Guest – James Croft
“Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves.” —Paul P. Harris
Our 1.2 million-member organization started with the vision of one man—Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organizations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member.
Our ongoing commitment
Rotarians have not only been present for major events in history—we’ve been a part of them. From the beginning, three key traits have remained strong throughout Rotary:
We’re truly international. Only 16 years after being founded, Rotary had clubs on six continents. Today we’re working together from around the globe both digitally and in-person to solve some of our world’s most challenging problems.
We persevere in tough times. During WWII, Rotary clubs in Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Japan were forced to disband. Despite the risks, many continued to meet informally and following the war’s end, Rotary members joined together to rebuild their clubs and their countries.
Our commitment to service is ongoing. We began our fight against polio in 1979 with a project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines. By 2012, only three countries remain polio-endemic—down from 125 in 1988.
Are you interested in learning a new language or meeting new people? Rotary Youth Exchange is the opportunity of a lifetime for the more than 8,000 students who participate each year. By sharing your own culture and embracing a new one, you help foster global understanding—and learn a great deal about yourself and your home country in the process.
Rotary, along with our partners, has reduced polio cases by 99 percent worldwide since our first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979. We are close to eradicating polio, but we need your help. Whether you have a few minutes or a few hours, here are some ways to make a global impact and protect children against polio forever.
Paul Harris saw the importance of this and discussed it in two places in his book, The Rotarian Age. He said:
To create a harmonious environment for the fellowship that held clubs together, Rotary discouraged religious and political positions. (p. 91)
“The 1905 members of the Rotary Club of Chicago, so valued the friendship of their fellow-members that they put a ban upon religious and political discussions, fearing that they might become disturbing factors, and they were richly rewarded for their foresight.” (p. 59). [emphasis added]
James Croft is a Humanist activist and public speaker who has swiftly become one of the best-known new faces in Humanism today. He is a graduate of the Universities of Cambridge and Harvard, and is currently studying for his Doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. As a leader in training in the Ethical Culture movement – a national movement of Humanist congregations – he is an in-demand public speaker, an engaging teacher, and a passionate activist for human rights. James was raised on Shakespeare, Sagan and Star Trek, and is a proud, gay Humanist. His upcoming book “The Godless Congregation”, co-authored with New York Times bestselling author Greg Epstein, is being published by Simon & Schuster.
Blog: Temple of the Future
The Ethical Society of St. Louis is a welcoming home for a group of people from various religious backgrounds in the major faiths, as well as agnostics and atheists, who come together to celebrate our journey through life and affirm our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
Some of our members and visitors concurrently attend their more mainstream houses of worship (such as a churches or synagogues) sometime during the week and then join us on Sundays and, perhaps, during the week for our other programs.
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NOTE: This post is part of an ongoing education series. This information is for educational purposes only. This information does not constitute investment advice. Please consult with your financial advisor before taking any action.
For planning advice contact Polaris Financial Planning.