In 1989 Shirin Samuel, Executive Secretary of the FLC (Fellowship of the Least Coin), issued a report to FLC members. The FLC had been active for 33 years and a second generation of enthusiastic supporters had embraced this prayer movement for peace, justice and reconciliation. As a third generation of Christian women were beginning to recognise the miracle of the FLC, Shirin’s report was a timely explanation of the FLC, and the impact it had made upon Christian women and the lives of the women and children it assisted through project grants.
Here is the report that Australian Church Women received from Shirin:
‘Dear Members of the: Fellowship. of the Least Coin.
Everyday we wake up to a world that appears more disturbed and disordered. The hatred is increasing resulting in killing more human lives. The fear of the use of nuclear arms is deep seated in the minds of people all around the world. Drug addiction is killing many lives while drug business is bringing incredible riches to some everyday. Many people, mostly children and women are dying of malnutrition a cruel death. Minorities are marginalized and oppressed, ethnic groups are fighting for their identity and rights. In spite of the fact that we live in this kind of world, I wish you peace in the name of the prince of peace.
‘God has given me the privilege of serving Fellowship of the Least Coin, a movement of prayer for peace, justice and reconciliation. I thank God that there are hosts of women who are working with me for the cause of promoting FLC. I take pleasure to bring greetings to you on behalf of all the members of FLC. These women are working as the 'Salt of the earth'. They are also working like a woman who lost her coin. She started her search tor the valuable coin and continued it till the time she found it. She included her community in her experience of joy of finding her coin. We the members of F LC search for peace justice and reconciliation.
‘Fellowship of the Least Coin is a movement of prayer born in the soil of Asia. It was a vision of Shanti Solomon, an Indian woman. Her vision for the Fellowship of the Least Coin was based on the symbol of the total giving of the woman who gave all that she had, the two mites. The experience grew in ever widening circles and is treasured by the women around the world. It has become a world wide movement that has deep meaning at the grass root in many parts of the world.
‘The Fellowship of the Least Coin has deepened world Christian Fellowship by enabling women to come together. The presence of participants of International committee for the Fellowship of the Least Coin in your midst is the symbol of world wide fellowship and solidarity. FLC is the most striking project in the ecumenical movement today. It is a modest way of manifesting international solidarity in the present world. It plays a very vital role for Christian unity for the women of different denominations in local setting of each country. It brings people together with each other. It is a timely movement to promote peace justice and reconciliation to create a civilization of love on our earth.
‘Fellowship of the Least Coin is a gift of prayer and love. Anyone who wishes to become the member promises to spend some time with God in prayer emptying herself of all her grievances, prejudices in the presence of God and learning of God's reconciling love for humankind. After spending some time in prayer she puts aside the smallest coin of her country. The gift of prayer and coin are given in the secret presence in homes, humble or high, poor or prosperous but given with a concern for someone else. It becomes a way of participation in the fellowship of love.
‘FLC is an unique movement, the contribution which is collected is never anounced. The identities of the givers are kept secret in relation to their gifts. The gifts collected represent the accumulation of prayers in remembrance of those who are in need around the world. The need may be spiritual as well as physical.
‘FLC has helped with temporary help to meet the challenge of the day. The love and concern of FLC members is demonstrated in various ways in which the fund has been used for the projects to alleviate human suffering, to fight for the cause of the oppression and injustices, to help women to become aware of their worth and dignity. FLC contributes to the total uplifting of all persons so that they can take their rightful place in society.
Fellowship of the Least Coin has expressed its strong support to Ecumenical Decade — Churches in solidarity with women. It has always shown interest in the issues of women and improving conditions for women.
‘Promotional material of FLC — FLC brochure, prayer card, promotional brochure, container, FLC history contains the description of projects received FLC grant 1989 are available. FLC prayer card can be used each day, can also be incorporated in an act of dedication of gifts of coins. For the meaningful promotion of FLC, translation in regional or local languages of FLC material is expected from the members all around the world.
‘'Circle of prayer Vol XI' basing on the theme Justice …Peace … Creation … Let us act is ready for use. 'Circle of prayer' a devotional booklet is published bienially. Each month's meditation is written by a woman of a different country. French and Spanish translations are done by ICFLC. Some countries take upon themselves to translate it in their own language. I would like to quote from a letter of a member from uruguay. "The meditations are used in the local group meeting, where they are read aloud, giving rise to comments, information and explanations. The prayers and meditations are very much appreciated in the groups, as a means of fellowship with women all over the world. You certainly can imagine what it means for a small group of women in a rural area to listen to the voices of women from Egypt, Lebanon, Africa, India or your own country". I am sure this is the experience of many women.
‘Fellowship of the Least Coin is interested to continue as a prayer movement not as a fundraising or a donor agency. FLC always appreciates the direct link with the women at grass root. It is very important that the members try their best to stress the prayerful action and that the emphasis is put on reconciliation. The members of FLC learn to live in faith that through our prayers and actions attitude of people will change and we will experience the miraclous power of God.’
Yours in Christ
Executive Secretary & FLC promoter.
Unfortunately, the problems mentioned in this report are still with us, and have even escalated and placed millions more people in hardship and life-threatening situations. As we consider the consequences of the growing fractures in our fragile world, let us continue to pray for peace, justice and reconciliation, and the alleviation of harm to innocent people and their loved ones.