Meet the GreenFaith Fellowship Program Class of 2016
The Stony Point Center, Stony Point, NY
Sahar Alsahlani, a Muslim originally from Iraq and raised in the US, is an interfaith peace activist, with a background in geography, and in television broadcasting.
Sahar is passionate about continuing to pursue the study of, and engaging in, faith based advocacy, inter-religious dialogue, peace-building, and advocating for the practice of nonviolence. Her goal is to bridge the intersectionality between man’s quest for, and exploitation of, the earth’s natural resources and the violence to obtain them, and the ecological and human rights consequences and ramification of these actions.
The Rev. Susumu Ando
North Shore UMC, Wading River, NY
Susumu is an ordained minister of the United Methodist Church, and currently on sabbatical. Previously he served in a United Methodist church on Long Island for 17 years after he graduated from Drew Theological School (M. Div.) in N.J.
He practices Centering Prayer (contemplation), enjoys yoga and exercise, vegetable gardening, and cooking whole food, plant-based foods.
He originally came from Japan, and speaks both Japanese and English. His wife is also a UM minister.
I am a current student at Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA. I serve as the 2015-16 student body president. I am currently trying to organize a student organization based around earth stewardship.
I have an internship with the local chapter of the Sierra Club. My work will emphasize building coalition with local faith based organizations.
When I am not working I enjoy hiking with my wife Nadia Armstrong-Green.
George Fox University, Newberg, OR
Cherice Bock teaches at George Fox University and is the campus garden coordinator. She holds an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. Cherice is working on a Ph.D. in environmental studies at Antioch University New England, where she is editor of the environmental studies journal Whole Terrain. She enjoys hiking and camping in her home state of Oregon, biking around town with her spouse and sons, and eating home-grown fruits, veggies, and eggs.
Mary Catherine Boyd
Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Greenwood, VA
Cathy Boyd is the Director of Christian Formation and Communications Associate at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Greenwood, Virginia, which is at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just about at the junction of the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. She works with the clergy and people of the church to design and implement programs for children, youth, and adults that accomplish Christian Education and help people fulfill the church’s mission.
The Rev. Samuel D. Brannon
Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy, Austin, TX
Sam joined the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy in July of 2014 as an Outreach and Engagement Specialist. Currently, he is working on the Water Captains Program. Sam is a Texan and calls Austin his home. That aside, he has travelled abroad all over Asia, the Middle East, some of the African continent, all over the United States, and some of Mexico. Currently, he lives in Georgetown with his wife Emily and their children, Clara (9) and Stella (6). Being no stranger to the geographic sojourn, Sam is happy to limit most of travels to Texas now so he can be at home with his family most nights.
CASO, New York, NY
Passionate since childhood about the environment and actively involved in Green issues during the Eighties, including writing a thesis on environmental protection. I have an MA in Counseling and am a member of the Shambhala Meditation Center of New York City. In 2010 I cofounded Journey of Fearlessness, an ongoing support group for people working with trauma through mindfulness and somatic practices.
The Rev. Danny Diaz
Northwest Bronx Clergy Coalition, Bronx, NY
My name is Danny Diaz Justice Minister for Love Gospel Assembly Church. I am the lead faith organizer for an effort to retrofit houses of worship throughout NYC with green energy efficient technology.
I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and a Master’s Degree of Social Work from Fordham University, a Masters of Divinity from New York Theological Seminary and I'm a 2017 doctoral candidate at NYTS in the Faith Rooted Organizing cohort.
Wonderwell Mountain Refuge, Springfield, NH
Dan Gilner holds a BA in Religious Studies from Xavier University and an MA in Social Sciences from Humboldt State Universities Environment and Community Program. He is a former director of the California based non-profit organization Summer L.E.A.P. Dan lives and works at Wonderwell Mountain Refuge, an Eco-Dharma Buddhist retreat center for the Natural Dharma Fellowship. He is currently the head of their sustainability committee and collaborates with others involved to create an environmentally sustainable and compassionate refuge environment.
Gary A. Harris
Sustainability Solutions Group, Atlanta, GA
Garry A. Harris is the President of Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG), a consulting firm that provides diverse energy engineering and power generation technical services, sustainable communities planning and implementation, workforce force development, and clean energy solutions. Mr. Harris is the Creation Care Ministry Leader: Environmental at the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. Mr. Harris holds a BS in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Virginia, a MS in Technology Management and a MS in Quality Engineering and is seeking a PHD in Energy and Environmental Policy from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The Rev. Janet G. Hodge
Tremont United Methodist Church, Bronx, NY
Rev. Janet G. Hodge, pastor of Tremont United Methodist Church, Bronx, NY.
I just completed five years as the pastor of Tremont United Methodist Church. I am very passionate about environmental and social justice and am leading the congregation in ministries that address these issues. Tremont has completed an energy assessment and has applied to NY State to be part of its retrofit program with final objective being the procurement of renewable energy.
Center for Earth Ethics, New York, NY
Valencia is a graduate student at Union Theological Seminary in New York studying environmental health, indigenous spirituality (Native American and Egyptology-Ma ‘at) and natural healing practices. She is an active member of the Center for Earth Ethics-Edible Churchyard Garden and Creative Director at Mizizi Mansion in which her research and special projects includes: “Food as Medicine,” “Bible, Botanicals, and Body,” “Faith, Food, and Fashion.”
Elizabeth M. Keihm
Homecoming Farm, Amityville, NY
I am Executive Director and Farmer at Homecoming Farm, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville. I have a degree in Theology from St. John’s University, have been a teacher of religious studies and a social worker as well as a florist and event planner. I have a Certificate in Ornamental Horticulture from the New York Botanical Gardens, am studying Biodynamic Agriculture at the Pfeiffer Center and am a Master Gardener.
Sarah Johnson King
Earth Care Commission
Sarah King chairs the Arizona Faith Network Earth Care Commission and serves as board member for Arizona Interfaith Power and Light. She also chairs the Earth Care subgroup for the Desert Southwest Conference, UMC Board of Church and Society. She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago in 1976. Sarah is retired and resides with her husband and dog in Phoenix, Arizona.
Pastor Elizabeth Neal Owens LaVela, M.Div.
Good stewardship of the earth’s resources begins young. Pastor Betsy LaVela has developed a series of eco-faith camps for children that can be used in interfaith and Christian camp or workshop settings (www.splashcampnj.com). Topics include: water stewardship, biodiversity (critters), oceans, forests, soils, food security, and climate change. Field trial a Splash camp to raise eco-awareness in your community.
Betsy A. Leonard
Betsy is a graduate of Florida State University, with a BS in Recreation and she has obtained an MA from San Diego State University, with a focus in environmental education. She served as the EE Coordinator for three southern CA counties. She is a Certified Master Environmental Educator and is a Certified Interpretive Guide. Betsy has written curriculum and trained teachers. She is a published author. She has received several national awards.
The Rev. Ana Levy-Lyons
First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn, NY
Rev. Ana Levy-Lyons is senior minister at First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn, NY. She is passionate about the environment and harnessing the power of religion to draw us back into harmony with the earth. Ana holds a B.A. from Brown University and an M.Div. from the University of Chicago Divinity School. Her sermons and articles have been published in the Huffington Post, UU World, and Tikkun magazine where she is a contributing editor.
Joshua has a PhD in anthropology and a master’s degree in community and rural development. He has worked with arctic communities in northern Labrador, Alaska and the Northwest Territories. He has also conducted research on religious response to disaster following the attacks of September 11th and Hurricane Katrina. Joshua is also interested in the response of higher education to climate change, and the ways we are (or are not) preparing students for futures that society itself struggles to imagine.
Hazon, New York, NY
Hody Nemes is the Manager of Greening & Climate Initiatives for Hazon, a national Jewish group building healthier and more sustainable communities, where he helps manage a network of Jewish organizations dedicated to greening. He joined Hazon after working as a news and features reporter for the Jewish Daily Forward. He graduated Yale University with a degree in environmental studies, and studied at Yeshivat Maale Gilboa in Israel.
The Rev. Eddie Pierce
God’s Fellowship Temple, Bronx, NY
Pastor Eddie Pierce has been a Bronx resident and leader of the Clergy Caucus of the Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition for 15 years. He is an elder of Gods Fellowship Temple and pastor of United Fellowship Outreach Ministry, uniting churches of diverse denominations across the city to fellowship. Pastor Pierce is a devoted husband and loving father of four. His passions are teaching the Word, music and community organizing for economic and racial justice.
Cantor Rachel Harrison Rhodes
Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church, VA
Rachel Rhodes is a cantor at the Reform synagogue, Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, VA. She was ordained as clergy from Hebrew Union College in New York in 2014, and wrote her graduate thesis on Jewish environmentalism and gave a senior recital on the topic, entitled “Inspiring Environmental Stewardship through Jewish Song.” Cantor Rhodes helped begin a zero waste program at her seminary and is currently the chair of her synagogue Green Team, and is very interested in how music can help galvanize the environmental movement across the world.
The College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY
Ken has been with The College of Saint Rose for 25 years. He has been the college’s one-and-only Community Service Director since 2000. A cohort of student leaders assists him with organizing a large variety of service activities and programs locally and nationally. Ken was also a Licensed Local Pastor in The United Methodist Church from 1995 till 2012 before retiring from bi-vocational service ministry. Ken lives in Castleton, NY with his wife Greta.
Voice of America, Washington, DC
Rosanne Skirble is an environmental reporter for the Voice of America. Her broadcasts reach a global audience on radio, television and the web. She chaired the initiative to certify her synagogue as a GreenFaith Green Sanctuary, has served as a Democratic Party precinct captain, and was recently appointed to the Montgomery County, Maryland Forest Conservation Advisory Committee. Earlier in her career she taught Spanish and EFL in public schools and colleges in the United States, Japan and Canada.
The Rev. David D. Snyder
Community Church of Cedar Grove
Rev. David Snyder, MDiv., was ordained into Christian ministry in 1981.
Dave has served in various ministry settings: interfaith work; campus ministry work; interim ministry work; and currently serves as pastor in the Community Church of Cedar Grove, New Jersey. He also serves on the local Environmental Commission.
Dawn Michelle Tesorero
VA Boston Health System, West Roxbury, MA
It’s urgent to respond to climate change.
I collaborate with a bishop, staff and lay leaders to grow our Creation Care Task Force in the MA Diocese. A former Ranger, I am keen to engage youth and adults in nature. Trained in environmental protection by the US EPA, I work at the VA Boston Health System working to protect the environment and increase recycling. My wife and I nurture many 4-legged creatures and play soccer.
North Brunswick, NJ
During 40 years as a public school teacher, I taught grades 1 – 7 in five states, founded several “Save the Animals” Environmental Clubs and established an internship program for seniors in high school exploring careers in public service and the helping professions. I currently pursue earth advocacy as the clerk of a Quaker meeting in New Brunswick, New Jersey and as a facilitator of Awakening the Dreamer workshops and other events for The Pachamama Alliance.
The Rev. Will Wauters TSSF
Santa Fe Episcopal Church, San Antonio, TX
The Rev. Will Wauters TSSF is a Third Order Franciscan and ordained in the Episcopal Church for the last 35 years. He has served in inner city churches in East Los Angeles, Jersey City, San Francisco, Trenton and San Antonio. Will is currently the Vicar of Santa Fe Episcopal Church in San Antonio, TX. He is also Chair of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship.
While Chaplain and teacher of Religion and Ethics at the Lawrenceville School in N.J., Will taught several classes in ethics including Environmental Ethics.