FOR National Council
Shaina Adams-El Guabli
Shaina first connected with FOR in 2005 through an Interfaith Peace-Builders delegation, and previously served as a National Council member from 2006-2009. Drawing on her extensive international service — from rural Morocco to Israel, Palestine, and Jordan, and on to aboriginal communities in Australia — she is passionate about global and intercultural education and the ways in which we can leverage learning spaces toward the greater good.
Shaina currently works as associate director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate Student Center, implementing programs, trainings, and workshops. Since 2009 she has served on the university’s Intercultural Leadership Program coordinating team, designing and implementing curriculum. She has previously worked at the Penn Women’s Center, Penn Abroad, and as an AmeriCorps volunteer with Project SHINE, a service-learning organization that supports older immigrants.
Shaina received her B.A. in sociology and religion from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and her M.S.Ed. in intercultural communication from Penn’s Graduate School of Education. Through her studies, Shaina focused on discourse and communication across and within diverse communities, and is particularly interested in the intersections of identity and community-building. Originally from the Gulf Coast of Texas, Shaina now resides in Philadelphia where she is involved in several local organizations, including Christian-Jewish Allies and Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace.
Irving is a community organizer at the Beloved Community Center in Greensboro and Triad Coordinator for Ignite NC. He has worked to build community and youth coalitions both in Greensboro and throughout the state of North Carolina. He is also working to train North Carolina’s next generation of activists as the Fellowship Coordinator of Ignite NC. Irving has played an intricate role in organizing initiatives such as the Citizens Review Board, addressing police accountability in Greensboro, as well as the Teens Downtown youth program. Most recently, Irving has launched GSO Voting Voices, an organization aimed at providing the greater Greensboro community of social justice and civic engagement information. Irving also serves as the Communications Chair for the Greensboro NAACP chapter, Member of the Freedom Side Network, appointed to the Youth Advisory Board for the city of Greensboro, and is the Youth Director of Shiloh Baptist Church, Youth and Student Coalition for Police Accountability (Y.S.C.P.A.), Guilford Votes, and sits on the planning committees for Piedmont Together and The Wild Goose Festival.
Sahar Alsahlani (Vice Chair)
Originally from Iraq, Sahar recently moved to NY from Los Angeles, CA where she had been working as a television writer, producer and editor. Her various projects included productions for USA Broadcasting, Warner Brothers Entertainment, FOX, Paramount, and Discovery ID. She soon discovered her passion for social justice, and became active with Muslim advocacy organizations and was part of the start-up team that launched Bridges-TV, the first ever, American-Muslim lifestyle network.
Upon relocation to NY, Sahar has been active in studying about, and engaging in faith based advocacy, inter-religious dialogue, peace-building and the theory and practice of nonviolence.
She currently lives in one of the countries only intentional multi-faith communities geared towards studying the principles and practice of social justice and nonviolence, The Community of Living Traditions at the Stony Point Center.
Along with serving on the National Council of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Sahar is also on the Executive Council of Religions for Peace, USA, the board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-NY, and is a fellow at GreenFaith, an interfaith organization dedicated to climate justice. Currently, Sahar is working on video productions geared towards inter-religious peace-building.
Laurie Childers (Chair)
Laurie is an artist, ceramics instructor, and singer/songwriter in Corvallis, Oregon. In the 1980s, she worked around the world with artisans building fuel-efficient cookstoves and learned much about the effect of policies upon the lives of real people as well as the land. Her web site is www.lauriechilders.com. [Photo: (c) Mina Carson]
Informed by many spiritual traditions, Laurie attends Quaker meeting and appreciates the 400-year-old commitment to nonviolence and justice, and the openness and shared responsibility of the process. Her first project for the Fellowship of Reconciliation, at the national level, was organizing a music video to help inspire the nonviolent Green Movement in Iran:
Lily Tinker Fortel
Lily is a 2015 Master of Divinity graduate of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Lily brings a depth of experience in collaborative and community-rooted civic and societal engagement, her commitment to synthesizing big-picture analyses with compassionate understandings of lived experiences, and a deep passion for nurturing holistic wellness and healing at all levels [individual, communal and societal] to the work for realizing visions for a peaceful and socially and economically just world.
Prior to her graduate studies, Lily was a community organizer at GRO – Grass Roots Organizing in central Missouri; and peace educator and community outreach coordinator at Mid-Missouri Peaceworks. Holding a B.A. from Earlham College’s Peace and Global Studies program, Lily was also awarded a Luce Foundation Fellowship toward interreligious and cross-cultural studies at Gadjah Mada University in Jogjakarta, Indonesia in 2013. She co-coordinated the April 2013 International Buddhist Christian Conference: A Dialogue Between Engaged Buddhists and Liberation Theologians and co-organized the Martin Luther King, Jr. Symposium on Community Economic Empowerment in April 2014.
In April/May 2008, Lily was part of a 19-member civilian diplomacy delegation to Iran, organized by the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Lily has planned direct actions, facilitated workshops, and spoken locally, regionally, and nationally. A third-generation member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Lily is thrilled to serve as a member of the National Council.
Max is an attorney in private practice. Originally from redwood country in Northern California, with later sojourns in Germany, Washington State, Israel, New York State, and Texas, he now resides in Atlanta, Georgia.
Since the 1980s, he has been involved in issues pertaining to the death penalty and, more recently, in criminal justice reform efforts to find alternatives to incarceration. Beginning in the 1990s, he has represented numerous religious organizations on amicus briefs in the effort to bring LGBT people within the protections of the U.S. Constitution. He was a plaintiff challenging voter ID requirements, and involved in other efforts to assure fair elections.
Remembering those redwoods, he’s always been fascinated by ancient conifer species and now sings with the choir of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in DeKalb County, Georgia.
Rev. Jeff Hood
Rev. Jeff Hood is a theologian (MDiv and ThM), historian (MA) and bioethicist (MS) by academic training. Presently, Jeff is constructing a queer theology in completion of a doctorate at Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University. A graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Jeff is an ordained Southern Baptist minister.
A passionate activist, Jeff serves as the executive director of Center for Theological Activism and as a pastor to a multitude of persons. In conjunction with his work at the Center, Jeff serves as a member of the board of directors of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, convener of the North Texas Fellowship of Reconciliation, as North Texas area director of Pastors for Texas Children and as a spiritual advisor on Texas’ death row.
In 2013, Jeff’s work as an organizer and activist was recognized by PFLAG Fort Worth’s Equality Award. A visionary writer, Jeff has written three books: The Queer: An Interaction with The Gospel of John, The Queering of an American Evangelical and The Sociopathic Jesus, and writes regularly at revjeffhood.com.
Jeff is married to a brilliant artist named Emily and has three beautiful young sons — twin toddlers, Jeff and Phillip, and infant, Quinley. Throughout his life and work, Jeff lives and works prophetically out of the juxtaposition of being a Southern queer Christian. You can follow him on Twitter @revjeffhood.
Ciprian is a Buddhist meditation teacher, having trained in the Shambhala lineage of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Venerable Chö gyam Trungpa Rinpoche. He has studied meditation for over eighteen years, and has led weekend retreats and public programs throughout the northeast US; Birmingham, Alabama; and Cape Town, South Africa. He served as the co-executive director of the Shambhala Meditation Center of New York for three years, and taught Buddhist meditation at the New School University. He currently lives in Washington, DC, where he works for a non-profit supporting human rights defenders and journalists internationally.
La Trina P. Jackson
Trina, a Georgia native, has been waging peace with the Atlanta FOR chapter since 2008. Through this connection she became a delegate for the inaugural African Heritage Delegation of Interfaith Peacebuilders to Israel and Palestine in 2011. Additionally, Trina serves as a board member and community leader for her local mosque, Muslims for Progressive Values.
She teaches high school science in Atlanta, where her other community activating/agitating work is human rights and education oriented, including: growing justice in the US criminal justice system, raising awareness about Palestine/ Israel, inter-religious peacebuilding, and local food security.
Trina lives with her spouse on an urban farm raising food, goats, chickens, and bees.
Steve Jacobsen (Treasurer)
Steve Jacobsen is a peace activist living in Lewisburg, PA. He was trained as a physicist and spent many years teaching in a local public school. He was one of the original board members of the lewisburgprisonproject.org and worked with other prisoner advocacy groups. In his second career he was Business Manager of the Baptist Peace Fellowship, Deputy Director of a community mediation center in Ithaca, NY, and then a founding board member of a similar center in Pennsylvania csvmediation.com. He served on FOR’s National Council from 2011 to 2014 and returned in 2015 as Treasurer.
Patty has lived in the Pacific Northwest for the last 35 years. She is a retired physician assistant and worked with people with spinal cord injuries. An anti-war activist all of her life, her present passion is climate justice and bicycle advocacy. As a non-violence trainer, she was part of New Society Trainers for many years- a training collective originally part of Movement for a New Society. She is a life long Quaker and a member of South Seattle Friends Meeting. She also sings with Seattle Labor Chorus.
While Patty was in college, her family became involved with the Committee of Responsibility and had the opportunity to support an injured child from Vietnam in their home for two years. She and her husband have since supported and welcomed many refugees from around the world in their home through the Sanctuary Movement, the FOR Bosnian Student Project, the Tashkent Sister City Project of Seattle and most recently an Eritrean seeking asylum that was released from the Tacoma Detention Center.
Sam Smith (R.I.P.)
Reverend Sam died suddenly in December 2014, after several years of distinguished volunteer leadership in FOR at local as well as national levels. Sam was an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren who was deeply engaged with many peace, social justice, and faith-based causes.
Based in Chicago’s western suburbs, Sam chaired FOR’s Chicago chapter and was a member of the Historic Peace Churches/ Fellowship of Reconciliation Consultative Committee. He was a champion of the I Will Not Kill campaign and worked with DePaul University student service learners on this FOR-led national counter-recruitment campaign.
Meghan’s commitment to peace and justice has been informed by relationships with soldiers, CatholicWorkers, and pastors as well as undergraduate studies in Peace Justice and Conflict at DePaul University where she met mentors Rev. Sam Smith, a former FOR NC member, and Rev. Loren McGrail, founder of the Chicago Protest Chaplains. Meghan has devoted her professional career to strengthening nonprofits through facilitation, fundraising, community relations, and volunteer coordination as an extension of ‘helping to create the change she wants to see in the world.’ Recently Meghan moved to Beloit, WI and is exploring the intersections of community nonprofits, the Catholicworker philosophy, liberation theology, and family life while working with Beloit College student entrepreneurs at CELEB toward meaningful economic relationships and fulfilling lives. Meghan is especially honored to work on the FOR NC as a culmination of her work in the Chicago FOR chapter and a continuation of her professional and personal commitment to justice and peace.
Ariel Vegosen is a professional dialogue facilitator, youth educator, interfaith community organizer, public relations expert, writer, performer, activist, and world traveler. Ariel is proud to serve on FOR’s National Council and has traveled to Iran, Israel, and Palestine as part of FOR peace-building delegations. Some of Ariel’s most inspirational work includes the Community of Living Traditions, the Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence, Jewish Voice for Peace, the Teva Learning Center, Jewish Funds for Justice, public relations for Dr. Bronners Magic Soaps, and working to get GMO food banned.
Ariel is committed to nonviolence, liberation, growing organic vegetables, and creating safe spaces where people can share their stories. Ariel is the founder of the Gender Blender Collective – a group designed to address how gender impacts and affects our lives. [Photo: (c) Daniella A. Rascón]
Tom grew up and studied in the central valley of Northern California. He received his Bachelors degree in Linguistics at University of California Davis graduating with highest honors. During that time he worked closely on various activist projects at the university and worked as the Multi-faith Coordinator with Kristin Stoneking at the Multi-faith Living Community. He left academics behind to serve with Americorps in New Orleans in 2013. He has served two years with Tulane Americorps VISTA, first English education program of Oportunidades NOLA, and then with the Center for Restorative Approaches.
He is very excited about most social justice projects but in particular is energized by his current work in interrupting the school to prison pipeline using restorative justice and practices. In his spare time, Tom enjoys practicing and performing Capoeira as well as gardening in several places in New Orleans. While Tom misses the hiking and sunsets of California, New Orleans and its hard earned wisdom have become important to Tom.