Silver Anniversary Blessings
June, 2013, is a special month in the life of this ministry. Twenty-five years ago a newly widowed woman went to her pastor weighed down with grief, frustration, and a degree of anger. She demanded of him a reason for being left to deal with her widowhood by herself now that the funeral was finally over, the flowers faded, and the gifts of food all eaten. He replied that he was now dealing with the next crisis in the life of his congregation. Then he looked at her with a heart of love, coupled with godly wisdom, and suggested that if she felt a need for friendship to aid her in her new state, perhaps she should do something. Thus, FRIENDS NEEDING FRIENDS was birthed in the heart of Dotti Israel Ackerman, but from the heart of God. FRIENDS NEEDING FRIENDS, like many organizations and ministries, had humble beginnings. Dotti, with her gifts of organization and creativity, started with only ten women. For years they met in the back room of a New Jersey diner with restroom facilities so lacking in hygiene that one of the attending widows cleaned it before each meeting. Dotti’s pastor, Bruce Sofia, and home church, Gloucester County Community Church, offered emotional, spiritual, and financial support and in the intervening 25 years FRIENDS NEEDING FRIENDS has thrived. Dotti has kept the programs simple, yet meaningful. Everything is geared to the needs of the widow. Now, twenty-five years later, FRIENDS NEEDING FRIENDS has two chapters, one in New Jersey and one in Florida. They meet on a monthly basis for lunch, fun yet meaningful activities, an engaging speaker, and special music. Countless widows have made friends with other widows and have received in turn a greater appreciation for the comfort and love toward the widow by God, a lessening of the pain of bereavement, understanding hearts, encouragement aimed at helping each widow to reach out to others in need, and a shared time of fun.
Happy 25th Anniversary to FRIENDS NEEDING FRIENDS! May God’s blessing and anointing continue to rest on you.
Director of FNF-New Jersey