Welcome to the Elkhart Rotary Club Meeting January 14, 2019; Today we welcomed speaker J. Nelson Kraybill, President, Mennonite World Conference, a community of Anabaptist-related churches

President Peter Norton opened the meeting and introduced Fran Conner, who provided inspirational words, led the Pledge and Four-Way Test. Guests were introduced by Tom McArthur and included visiting Rotarians Terry Bush and Judy Jankowski from the South Bend Rotary Club. Guests of Rotarians included Rob LaRoy and Tanya Gabriellini. Welcome to all guests!

Important announcements from January 14:

  • Julie Cotton awarded the winning team - Fran Conner's Team #1 - with their prize for logging the most volunteer hours of any team over the holidays, along with individual winners Monica Abair and Dean Bergeman for their efforts. As a club, we logged OVER 400 HOURS of community volunteerism in the month of December - Way to go, everyone!! Volunteerism is a way EVERYONE can get involved in making our community a better place and help promote Rotary involvement.
  • Peter Norton invited those interested in Rotary Club Leadership to contact him regarding a February 16 training opportunity. Peter also reminded the club that the deadline for the Travel Abroad Program has been extended until January 19 - IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, please contact Doug Risser directly.
  • Coming up: "Thirsty Thursday"  - - This Thursday, January 17 at Artisan at 5 p.m. Come and socialize or network over a cold drink.
Today's Sergeant was the Honorable Jim Rieckhoff, who took the chance to right some wrongs and call upon some precision fundraising targets in the club - - All in good fun! Rotary fines are collected weekly and are pooled into a fund. In the spring approximately $10,000 is distributed as grants to not for profit organizations around our county.

Today's speaker was Nelson Kraybill, President of Mennonite World Conference (MWC) who provided a great history of the Mennonite from their beginnings in the 16th Century to the current programs they facilitate around the world to serve their Vision and Mission: 

  • Vision: Mennonite World Conference is called to be a communion (Koinonia) of Anabaptist-related churches linked to one another in a worldwide community of faith for fellowship, worship, service, and witness.

  • Mission: 
MWC exists to (1) be a global community of faith in the Anabaptist tradition, (2) facilitate relationships between Anabaptist-related churches worldwide, and (3) relate to other Christian world communions and organizations.

Nelson's presentation featured descriptions of historically-significant events in the history of the Mennonite religion, stories that represent its formation, and anecdotes including an image of Dirk Willem, whose story is particularly touching because he forfeited a real chance to escape imprisonment when he turned back to help one of his pursuers. Dirk was captured and imprisoned in his home town of Asperen in the Netherlands. Knowing that his fate would be death if he remained in prison, Dirk made a rope of strips of cloth and slid down it over the prison wall. A guard chased him. Frost had covered a nearby pond with a thin layer of ice. Dirk risked a dash across it. He made it to safety, but the ice broke under his pursuer who cried for help. Dirk believed the Scripture that a man should help his enemies. He immediately turned back and pulled the floundering man from the frigid water. Willem was condemned to death and burned at the stake on May 16, 1569. 

About Rotary:

Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, community leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and act to create lasting change – across the globe, in our local communities, and in ourselves. The Elkhart Rotary Club was founded in 1917 and serves its community through volunteerism, providing grants to not-for-profit organizations, sponsoring, and participating in service projects such as ringing bells for the Salvation Army, roadside trash collection, and are the originators and sustainers of Wellfield Botanic Gardens. Elkhart Rotary Club’s membership consists of approximately 150 dedicated individuals from various professional backgrounds and diverse interests. Membership in the Elkhart Rotary Club is by invitation. We welcome guests to attend any of our meetings and hear from our great lineup of weekly presenters.
For more information on the Elkhart Rotary Club, visit elkhartrotary.org or email elkhartnoonrotary@gmail.com. Like and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook/ElkhartRotaryClub to stay current on meetings, upcoming events or speakers, and initiatives in the community.
Upcoming Meetings and Program(s):
  • January 21: Paige Risser, Director of Communications, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi
  • January 28: Tom Gjelten, NPR National Correspondent, who covers issues of religion, faith, and belief for NPR News
Join us for our next meeting:
All meetings are at noon on Mondays at the Matterhorn Banquet and Conference Center, 2041 Cassopolis St. in Elkhart IN, 46514. In months that include a FIFTH Monday, the Elkhart Rotary Club holds a dinner meeting (no presenter) at the same location.