Managing Director & Development Director:
Linda first came to the Interfaith Center in 2007 to spearhead the Capital Campaign for the restoration of the Presidio Chapel. Her responsibilities included raising funds for the project and working with the architects and the Presidio Trust to put all the pieces together. Recently, Linda took on the role of Managing Director whose additional duties include fundraising for programs and working with the board of directors on strategic initiatives.
The first half of Linda's career was predominantly in the high tech industry traveling all over the world. During the dot com era, she decided she really wasn't interested in spending 24/7 at the office or playing Foosball with 20-somethings. It was time for a change, so she followed her heart to the nonprofit world. Her corporate experience has served her well in all aspects of the business of the Interfaith Center.
Linda has served on several performing arts boards including Magnificat! and Baroque Choral Guild (now Bay Choral Guild) and is a founding member of Chora Nova in Berkeley. Volunteering is in her DNA – first through her church work from a very young age, through her university service sorority (blood drives, canned goods drives) and continuing into adulthood serving Grace Cathedral in multiple functions such as ushering, serving on the stewardship commission and GraceWorks, an outreach program for the unemployed.
It was through Linda's work as a member and officer of the S.F. Deanery (elected representatives from S.F. parishes of the Episcopal Diocese) and working with Episcopal Charities that she realized that fundraising was the focus she wanted to take in the nonprofit world. She worked for Raphael House (a shelter for homeless families in S.F) writing grant proposals generating over $3M in revenue in one year before coming to the Interfaith Center.
The Rev. D. Andrew Kille, Ph.D. has been involved in interfaith work for nearly 40 years. He is Director of Interfaith Space, dedicated to developing and strengthening interfaith relations in the South Bay, and since 2007 has edited the Bay Area Interfaith Connect e-newsletter published by the ICP. He was a member of the Silicon Valley Partner City delegation to the Parliament of the World's Religions. He is currently the Chair of the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council. Ordained in the American Baptist tradition, he earned a doctorate in Psychology and Bible from the Graduate Theological Union, and since 2008 has been Editor of BibleWorkbench, an innovative resource for Bible study. He and his wife Pamela, a Clinical Psychologist, have two grown sons and have lived in San Jose for nearly 40 years.
Paul Andrews, Treasurer
Paul Andrews was a member of the founding staff of the United Religions Initiative, a global interfaith organization. During that time, he was manager of the organization’s annual global conferences, and managed the 72 Hours Program, a coordinated social action program during the Millennium weekend involving over 300 projects in 60 countries. During that time, he also produced Improbable Pairs, a documentary film about people making peace in the face of extraordinary odds.
Along the way, Mr. Andrews has also been a choral conductor, builder, business owner and teacher. He graduated from Yale University in 1970 with a degree in Political Science.
Dr. Amer Araim
Dr. Amer Araim was born in Iraq, earned his B.A. in law in Baghdad and M.A. and Ph.D in New York and teaches at Diablo Valley College in the East Bay. He served in the Iraqi Foreign Service and then for more than two decades as a foreign policy specialist with the UN, specializing in global movements against Apartheid and Colonization. Dr. Araim serves as an Imam at the Walnut Creek Islamic Community, director of Islamic Outreach, and on the Executive Committee of Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County. He has devoted his life to improving Americans’ understanding of Islam and US relations with Moslem countries, and is the author of Understanding Islam: 50 Questions, (Big Hat Press, 2010).
Dr. Henry Baer
Dr. Henry Baer has been on the Board of The Interfaith Center at the Presidio for over 10 years. He is the co-founder of AHIMSA ( The Sanskrit word for Nonviolence). AHIMSA programs explore violence and behavior from Scientific, Religious and Social perspectives. Our goal is to seek pathways which promote peace, understanding and friendship in our turbulent world. Henry is an Atheist and enjoys lecturing, debating and challenging the other board members about their beliefs and convictions. He grew up in Chicago, spent 4 years in the military, defending our country in the beer halls and winestube of Germany. He has served as an officer and president of the Berkeley Dental Society, Floating Homes Association, Midas Pacific Consultants and various non-profit organizations. He believes that the Interfaith movement will "God willing," help create a more amicable and harmonious world.
Vanessa Gomez Brake is Director of Operations & Outreach at the Chaplaincy Institute for Arts & Interfaith Ministries (ChI) in Berkeley, California. ChI is an interfaith seminary re-visioning theological education to serve a pluralistic world. For several years, Vanessa has also served as Research Assistant for the Abrahamic Family Reunion -- a project offering ways to use psychological and spiritual approaches in reconciling conflicts among Jews, Christians and Muslims. In the SF Bay Area, Vanessa is active as a community educator, peacemaker and interfaither. Previous to moving to California, she worked at the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy & Conflict Resolution in Arlington, VA. She completed a M.S. in Conflict Analysis & Resolution at George Mason University, and received B.A. degrees in Religious Studies and Psychology at Arizona State University.
Fred Fielding, Board Chair
A life-long Episcopalian and Bay Area resident, Fred has been staff for the Episcopal Diocese of California youth programs. His early interest in television production developed into his profession. Fred received a B.A. in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts from San Francisco State University in 1995 and received a Master's of Theological Studies focusing on interfaith communication from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 2006.
Recently, Fred has combined his skills and knowledge in television and video production and youth ministry to do interfaith work with a multi-generational focus. He believes a youthful approach and use of digital technology can enhance the interfaith experiences for all people, regardless of their age. He has produced videos for organizations and programs such as the United Religions Initiative, Partners in Peace, and most recently Crop Walk SF.
With ICP, Fred helped establish the Friends in Faith, a program that was designed to help youth and young adult leaders teach their youth to use principles of Appreciative Inquiry and digital media to build interfaith relationships. He was also part of the planning staff and served as Communications Director for NAINConnect 2008, the annual conference for the North American Interfaith Network that was hosted by ICP. Fred looks forward to the opportunity of serving on the board in a way that best serves ICP members as well as those seeking a place in the interfaith community.
Donald H. Frew
Don Frew is an Elder in both the Gardnerian and NROOGD traditions of modern Witchcraft (also called Wicca). He is High Priest of a Wiccan Coven in Berkeley, California, called Coven Trismegiston. His wife, Anna, is High Priestess. Frew has been a National Interfaith Representative for the Covenant of the Goddess, the world's largest religious organization for Witches, for 12 years. He has represented CoG at all of the modern Parliaments of the World's Religions, including participation in the Parliament Assembly.
Through ICP, Frew coordinated the first Interfaith Sacred Space Design Competition in 2004. He also coordinates the ICP's annual People of the Earth event, bringing together representatives of Neopagan traditions, immigrant Pagan traditions, and Indigenous traditions. Frew founded and serves as Director for the Lost & Endangered Religions Project, an interfaith service organization that helps marginalized religious, spiritual, and indigenous communities preserve their traditions.
Frew participated in the 1998 - 2000 Global Summits of the United Religions Initiative (www.uri.org), helping to draft the URI's Charter. He has been a member of six Cooperation Circles over the years, and is active with the URI's Iniciativa Indigena Global. Frew served as a North American Trustee on the URI's first elected Global Council and as an At-Large Trustee on the second Global Council. Throughout his interfaith work in local, regional, national, and global organizations, his main areas of interest have been in organizational design & Bylaws review, preserving organizational memory, anticipating future challenges, and making sure that the voices of the Earth religions are heard and understood.
Rev. D. Andrew Kille, Ph.D.
Andrew Kille is the editor of Bay Area Interfaith Connect, the newsletter of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio. He is currently the Chair of the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council in San Jose.
See additional info in the bio above.
Caroline (Carrie) Knowles
Carrie Knowles is a Candidate for Fellowship in the Unitarian Universalist Association. A 2010 graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry, she holds the Ph.D. degree in Psychology, J.D. in Law, and pursued former careers as a psychologist, attorney, and academic. She lives in Oakland and serves as a Chaplain at the UU Church of Berkeley (Kensington).
Loel Bartlett Miller joined the ICP Board in June, 2011, representing the Executive Board of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County where she has served as the representative of Sufism Reoriented since 2009. Loel enjoyed a privileged childhood in Berkeley surrounded by theological students who had come to study at the Starr King School for the Ministry where her father, the Rev. Josiah R. Bartlett, served as President and educator. Her father was active in the Interfaith Council of Northern California and co-founder of the Graduate Theological Union. Loel grew up at the School's parsonage which hosted students from around the country as well as from Europe and Asia. In college Loel sought Peace Corps training and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UC Berkeley in Anthropology. She became a member of Sufism Reoriented in 1970 and had the privilege of being personal secretary to two murshids, Ivy O. Duce and Dr. James S.B. MacKie. In addition, Loel raised her two boys and worked alongside her husband as a health professional. Currently, she is working energetically on a plan to build a new sanctuary for Sufism Reoriented in Walnut Creek near its current site. Loel finds satisfaction in her shared purpose with all mankind in love for and dedication to God and the honoring of our fundamental unity.
Rita R. Semel
Rita Semel has done more for interfaith relations in San Francisco than any other single individual. She was a founder of United Religions Initiative, the San Francisco Interfaith Council, and the Interfaith Center at the Presidio. She currently holds leadership positions at these organizations, the New Israel Fund, and Catholic Charities CYO. She has served as trustee of the Graduate Theological Union, Chair of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio and Executive Vice Chair of the San Francisco Interfaith Council.
Camilla Miner Smith, VP- Development
Church of Jesus Christ, Latter-Day Saints
Camilla is a member of the Bay Area Public Affairs Executive Committee for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She serves on several national and community boards including National Public Radio Foundation, The L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, San Francisco Performances, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Music @ Menlo, Friends and Foundation of the San Francisco Public Library, Library Advisory Board at the University of California at Berkeley, Council of Friends of The Bancroft Library, and the San Francisco State University Foundation. She edits the newsletter for The Bancroft Library, Bancroftiana. She and her husband, George Smith, have five children and eight grand children.
Rev. Dr. John Young, Board Secretary
Rev. Dr. John L. Young is a retired Unitarian Universalist minister and professor of non-violence and world religions, who lives in the Presidio, and focuses his ICP energies on: Bay area interfaith programs and collaboration, building Presidio community through ICP, and re-building the Presidio Chapel's proud historical heritage of service to veterans and active military personnel and their families.
Iftekhar Hai, Emeritus
Fr. Gerard O'Rourke, Chair Emeritus
Dr. Amineh Pryor, Emeritus
Rev. Paul Chaffee