The Advisory Board of
The Interfaith Observer (TIO)
Elder Don Frew is a Wiccan priest. Since serving two terms as president of Covenant of the Goddess (CoG, the world’s largest Wiccan organization), he has been an official CoG interfaith representative. Don’s interfaith involvement began in 1986 in the Berkeley Area Interfaith Council. In 1993 and 1999 he was a member of the Assembly of Religious Leaders at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. He has been secretary of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio’s Board of Directors for 11 years and served nearly that long on United Religions Initiative’s Global Council. Don’s leadership has guided a number of major ventures, including the ongoing Lost & Endangered Religions Project and the 2004 international Interfaith Sacred Space Design Competition, both sponsored by the Interfaith Center at the Presidio.
Philip Goldberg has been studying India’s spiritual traditions for about fifty years, as a practitioner, teacher and an author. He is the author or coauthor of more than twenty books, including Roadsigns on the Spiritual Path(2006); American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West (2010), which was named one of the top ten religion books of the year by both the Huffington Post and the American Library Association’s Booklist; and his latest, The Life of Yogananda: The Story of the Yogi Who Became the First Modern Guru (2018).
As a public speaker and workshop leader, he has given presentations at venues throughout the US. India and other locations, and has appeared in national media. An ordained Interfaith Minister and spiritual counselor, he is cohost of the popular podcast Spirit Matters, leads American Veda Tours to India, and blogs regularly on Spirituality & Health and Elephant Journal. His websites are www.PhilipGoldberg.com and http://www.spiritmatterstalk.com. He serves as secretary of the founding Board of Directors of The Interfaith Observer (TIO).
Elizabeth Dabney Hochman
Elizabeth Dabney Hochman is the founding editor of KidSpirit Online and KidSpirit Magazine, a nonprofit web community and magazine that empowers teens to explore life’s big questions in a spirit of openness. A graduate of Princeton University, with a Masters in Music from the Mannes College of Music in New York City, she has over fifteen years’ experience as an opera singer. From her experience working with adolescents through KidSpirit, Ms. Dabney Hochman has published a number of articles on spiritual development in youth, including “KidSpirit Magazine: Youth in dialogue about life’s big questions,” in New Directions for Youth Development (Jossey-Bass, 2008); and “Six Steps to Nurturing the Spirit in Adolescents,” in Good Things to Do: Expert Suggestions for Fostering Goodness in Kids (Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education, 2009).
Vicki michela garlock
Vicki Michela Garlock is founder of Faith Seeker Kids and the Curriculum Specialist for Jubilee! Community Church in Asheville, North Carolina. The Peace unit of her Interfaith Made Easy™ curriculum for kids in preschool through Grade 8 was published in 2018 with Possibilities Publishing, and her blogs offer tips for incorporating texts and practices from various belief systems into sermons and Sunday School classes. She regularly posts on her website, on Twitter, and on FB (Faith Seeker Kids or Asheville Interfaith). She is also a monthly correspondent for TIO (usually the “kids’ angle”).
Vicki earned her undergraduate psychology degree from Brown University and received a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama-Birmingham with dual specialties in neuroscience and cognitive development. She spent 11 years as a professor at Warren Wilson College, teaching a variety of courses related to child development, biopsychology, and learning/cognition. In 2018, she was also ordained as Jubilee!’s Minister of Education. Vicki loves all things interfaith, but she is especially committed to providing kids and families with the tools they need to broaden their religious and spiritual horizons.
Laila Lazaar is a Special Projects Manager for a non-profit educational organization, which mission is to bring understanding of the people of the world to one another. Laila has over fifteen years of management and leadership experience. Native of North Africa, she is skilled in foreign languages. Laila was granted graduate assistance-ship from UNO as a consultant to attend the Economic program and graduated with leadership degree from Creighton University's Heider College of Business.
Her passion to learn about religions started more than fifteen years ago, especially after she learned that the fastest growing religion in the world and in the U.S is Islam. Meeting Muslim converts from all different faith backgrounds made her curious to learn more about their spiritual tradition and why they chose to become Muslims even though Islam has been portrayed negatively. Laila’s passion in learning about religions is allocated towards the Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, reason why she joined Tri-Faith. She is a member of AMI.
Chris Alexander holds a Doctor of Ministry in the area of congregational leadership and mission and is ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She was called to serve as the Associate Minister and Director of Center for Faith Studies at Countryside Community Church in Omaha NE in December of 2010. Chris lives in Omaha with her husband, Rev. Dr. Scott Frederickson, their two daughters Rachel and Maddy, and one grandson, Asher. Chris enjoys the conversation between the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam because it is rich in history, tradition, imagination and great respect. Countryside looks forward to relocating to the Tri Faith Commons this Spring
Jane Glazer Rips is a native of Sioux City, Iowa. Her parent's commitment to Jewish life and observance extended far beyond their home and Temple; with their wholehearted support and encouragement, she became active in NFTY (then known as the National Federation of Temple Youth) and traveled the Midwest attending conventions and meeting other Jewish youth. Tapped to join the Board of Trustees for Temple Israel, Omaha, she eventually served as President of the congregation and went on to join the North American Board of Trustees of the Union for Reform Judaism. She recently retired after 23 years on that Board. That experience, working with rabbis, cantors, lay leaders and devoted staff, led to a real understanding of the meaning of reaching out to those who are intermarried, unaffiliated or who feel disenfranchised by mainstream Judaism. As families blend and intermarriage becomes more accepted, she has seen that the need for sensitivity, education and understanding between religions becomes even more important.
A devoted and delighted user of the internet and social media, Jane and her family have taken life lessons from her mother and mother-in-law (both of blessed memory and fabulous entertainers) by welcoming people into their home and knowing that real connections are more often made one-to-one-to-one - over a dinner table or a meal.
Jan Chaffee, as a young girl in Ohio, decided San Francisco was where she wanted to live. Turning 21, she made the move and her family followed. She spent twenty years as a legal secretary, most of it with Louis O. Kelso, the pioneering economist who created the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) and other corporate financing techniques that build private ownership of productive capital into employees and other citizens. In 1996, with her husband Paul Chaffee, Jan helped found the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, managing Chapel use for a dozen years and its funds for 15 years. As such, she was on the front-end of interfaith celebrations, weddings, concerts, funerals, programs, staffing, and administration. With Paul, she retired from the Center at the end of 2010. Today Jan oversees The Interfaith Observer’s finances.
Paul Chaffee is the founder of The Interfaith Observer (TIO). He was the founding executive director of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, serving for 17 years. He sat on United Religions Initiative’s original Board of Directors for six years, was a trustee of the North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) for ten, and was a Parliament Ambassador for the Parliament of the World’s Religions for three. Paul led the teams which planned the initial URI-North America summit in 2001 and NAIN’s 20th anniversary NAINConnect in 2008. Over the years Paul has started and/or edited numerous newsletters, including Bay Area Interfaith Connect, published each month by the Interfaith Center at the Presidio. His publications include Accountable Leadership (2nd edition, 1996), Shared Wisdom (2004), and Remembered Light (2007). Ordained in the United Church of Christ. Rev. Chaffee was honored as a Distinguished Alum at Pacific School of Religion in 2007 and as an Interfaith Visionary by the Temple of Understanding at its 50th anniversary in 2010.
Associate Editor & Webmaster
Megan Anderson is a graduate student at Claremont School of Theology, pursuing an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Religion, Society, and Social Change. Specifically, she is interested in the intersection of religion, social factors, justice, and the environment and how these impact efforts to promote sustainable behavior and the creation of an ecological civilization. In addition to her work as associate editor and webmaster for TIO, Megan also works as communications manger for The Institute for Ecological Civilization (EcoCiv).
She has a B.A. in mathematics and theology from the College of Saint Benedict/St. John's University where she completed an honors thesis titled “Interfaith Youth Core: Theology and Religious Commitment in One of America’s Most Prominent Youth Interfaith Organizations.”