Dr. Rick Love is a peacemaker, consultant on Christian-Muslim relations, professor, ordained pastor, and certified mediator. He is a global citizen, having lived in Indonesia and England, and has traveled extensively, consulting and lecturing in over 40 countries. He has been making friends with Muslims for over 35 years. Find out more about Rick at www.ricklove.net.
Brian has over 15 years of professional experience in management consulting, with a focus on strategy development and operational improvement. He is originally from Ohio but currently splits his time between California and New York. He became a Christian in his youth and is currently pursuing a Masters in Theological Studies. Having visited all 50 states, all 7 continents, and more than 100 countries, Brian has seen firsthand the importance of peacemaking and the need for interfaith community.
Nicole has traveled to various countries around the world and worked with people of diverse backgrounds, religions, and cultures through her work as a photographer and church leader. She has come to see the power of communication, both written and visual, 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 desires to see all forms of media used to break down barriers and stereotypes and to promote peace.
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. 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.
Rebecca is passionate about channeling philanthropy toward peacebuilding because of its power to break the cycles of seemingly intractable, violent conflict. Inspired by the heart of Jesus and inclined toward social justice, her experience includes launching grassroots Muslim-Christian peacemaking projects in Ohio with a focus on storytelling. She graduated with a BA in Conflict Transformation and Middle East Studies from North Park University (2011).
Nancy was born and raised in Michigan and now resides in Southern California with her husband Ryan. She has a Bachelor's in Business Administration from Grand Valley State University and loves using that knowledge to benefit Peace Catalyst. In her free time, Nancy enjoys traveling, staying active outdoors through roller derby and hiking, and volunteering to give back to her community.
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.
As a first generation immigrant from Mexico, Maria has an understanding of the challenges facing people from other cultures. Maria enjoys serving in her church and her community and is an active member of the Woman’s Interfaith Network in Ventura County, California. Maria believes that building friendships with people of other faiths will help bring understanding that will lead to peace.
The Perrys' involvement with Peace Catalyst International began when they walked across the street to meet their new Somali Muslim neighbors, and they now feel a deep calling to initiate practical initiatives to involve the local church with the Muslim community in San Diego.
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Kevin’s first involvement with the Muslim community involved multi-faith conversations between Christians and Muslims on the campus of California State University. The openness of Muslim students to engage constructively with people of different faiths came as a pleasant surprise, and Kevin came to believe that an engagement with the wider Muslim community was in order. Since then, the Valley Vineyard church, where Kevin is a lay leader, has engaged in relationships with two mosques, with the support of leaders in the Muslim community. Kevin teaches a regular class at the Vineyard on relating to Muslims and understanding Islam from a Christian perspective.
Guided by a belief that the Gospel is a call to transformation in every area of life, Brian has spent the past 15 years serving in churches, nonprofits, and higher education. An ordained pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church, he has worked in the areas of refugee resettlement, HIV/AIDS ministries, hunger and poverty advocacy, and multifaith dialogue.
Ali was born and raised in Mazar E-Sharif, Afghanistan. In his home country he searched for someone to tell him about Jesus but couldn’t find a Jesus-follower or a Bible until he moved to Iran and eventually to Turkey, where he found a church and began following Jesus. Ali has since moved to the United States, where he remains involved in the Afghan and refugee communites.
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 the desire to be peacemakers.
Katie began interfaith and peacemaking engagement while at Fuller Seminary and continued to pursue a Masters in Ecumenical Theology from the Irish School of Ecumenics. She has worked with a wide range of interfaith organizations and local groups. She is passionate about the process of sowing peace and empowering peacemaking in arising generations.
Nick and his wife Laura have 23 years experience living in Indonesia, Laura working as a primary school educator and principal and Nick in relief and development, peacebuilding work in Sumatera and Central Java, and disaster response management and community development. They have now settled in Boise, Idaho, where they are working as a team to build peace by connecting local church members with refugees from around the world who have settled in their area.
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.
Hannah's love for cross-cultural relationships was birthed as she traveled the world with her parents on medical service trips. Later, while studying nursing at Ohio State University, Hannah took several courses on Arab culture, which, along with personal friendships with Muslims, further inspired an interest in multi-faith relationships and dialogue. Now working as both a registered nurse and Program Coordinator with Peace Catalyst, Hannah seeks to explore what holistic health for her community looks like.
Liz used to think, "Oh, interfaith work, that's…nice. But I hope someone else does it — certainly not me!" What changed her mind? Teenage girls: taking Muslim and Christian teens away for weekend camps, watching them dominate an obstacle course together, paint each others' nails, and share incredibly deep, authentic conversations about faith and spirituality. She's now pretty convinced that helping these young people to talk to each other, disagree respectfully, and make genuine friendships is the future. And if you're up for it, she and her husband Peter want to help you have an equally transformative friendship in your life.
After working in Chicago as a youth pastor and photographer, Peter and his wife Liz moved to London to minister in a diverse and low-income neighborhood. During their time spent organizing Muslim-Christian community events, training people in peacemaking skills, and spiritually walking with neighbors, they developed passion for helping people actively work toward spiritual and social growth. At the end of their time in London, they moved to Indiana, where Peter is pursuing an MA in Peace Studies to further improve their peacemaking work.
Steve and Karen lived in the Balkans from 1991-2012, co-starting a small IT company in Macedonia and directing Millennium Relief and Development Services’ Macedonia office. Since 2012, Steve and Karen have been based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they encourage Christians and Muslims to follow the way of the Messiah Jesus to love God and neighbor with their whole hearts, minds and strength.
Southeast Regional Director | Global Peacemaking Coach
A native of South Carolina, Thomas has modeled and taught Jesus-centered peacemaking among Christians and Muslims for more than 15 years. He has learned from and lectured before beautifully diverse people in places like India, Indonesia, Romania, and Afghanistan and has enjoyed extended homestays internationally with both Christian and Muslim families. Thomas is committed to following all the ways and words of Jesus and inviting all his friends to join him in this ultimate faith adventure.
Coming from an evangelical/charismatic upbringing in Oklahoma, Neal 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. He sees peacemaking and reconciliation as the primary expression of the Kingdom of God and the primary work of the church. Besides his family, his interests include basketball, theology, and heavy metal guitar solos.
Strictly out of motivations to work for a U.S. government security agency, Benjamin began learning Arabic while obtaining his B.A in 2005, which included a 3-month course at the University of Jordan. Upon his arrival, Benjamin’s negative perception of the culture was shattered as he was met with friendly, welcoming, and extremely gracious people. His “enemies,” through genuine relationships without conditions, radically altered his motives, putting him on a new path to pursue peace in the way Jesus taught. Today, Benjamin and his wife Sarah live in Dallas, Texas, where they are working to use the teachings of Jesus to break down the walls of hostility between Christians and Muslims.
Sarah has a deep passion and belief that the gospel of Jesus is applicable and transformative in all aspects of conflict. She has been actively involved in peacemaking amidst the refugee crisis, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and is currently engaged in bridging the gap between Muslim and Christian communities in the American South. Sarah and her husband Benjamin have traveled extensively all over the world and lived in Cairo, Egypt from 2009 to 2012.
David grew up in South America, where he led outreach and ministries both in the city and in the Andean countryside. However, his heart grew for the Middle Eastern community after teaching English to refugees in Athens, Greece. In South Florida, he started Bridges Language Academy, an ESL school that assists large numbers of Middle Eastern refugees with immersion in the English Language and other aspects of their resettlement. David encourages local Christian students and churches to build lasting and meaningful friendships with these new immigrants in their community as well as with the rest of the local Muslim community.
Becca grew up in Pittsburgh but later moved to Washington, D.C. to earn her Bachelors from American University. There she studied International Studies with a concentration in the Middle East and Arabic. She also spent time abroad in Jordan living with a Muslim host family, and it was there that she first discovered the beauty of interfaith relationships. She went on to get an M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution and continues to care deeply about the plight of refugees in the U.S. and abroad.
Bryan has a persistent habit of immersing himself in cross-cultural relationships and enjoys inviting friends and acquaintances to interact with those who are different from them. He has worked in various capacities alongside pastors in Peru, members of the homeless community in Houston, Muslim refugees in Roanoke and Atlanta, and the African-American community in Atlanta. Most recently, he spent a year in Kosovo with his wife Stephanie and son Jack learning about ethno-religious tensions and current practices being utilized to promote peace.
Stephanie is drawn to spaces where people of various backgrounds and perspectives meet to befriend and learn from one another across differences of ethnicity, race, religion, worldview, and economic class. After volunteering in Cambodia and Zambia, she moved to Atlanta in 2012 with her husband, Bryan, where she was involved with Atlanta's refugee and homeless communities, racial reconciliation work on Atlanta's West Side, and international student groups at Emory University. She, Bryan, and their son Jack also lived in Kosovo for the past year delving into the local language and culture.
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Fran has over 30 years of experience in cross-cultural ministry and organizational leadership in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Her life and cross-cultural experiences have sensitized her to the value of interpersonal and multi-faith peace-making. In her work as a trained Spiritual Director she helps people practice peace within themselves and with God. She has a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Westmont College, an M.A. in Christian Ministries from Hope International University, is an ordained minister in the Vineyard, and is a certified Spiritual Director.
Learn more about Fran and spiritual direction at her website http://www.franlove.com.
Jaime and his family live in Indonesia, where for the past 20 years they’ve promoted peace and reconciliation through education, serving the poor, organizing interfaith events, establishing a Peace Café, and inviting Muslims and Christians to pray together in a unique House of Prayer. As an author, Jaime has written books promoting peace in both Indonesian and English. He’s been blessed to speak on issues of peacemaking and prayer in several nations.
Since 2006, Christian-Muslim relations has been a strong area of personal interest and active engagement. Nathan has had wide-ranging experiences with Muslims—participating in a year-long Quran study at the mosque of the Islamic Society of Clemson; directing a campus ministry which initiated and hosted dialogues, common meals and service projects bringing together Christian and Muslim students; and adventuring in the Muslim-majority country of Oman through a travel-study program.
Dr. Rick Love is a peacemaker, consultant on Christian-Muslim relations, professor, ordained pastor, and certified mediator. He is a global citizen, having lived in Indonesia and England, and has traveled extensively, consulting and lecturing in over 40 countries. He has worked over 35 years with Muslims. Find out more about Rick at www.ricklove.net.
Board of Directors
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 a serial entrepreneur and accounting professional, currently serving as CEO of Reconciled It. Michael has served in a variety of ministry capacities for churches and non-profits.
Board of Directors
Hopeful and stirred most quickly by issues of injustice, Mark was first exposed to Peace Catalyst in 2012 as a part of a short visit to the West Bank. He stands alongside Peace Catalyst's mission of enabling peace by honoring, loving, and partnering with our neighbors (near and far). With a BBA in International Business, he is a team leader at a large corporation where he improves processes, systems, and people every day. His direct,'in-the-weeds approach to solving problems and his ability to frame up objectives and obstacles to gain cooperation throughout an organization makes him a vital member of our Board of Directors and our movement.
Board of Directors
Dave is currently World Vision International’s Senior Advisor for Operations in Muslim contexts. This takes him regularly to Africa, Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East to advise and design WV ministry among Muslims. For six years, Dave and his family lived in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, during which time their friendships with Mauritanians gave him a deep appreciation for what Christians can learn from Muslims and vice versa. From 1991 to 2000 Dave was WV’s Director of Christian-Muslim Relations and coordinated inter-religious conflict resolution and peace-building initiatives. He trained WV staff and boards in Christian-Muslim relations in Asia and Africa. In 1999 he directed WV Albania and initiated inter-religious conflict resolution work for WV in Kosovo. From 2000 to 2008 he served as World Vision’s Vice President for the Middle East, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe Region, based in Cyprus. Dave's leadership in World Vision and his work among Muslims for the last 40 years make him an invaluable resource for Peace Catalyst.
Naomi Ludeman Smith
Board of Directors
Dr. Naomi Ludeman Smith holds the positions of Professor and Department Chair of Arts & Sciences at Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She is committed to the work of peacemaking and its power to transform people and communities. During her tenure as Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies at Bethel University (MN) she engaged in humanitarian service with students in Ukraine (1999-2006), finishing her experience with ethnographic research on contextual theology related to Ukrainian and U.S. co-leadership. In 2007 she found herself in Jordan studying global leadership in a Muslim context. She later returned to Jordan for her sabbatical, during which she worked, studied, and developed a course for students to study how Arabs are bringing positive change to their region. For the next four years, during the Arab Spring, Naomi led students in a transformational study with Dr. Doug Magnuson and in partnership with Jordan's East-West Initiatives and Bethlehem's Holy Land Trust. Currently she is involved in her community with the New American Task Force to support a peaceful and hospitable transition for immigrants of all ethnic and faith backgrounds. Naomi brings strong strategic gifts and inter-cultural expertise to her role on the Board.
Board of Directors
Dr. Michelle Garred is former Senior Advisor on Conflict Sensitivity and Peacebuilding Effectiveness at CDA Collaborative Learning Projects and former Associate Director of Peacebuilding at World Vision International. She is an action researcher focused on helping organizations that work in conflicted contexts to improve their own effectiveness through context-aware strategy development and collaborative learning around promising practices. Michelle has engaged long-term in inter-faith cooperation in Kosovo, the southern Philippines, and the USA, and has adapted the conflict sensitivity approach for use among faith-based audiences. She is currently exploring the question of how to make secular design, monitoring and evaluation tools more relevant and useful for inter-faith peacebuilding. Michelle is editor, with Mohammed Abu-Nimer, of Making Peace with Faith: The Challenges of Religion and Peacebuilding (forthcoming January 2018).
Board of Directors
Tyler is currently the Lead Pastor of Redemption Church, a multi-congregational church in Arizona. He grew up in a family that was nominally "Christian” as a kind of default "American" identity. When he was 17, however, God began to truly move in and around him, and by the time he was 18 he had become a true follower of Jesus. It was during Tyler’s five-year baseball career at Arizona State University that God laid hold of his life, exposing the things he had previously found security in as temporary and superficial. Tyler then began his pastoral ministry career, earning a D.Min from Bakke Graduate University and becoming one of the youngest pastors in the country to be leading a mega-church. He now also serves as a strong supporter of and participant in the peacemaking movement.