Judy Blahofski & Randy Welch

…about that container in the narthex with the sign “50 Cent Annuity”?  It all started over a hundred years ago, with a little girl named Hattie May who wanted to attend Sunday School. However, the church in her Pennsylvania neighborhood was so crowded that it didn’t have room for all the children who wanted to attend.

That made Hattie very sad.  Hattie became sick and tragically died a couple of years later.  After the funeral, her mother handed the pastor a little bag that contained 57 cents.  Hattie had been saving for a contribution to give to the church for a Sunday school building.  The pastor turned the money into pennies and offered them for sale; this raised $250, and most of the buyers gave their pennies back to the church.

After years of hard work and creative fundraising, those 57 pennies grew into enough money to buy the house north of the church.  Eventually, more room was needed and the congregation was so inspired by Hattie May’s gift of 57 cents that they continued to grow and expand. Eventually Temple University, one of the largest universities in the country, evolved from that inspiration.

The 50 cent annuity fund at Chatham United Methodist Church was started by Jim Fleming in 2009 after he read about Hattie May. It was his vision that if people would drop in their spare change as they walked by, the fund would grow and eventually help the church fulfill its mission to welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and lonely.

Since its inception, the annuity fund has raised over $7,900.  These funds are being held in the building fund and will be used for the planned renovations so we can welcome more people – like Hattie May – to know God’s love! Each of us can help by emptying our pockets of our pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters and placing them in the annuity container.