The final month of every Rotary year is Rotary Fellowship month and it is a fitting finale because "fellowship" is such an important part of Rotary. The word "fellowship" is right there at the top of the current core values of Rotary. It's the reason why we have Rotary "clubs", so we can do our good in the world along side fellow Rotarians and not just by ourselves. For many Rotarians, the highlights of their Rotary experiences usually revolve around doing projects with others. It is probably the reason why so many Rotary Fellowships have developed where Rotarians from around the world can join together doing activities they enjoy. (See the article below) We often hear Rotarians say that they joined Rotary to "make a difference", but they stay in Rotary "because of the fellowship".
And yet, many Rotarians, don't like to use the word, "fellowship", possibly because it is a word that seems to be more at home in the past than in the modern world. It also seems to be more of a masculine word when we are trying to encourage more women to become part of our movement. It is no doubt a complex word that has many shades of meaning, and as an example, I discovered this list of synonyms listed by PDG Dennis Shore on the District 9800 web site a couple of years ago: communion, rapport and rapprochement, accord, agreement, concord, harmony, oneness, solidarity, togetherness, unity, affinity, empathy, sympathy, understanding, amity, companionship, friendliness, reciprocity and symbiosis. It might be an old fashioned word, but it sure contains a lot of qualities we would all want to promote in our groups.
No matter how we define the word, we certainly need more of it in our clubs. It seems to me that "fellowship" is what happens when we have a group of Rotarians actively living by the the Four Way Test in their clubs and communities.  It is what happens when we see the most important part of our "Club Service" as being the effort we make to be supportive, agreeable, understanding, accepting and friendly in all our dealings with other members. Fellowship is what happens when we "add value" to our fellow members by focussing on their positives, and using supportive, positive language when talking about and to them. So let's have more of it. Fellowship is of course, also what happens when we enjoy fun activities together - and we definitely need m
ore of that!
So I say, what better way to finish a Rotary year than to focus on fellowship. And since this will be my final epistle as DG, I want to say a couple of "thank you's" firstly, relating to this newsletter. A huge "thank you" must go to our District Secretary Derrick Marsden, and Newsletter editor, Karen McCarthy for the huge amount of work that has gone into the publication of this communication each month. Thanks too, to Pauline Stewart who has been responsible for emailing the newsletter to District members each month, and to all those who have contributed stories over the year.
I must also take this opportunity to wish DGE Jane all the very best as she takes over this DG role in just a couple of weeks, and to District Secretar
y elect, Tony Stewart. They will be responsible for ensuring you receive the July edition of this newsletter.
Finally, a big thank you to each and every member of our great District 9780 for your fantastic efforts in doing good in the world under the banner of Rotary during the 2014-2015 Rotary year. As Meryl and I have had the privilege of being welcomed into all your clubs, we have been "blown away" by the amazing number and quality of projects happening in every one of our communities. Without those efforts, this world would be a far poorer place. As 9780 Rotarians, we can be proud of the value we have added to people in our our local communities, in communities overseas and to the planet. We have certainly fulfilled RI President Gary Huang's challenge to "Light up Rotary".