Episcopal Peace Fellowship welcomes new young adult leaders

Posted Aug 14, 2012

[Episcopal Peace Fellowship] Bolstering the Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s (EPF) commitment to engaging young adults in the group’s peace and justice work, two members of its national executive council – both in their early Thirties – will assume leadership of EPF on the first of September.

The Rev. Allison Liles, of Crozet, Virginia, will become interim executive director and Shannon Berndt, of Ithaca, New York, will assist her as membership services coordinator. They succeed the Rev. Jackie Lynn who led EPF for 12 years and her assistant Sara Filipiak – both from Chicago.

“Jackie Lynn and Sara Filipiak have set a tremendously high standard through their work for EPF and it is difficult to say goodbye. The words ‘thank you’ hardly seem adequate,” said Dr. Linda Gaither, EPF chair from Ithaca, New York.  “But Allison Liles and Shannon Berndt bring a whole new set of talents and enthusiasms that will undoubtedly take EPF another step into our future of peacemaking,” she said.

Liles was the convener of the EPF Virginia Seminary chapter for two years and took part in the group’s first Young Adult Presence at General Convention in 2006 – the year she was ordained. Liles joined the EPF national executive council the following year and has been vice chair for public witness since 2010.

“Belonging to such a community recharges my spirit and renews my faith,” said Liles who served two churches in Alabama for five years before resettling with ordained husband Eric and two children to Virginia. “EPF has so much to offer its members and I look forward to furthering our Young Adult Initiative and growing our membership during my tenure as interim executive director,” she said.

“I am so excited to begin work at EPF and look forward to this next adventure,” said Berndt who has been active in EPF for six years. Committed to peace and nonviolent conflict resolution, she is a part-time musician, farmer and teacher who is a member of the Labor Religion Coalition of the Finger Lakes and co-warden of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Slaterville Springs, New York.

A deacon and now full-time ministries associate at St. James’ Cathedral in Chicago who has been an urban organizer all of her adult life, Lynn was named EPF executive director shortly before 9/11. Lynn reached out to other peace fellowships to craft prayers, liturgies and practical responses to the tragedy, said Gaither. One of the primary organizers of the national Christian Peace Witness of Iraq, Lynn promoted practical non-violence training work for EPF that led to the Creating A Culture of Peace training program developed by EPF’s Janet Chisholm with mandates from General Convention.

Lynn credits Filipiak for her “careful and conscientious help that has guided EPF to a more solid base of fiscal responsibility. She was a diligent staffer who was responsive to our member’s needs and requests.” Filipiak will return to teaching this fall with the Grove Heritage Foundation near Chicago.

The Episcopal Peace Fellowship has championed peace, nonviolence and social justice issues since its founding on Armistice Day 1939. Read more about EPF – http://epfnational.org