The 2017 Haystack Award for Justice was presented to Eloise Clawson, a member of UCC Norwell Church, during the Tri-Conference Annual Meeting June 16-17 in Hartford.
Eloise has engaged in a supportive, collaborative relationship with Dr. Vicky Guzman, founder of the organization ASAPROSAR (Salvadoran Association for Rural Health) for 30 years. She had been challenged during a Southeast Area Peace Committee talk about exploring the role of the church in peacemaking, to participate in a fact-finding mission to El Salvador as the country suffered through Civil War. Through Eloise’s efforts, a ministry was formed at UCC Norwell and other local churches to provide support for Dr. Guzman as she established a medical ministry to the poor of her country.
Eloise has guided regular work camps and work-study missions to El Salvador as well as eye campaigns that have provided over 1,000 surgeries and hundreds of pairs of eyeglasses to those in need. The annual summer mission trips she organizes focus on interaction with the women and children of El Salvador in programs that nurture children and teens, supplement schooling, and provide meals and healthcare education, engaging the children through games, music and prayer. The summer excursions also provide support for programs ranging from an animal exchange, microcredit, building outdoor ovens and latrines, to providing gynecological support for women. Her nursing background, Spanish speaking skills, fearlessness, love of people and an ability to connect in a personal and respectful way - along with a desire to educate and involve others in this ministry - combine to make her a formidable leader.
On a local level, Eloise has been an ongoing member of the Mission and Outreach Ministry Team of UCC Norwell and serves on the Southeast Area Mission and Justice Committee of the Mass. Conference, helping plan and organize educational conferences on poverty, homelessness, immigration and drug abuse. In her spare time, she participates in delegations to the offices of Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey on behalf of poverty and hunger legislation, and volunteers as a translator for two local homeless shelters.
Eloise Clawson is a remarkable ambassador for peace and justice and a worthy recipient of this year’s Haystack Award.
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