On Monday 27th March 2017, President Gloria, three past presidents and three members attended the Annual District Rally to celebrate 45 years of District 22. The District were very honoured to welcome the President of the Association of Inner Wheel, Great Britain and Ireland Zena Coles (Stamford District 7) to the Rally. The thanksgiving service was held at St Mary’s Church, Greasley and was conducted by the ever-comedic Reverend Dave (or Hank as Di calls him) Marvin.
District Chairman Di chose several beautiful hymns, and three lovely song sung by the choir. The District 22 Choir started the service with ‘What a wonderful world’. Followed by the hymn ‘All people that on earth do dwell’, District Chairman Di gave a reading from Romans 12:9-21 entitled Love in Action.
‘Love Grows Here’ was aptly chosen for Di’s second choice of arrangement for the Choir; followed by ‘Make me a channel of your peace’.
Reverend Marvin then provided an address to the congregation about time; how precious it is and how we should make time for each other and for Inner Wheel. The Choir sang ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’, before together the congregation said the Inner Wheel Prayer.
Instil in us, O Lord, the true meaning of friendship
Never let us lose sight of the needs of others.
Nor forget to offer our help.
Ever mindful of our own shortcomings,
Realising that we too often need help.
Whenever and wherever the need for service,
Help us to be ready to serve.
Endeavouring to make our Club worthwhile,
Ensuring that we have not
Lived our lives in vain.
The celebrations continued throughout the afternoon at Eastwood Hall, where members mingled with District Chairman Di’s invited guests and family.
After District Secretary Anne, had delivered apologies and the roll call, the candle lighting ceremony was held with Di Sardesai lighting the candle to the past. District Chairman Di lighting the candle for the present, President of Chesterfield Scarsdale Pauline Wilkie lit the candle to the future and Marion Tasker light the final candle for International. The candle table, and dining room were adorned with beautiful flower arrangements in sapphire colouring to represent the District’s sapphire birthday.
Lunch as a leisurely affair with most people opting for the beef which was cooked beautifully. Those amongst the room who chose Lemon Posset with mini meringues on top were delighted with pudding. Those who ordered Rhubarb and Crumble with Cream were not so. A few brave ladies returned their crumble and requested to try the Strawberry Jelly and cream, and so ensued the great jelly debacle. Never before had Rotarian John Hylton (Husband of the District Chairman) been so disappointed with his favourite dessert, only on the menu because he loved it. The jelly was not a jelly; not as he knew it. Either it hadn’t set or it was in disguise as a coulis… so runny jelly became the talk of the tables. Two brave ladies from Warsop returned the jelly and tried dessert number three. Three scoops of ice cream. At last the meal was over.
Association President Zena was captivating. She thanked all of the members for their help in socking it to eating disorders with their silly sock walks earlier in March. She apologised to members that the weather was wet as they set off around East Midlands Airport. She said how the day was a true reflection of Inner Wheel ethos and spirit as wet and bedraggled, ladies walked in smile style.
Responding to the Rotarian District Governor, Zena said that Inner Wheel embraces change. Changes are being made at exec level, but until they are assured these changes will work for everyone, no changes will be approved.
At one time, when asked what is Inner Wheel, people would say it’s a bit like Rotary…. but better. Women were once the driving force behind Rotary; but now we stand firmly as an Organisation in our own right. She recounted that she joined Inner Wheel because her husband was a Rotarian; and back in the day it was ‘just what you did’. But we’ve changed. Women are now joining Inner Wheel not because it is the done thing, but because the word about our clubs is spreading, the friendship and the fun that we share is becoming known; the enjoyable experiences we create together ladies want some of that.
This year over 650 new members have joined Inner Wheel; 400 of which have no Rotary connection. Zena asked that we as Clubs keep our balance, keep moving forward. She said Inner Wheel is like an onion. It adds flavour to your life, it has many layers and gets tastier towards the centre; it can also make your eyes water.
Good friends will always support each other she said, but tradition in ‘we’ve always done it like that’ is holding us back. Zena asked that we revisit the values of our Organisation, value our members and use the people skills we have in the right way. If you’re good at cake making – don’t put that person to task sticking stamps. People love to do what they do well.
On a light-hearted note, Zena said it has been proven that being part of a social club, like Inner Wheel, has long term health benefits. It turns out that meetings of the ladies who play bridge, discuss books, have lunch dates aren’t idle wastes of time, but essential markers and possibly even makers of prolonged life. Perhaps not for marketing material, but certainly perhaps, try ladies, to bring Inner Wheel further up your priority list; keep busy socialising and ‘keep doing stuff’. Actions speak louder than words. Invest in positive attitudes, to encourage people to volunteer. Work with friends, laughing together, spreading the load. Form a circle but facing out.
Zena received a rousing response on closing her address and was greeted with many smiling faces and a wave of applause. Vice President Vera provided a vote of thanks to Zena and to Di both for their support of our District, and for making this year fun. Di said it had been an enormous privilege it had been to be the District Chairman for this 45th year, before giving out thank you gifts for those who helped with the day. All guests received a forget-me-not pin badge as a special gift from Di. To officially close the Rally, Di read out a ‘A golden chain’ poem by Helen Steiner-Rice.
Friendship is a Golden Chain,
The links are friends so dear,
And like a rare and precious jewel
It’s treasured more each year…
It’s clasped together firmly
With a love that’s deep and true,
And it’s rich with happy memories
and fond recollections, too…
Time can’t destroy its beauty
For, as long as memory lives,
Years can’t erase the pleasure
That the joy of friendship gives…
For friendship is a priceless gift
That can’t be bought or sold,
But to have an understanding friend
Is worth far more than gold…
And the Golden Chain of Friendship
Is a strong and blessed tie
Binding kindred hearts together
As the years go passing by.