Jerry Allen on 2016 California State Grange Convention

Letter to Fellow Grangers –

My Thoughts on the recently completed California State Grange Convention, June 2016

First, I felt really, truly welcome. Everyone, from the Orangevale Grange hosts to all the other members, was gracious and welcoming. President Ed Komski started it off just right in my view. He was welcoming, inclusive and I really enjoyed playing accordion with him. Anyone who runs and grabs his instrument and joins in when he hears music gets a lot of points in my book.

Lillian Booth and I facilitated a gathering after lunch on the first day, Thursday, called “clearing the air”. It was a time for all Grangers, from every side of the past controversy to sit together and share our feelings and thoughts in a safe environment, where no one was excluded or made to feel wrong. There was truth-telling, heartfelt apologies and tears. There was a warm feeling about it. It helped set us toward working together. We were becoming one family again.

The resolution work was earnest, long and fruitful. I was proud that we passed so many environmental and other resolutions unanimously. Even where there were disagreements, most of that was about trying to get the best language to accomplish a commonly-felt purpose. The committees worked long and hard. The elections used the Australian method of voting, a big ballot of all the nominees, which was so much faster and less tedious. A great improvement in my view. A number of younger Grangers were elected to offices, including Vice President/Overseer. It felt like the next generation stepping up. Several officers are from Granges newly in good standing. It felt like one family.

The degree workshop that Joe Stefenoni led was filled with great history and significance about our Grange rituals. The 5th and 6th degree experience was amazing. There were 22 Grangers who took those degrees. For me that was a deeply spiritually moving experience.

The presence of Betsy Huber, National Grange President, was wonderful. I experienced her as friendly, humble, down to earth, kind and smart. Her presence was a great gift to the convention.

State Grange logoThe Orangevale team and other Grangers put on great, tasty meals and really stepped up to host the convention on short notice and they did it well.
Overall, I felt we emerged as a strong family, one family of Grangers and I feel we are well positioned to welcome back more Granges who are starting to consider getting in good standing. I’m confident that the California State Grange is a safe place for anyone who really wants to be a Granger. We’re leaving the light on for our brothers and sisters to join us.

Jerry Allen, President, Sonoma Pomona Grange
Officer, California State Grange Executive Committee