Working for peace & justice through nonviolence since 1915.
The National Council represents the Fellowship’s board of directors and serves as its policy-making body. Comprised of FOR grassroots members from across the United States, individuals serve three-year terms and participate actively in committee work in between the three regular NC meetings each year.
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 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 is an interfaith peace activist with a background in broadcasting 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 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.
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.
Connect with her on her web site.
Photo © Mina Carson
Michael is a retired teacher and pastor with the Church of the Brethren and the American Baptists. He was also a university and public broadcasting development person. Since retirement he has volunteered with American Red Cross as a disaster technology specialist, and as Coordinator of the PeaceDay campaign of On Earth Peace, the peace and social justice agency of the Church of the Brethren.
He has been a nonviolent activist since his undergraduate college days, and in recent years, he has become an avid student of strategic nonviolent struggle. As his experience in social activism has matured, he has come to appreciate and use on a daily basis the one-to-one sharing of story as a means of grounding his actions in the real needs of people, and the personal grounding that comes from spiritual practice.
He has been an active member of the Oregon chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation since 2008, and currently serves on its board. Since 2010, he has been technical adviser for the annual Regional Fellowship of Reconciliation Seabeck Conference in Seabeck, WA, and has built its Drupal website and Facebook pages. He is currently working with the national committee that is preparing for the FOR Centennial conference at Seabeck.
The Reverend Kate Fields is a biologist turned pastor; though a Tennessee native, she recently transitioned to Wisconsin to pastor an American Baptist congregation there.
Kate got involved with the Fellowship of Reconciliation through her work with the BPFNA (Bautistas por la Paz). Prior to seminary she conducted biology pedagogy research while working in both veterinary medicine and in remedial learning/Academic Support. She has done peace-building and climate justice work in Fiji and broader Oceania. She is committed to nonviolence, peace-building, climate justice, indigenous rights, and to sharing praxis-based creation care theologies with local congregations.
Kate loves to work to preserve Appalachian botany, hike with her greyhounds, grow vegetables, promote local food, and listen to folk music.
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 of realizing visions for a peaceful, socially and economically just world.
Prior to her graduate studies, Lily was a community organizer at GRO 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.
Liz Hess has worked as a Family Nurse Practitioner in Ithaca, NY for 26 years. Her volunteerism stems from the idea that “if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”
In the 1970’s she spent a few years with The Farm, an intentional community that was doing relief work in Guatemala and the South Bronx. Working and living with diverse people and finding common humanity and love in our different faiths was a formative experience. In the 1980’s she worked as a visiting nurse in New York City, serving the homebound elderly, disabled, and people with HIV/AIDS. She volunteered as a nurse at a homeless shelter. Since finishing her education, settling in Ithaca, and starting a family she has been involved in and on the boards of local organizations such as The GreenStar Food Cooperative, the Ithaca Breast Cancer Alliance, The Ithaca Waldorf School, and the Sisterhood of Temple Beth El.
The common thread of her interest in these different organizations is a desire to strengthen communities through common goals, experiences and cooperation. Liz lives with her husband and two almost-grown children (when they are around). She enjoys making and fixing things, and is committed to living lightly on the earth. She loves to read both fiction and non-fiction, especially when it enhances her understanding of justice and truth.
Max Hess is an attorney in private practice originally from redwood country in Northern California, who's sojourned in Germany, Washington State, Israel, New York State, and Texas, now residing 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 religious organizations on amicus briefs in the effort to bring LGBT people within the protections of the U.S. Constitution. He was also a plaintiff challenging voter ID requirements and involved himself in other efforts to assure fair elections.
Remembering California's 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 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 Chögyam 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 currently lives in Washington, DC, where he works for a non-profit supporting human rights defenders and journalists internationally.
La Trina Jackson is a Georgia native who 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 is a peace activist living in Lewisburg, PA.
Trained as a physicist, he spent many years teaching in a local public school and was one of the original board members of the Lewisburg Prison Project also working 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 the Central Susquehanna Valley Mediation Center.
He served on FOR's National Council from 2011 to 2014 and returned in 2015 as Treasurer.
Patty Lyman is a lifelong anti-war activist who 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.
As a non-violence trainer, she was part of New Society Trainers (a training collective originally part of Movement for a New Society) for many years.
She is a life long Quaker and a member of South Seattle Friends Meeting. Her present passion is climate justice and bicycle advocacy, and 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.
Dr. David Ragland, a native of St.Louis, MO, is co-founder and co-director for the Truth Telling Project of Ferguson and Visiting Professor at the United Nations Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica.
When Michael Brown Jr. was killed, Dr. Ragland became involved with the emerging protest movement in Ferguson. As a result of his research and learning from the protest movement, he helped to found the Truth Telling Project so that marginalized voices could be heard as part of moving society toward recognition of this experience to lay the groundwork for healing. The project has created space to allow people to speak their truth and for others to witness and learn from the experiences of police violence.
Dr. Ragland is on the board of the Peace and Justice Studies Association. His research focuses on Restorative Justice, School & Social Violence, the School to Prison Pipeline, Peace Education, Philosophy of Education, Coloniality and Critical Race Theory. His most recent publication is a chapter titled “Peace Education as an Ethical Framework to Situate Restorative Justice: Locating the Concerns of Communities of Color in Peace and Justice Discourse” in Peace Studies between Tradition and Innovation and a co-authored research article entitled “Truth-telling from the Margins: Exploring Black-led responses to police violence and systemic humiliation.”
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 © Daniella A. Rascón
Adam is an associate editor with PeaceVoice, a board member of the Oregon Peace Institute, a core member of the Portland Peace Team, a Campaign Nonviolence action organizer, a core member of 1000 Nonviolence Training initiative, an Oregon Friendship of Reconciliation board member, and a Leadership Fellow in Students United for Nonviolence.
He is currently finishing up his Masters in Conflict Resolution at Portland State University where he is studying specializations in nonviolence, restorative justice, interpersonal neurobiology and program evaluation. Adam is also a member of 350.org, March Against Monsanto, the Sierra Club, and he volunteers at Potluck in the Park with Hands-on Greater Portland.
Adam prides himself on being a good father to his three sons and a good husband to his amazing wife as they work together for social justice, peace and equality. When he takes time to relax, he enjoys spending time with his family camping, fishing, and tending their organic garden.
Tom grew up in the central valley of Northern California, receiving his Bachelor's degree in Linguistics at U.C. Davis, graduating with highest honors. During his studies 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.