Racial Justice Newsletter

2016 United Methodist Women Alaska Conference Racial and Social Justice Awardee

2016 United Methodist Women Alaska Conference Racial and Social Justice Awardee

Racial Justice is an ongoing focus the mission work of United Methodist Women. The Charter for Racial Justice was created and adopted in 1978. The charter continues our urgent call for study and action on the principles and goals of its vision. Each year, the Alaska United Methodist Women seek to honor individuals or organizations whose efforts to overcome the barriers of racism, prejudice or injustice have made an impact in our communities, country and world. We commit ourselves as individuals and as a community to follow Jesus Christ in word and in deed, and to struggle for the rights and the self-determination of every person and group of persons.

Our 2016 recipient of the Alaska United Methodist Women's Racial and Social Justice Award is Dr. Walt Hays of Wasilla, Alaska. Walt Hays has been a resident of Alaska for over 50 years. He served for 20 years as program minister for the United Methodist Church in Alaska, pastor in Nome and director of Public Affairs and Development for Alaska Children's Services (now AK Child and Family). For 14 years, he served in nonprofit management and development for health, athletic and cultural institutions in Alaska and in fundraising counsel.

Walt's ministry has been that of an activist, supporter and communicator. He founded a coffee house for young adults in Anchorage in the late 1960s, hosted a weekly religious news program on two AM radio stations and was very involved in social justice issues, serving two terms as the President of the Alaska Council of Churches.

Walt was the recipient of the National Denman Evangelism Award of the United Methodist Church in 2005 and the Mount Award for Specialized Ministry from the Methodist Theological School in Ohio in 2008.

Since retirement, Walt has been an Alaska coordinator for the PET mobility cart—a sturdy, hand cranked cart that is provided free to the world's disabled through volunteer effort and private giving. Walt and his wife, JoAnn Shore, have led two humanitarian service teams to Guatemala in 2013 and 2015, and another team is being formed for 2017. He assisted in the delivery of the mobility carts and eye glasses on these occasions.

Walt is part of the grassroots nonprofit group Days for Girls. The organization's mission is to create a more dignified, free and educated world through access to lasting feminine hygiene solutions. In 2015, the Guatemala volunteers hosted a party for 330 preteen Mayan girls and their female family members, distributing 400 kits. Kits were underwritten by several donors and made possible by the volunteer sewing skills of women in Alaska, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, New York and Arizona. Indeed, this is a great step in helping to break the poverty cycle by allowing girls to stay in school!

Link opens in a new window. This article was previously published at Chris Thompson's blog, ChurchVisits.com.

Posted or updated: 3/31/2017 12:00:00 AM

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