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A Look Back at 2013

posted Dec 15, 2013, 2:05 PM by Interfaith WS


December 2013



Board Expands to 14 Members

Seven new directors are joining the Board of Guidance of Interfaith Winston-Salem, raising the size of the board to 14 members.  The new board members are:

  • Jim Collins, a financial advisor

  • Dr. Truman Dunn, a retired Moravian minister

  • Dr. Jay Ford, chairperson of the Department of Religion at Wake Forest University

  • Aaron LaVallee, Realtor, spiritual but no religious affiliation

  • Seretha Masdon, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Winston-Salem

  • Sandy Phocas, a Shamanistic healer

  • Kim Williams, a sales executive and former pastor


They join current board members Art Bloom, Imam Khalid Griggs, David Harold, Dr. Peter Lichstein, Dr. Darlene May, Jerry McLeese and Andrea Parker.  Retiring from the board are Dr. Darryl Aaron, Jessica Leuchter, Silvia Ramos and Sri Manju Shamanna.


The board members represent a diverse group of religious traditions, including Catholic Christianity, Protestant Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Unitarian Universalism, Buddhism, Shamanism and Paganism.


Officers Elected for 2014

Jerry McLeese has been elected chairperson of Interfaith Winston-Salem for a third time.  He is joined in the officer team by Dr. Darlene May, vice chairman; David Harold, secretary; and Jim Collins, treasurer.


Chairpersons also have been named for the organization’s standing committees.  McLeese will head the Board Committee and Fundraising Committee.  Drea Parker will chair the Programming Committee; Jim Collins will head the Finance Committee; and Art Bloom will chair the Marketing/Communication Committee.


Accomplishments in 2013

Interfaith Winston-Salem’s impact on the City of Winston-Salem continued to grow during 2013.  Possibly the most significant accomplishment during the year was the organization’s role in building support from Mayor Allen Joines and members of City Council for the compassionate cities movement.  In July, City council unanimously approved a resolution supporting the Charter for Compassion, the key step in recognition of Winston-Salem as the 18th city in the world as a city of compassion.


As part of the City of Compassion effort, Interfaith Winston-Salem worked with Mayor Joines to have September proclaimed Compassionate Action Month and Friday, September 13 to be proclaimed Acts of Kindness (A-OK) Day.  Winston-Salem joined 15 other cities in participating in the Compassion Games, a worldwide focus on increasing acts of compassion.  A total of 390 local individuals and organizations have signed the Charter of Compassion, becoming Charter Partners of Compassionate Winston-Salem.


Other 2013 activities and accomplishments:

  • More than 500 people attended a series of three lectures on Islam, Buddhism and Islam by Dr. Michelle Voss Roberts of the School of Divinity at Wake Forest University.  Centenary United Methodist Church co-sponsored and hosted the lectures.

  • Participation in the First Sunday “Journeys” breakfast meetings continued to rise, with average attendance nearing 30.  The series has attracted a diverse group of speakers, and some sessions have had representatives from as many as seven different faith traditions.

  • Approximately 200 people, most of them children and teens, participated in the Festival of Faith and Culture, an arts and crafts event that helped participants learn about Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and Unitarian Universalist traditions.

  • The “Interfaith Contemplatives” group continued to draw a diverse group of participants to its meditation/discussion sessions.

  • More than 115 people registered for our interfaith book clubs.  We read Karen Armstrong’s “Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life,” Chris Gardner’s “The Pursuit of Happyness” in collaboration with the public library’s “on the same” page focus on homelessness and “The Faith Club” written by three Jewish, Muslim and Christian women.  The clubs are continuing.

  • Seventy-five people participated in the annual Interfaith Youth Tour, which visited the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Trinity Moravian Church and the Community Mosque.

  • Interfaith Winston-Salem established a positive, reciprocal relationship with the local LGBTQ community, working in partnership with the Adam Foundation, PRIDE Winston-Salem and Interfaith Voice.

  • Following the bombings during the Boston Marathon, Interfaith Winston-Salem leaders brought together 20 Christians and 20 Muslims for a shared meal to strengthen relationships.

  • Approximately 40 people came to the a/perture cinema to watch “The Tribe” and hear a panel discussion involving Rev. Kelly Carpenter and three chaplains from Wake Forest University, Rabbi Michael Gisser, Rev. K. Monet Rice and Imam Khalid Griggs.  They discussed the pressures by individuals who cannot or won’t be visible in the white American culture. 

  • More than 40 men and women participated in Dr. Peter Lichstein’s workshop on “An Introduction to Buddhist Meditation in the Zen Tradition.”  For more than half of the people it was the first exposure to Buddhist meditation practices.

  • Following a trip to India, students and faculty from Wake Forest University shared their interpretations on themes of religion and culture during a "Multicultural Contexts for Ministry" presentation at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.   

  • During the first 11 months of 2013, Interfaith Winston-Salem had $8,288.11 in revenues and had $5,885.15 in expenses, finishing the year with a balance of $2,881.71.  All activities are offered at no cost to participants, thanks to the Founding Friends of Interfaith Winston-Salem. Grants from The Winston-Salem Foundation and the Adam Foundation underwrote portions of our book club and marketing expenses, and Centenary United Methodist Church, Unity Church, Knollwood Baptist Church, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church have provided key financial support.  Several people have taken advantage of the online donation option on the home page.

  • Our presence in social media continued to expand.  Our activities are promoted on two different websites: for Interfaith Winston-Salem and for Compassionate Winston-Salem.  We also have multiple daily posts on two different Facebook pages.  The sites also are used to promote events sponsored by other groups whose missions are similar to that of Interfaith Winston-Salem.

  • With the assistance of Karl Yena, Interfaith Winston-Salem completed a three-year strategic plan and revised its bylaws to incorporate changes recommended in the plan. 

  • Activities have received extensive news and editorial coverage in radio, television, newspaper, magazine and social media.  This article from the Winston-Salem Chronicle is an excellent example:


How You Can Help

In addition to donations in any amount, we need volunteers with experience and expertise in the following areas:


  1. Bookkeeping or Accounting

  2. Grant Writing or Fundraising

  3. Database (Creation or Management)

  4. Social Media (Facebook, twitter, meetup, website, etc.)

  5. Videographer and/or Photographer to film our activities


If you want to help us further our mission to make the world a better place, please contact Jerry McLeese, Interfaith Winston-Salem, by phone (336-722-9112) or email (