PHILADELPHIA — Mayor Jim Kenney and the Office of Public Engagement announced today the establishment of the Mayor’s Commission on Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs (MCFBIA) for the City of Philadelphia. MCFBIA will convene a diverse array of members and leaders of local religious congregations, faith-based organizations, and nonprofit agencies to empower greater engagement and advocacy by all residents.
“Our current moment has revealed a collective need for deeper connections to community and faith. The Commission on Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs will have a critical role in our collective efforts to bridge these connections, and create stronger connections to city government,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We welcome the members of the Commission, and I look forward to working with them in creating a more inclusive city for Philadelphia’s residents of all faiths and beliefs.”
MCFBIA is housed under the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement (OPE), led by Ajeenah Amir. The Commission will be under the direction of Reverend Naomi Washington-Leapheart, Director for Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs.
“I’m glad that the new Mayor’s Commission on Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs will not only encourage communities of faith to help the City improve the residents’ quality of civic life, but also provide guidance and consultation to City departments and agencies to promote greater access by all residents to City resources and available services,” said Ajeenah Amir, Director for the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement.
MCFBIA membership comprises 24 individuals and includes representatives of a wide variety of faith-based communities and organizations from across the city. MCFBIA is constituted as a permanent commission by executive order signed on September 8, 2020.
“Our new Commission members will ensure that Philadelphia’s diverse faith communities have a seat at the table and that they are represented in the Administration’s decision-making process. I am confident that their input will be key to addressing issues that affect our communities and strengthening connections between Philadelphians and our local government,” said Reverend Naomi Washington-Leapheart, Director for Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs.
MCFBIA Commissioners are listed below:
- Quaiser Abdullah, Imam, Quba Institute/Masjid Quba
- Dave Brindley, City Church
- Donald Camp, Philadelphia Bahá’í Community
- Pastor Jamie Centeno, In The Light Ministries
- Pastor Carl Day, Culture Changing Christians
- Lucy Duncan, American Friends Service Committee and Green Street Friends Meeting
- Pastor Nes Espinosa, Young Life Philadelphia and Oxford Circle Mennonite Church
- Archbishop Mary Floyd Palmer, Philadelphia Council of Clergy and Heavenly Hall Church
- Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari, Kol Tzedek Synagogue
- Rev. Jerome Glover, Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church
- Ken Greiff, The Philadelphia Ethical Society
- Pastor Clarence Hayes, Jr., Truth and Life Empowerment Community Ministries
- Dr. Kathy-Ann C. Hernandez, Chestnut Hill Seventh-Day Adventist Church and Eastern University
- Rabbi Linda Holtzman, Tikkun Olam Chavurah and Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
- Jared Jackson, Jews in ALL Hues and Germantown Jewish Center
- Rev. Dr. John K. Jallah, New Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church and Agape African Senior Center, Inc.
- Rabbi/Chaplain David Kushner, Amudim Community Resources and Congregation Beth Solomon
- Aziz Nathoo, Muslim Interfaith Leader
- Rev. Jacqueline Newsome, St. Paul’s Baptist Church
- Dr. Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad, Muslim Wellness Foundation
- Rev. Dr. Susan Richardson, Christ Church Philadelphia
- Rev. Grace Song, Won Institute of Graduate Studies and Philadelphia Won Buddhist Temple
- Salima Suswell, Philadelphia Ramadan & Eid Fund and Masjidullah, Inc.
- Ashley Waters, St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church
During these unprecedented times, Reverend Naomi Washington-Leapheart, Director for Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs, has been hosting “Prayer Pauses for Philadelphia” to help those who find grounding and hope in faith and spirituality. Additionally, she has worked closely with faith leaders to facilitate regular webinars on timely topics, provide guidance for congregations, and compile relevant information for faith communities across Philadelphia.
Members of the public can sign up to be added to the faith community distribution list here.
About Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs
Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs (FBIA) ensures that Philadelphia’s diverse faith communities are represented in the administration’s vision, planning, and decision-making. This collaborative work is key to addressing issues that affect our communities and to strengthening the connection between residents of all backgrounds and the government. FBIA does this by creating original, relevant programming, cultivating strategic partnerships, and supporting the work of congregations and faith-based organizations across the city. FBIA houses the Mayor’s Commission on Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs.