A Conversation with the Sacred Allies

Mark Koyama, Harriet Ward, and Kathy Blair
Promotional graphic for the event featuring photos of the three speakers

MONDAY, JUNE 19, 2023
2-4 pm EDT

This event will be held in person at 14 Beacon Street in Boston



Join us for a conversation with the visionary creators behind the Sacred Ally Quilt Ministry, and hear them discuss the history and future of the project on Monday, June 19th, from 2-4 pm. The conversation will be moderated by Jennifer Swope, Curator of Textiles at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The Sacred Ally Quilt Ministry uses the narrative art of quilting as both a healing balm and a catalyst for transformation, and at the heart of the ministry are its coordinators, the Sacred Allies.

Rev. Mark Koyama grew up in South East Asia and New Zealand before coming to live in the United States in 1980. He was educated at Bates College, Union Theological Seminary (MA 1992), University of Massachusetts Amherst (MFA 2010) and Yale Divinity School (MDiv 2015). Mark teaches literature and religious studies at Northfield Mount Hermon School and is the settled pastor at the United Church of Jaffrey, in Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

Dr. Harriet Ward is a scientist and a Christian activist. Her doctorate from Brown University (1988) empowered her to serve infants and young children with vision loss, blindness and additional health and developmental challenges. Called by Christ to Antiracism work, Harriet is a powerful voice in the United Church of Christ where she has served on the Board of Directors of the National United Church of Christ and as Co-Chair of the Racial Justice Mission Group of the New Hampshire Conference. Harriet is a talented and inspired quilter. This comes naturally to her. She grew up making meals, clothing, rag rugs, and quilts out of scraps and leftovers.

Kathy Barrett Blair is a lifelong resident of Keene, New Hampshire. With a degree in Occupational Therapy from UNH, she was the preschool occupational therapist for the Keene School District for 34 years. She chaired the NHCUCC Ukama Mission Group in partnership with UCC churches in Zimbabwe. Kathy designed and coordinated the renovation of UCC Keene’s Elsie Priest Park and children’s playground. She learned to sew in 4-H and continues to express her creativity through fabric, including the design and construction of Quilt #4 of the George Floyd Quilts. Kathy is honored to serve with Rev. Mark Koyama and Dr. Harriet Ward as coordinators of SAQM.

Jennifer Swope is the David and Roberta Logie Curator of Textiles at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She attended the Winterthur Program in American Culture as a Lois F. McNeil Fellow, receiving a Master’s Degree in American Material Culture from the University of Delaware. Co-author and curator of Quilts and Color, the Pilgrim/Roy Collection, a catalog and exhibition that opened at the MFA in 2014, she most recently co-authored of the publication Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories and curated of the exhibition of the same title.

Join us for a thoughtful conversation with Mark, Harriet, and Kathy to learn more about how the project came into being, the important work it has done, and where the project is going. Registration for this event will also include time to view the quilts before and after the discussion.

The event is free to all, but tickets are extremely limited and registration is required via Eventbrite.

For more information, please email info@14beacon.org or call 617.523.0470 ext. 223.



This conversation is a component of the Textile & Text exhibition that will be open to the public at the Congregational Library & Archives June 19-21, 2023. To learn more about the exhibition, please visit congregationallibrary.org/events/textileandtext.