Rotary is secular. Our membership is global and represents many different religions as well as non-believers. But there are challenging times when we all need to look to each other for strength while also seeking the comfort and courage from our individual faith. In my case, there is comfort in knowing that one of the most often repeated phrases in the Bible is four simple words, “This too shall pass.”
What would have been an ordinary year in Rotary has become our most difficult year. It isn’t ordinary at all. It is historic. We are missing the core of what physically brings us together - our meetings, our conferences, our galas, our handshakes and our hugs. However, the core of who we really are as Rotarians is stronger than ever.
First, we are finding we are not too old to learn. We are quickly learning about things we can do with our computers that most us never tried. We now know how to Zoom, Skype or FaceTime, keeping safe distance but getting the important work of Rotary done. I have had the honor of continuing to induct new members into clubs by Zoom! And, as we refine our abilities to hold virtual meetings, we are trying new approaches to reach new people. Like no other time in history, we are checking on the well-being of our club members, and there is crosstalk among clubs on how we might better work together.
And the work of Rotary is needed now more than ever. From what I have heard, almost every one of our clubs has taken on new projects to address needs in their communities caused by COVID-19. Our clubs are supplying food and medical supplies and finding innovative ways of support as only Rotarians can. Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation have stepped up and committed hundreds of manhours and millions of dollars to help in the current crisis. Those dollars come from our dues and contributions. We are a very big part of this important work that is truly “Service above Self.”
When “this too does pass”, we will look back with some sadness about missing so many of our important gatherings and being together in person, but we will also gather the facts about all that we did as clubs and Rotarians to help. And I suspect we will realize this has been one of our greatest years.