Barb Tuttle of Somonauk and Janis Sawyer of Waterman have been best friends for more than 50 years.
The women first met through church and their future husbands, and they stood up in each other’s weddings. They’ve taken countless trips together through the years and their children also grew up as friends.
“Our friendship is wonderful, we share a lot and have a lot of memories together,” Tuttle said. “It’s something you can never duplicate.”
On May 4, Tuttle and Sawyer met with Church Women United to celebrate May Friendship Day at Bethany Lutheran Church, 235 E. Lundy Lane in Leland. The local women of CWU celebrated with a continental breakfast, a skit, prayers and the dropping off of pennies collected throughout the year for the Fellowship of the Least Coin.
To participate in FLC, every time a woman prays, she sets aside the least coin of her local currency as a symbol of prayer. Globally, the coins are collected and are sent to the central FLC Fund, the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland. The prayers offered and the coins collected support projects for women and children around the world.
The money collected supports a number of issues such as gender justice, literacy and education, health and social concerns, HIV/AIDS, overcoming violence against women and children, and poverty alleviation.
This year, the local women of CWU, who are members of 13 area churches, collected a total of $66.92 for FLC.
“It allows us to be part of the world,” said Ginny Kroening of Somonauk. “We are an ecumenical global program that takes place in many countries. Every time you say a prayer for someone, you save a penny. By saving a penny, the least coin of denomination, we can help people in need and feed starving children.”
Jackie Wendland of Somonauk brought in approximately 10 pounds of pennies and other coins she saved in her change jars.
“It’s amazing how much money we can collect just by praying,” Wendland said. “I prayed for my family, friends, my church, those that are ill and ailing and to be of service. I hope that my prayers and my pennies help those in need.”
A separate collection for May Friendship Day also was taken during the meeting, and CWU members donated $76. That money will be equally split between the local and state CWU units.
Sawyer enjoys participating in FLC with her local CWU group, which has been meeting for socialization, prayer and friendship for more than 45 years.
“We’re lucky to be here and have a good time,” Sawyer said. “We are able to worship together and thank God for our friendship. Hopefully, with our pennies, we are able to help friends, other women just like us, around the world.”