Rick Love, President
Rick lived in Indonesia for nine years as an English teacher, while doing doctoral research, and has travelled extensively. He has written two books and numerous articles on Christian-Muslim relations. He holds a Th.M. in New Testament studies, a D.Min. in urban studies, and a Ph.D. in intercultural studies. His previous roles as a Vineyard pastor and then as a CEO of an international faith-based organization has given him ample opportunity to develop his peacemaking skills.
He has conducted postdoctoral study in peacemaking at the Yale University Center for Faith and Culture. He serves on the executive team for the World Evangelical Alliance Peace and Reconciliation Initiative and on the steering team for The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good. Find out more about Rick at www.ricklove.net.
Jim Mullins, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives
Jim lived in Turkey for two and a half years in order to gain a better understanding of the Muslim community in light of the global tensions between the West and the Muslim world. He has a deep passion to help ordinary people participate in peacemaking and reconciliation. Jim has co-founded several organizations, including Missing Piece International, a holistic basketball scouting service; the International Guild of Visual Peacemakers; the Moravian Community, which focused on serving international students; and the K-Town Project, an initiative to promote a unique Turkish art form. Jim has experience working with several non-profit organizations and entrepreneurial ventures.
Michael Ly, Northeast Regional Director
Michael was born and raised in a Chinese-Cambodian refugee home after his parents escaped the horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime. Growing up in a Christian and Ancestral-Buddhist home, Michael started following the teachings of Jesus at a young age. He is an accounting consultant and has worked for more than ten years as a controller for several organizations, including The Mosaic Company. Michael has served as a leader with two college ministries, worked with a faith-based organization, and started many community groups focused on the study of Jesus.
Jeff Burns, East Coast Regional Director
Jeff Burns has been active in peacemaking for the last five years. In conjunction with being the East Coast Regional Director for Peace Catalyst, he has started Peace on Earth Initiatives, which focuses on building bridges between, Muslims, Christians and Jews through the teachings of Jesus.
Jeff has been a regular featured writer in the Muslim newspaper IQRAA. He has been invited to speak in mosques and was a guest speaker at the Muslim American Society Annual Convention in 2009. He has a Bachelors in Pastoral Studies and Philosophy from Liberty University, an M.Div. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is now writing his doctoral dissertation at Regent University.
Martin Brooks, Midwest Regional Director
Martin has worked as a high school counselor, church pastor and international relief and development professional. Martin has consistently promoted understanding and dialogue between people of various faiths based on mutual respect and the teachings of Jesus. He started a holistic educational program for the church leaders of Mozambique, and after the 2000 floods, helped several faith-based NGOs organize their relief projects. Working through the non-profit sector, he has been a catalyst for educational and development projects in Bosnia, Ghana, and Afghanistan.
Martin and his wife Susan currently live in Louisville, Kentucky. They have also lived in Mozambique, Ghana, Portugal and more recently Turkish Cyprus. Martin is completing a Masters in International Relations at Near East University and currently holds a degree in Psychology from Lipscomb University and a Masters in Church Leadership from Kentucky Christian University.
Bill Clark, Northwest Regional Director
Bill and his wife Julie lived and worked in China for 10 years before moving to Kazakhstan in 1996, where all three of their children graduated from high school. Living and working among Muslims since 1985 has birthed in them a desire to be a peacemaker, and Bill completed his Ph.D. in Middle East Studies at the University of Washington in 1999. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the UW since 2010 and serves on the pastoral leadership team at the Seattle Vineyard Christian Fellowship.
Tim McDonell, Southern California Regional Director
Tim McDonell retired as a captain of the Los Angeles Fire Department after 32 years of service. When not putting out fires, he served as head of international ministry at the local church level. He and his wife Maria led short-term outreaches to Mexico and Indonesia, and more recently, he served as the Administrative Assistant to the Consultant for Christian-Muslim relations for Vineyard, USA. He and his wife now enjoy an excellent relationship with their local Islamic Center and many of its members.
Fran Love, Peacemaking Coach
Fran was born and raised in Indonesia, where she lived through ethnic riots, economic meltdowns, and a military coup, giving her the lifelong desire to see people live at peace with one another. She holds a master's degree. Marriage, parenting, and her friendships around the world teach her about the importance of reconciliation. Fran coaches people in cross-cultural life and skills, leadership, and spiritual realities. She speaks at conferences, workshops and retreats. She admires people who are willing to put their lives on the line to help people reconcile with God and others, and says that makes Jesus her number one favorite peacemaker.
Nicole Gibson, Director of Visual Peacemaking
Nicole has traveled to many countries and spent time with people of diverse backgrounds, religions, and cultures. She has come to see the power of images in the world today, as well as their ability to affect the way we view the world and those around us, for better or worse. Nicole is an internationally-recognized, award-winning photographer, and her desire is to see visual media used to break down barriers and stereotypes, and to promote peace. Nicole is also a founding member of the International Guild of Visual Peacemakers. Find out more about Nicole at www.nicolegibsonphotography.com.
Natalie Grillo, Director of Operations and Communication
Natalie has a deep appreciation for people of diverse backgrounds, cultures, perspectives, and experiences. She also has a passion to see all people live vibrant lives of freedom and peace with God and others. A graduate of Taylor University and the Vineyard Leadership Institute, Natalie aims to use her skills in communication, writing and editing, public relations, administration, and leadership to bring harmony in relationships, business practices, and ministry. She has been a key leader at the Mile High Vineyard in Arvada, Colorado for over ten years, where she currently oversees small groups.
Thomas Davis, Southeast Regional Director and Global Peacemaking Coach
A native of South Carolina, Thomas has been involved in Muslim-Christian relations for more than a dozen years. An ordained Southern Baptist minister and a certified ESL teacher, he attended public schools his entire life and, as a ninth grader, was the only Caucasian on his varsity basketball team. Thomas has traveled extensively in Southeast Asia and loves cultures and diversity. He has taught English in India, Indonesia, and Afghanistan and has enjoyed extended home stays internationally with both Christian and Muslim families. Thomas is committed to defending the oppressed and following the ways and teachings of Jesus. Thomas and his lovely wife, Carrie, have three children.
David Vidmar, Program Coordinator - Northern California
From childhood, David has enjoyed close friendships with people of diverse backgrounds who have shaped his life. He was a teacher and then school principal for 15 years before spending seven years in Kazakhstan with his wife, Teri, and their children. Teri is a registered nurse, and the family spent their time in Kazakhstan helping locals and expats through HIV/AIDS education, family medicine, prayer, and media. David now lives with his family near UC Davis, California and is working to build communities of reconciliation, dialogue, and friendship between Muslims, Christians, and others.
Steve Lied, Program Coordinator - Wisconsin
Steve Lied lived in the Balkans from 1991-2012. In addition to co-starting a small IT company in Skopje, Macedonia, Steve directed Millennium Relief and Development Services’ Macedonia office. Under his leadership, MRDS-Macedonia focused on civil society strengthening, women’s health education, and interfaith peace building. In June 2010, MRDS-Macedonia held the Skopje Consultation “Loving God and Neighbor,” which featured speakers Dr. Miroslav Volf of Yale University, Ef. Sevko Omerbasic of the Islamic Community of Zagreb, and Dr. Peter Kuzmic of Gordon-Conwell Seminary. Steve continues to work with 4 national NGOs in Macedonia to run the “Conversations” Project for constructive dialogue on issues of faith and also works for the urban non-profit Community Warehouse in Milwaukee. Steve and his wife Karen have 3 children and relocated to Wisconsin in 2012. They desire to spread the message of the A Common Word initiative, encouraging Christians and Muslims to follow the way of the Messiah Jesus to love God and neighbor with their whole hearts, minds and strength.
Neal Foster, Raleigh-Durham Coordinator
Neal’s passion is to be a peacemaker in the way of Jesus. Coming from an evangelical/charismatic upbringing in Oklahoma, he has been vocationally involved in intercultural research and experiences since 2003. He spent a significant portion of that time in ten different countries in Africa, focusing on Muslim-Christian relations. Since living in the USA in the last few years, he has earned a Master of Divinity at Regent University, gotten married, and had twin boys. He sees peacemaking and reconciliation as the primary expression of the Kingdom of God and the primary work of the church, to which end go his efforts in Raleigh. Besides his family, his interests include basketball, theology, and heavy metal guitar solos.
Jedidiah Jonathan, Program Coordinator - Seattle
Jedidiah grew up in the metropolitan city of Hyderabad, India, where he began his walk with Jesus at a young age. He later moved with his parents to Seattle, where he graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelors in Computer Science. During his senior year, he had the opportunity to live in community at the International Friendship house, build friendships amongst students from various cultures, serve as a leader within the community, and facilitate events. Jedidiah is a software developer and works in the premium ultrasound software market. He is passionate about community and enriching lives for Jesus.
Nathan F. Elmore, Program Coordinator & Consultant for Christian-Muslim Relations
Since 2007, Nathan has had wide-ranging experience in Christian-Muslim relations. He has an M.Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, is working on an M.A. in Islamic Studies & Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary, and has over a decade of pastoral experience in diverse church environments. He currently serves as collegiate minister at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has traveled extensively and, in 2012, spent two weeks in Oman on a travel-study program through Hartford Seminary and Al Amana Centre. Nathan's foremost interests include Christian-Muslim dialogue, Qur’anic studies, the American Muslim experience, and Jesus-shaped peacemaking. He is a contributing scholar for State of Formation, and his writing has appeared in newspapers and Christianity Today. Above all, he longs for his family to bless all the families of the earth, channeling the call of Abraham by embodying the Good News of God’s peace through the person and story of Jesus.
Rebecca C.E. Brown, Women’s Mobilization and Program Coordinator (Ohio)
Rebecca is a Peacebuilder-in-training. Inspired by the heart of Jesus and inclined toward social justice, she has engaged in issues of peace and conflict since 2006. She graduated with a BA in Conflict Transformation and Middle East Studies from North Park University (2011). The constructed major integrated Arabic, Islamic Theology, Biblical Studies, and Conflict Transformation theory and practice. Some of her experience entails traveling in the West Bank to independently learn from peace initiatives there (2008, 2011), living/studying in the interface community of Derry, Northern Ireland, and… taking care of small children. Feel free to check out her thoughts on conflict transformation at RemainingTransformed.blogspot.com.
David Johnston, Resident Scholar/Blogger
David L. Johnston grew up with American parents in France and worked for sixteen years as a pastor and teacher in Algeria, Egypt, and the West Bank. He later graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary with a Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies with a specialty in Islamics. He then spent five years as a postdoctoral fellow in Islamic Studies and part-time lecturer at Yale University and is now a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania and an adjunct lecturer at St. Joseph's University. Besides a number of articles on contemporary Islam in leading academic journals, he is the author of Earth, Empire and Sacred Text: Muslims and Christians as Trustees of Creation and Evolving Muslim Theologies of Justice: Jamal al-Banna, Mohammed Hashim Kamali and Khaled Abou El Fadl. David's blog can be found at humantruestees.org.
Peace Catalyst seeks counsel from a broad range of perspectives, Thus, PCI's Advisory Board is comprised of people from a variety of backgrounds who advise in their specific areas of expertise. Advisory Board members are wholeheartedly committed to Peace Catalyst's peacemaking purposes but may not embrace everything that we believe or practice.
Dr. David W. Shenk was born in Tanzania and served for sixteen years in Somalia and Kenya with the Eastern Mennonites. He is presently Global Consultant with the Eastern Mennonites, giving special attention to Islam. His commitment to peacemaking that commends Christ has taken him into over 100 countries. He has taught courses on Christian-Muslim relations in over a dozen academic institutions. David has authored, co-authored, or edited sixteen books. Especially pertinent is A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue, co-authored with a Muslim, Badru Kateregga. He proactively seeks opportunities for dialogue with Muslims, especially within conflict-prone arenas. He holds a doctorate in Religious Studies Education with course work in Anthropology from New York University.
Dr. Lindy Backues is Associate Professor of Economic Development at Eastern University. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Leeds (UK), an M.Sc. in Economic Development from Eastern University, an M.Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary, and a B.Ed.S. from the University of Missouri. Before coming to Eastern University in 2008, Dr. Backues was Indonesia Country Director for Millennium Relief & Development Services. He lived in Indonesia from 1989 through 2007, undertaking grassroots development in the Southeast Asia region. Dr. Backues was also very involved, from 2005 through 2006, in relief and development efforts in the Indonesian region of Aceh, in response to the 2004 tsunami.
Tyler Johnson is the Pastor of City Engagement at Redemption Church in the Phoenix, Arizona area. He is actively involved in cultivating partnerships between faith-based organizations to promote peace throughout Phoenix and abroad. He is working with others to produce productive solutions to conflicts over immigration, religious differences, and poverty.
Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed is the National Director for the Office of Interfaith & Community Alliances for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Dr. Syeed obtained his Ph.D. in Sociolinguistics from Indiana University in 1984. Dr. Syeed has been actively involved in fostering understanding among the world's religions and has participated in interfaith dialogues at different levels in the U.S. and Canada. Syeed has been invited to speak on Muslims and Islamic issues on NBC, CBS, CBN, and ABC. He was interviewed on PBS for the McNeill-Lehrer Report and appeared on the "Today Show," CNN's "Crossfire" and on national television in Turkey, Malaysia, Sudan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia on matters related on Islam and Islam in America.
David P. Gushee is the Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University. He earned his Bachelor of Arts at the College of William and Mary (1984), a Master of Divinity at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1987), and both a Master of Philosophy (1990) and Doctor of Philosophy (1993) at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Beyond his work at Mercer, he is the Board Chair of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, a senior columnist for Associated Baptist Press, a regular contributor to the editorial page of USA Today, and a contributing editor for Christianity Today. He has published twelve books and hundreds of essays, book chapters, articles, reviews, and opinion pieces. His books include the award-winning Kingdom Ethics.
Asma Afsaruddin is Professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures and Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. She is the author and editor of four books and has written over fifty scholarly articles and popular essays on issues such as pluralism in Islamic thought; inter-faith relations; reconciliation and violence in Islamic legal, exegetical, and ethical works; internal debates about reform in Muslim societies; and gender issues. She lectures widely on these topics in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East and frequently consults with governmental and non-governmental organizations. She is Chair of the Board of Directors for the Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy and is a member of the advisory boards for Karamah and the Muslim World Initiative at the U.S. Institute of Peace.