Joseph Chang, Co-Chair, Religious Land Use Working Group
Joseph Chang is the chief representative and board member for Chong Hwa Saint Tao Yuan, a religious institution based in Maryland and California. As a planning supervisor with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (where he served for 35 years prior to his retirement in 2008), he developed a number of master plans and was involved in site plan review and permitting process. Now co-chair of the Religious Land Use Working Group, he has put his extensive experience in city planning and site development to work in developing revisions to county and state codes and guidelines for religious uses. He has also served in a volunteer capacity in preparing for building a religious facility in Potomac Village. Mr. Chang is an architect, urban designer, and city planner, and received a master degree in urban planning from the University of Illinois. He has won the American Planning Association’s Planning Awards four times.
Lubna Ejazr, Co-Chair, Faith Community Working Group
Lubna Ejaz currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Muslim Community Center (MCC) located in Silver Spring, Maryland. She is married with three grown sons, four grandchildren and live in Montgomery County since 1978. She and her husband are long time members of the Muslim Community Center and have both served in various positions at the center. In addition to her current position as president of the MCC, she has served as Treasurer of the Board of Directors, Chairperson of the Membership and Nominating Committees and was actively involved in other community activities. She was the Chair for the Montgomery County Ethnic Affairs Committee for three years during the administration of County Executive Doug Duncan. In 2004, she worked with Montgomery County Police Chief Manger & other volunteers in the Suppression Subcommittee for the Montgomery County Joint County (Montgomery & Prince George’s) Gang Prevention Task Force. Lubna also held various positions for the Pakistani American Association of Greater Washington, a social and cultural organization unaffiliated with any government or political party and operates as a non-profit, non-religious organization, as president and treasurer of the Executive Council and member of the Board of Trustees. In her professional career, Lubna graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Business Administration, major in Accounting and was an accredited Certified Public Accountant in the Philippines. She is a Project Management Professional (PMP), and currently works as a Senior Project Manager for the Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) in McLean, VA. She has more than 40 years of experience in Information Technology (IT). Her responsibilities involved planning, analysis, design, development, and implementation of financial and federal government application systems. She has more than 20 years of experience in program and project management/leadership, including technical management, project planning, cost and budget planning, execution & monitoring, customer interaction and communication and proposal development. Past experience includes significant consulting tenures with the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement & US Citizenship & Immigration Services, the National Association of Securities Dealers, Bank of America and the First Hawaiian Bank.
Rev. Dr. Carol Flett, Co-Chair, Faith Community Working Group
Currently ecumenical & inter-religious officer for the Episcopal diocese of Washington, Carol Flett served as a parish priest for 25 years in Massachusetts and the Washington, D.C., area. She earned a Doctorate of Ministry in 2000, focusing on congregational development and anti-racism education. Post-9/11, she began using her anti-racism education training to develop interfaith dialogues through the Massachusetts Council of Church, and in D.C., at the Washington National Cathedral. She frequently speaks to congregations about how to initiate and sustain interfaith relations with their neighboring faith communities. She initiated the MC Women’s Interfaith Book Group that meets monthly in Potomac and continues to coordinate the Daughters of Abraham book group that has met monthly for eight years in D.C. As part of her work with FCWG, she chairs the Faith Leaders Response Team and the Emotional & Spiritual Care Volunteers, those trained to respond as chaplains in mass emergencies. Carol is married, has six grandchildren, and enjoys quilting, gardening and cooking. She has traveled with interfaith groups to visit Israel, Spain, and Turkey, and, with her husband, has journeyed to Spain, France, Italy, England, Scotland, Ireland, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Honduras.
Rev. Ken Howard, Co-Chair, Religious Land Use Working Group
Ken Howard is the Founder, Executive Director, the principal consultant of The FaithX Project (FaithX.net), which specializes in provide coaching and consulting to new and revitalizing faith communities (including consultation on their rights under federal religious land use law). He founded The FaithX Project after stepping down as the senior pastor at St. Nicholas Church in Germantown, which he founded in 1995. He is the great-grandson of an Orthodox Jewish rabbi from Belarus. Fr. Ken became a follower of Christ as an adult in 1974, eventually joining the Episcopal Church because, as he says, “It was the most Jewish church I could find.” Fr. Ken graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, and holds a Master of Divinity with Honors in church history. He was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington in 1993. Fr. Ken is the author of Jewish Christianity in the Early Church (Virginia Theological Seminary, 1993), which explores how the church went from being at its inception an entirely Jewish institution that generously opened its doors to Gentiles under the encouragement of the Apostle Paul to becoming an exclusively Gentile institutions that had excommunicated its few remaining Jewish adherents. He is also the author of Paradoxy: Creating Christian Community Beyond Us and Them, which examines the conflict between conservative and liberal Christianity.
Abhi Janamanchi, Co-Chair, Faith Community Advisory Council
Rev. Abhi Janamanchi—a third-generation member of the Brahmo Samaj, a liberal Hindu reform movement—serves as the senior minister of Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda. He was born and raised in Southern India, but moved to the United States in 1994. Before coming to Bethesda, he served UU congregations in Clearwater, Fla.; Madison, Wis.; and Park Forest, Ill. Abhi has been actively involved in international interfaith and multicultural work for more than two decades, including serving as president of the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF). His Unitarian Universalist-Hindu faith, his Indian heritage, and his American citizenship inspire and guide him in this work.
Rev. Mansfield “Kasey” Kaseman, County Executive’s Interfaith Community Liaison/Ex Officio, Faith Community Advisory Council
Since his student days, Kasey has been engaged in ecumenical and interfaith ministries aimed at creating the Beloved Community and is now honored to be part of the team committed to making Montgomery County so. The model he implemented for Theological Education in the Urban Setting was adopted by Harvard University, Boston University, and Weston Divinity Schools. His engagement in the civil rights movement included providing security for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., establishing nonprofits such as the Blue Hill Christian Center in Roxbury, Mass., and helping to implement Racial Justice Now. Currently serving as Montgomery County’s interfaith community liaison, Kasey moved to the area in 1979 to help lead the Rockville United Church and the United Church Center for Community Ministries, both of which he served until his “retirement” in 2005. During his 35-plus years in this special county, he has worked to engage the political, civic, religious, and business sectors in meeting common interests, and helped to found and grow a number of local organizations, including the Caregiver’s Coalition of Rockville, Emergency Assistance, Elderly Homecare, Latino Outreach, Manna, Habitat for Humanity, and the Kaseman Clinic. He believes Montgomery County’s faith communities are exceptionally well-positioned to help our county become a more compassionate and welcoming community. Kasey and his wife, Dianne, have three adult children and seven grandchildren. His hobbies are kayaking, photography, golf, and reading.
Imam Faizul Khan, Co-Chair, Faith Community Advisory Council
Imam Faizul R Khan is the founding member of the Islamic Society of Washington Area (ISWA), a growing, diversified, and religious community that was founded in 1973 in Silver Spring. He has been involved in social, religious, cultural, educational, and outreach programs in the community for more than 40 years, and currently serves as the imam of ISWA, a board member of the National Council of Islamic Society of North America, general secretary of the Council of Muslim Organizations in the Washington metropolitan area, and director of four other regional Islamic organizations. Imam Khan has received thirteen national awards in the field of domestic violence, social services, and volunteerism, and was named among the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by Georgetown University in 2011. He has appeared on every major U.S. national television network, and has been featured in the DC Examiner and the Muslim Link newspapers. Published works include a book on the life of Prophet Muhammad, an article on “Islamic Perspective on Domestic Violence” in the Journal of Religion and Abuse, and an article in the Washington Post on capital pulpit on 9/11. He is also vice chair for the Montgomery Democratic Central Committee in Silver Spring.
Rabbi David Shneyer, Co-Chair, Neighbors in Need Working Group
Founder and director of Am Kolel, Reb David studied at the Jewish Theological Seminary and in Israel, earning degrees in Judaic studies from Rutgers University and Baltimore Hebrew College. He received his “semicha” ordination from the Aleph Seminary founded by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shlomi. The past president of Ohalah, the Rabbinic Association of Jewish Renewal Rabbis, Reb David is also an accomplished musician and composer of new liturgical music. He is a founder of Jews United for Justice, active in the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and Rabbis for Human Rights. Reb David is also the spiritual leader of Kehila Chadasha, a havurah-fellowship community based in Bethesda.
Rabbi Batya Steinlauf, Co-Chair, Faith Community Working Group
Rabbi Batya Steinlauf, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington’s director of social justice and interfaith initiatives, is a Conservative rabbi, ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1998. Batya works with with local Jewish organizations to promote social justice projects and awareness in the community, and is actively engaged with the diverse and vibrant interfaith and multi-ethnic community in the greater Washington area. She serves as chair of the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington. She has a B.A. in political science from Rutgers University, a Master of Hebrew Letters from The University of Judaism, as well as a Master’s degree and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Batya has worked in Jewish education at all levels and at a number of social service agencies.
Claire Waggoner, Co-Chair, Neighbors in Need Working Group
Ms. Waggoner is president of Kunzang Palyul Choling (KPC) Buddhist Temple in Poolesville. Founded in 1985 by Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo as part of the Nyingmapa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, KPC is the oldest such Temple in Maryland. It is home to the largest community of Western-ordained Buddhist monks and nuns, with additional facilities in Arizona, California and Australia. During Ms. Waggoner’s years of Buddhist study, she has directed animal welfare facilities, been active in animal rescue projects across the county, overseen the construction of Buddhist monuments and facilities, and provided outreach to local communities. In the business world, she has been an award-winning sales producer for the Washington Post and Cable One media organizations.