Those in attendance at a recent meeting of the Racine Churchmen’s Club gather for a group photo at the Asian Buffet, where they meet the first Friday of every month.
BY KATIE MATTESON
“This is the day the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
This Bible verse appears on the banner that goes up on the first Friday of each month at the back room at the Asian Buffet, 3701 Durand Ave. in Racine.
Members of the Racine Churchmen’s Club gather here each month for a meal, fellowship and a short program. The purpose of the club, founded in 1937, is simple: “To promote Christian fellowship and unite Churchmen for Christian service.”
At its October meeting, club president Carl Granetzke opened the meeting with a prayer and went on to remember those who recently passed away. Among them was longtime member Clarence Tuttle, who died in June at the age of 103.
Guest speaker that day was Dave Fricke, who told the group about the expansion of the Fosters reStore from Kenosha to 2000 Lathrop Ave. in Racine. Fricke explained that he and his wife, Chris established the gently-used clothing and thrift store whose profits support a foundation that provides scholarships for foster children.
Other recent presenters have shared information about local law enforcement, financial services, photography, kids reading programs, physical therapy, hospice services and more.
With an average age of 84, it’s a mature group of about 40 members with 25-30 in attendance at the meetings.
When Granetzke was asked what he wanted people to know about the group, he said it is a place for men to gather for Christian fellowship with other men of retirement age, some of whom have lost their spouses.
“We always have a good program and the $10 buffet includes ice cream,” Granetzke said.
He said members come from 10 churches throughout the area, including Grace Lutheran, Faith Bridge Methodist, Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Gethsemane Lutheran, Oak Creek Assembly of God, Zion Lutheran, St. Patrick, Grace Evangelical Lutheran and St. John’s Lutheran.
He added that some of the wives often get together in the restaurant for lunch while their husbands participate in the meeting.
The annual dues for the club are $15 and the group contributes to a number of local nonprofits, including Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin, The Vivian Foundation, Hospitality Center, Youth For Christ, Laundry Love, Cop ‘n Kids Reading Center, Racine Police Department and Faith, Hope & Love.
Bob Clauer, 87, who’s been a member since 1989, said his near perfect attendance through the years is due to the “good fellowship, good programs, good speakers and good food.”
Colin McKenna, one of the younger and newer members, said Tuttle invited him to join the club.
“He thought it would be a good fit for me since I’m active in the Racine Interfaith Coalition and he was right.” McKenna said.
Granetzke said he joined the group seven years ago and took on the presidency two months later.
“It’s a great group of guys,” Granetzke said. “I’ve found that it’s one of Racine’s best-kept secrets for retired men.”
For more information, contact Carl Granetzke at (262) 412-0392 or firstname.lastname@example.org.