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GreenFaith Fellows Class of 2013

The Rev. Dr. Robert N. Abarno
Rev. Dr. Robert N. Abarno was ordained to the Christian ministry in 1972. He is a graduate of Andover Newton Theological School with a Master of Divinity degree and a Doctor of Ministry degree. He has served American Baptist, United Church of Christ, and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregations in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. He is pastor of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church and chaplain at the Allegheny Lutheran Home in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Alycia Ashburn
Alycia is the Creation Care Campaign Director at Sojourners and a trainer for Lutherans Restoring Creation. Trained as a biologist, her greatest passion is empowering and equipping people of faith to be strong advocates for environmental stewardship and policy.  She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Luther College and was a 1998 Udall Scholar, a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and a contributor to the Oxford Declaration on Climate Change (2002).

Beth Begley
Beth Begley grew up in the Bronx, has lived many places rural and urban during a career as family nurse practitioner and now lives in Suffern, NY.  “Retirement” has added precious time to become more involved in my parish Peace and Justice activities and our Green Team for certification, in the Maryknoll Affiliates and the Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns and in Pax Christi on all levels including membership in the NY delegation of Pax Christi International to the UN.

The Rev. Jacob Bolton
Rev. Jacob Bolton became the Associate Pastor at Huguenot Memorial Church in November of 2010 after serving as the Director of Family Ministries at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.  A native of Michigan, he played intercollegiate baseball at Kalamazoo College and is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. His wife, Susan, works for the City of New York and their son, Joseph, was born in July of 2012.

Nivedita Chandrappa
Nivedita was born in a small Indian town, atop the hills of Chikmagalur in Karnataka  and went to a Catholic School in Bangalore.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism in Mysore and completed a Post Graduate Diploma at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. She has produced and hosted a Television show called "Asian Indian Immigrant Experience” in New York, directs a not-for-profit called ‘wishwas,” and is a founding member of, a Hindu organization that engages a range of social issues.

The Rev. John F. Crist
The Rev. John Crist is a retired Episcopal priest living in rural Illinois. He holds an M. Div. and an M.A. in Education. Crist worked as a parish priest for 45 years. He began camping as a child and has shared the outdoors with his children and grandchildren. He has studied Celtic spirituality in England and he preaches and teaches regularly about environmental issues and concerns.

The Rev. Dr. David Ellingson
Dave is Professor of Children, Youth & Family Studies at Trinity Lutheran College in Everett, WA, teaching classes in Youth Ministry, Spirituality, Human Development, and Prophetic Literature.  He created and tends (with students/faculty/staff) the “Rooftop Garden and Children’s Play Area” on top of the college parking garage.  During a recent sabbatical, he wrote a book, became a Master Gardener, and paddled the entire Mississippi River in his kayak.

Pastor Irene Erkko
Irene is a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, a sister church with ELCA.  She lived in Dallas from 2007-2011 where she completed a residency in Clinical Pastoral Education, and further studied further at Texas Christian University.  She has worked in religious education programs in the Catholic Church. She lives in Helsinki, Finland, and pastors at a medieval church in Siuntio. Nature is dear to Finnish people. I would like to see that manifested increasingly in churches and their worship life.

The Rev. Judith Hardcastle
After thirty years of urban living and a career with Vancouver’s rapid transit system, Judith moved to Golden, British Columbia to serve a small congregation of The United Church of Canada. Under her leadership, the church has created community gardens, opened a community kitchen, worked with community members to help her city become a fair trade town, and to become Golden’s first green church.  She then moved back to the west coast where she ministers at a large urban congregation in North Vancouver.  Judith majored in Theatre at the University of British Columbia, completed her M. Div. degree at Vancouver School of Theology and served on the Board of the Thomas Merton Society of Canada.

Steve Knight
Steve is an active member of an Episcopal congregation on the Upper East Side of New York City where his roles have included board member, Christian education director, and co-founder of a peace & restorative justice community.  Previously he worked as a college English instructor, and in several positions in the financial services industry.  Steve has been transitioning to a “green” career for the past several years, earning accreditation as a LEED Green Associate, joining several green-oriented organizations, and blogging on sustainability issues at Recently, Steve became an energy efficiency consultant for a firm promoting sustainable practices in small businesses in New York City.

Anne Leiby
Anne Leiby is a member of the Winchester Unitarian Society where she is actively involved in church sustainability work, including the church’s effort to become a green sanctuary.  Anne is employed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Boston, Massachusetts where she works in the Assistance and Pollution Prevention Office on issues related to sustainability and pollution prevention. 

T. Haley Main
Because the Bible is clear on humanity’s role as steward, this principle guides Haley's work as Program Director for Audubon New York’s “For the Birds!” program- an elementary education program teaching environmental awareness and appreciation through the study of birds. In 2011 she was a National Audubon TogetherGreen Fellow with a project called “Faith in Action”, focusing on organizing opportunities for faith-based communities to work with local Audubon and/or environmental organizations on conservation projects.  Haley believes the faith community is a tremendous ally for environmental organizations and hopes to inspire collaboration towards positive conservation action.

The Rev. Kim Morrow
Kim serves as Associate Minister at First-Plymouth Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she directs a Sustainable Living Ministry. Originally from Southern California, Kim holds a B.A. from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Master of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. She holds dual ordination status in the United Church of Christ and the Swedenborgian Church. Her interests include parenting, yoga, fitness, exploring the outdoors, reading, writing and travel.

The Rev. Dr. Pamela Payne
Pamela, ordained as a Disciples minister in 1993, has served as a pastor, church musician, religious communicator, and teacher in the South and Midwest. Pam also holds the Ph.D. in Constructive Theology from Vanderbilt University. She recently became focused on the theological problems of climate change, and intends to devote her time, energy, and professional pursuits to this issue. Pam is the author of a number of articles on inclusive language, hymnody, and theology, and is an award-winning hymn writer.

Victoria Pearson
Victoria lives and works at Westtown School, a Quaker boarding school outside of Philadelphia, PA, where she farms 2 acres of educational gardens and works with youth of all ages. Her background in social justice ministry, sustainable agriculture, and facilitation and worship planning brings her to the GreenFaith Fellowship with hopes of taking her ministry to the next level—integrating her diverse vocation and solidifying her vision and goals around community, ministry, and ecological living and acting.

Kathleen Schomaker  
Kath is on mission to inspire and mobilize older Americans to create a green legacy for next generations. Her religious ecology arises from Christian, Buddhist and Nature-based traditions while her professional works draw on studies in sociology at Ohio State and social ecology at Yale.  Her love of Earth arose in the fields of her childhood home in rural Kentucky, came of age in urban Ohio, and now flower is her emergent commitment to sustainability in Hamden, CT.

Divya L. Selvakumar
Divya is a nutrition specialist, consultant and professor at Montgomery College, and a PhD student in Public Policy and Administration. Divya is the director of a new NGO, American Hindu World Service (AHWS), a 501(c) (3) registered nonprofit which educates the American public about Hindu faith-based perspectives on global health and international development. AHWS has recently opened offices in Nigeria, Indonesia and Sri Lanka and seeks to organize programs in nutrition and education.

Sunita Viswanath
Sunita has worked for over two decades in women’s rights and human rights organizations including The Sister Fund and Funders Concerned About AIDS.  She is co-founder and active board member of the international women’s human rights organization, Women for Afghan Women.  Sunita was raised in an Andhra Hindu family, and always felt that it was her Hindu values and beliefs that motivated her insistence on justice and human rights.  However, she did not find that there was a Hindu voice or presence in the movements for justice of which she was a part.  Sunita co-founded Sadhana in order to bring together these two parts of her journey: her activism for human rights and her identity as a Hindu.  Sunita lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband Stephan Shaw and their three sons, Gautama (1995), Akash (1997) and Satya (2007).

The Rev. Linda Watkins
Linda has been an Episcopal priest for 15 years. Originally from the Binghamton, NY, area, she received a BA in English/Drama from SUNY Potsdam and then got an MA in Theatre from Michigan State University.  She graduated with an M.Div. from the General Theological Seminary in NYC in 1997.  She became Rector of St. Mary’s church, Waynesboro, PA, in 2006, after having served churches in Upstate New York.

Monica Whitaker
A cradle Episcopalian, Monica enjoyed many summers at a Christian camp cultivating an appreciation of nature and developing a spiritual relationship with the Creator. She has been an active volunteer, presenter, worship leader, and legislative advocate for New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, and has promoted environmental stewardship while serving on green teams at her parish, workplace, and seminary. Ms. Whitaker is a Postulant for Holy Orders in the Diocese of the Rio Grande.

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