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A progressive voice in Hawai'i promoting the positive healing role of religion in public life by encouraging dialogue, challenging extremism, and facilitating nonviolent community activism

Joan Chatfield, MM, PhD

Sister Joan Chatfield is the Executive Director of the Institute for Religion and Social Change.  Her activities span numerous interfaith and inter-religious groups and she is a member of the Assembly of the Parliament for the World's Religions and the Executive Committee of the United States Religions for Peace.  From 1999-2003 she was one of the representatives for the Maryknoll Sisters as an NGO with the United Nations in New York.


Sam Cox, BD, MSW

Rev Sam Cox was married to the recently deceased Rima Kozue Tomita and has two sons and four grandchildren.  He is an ordained United Methodist Church minister currently serving as the Visitation Pastor for Kailua United Methodist Church.  In addition to The Interfaith Alliance Hawai‘i, he helps coordinate the Interfaith Open Table encouraging interfaith dialogue.  He is a board member of the Kokua Council for Senior Citizens, one of the oldest advocacy groups for seniors, which he helped organize in 1970.

Previous to “retirement” in 1998, he served as the Executive Director for Hale Kipa for Runaway and Homeless Youth for 23 years and before that the Executive Director of Mō‘ili‘ili Community Center for 9 years.  In 1960 to 1965, he served as a fraternal social worker with the Airindan Community Center in downtown Tokyo.

Rev Cox has been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Network for Youth and Hawai‘i Social Worker of the Year Award in 1999.  He is a founder of the Hawai‘i Youth Services Network, and helped establish the Teen Line, Peer Listener, and Gay and Lesbian Youth Support projects and Kokua Council for Senior Citizens.

Cecilia Fordham

Cecilia Fordham, born in Oklahoma of part Cherokee heritage, raised in Tennessee, educated in Louisiana, New York and Hawai‘i, earned her B.S. from the State University of New York at Fredonia and M.F.A. from the University of Hawai‘i.  As an educator, theatre director-actor, and community volunteer, she has been active in a variety of professional, community, ecumenical and interfaith activities and organizations for over four decades.  Retired from ‘Iolani School and the University of Hawai‘i College of Education Curriculum Research & Development Group, Fordham currently works as a consultant in the arts and in education.  She has served in lay leadership roles in the Parish of St. Clement and is currently chair of the Episcopal Diocese of Hawai‘i Stewardship Department, serves on the Mission Department, and the Hawaii Council of Churches Fund Executive Board.  She is a past officer, member, and fundraiser for several local and national arts and education boards and panels.

Wallace T Fukunaga, DMin

Rev Fukunaga was born in Honolulu, Hawai‘i and holds a degree in Asian studies from Harvard University, a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and Doctor of Ministry from the Pacific School of Religion, where he was named distinguished alumnus and currently serves as consultant for advancement.

Rev Fukunaga was interim minister to Christ Church Uniting Presbyterians and Disciples, 1990-1991; minister to Waimea UCC, during the rebuilding following Hurricane Iniki,1991-1992 ; senior minister to The Community Church of Honolulu, 1993-2001; interim minister to Waiokeola Congregational Church, 2001-2004; and, interim Minister to Moanalua Community Church, 2004 –2006.

Alan Goto

Alan Goto was born in Kona, Hawai‘i and grow up in Aiea.  He was graduated from University High School in Honolulu and from Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois with a Bachelors of Science in General Business.

Served one enlistment in the U.S. Air Force; and recently retired from HMSA.  He is president of the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin Board of Directors and a Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii Board member.  Received Tokudo or minor ordination by the Hongwanji.  In addition, he serves on the boards of the Pacific Buddhist Academy, the Counseling & Spiritual Care Center of Hawai‘i and The Interfaith Alliance of Hawai‘i.

He is married to Rosemary Tamekuni Goto and has two sons, Sage and Ken.  Sage and his wife, Melissa, reside in Portland, Oregon; Ken teaches English at Saint Louis High School in Honolulu.

Paul Gracie, PhD
First Vice President

Dr Paul Gracie was born in Whittier, California on August 21, 1953. He has been married since 1979 to Keo Sananikone, and has two children.  Dr Gracie has worked as a restaurateur and a homemaker.

Dr Gracie received a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Hawai‘i in Sociology of Language and was a member of the AFSC Hawai’i Area Program from 1998-2004.


Ha‘aheo Guanson, Ph.D.

John R. Heidel, DScT
Rev Dr John Heidel was born May 7, 1937 in Idaho.  He married Marian Stannard in 1962 and has three children: Eric, Kevin, and Melody.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Willamette University, Salem, Oregon in 1959 and a Master of Divinity degree from Berkeley Baptist Divinity School in Berkeley, California in 1967.  Dr Heidel also received Doctor of the Science of Theology from San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, California in 1978.

Dr Heidel spent five years as Minister of Youth at Central Union Church in Honolulu and 32 years as Chaplain of Punahou School in Honolulu.  He retired in June, 2001.

He is a member of the Hawaii Conference of Religions for Peace; a member of Christ Church Uniting Disciples and Presbyterians, Kailua; and a founder of Religious Leaders for Assisted Dying.  Dr Heidel is also a member of the Executive Committee for the Hawai‘i Council of Churches, and on the Board of Directors for Family Promise Hawai‘i.

Blayne Higa, MPA

Blayne Higa was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii. He is the Director of Development & Community Relations for the Pacific Buddhist Academy, a college preparatory high school with a mission of nurturing peace and developing compassionate leaders for our community. Higa previously worked in the State Legislature for over thirteen years.

He holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a Bachelor of Arts from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

Higa also serves as President of Moiliili Hongwanji Mission, 1st Vice President of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, Chair of the Committee on Social Concerns for the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii and is a member of the Advisory Council for Project Dana.  He is also training to receive Tokudo ordination with the Hongwanji.

Travis Idol

Travis Idol is a member of Hawai‘i Interfaith Power and Light's steering committee. He is also an associate professor of forestry and agroforestry at the University of Hawai‘i. He is motivated by the moral and spiritual dimensions of climate change and believes in sustainability as a way of right living and right relationship. Travis enjoys maintaining a native plant educational garden around his office building and spending time outdoors enjoying the wonders of the natural world.


David Hilton Jackson

Rev. Jackson is a priest in The Episcopal Church and has been ordained since 1995.  He has served as the Rector of The Church of the Epiphany in Kaimuki, Honolulu, since 2009.  He is also currently one of the delegates of The Episcopal Church in Hawai‘i to the triennial General Convention of The Episcopal Church.  Prior to that he was the Dean and President of Bloy House (The Episcopal Theological School at Claremont) in Claremont, California, a seminary that caters to part-time students.  He is finishing his Ph.D dissertation in Hebrew Bible at Claremont Graduate University, with an emphasis on ancient Near Eastern languages.  He also holds degrees from Stanford University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and the University of Oxford in the UK.  He is currently working on a book concerning a metrical retranslation of the Psalms.

Jean Sadako McKillop King, MFA, MA

The Honorable Jean Sadako McKillop King was born and grew up in Hawai’i.  She is the mother of two and grandmother of five.  She holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees from the University of Hawai‘i and a Master of Arts from New York University.

Ms King served as State Representative, then as State Senator in the Hawai‘i State Legislature. She chaired the Environmental Protection Committees in both the House and the Senate. She subsequently served as Lieutenant Governor of Hawai‘i.  Currently, Ms King is also active with the Honolulu Community – Media Council, serving as a member of its Board of Directors.

Rob Kinslow


Rob was raised as a farmer, trained as an aerospace engineer, and currently serves as executive coordinator for the Hawai‘i Interfaith Power & Light, a project of the Interfaith Alliance Hawai‘i. His experiences in community campaign development, facilitation and collaboration, non-violence training, film making and strategic consulting come from thousands of volunteer hours with multiple NGOs over the last 17 years.

As an engineer, Rob managed complex multi-million dollar engineering projects while serving as director of a Land Trust, ballona.org. He has co-created several NGOs, including The Love Company, and ActaVista, an 'envisioneering' center for social and environmental change agents.

As a creative documentary film-maker he has produced educational, documentary, travel, sports, technical, musical, and inspirational media. Rob has collaborated in large community fundraising events, founded and served with successful non-profit enterprises, and consulted with NGOs in the areas of strategic planning and capacity development.

As an embedded community change agent, he facilitates "Sustainability talks," and educates communities through dialogue about sustainable solutions for a world in transition. He has presented to students, private investors, professional associations, and at public gatherings. Currently, Rob is the Executive Director of Hawai‘i Interfaith Power and Light and is pursuing a masters in sustainable development.


Kekapa P K Lee, MDiv

Rev. Lee was born in Hilo, Hawai‘i. He is the acting senior pastor of The First Chinese Church of Christ in Hawai‘i (UCC) and active in the national setting of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary, and won Na Hoku Hanohano for Best Religious Album for 1998. Kekapa continues to merge his faith-spirituality and cultural beliefs and practices to bring a whole dimension to his ministry in the UCC.



Renie Wong Lindley



Irene Matsumoto, BE
Second Vice President

Rev Irene Matsumoto is resident minister of Palolo Kwannon Temple.  She attended Ochanomizu Women's University, Tokyo, Japan as a foreign student, holds her Bachelor of Education, University of Hawai‘i and is a graduate of Tendai Buddhist Training Center.  Rev Matsumoto was with the Hawai‘i Department of Education for 28 years.  She is president-elect of the United Japanese Society of Hawai‘i.

Dr. Kahu Kaleo Patterson

Douglas Pyle, MDiv

Rev Douglas Pyle holds a Master of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry, a member seminary of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.

He has been a minister with Common Ground Ministries since 1997, a small Buddhist sangha for exploring wisdom from diverse sources and practicing loving kindness in daily life.  Common Ground promotes inter-religious dialog and community service, overcoming prejudices and injustice, and finding deeper peace among diverse peoples.  It is informed primarily from Buddhist dharma as well as diverse sources of spiritual, literary and scientific wisdom.

Rev Pyle has also directed the volunteer service program for Hawai‘i State Hospital since 1997, providing community mental health education and occasional sessions in Satipatthana, or mindfulness meditation practice for patients, staff and volunteers.

Rev Pyle studied traditional Buddhist meditation at the Buddhist Studies Institute while at the Graduate Theological Union from 1992-1995, under the tutelage of Bhante Seelawimala.  Rev Pyle participated at the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions, which inspired a course in inter-religious dialog which he taught at the Graduate Theological Union while a seminarian in 1995.

Stephen Randolph Sykes, EOMC, DD


Bishop Stephen Randolph Sykes is Orthodox Bishop of Hawai‘i of the Inclusive Orthodox Church and resides in the monastic community of the Eremitic Order of Mount Carmel.  He also serves on the board of the All Believers Network.  Originally from California, Bishop Stephen has been a Hawai‘i resident for over 20 years.

He is co-author of Charting Your Goals: Personal Life-Goals Planning (Harper & Row 1988) and Charting Your Goals Life-Planning Guide for Teens (Dolphin Circle 2006).  He holds degrees in philosophy from Loyola University of Los Angeles and divinity (honoris causa) from the Apostolic College of the Pacific.

Bishop Stephen is also the Web master for a number of Hawai‘i-based, non-profit organizations, including The Interfaith Alliance Hawai‘i.


Richard Walenta


Jade Young

Jade Young is a graduate of Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California (Master of Divinity, May, 2004). She brings over thirty years of experience as a consultant to businesses, executives, and nonprofit organizations. Currently, she works as a hospice chaplain and life coach helping people navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of life. She is available for personal counseling, retreats, lectures, and being a spiritual midwife to those who are terminally ill. She enjoys connecting with the Divine in various ways – yoga, centering prayer, swimming, and simply “hanging out” with friends.

Advisory Board

Robert L. Fitzpatrick

The Right Reverend Robert Fitzpatrick was elected the fifth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Hawai‘i and the eleventh Anglican bishop in the Hawaiian Islands on October 2006, and was ordained bishop on March 10, 2007, immediately assuming responsibility as diocesan. He was the Canon to the Ordinary (executive officer) and Deployment Officer of the Bishop of Hawai‘i at the time of election. He is a graduate of DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana. He attended the General Theological Seminary in New York City earning a Master of Divinity degree. He also has a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. Prior to moving to Hawai‘i, Bishop Fitzpatrick served as a Volunteer for Mission of the Episcopal Church teaching at Trinity Theological College, Umuahia, Nigeria; the Assistant to the Rector in St. Peter’s Church, Morristown, New Jersey; and Rector of Grace Church, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Here in Hawai‘i, he served as the non-stipendiary priest-in-charge of St. Barnabas Church, Kapolei, and of St. Luke’s Church, Honolulu. Within the community, he has served on the boards of soup kitchens, homes shelters, food banks and other organizations. He has served nationally on various boards and committees of the Episcopal Church. He was chair of the Hawai‘i deputation to General Convention twice and is currently on the boards of ‘Iolani School, Seabury Hall and St. Andrew’s Priory School. He is also the Bishop with oversight of the Episcopal churches in Micronesia. Bishop Fitzpatrick lives in Honolulu with his wife, Beatrice Elizondo Fitzpatrick. She is a registered nurse and is currently the Director of training for Medical Assistants at Hawai‘i Medical Institute. They have two sons (both graduates of ‘Iolani School).

Yoshiaki Fujitani, MA

Rev Yoshiaki Fujitani was born in Maui, Hawai‘i. He is married to Tomi Fujitani, and has three children.  Rev. Fujitani was the Bishop of Hawai‘i’s largest Buddhist denomination, the Honpa Hongwanji Mission from 1975-1986.

He served in WWII with the Army Military Intelligence Service.  He received his Master of Arts at the University of Chicago in History of Religions.

Rev Fujitani is an adviser of Big Brothers of Hawai‘i, and the Buddhist chaplain for the Honolulu Police Department.  He is also a member of the eviction board of the Hawaii Housing Commission.

Teruo Kawata, DMin

Rev Dr Teruo Kawata was born in Delano, California, of parents who had migrated from Japan a decade earlier.  The recipient of two bachelor's degrees (University of Chicago and Ottawa University, Kansas), he went on to the University of Chicago Divinity School for his divinity degree and for further theological study at the University of Southern California School of Religion.

His early pastorates were in Los Angeles and in Hawaii at the Nu‘uanu Congregational Church, ‘Iao Congregational Church and Waiokeola Congregational Church.  From 1968 to 1970, he served at the Conference level as program minister and as Associate Conference Minister.  In 1970, he was called from Hawai‘i by the United Church of Christ to take the position of Associate Secretary in the Western regional Office for Church Life and Leadership, a position he held for seven years.  In 1977, he left San Francisco to answer the call of the Central Pacific Conference to fill the post of conference Minister there.

Rev Dr Kawata was installed as the General Secretary-Conference Minister of the Hawai‘i Conference of the United Church of Christ on November 11, 1979 at Kawaiaha‘o Church in Honolulu.  He retired as the General Secretary and Conference Minister for the Hawai‘i Conference in 1989.  He and his wife, Kiku, have three children and are presently residing in Hawai‘i.  He continues to be a pastor, teacher, servant and dear friend to all with his love and care.

Raj Kumar

Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong








Hakim Ouansafi

Hakim Ouansafi is the president and chairman of the Muslim Association of Hawai‘i.




Barbara Grace Ripple

Rev Barbara Grace Ripple is a retired, ordained United Methodist minister who served from 1998 to 2004 as superintendent of the United Methodist churches of Guam, Saipan and the state of Hawai‘i.  Currently, she serves as convener of the Advisory Board of TIAH; also serves on the board of directors of the Counseling and Spiritual Care Center of Hawai‘i (formerly known as the Samaritan Counseling Center) and the District Division and Conference Board of Church and Society.  Rev Ripple has served churches in Ohio and started the first United Methodist church in Saipan.  She facilitated support groups for survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence, and developed workshops for training clergy and counselors in how to identify and assist the needs of survivors.  She leads spiritual formation retreats and is an advocate for justice, peace and understanding among all persons.  Her husband, James Ripple, is a retired engineer/attorney.  Together they have ten children, eighteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.


Peter Schaktman

Rabbi Schaktman received his Rabbinic Ordination from the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion in 1989.  Since that time, the heart of his work has been as a congregational rabbi, where he has found enormous satisfaction learning, teaching, caring for members of the community and creating new approaches to meeting the challenges of synagogue life.  As a congregational rabbi, he has served congregations in Houston, Lake Charles, Louisiana, Staten Island, and Livingston Manor, NY.

He also spent nine years working on the staff of the Union for Reform Judaism at their headquarters in Manhattan as a regional and national consultant in program development, synagogue management and the special needs of small congregations.

Rabbi Schaktman is a proud graduate of Oberlin College, and is certified in Chemical Dependency and Spiritual Counseling. Prior to becoming a rabbi, he also spent two years living in an Israeli Arab village as a community worker in Arab-Jewish relations.

Whether in sacred worship or in a classroom, in committee meetings or youth group events or his pastoral work, the central goal of his rabbinate has been to study, to teach, and to help others find meaning in their lives through the traditions of Judaism.


© 2007-2010 The Interfaith Alliance Hawai‘i.  All rights reserved.


Date last updated: 25 November 2012