July 26, 2010 Rotogram

MISSISSIPPI TECHNOLOGY

Bubba Weir, Mississippi Technology Alliance vice president, will discuss the non-profit organization’s mission. Established in 2001 it drives innovation and technology-based economic development.

NEXT WEEK: GOVERNOR VISITS

Roscoe Greene, governor of the 44-club District 6820, is past president of the Rotary Club of Rankin County in Brandon. He became Governor on July 1. This will be his official Club visit.

DG’S BRIEFING

DG Greene will meet with officers, directors, and committee chairs at 11:00 a.m. next week.

FOR THE RECORD—JULY 19

Invocation and Pledge: Rodney Foil
Attendance 45.6%
Present — 92 (33 exempt, 2 honorary)
Absent — 96 (18 exempt, 10 honorary)
Makeup reported: Ed Clynch attended Rotary Club One in Chicago.
Guests and visitors: Visiting Rotarian was Neddie Winters of the Downtown Jackson Club. Member guests were Kate and Lesley Charlton of O.A. Cleveland, and Richard Hilton of Tommy Tomlinson. Guests of the Club were Bill Chapman, Lynn and Russell Gains, Nettie Winters, Patricia Tate and Paul Sims, Starkville Daily News.

NEW MEMBER

Taylorsville native Tom Walker explained that in four years, he has “flunked retirement twice.”
The 1972 Mississippi State graduate worked for the U.S. government and lived pretty much all over the world for 33 years.
He now owns a consulting business helping private companies do business with the Federal government. His wife is a regional marketing director for Novartis Pharmaceuticals. So, they can be headquartered anywhere near an airport.

CLUB SERVICE

Club strength lies in members’ willingness to jump in and help keep things running smoothly. With the demise of MSU Printing, we were faced with a bulletin production challenge. Rotarian Melissa Dixon stepped up and got our bulletin covers printed in Tempe, Ariz., home of the Blufish Design Studio parent company. The editor thanks her for making his job easier.

YEAR-END KUDOS

A number of last year’s accomplishments have not been enumerated from Past-president Martha’s final report. They include:

  • In the Between the Lions literacy project 25 Rotarians served 90 children at four child care centers (Emerson, Brickfire, First Presbyterian and two Head Start classes).
  • The Club received a district citation for its Rotary Foundation contributions totaling $21,475. We had three new Paul Harris Fellows; and, seven more sustaining members had completed their PH commitment by the end of the club year. We had one new benefactor. Over the Club’s history, we have contributed more than $300,000.

In closing, Martha challenged us to “say our motto with conviction and not just mumble it on the way out.”

RECONCIALITION THROUGH RELATIONSHIP

“To solve Mississippi’s widespread problems, we need to sit down and reason together,” said Neddie Winters, president of Mission Mississippi. “We must learn to understand each other rather than labeling and blaming and being combative in our conversation.”
The Tunica native delivers a message of “Christian reconciliation and racial healing for Mississippi and the world.”
He noted that 18 chapters across the state spend about 90 percent of their time talking about race relations.
The program stresses building of relationships with friendship. The overarching goal is to create a climate and safe environment for people to learn to love each other.
“We believe racism is a sin that should not be tolerated in the body of Christ,” said Winters.
Mission Mississippi began in 1993 when a group of predominately white Christian businessmen out of Jackson’s First Presbyterian Church, wanted to develop a citywide crusade. Through discussion with a team of black and white evangelists came the understanding that Jackson needed something different.
“In past crusades white folks had come to hear the white evangelist and black folks had come to hear the black evangelist,” explained Winters.
Mission Mississippi became an umbrella under which people could gather and share what was on their hearts.
“We have been talking about it, talking at it, but not with each other,” said Winters. “We’ve learned how to camouflage it and be courteous without getting deep into the issue.”
“In Mississippi we have learned how to tolerate it, get through it, and get back home where we don’t have to visit with each other,” he said. “Instead, we need to create an environment to cross those barriers that people have learned to hide behind.”
Mission Mississippi facilitated community dialogue, but the discussion must locally owned and locally led.
Starkville has a discussion group that meets every third Thursday at the Sportsplex.
“The most important thing I’ve seen is the transformation of Neddie Winters,” said the man who has been executive director or president of Mission Mississippi since 2005 and a member of the board since 1993.
“As another example is the personal relationship forged between Charles Pickering and Eric Stringfellow,” he said. “They don’t agree on a lot of things, but are personal friends through Mission Mississippi.”
A veteran of more than 35 years of organizational planning and development with the USDA, Winters holds a BS in general agriculture from Alcorn State University and a master’s degree in public financial management from American University in Washington, D.C.

GRACE IS GREATER THAN RACE from www.missionmississippi.org

“God is doing a new work through Mission Mississippi. No longer can we as Christians excuse ourselves from putting racial and denominational reconciliation on our agendas. . . . Historically, black and white churches have separated themselves with little or no dialogue among pastors or congregations. Similarly, congregations within the same denomination who are of the same race have had little interaction. To people throughout the U.S., Mississippi is known for its racial strife. However, God is doing a new work in this state through Mission Mississippi. No longer can we as Christians excuse ourselves from not putting racial and denominational reconciliation on our agendas.”

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