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Rotary 101 - Invocations 
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Non-denominational Invocations

 

Rotary is a non-discriminatory, non-political, and non-denominational organization. Rotary is comprised of members from a wide range of religious faiths, and for that reason Rotary International recommends nondenominational meeting invocations that give no reference to beliefs of specific religions. The specific guidelines cited by two Rotary resources are cited below.

 

INVOCATIONS AT CLUB MEETINGS

(From The ABCs of Rotary):

In many Rotary clubs it is customary to open weekly meetings with an appropriate invocation or blessing. Such invocations are offered without reference to specific religious denominations or faiths.

Rotary policy recognizes that throughout the world Rotarians represent many religious beliefs, ideas and creeds. The religious beliefs of each member are fully respected, and nothing in Rotary is intended to prevent each individual from being faithful to such convictions.

At international assemblies and conventions, it is traditional for a silent invocation to be given. In respect for all religious beliefs and in the spirit of tolerance for a wide variety of personal faiths, all persons are invited to seek divine guidance and peace in their own way. It is an inspiring experience to join with thousands of Rotarians in an international “silent prayer” or act of personal devotion. Usually all Rotary International Board and committee meetings begin with a few moments of silent meditation. In this period of silence, Rotary demonstrates respect for the beliefs of all members, who represent the religions of the world.

Since each Rotary club is autonomous, the practice of presenting a prayer or invocation at club meetings is left to the tradition and customs of the individual club, with the understanding that these meeting rituals always be conducted in a manner that will respect the religious convictions and faiths of all members and are nondenominational in nature.

(From the Manual of Procedure, 2004. Reference Manual for Rotary Leaders.)

Invocations and Prayers:

Rotary clubs throughout the world include members who have many religious beliefs and values and are united in service to humanity. Each Rotary club, being autonomous, should use its own good judgment in conducting its meetings in a manner that reflects Rotary’s basic principle of tolerance and encourages Rotarians’ participation in humanitarian service projects.