’ world. If we think back to the beginning of the industrial revolution (18th century) the focus then too was on getting ahead (Dickens’- Scrooge). It was odd to find people who followed noble values such as benevolence, charity and fraternalism. This condition that society found itself in at the time was indeed the inspiration for the founding of the Odd Fellow’s movement - “Odd” as it was to aspire to a better society, time has proven that it was the right thing to do and the right time to do it.
Today is no different.
I appreciate that Lodges, like many towns across this province, are facing some serious challenges of declining membership and aging members. The noble objectives that the lodge aspires to are however not in decline. Many of you have dedicated your lives to the benevolent work of this organization – and I would bet that you have also been the ones in your community, and in other organizations (town councils included) that have lived, breathed and demonstrated these same ideals. Thank You for that.
It’s been an education for me in preparation for tonight to discuss with Lindo Palmer a few of the things that the Clarenville Lodge has done. Considering its relatively small size of the local lodge it is truly inspiring. Help for the Hospital, help for patients, help for Age Friendly, help for students through Scholarships, Help for Diabetes & Spinabifata - The list was long and the contribution was great – and that is just Clarenville’s contribution. That is fantastic and you I/Clareville/Your Community commend you all for your great work and dedication.
I’d encourage you to share your work ethic and your work, and the work of the lodge. I feel our society, like the society of old England, is in need of hearing the message that the ‘Odd” values are the right values towards Making A Difference in our communities.