FOR Announces New Executive Director, Kristin Stoneking
Media Contact: Ethan Vesely-Flad, FOR Communications, +1-510-701-5267, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Fellowship of Reconciliation, the oldest interfaith peace and justice organization in North America, is delighted to welcome a new executive director to lead FOR’s mission into a second century. Culminating a six-month search process with an excellent slate of candidates, FOR has chosen the Reverend Kristin Gill Stoneking of Davis, California.
“The twentieth century would have looked quite different without the vision and peacebuilding work of the Fellowship of Reconciliation,” says Stoneking. “Now, in the twenty-first century, the challenges of peacebuilding and creating a nonviolent, anti-oppressive world remain, but must be approached in new ways. I believe this shift is a great opportunity.”
Stoneking comes to FOR following a 14-year stint as executive director of the Cal Aggie Christian Association in Davis. During her tenure, the historic organization clarified and focused its mission, and grew multifold in staff and budget. The conception and enactment of a Multifaith Living Community as a concrete response to rising interreligious tension, particularly Islamophobia, locally and in broader U.S. society, was Stoneking’s framework for mobilizing “CA House” toward renewed peace and justice leadership. The program formally launched in 2008 and is now recognized as a national model for interreligious cooperation, justice, and peacebuilding. The $2.1 million project featured the development of residential housing in which 42 students from six faith backgrounds now live.
A vocal advocate for the Occupy/Decolonize movement, Stoneking also achieved national attention in November 2011 for her role in a dramatic incident with violent overtones. Police officers infamously pepper-sprayed some of the 300 activists who had joined the Occupy Davis protest, dramatically increasing an already tense situation. Stoneking successfully mediated between the parties and, when video footage of the situation “went viral” on the Internet, used the opportunity to widely promote the message of the disciplined, principled use of nonviolent action.
“The Fellowship is tremendously excited to welcome Kristin as our next executive director,” says Andrea Briggs, chair of FOR’s National Council. “Her diverse gifts in strategic planning and moving organizations through change, as well as her deep experience in working side-by-side with youth and young adults, will be critical assets to FOR as we approach our centennial celebration in 2014-2015.”
Stoneking will become FOR’s 24th executive leader, succeeding Dr. Mark Johnson, who retires this summer after six years at the helm of FOR. “I am honored to accept this invitation,” says Stoneking, who will assume her position in August 2013. “My grassroots experience provides evidence that FOR’s expertise in spiritually-based organizing for human and civil rights is critically needed today. We are at a watershed moment: people are looking for the leadership that FOR can provide through interconnecting and advocating for racial, economic, environmental, and social justice. I am eager to work with FOR members and allies to strengthen the path of transformative revolutionary nonviolence.”
Stoneking is an ordained United Methodist minister and also nearing the completion of a Ph.D. in interreligious studies and nonviolence education at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She and her spouse, Elizabeth Campi, have two children.
Since 1915, the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) in the United States has carried on programs and educational projects concerned with domestic and international peace and justice, nonviolent alternatives to conflict, and the rights of conscience. An interfaith, tax-exempt organization, FOR promotes active nonviolence and has members from many religious, spiritual, and ethnic traditions. FOR-USA is a branch of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), with affiliates in over 50 countries.