2015 Haystack Award winners honored


The Massachusetts Conference Justice & Witness Council presented Haystack Awards on Saturday, June 13th, to a social activist from the Newton Highlands Congregational Church and to the Massachusetts Women's Home Missionary Union.  Here is what the council said about the two recipients:

Marianne Talis 

Lisa Stedman and Marianne Talis
The Rev. Lisa Stedman (left) presents the Haystack Award to Marianne Talis.
Marianne Talis has embodied a commitment to social and charitable activities throughout her life. A long-time active participant of the Christian Outreach and Social Action Committee of Newton Highlands Congregational, Marianne’s service has extended beyond the church walls as well.

She was principal organizer of the highly successful CROP Walk in Newton for many years; active with the City Mission Society of Boston where she served on the Board; a leader in the charitable activities of Church Women United; a long-time volunteer at Rosie’s Place, a homeless shelter for women; made and served countless meals for shelters and service agencies; and for many years completed an early morning bread run into Boston for the Women’s Inn at Pine Street. Even at age 84, Marianne volunteers for Family Promise, preparing meals and staying overnight to chaperone homeless guests.

In addition to her charitable works, Marianne has been a long-time advocate for social justice, participating in walks for peace and helping guide her own church toward its ONA status. Over the years, countless people in need have benefitted from Marianne’s large heart, empathy and compassion, and her hard-working, persistent persona that gets things done.

Massachusetts Woman’s Home Missionary Union (WMHMU)

Lisa Stedman and MWHMU representatives
The Rev. Lisa Stedman (left) presents the Haystack Award to representatives of the Massachusetts Woman's Home Missionary Union: Joan Vander Vliet, Marna Blomberg, Judy Stoehr and Mary Ann Donaldson.
The MWHMU, founded in 1879 by a group of Congregational women who prayerfully set aside their small gifts to serve the special needs of women and children in the Commonwealth, became the foundation of an organization which exists to this day to distribute the funds accruing from those small gifts. These women, all from MACUCC churches, meet as trustees of these funds to distribute grants to programs that witness to the purpose of the original group of women, evaluating applications serving the “spiritual and temporal welfare of those in need, especially women and children”.

Grants are made to assist those aiding homeless, hungry, isolated folk who need help with literacy, health care, counseling, parenting skills, food, shelter and other basic needs. The programs include creative, innovative programs ranging from food pantries and clothing cupboards to a home and rehabilitation program for trafficked women. The Woman’s Home Missionary Union has conscientiously and without much recognition worked for more than 130 years to be faithful stewards of the legacy left by those original women.

More information: macucc.org/mwhmu


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