1971 FLC and WDP Drama
Shanti Solomon, founder of the Fellowship of the Least Coin (FLC), was the guest of Church Women United (CWU) USA in April/May 1971 when she attended their triennial ecumenical assembly in Wichita, Kansas. She also travelled to several state CWU branches as a guest speaker.
A few American newspapers reported Shanti’s visit to the USA in their social and religion columns. More than one said that Shanti was on a world-wide Christian Fellowship tour; although extensive, the tour was not that far reaching.
Following the CWU Assembly, Shanti was part of a team that undertook joint promotional visits to the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, on behalf of the FLC and World Day of Prayer (WDP). She made quite an impact in Trinidad according to a letter sent to Mrs Eileen Dingle, of Australian Church Women (ACW), from Mrs Vilma Dube of Trinidad. Mrs Dube noted that Shanti had visited Trinidad in 1971, where ‘she helped to launch our infant ecumenical movement of women. She was accompanied by Akhtar Azadegan of Teheran, Iran, and they certainly proved a great inspiration to the women of Trinidad'.
Many of the women who attend the ACWC assemblies befriend one another and continue those friendships by correspondence after they return home. At the 1970 ACWC assembly, Mrs Dube and Mrs Dingle became friends and often wrote to one another. Mrs Dingle sent the news of Shanti’s visit to Trinidad to the editor of Women at Work, the newsletter of Australian Church Women, and it appeared in the October 1972 issue.
This news followed on from the previous month’s newsletter in which Shanti’s joint promotional tour to Latin America with World Day of Prayer representatives was mentioned, including a drama-story that was produced as a result of that tour. Here is the brief reference to that event:
‘Under the title of “The Drama of The Fellowship of the Least Coin – The World Day of Prayer”, the story-report is unfolded of the coming together of these two world-wide prayer movements in an international encounter in Latin America in September of last year.'
'Australia’s Liaison Officer for the World Day of Prayer, Doreen Strack, acted promptly to get this comprehensive cover of a tremendous experience out into the hands of those who would appreciate its special relevance to the visit of Shanti Solomon to Australia. The opening paragraphs were written by Shanti herself. This first-time coming together of these two world prayer movements was undertaken in a most original way. Twelve women from eleven countries were sent, in teams of two or three, to interpret the two movements to nineteen countries and islands of South America and the Caribbean. The drama that unfolds as their stories are told cannot be imagined – perhaps Shanti will share with us some of her experiences! with Esther Coker (Sierra Leone) and Akhtar Azadegan (Iran) – both involved with World Day of Prayer – Shanti visited Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Trinidad.’
There has been a long and close sisterly association between the FLC, the ACWC and the WDP, particularly since the formation of The International Committee for World Day of Prayer (ICWDP) in 1968 – see this earlier blog post for another chapter of the story https://www.acw.org.au/post/world-day-of-prayer-and-rathi-selvaratnam
This joint FLC/WDP drama-story sounds very interesting, and I wonder how many of our members have heard of it fifty years after the tour that inspired it. And, of course, now I want to see a copy of this drama-story. If anyone has a copy of ‘The Drama of The Fellowship of the Least Coin – The World Day of Prayer’, or knows the whereabouts of a copy in Australia, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org