Every momentous time develops its own lexicon. Some new terms, with critical importance to all of us have emerged. Essential, essential service, essential worker!

The dictionary advises that “essential” means “absolutely necessary, extremely important” and the word itself derives from “essence” i.e. “the intrinsic nature of something, which determines its character”.

When the chips are down, for us, “essential” comes down to stocked supermarket shelves, fixed burst water pipes, front line health workers, rubbish removal and the like. These are the tasks, activities and needs (as opposed to wants) that are absolutely necessary to maintain the character and integrity of our community and life.

What can we learn from this? If we aspire to being an “essential club” we need to be very clear on who, where and what our society is, whom our community comprises, where they are and how broadly we define them.

To be an “essential” club we need to understand, at a very granular level, what activities, support, needs and wants the people in our community require to retain and grow the character and integrity of their life.

This is a time and a call for us to refocus on our true purpose, be deliberate about what we do and why.

To use these insights to inform how we provide one another with friendship and support in ways that meet our needs. Putting in place a variety of opportunities and structures that take into account individual interests, styles and commitments and new realities. Retailers have a saying “stack it high and watch it fly”, and in the same way for a club “meet the need, show the care and they’ll be there”.

In the same way Rotary is about “Service above Self”. Reflectively defining our broader community and thoughtfully focussing on the activities and needs essential to their character and community integrity will ensure that our service, in hours, thoughts and funds is focussed, valued and will make a real difference.

Although being “essential” is largely about needs I find achieving “essential” status a very aspirational goal.