Good Samaritan member, JoAnn Knutson, received the Jeanne Audrey Powers Award for Healing a Broken World on Thursday, June 22 at the Minnesota Annual Conference meetings in St Cloud, MN. This award honors persons who have made significant efforts to build the beloved community, in particular through collaborative partnerships and ecumenical efforts, working for justice and reconciliation for all persons.
Here’s the official news from Annual Conference:
JoAnn Knutson was recognized as the recipient of this year’s Jeanne Audrey Powers Award for Healing a Broken World. Knutson an active member of Good Samaritan UMC in Edina and an individual with a big heart. She has spearheaded or led numerous projects that have effectively shared God’s love with people around the world—and time and again, she has instilled in others a desire and willingness to serve those in need. One of her projects is “SaniNaps.” When Knutson and her friend Pat heard that many girls in Kenya couldn’t afford to purchase sanitary napkins, and missing school during menstruation led to many of them dropping out of school, the two women enlisted members of their church and community to cut and sew 850 reusable sanitary napkins that were taken to Kenya and distributed to girls. Separately, 23 years ago, Knutson organized a partnership between Good Samaritan UMC and Stonebridge World School—which is comprised of low-income students. Knutson and her team run the school’s library and work there one full day each week. Knutson also runs a wish list store every year at her church. She and her team solicit requests from teachers, purchase the products needed most, and offer them “for sale” to church members, who give them as gifts to help the teachers. Additionally, Knutson leads her church’s efforts to participate in Hearts and Hammers, a program that devotes one Saturday twice each year to paint homes of individuals who cannot afford to do so—and she has also led efforts to reunite a Somali family and to find housing for a family after its home was foreclosed upon.