Many of the people you will see working around Stony Point Center are volunteers. Volunteers help at the front desk, host groups, staff the gift shop, work in the garden, and cook in the kitchen among many other things. Some of our volunteers are members of the Community of Living Traditions, our multifaith residential community. Some volunteers come for a short time and some have been here for many years.
Ismail was born in Palestine on a family farm in Hebron. His love of the land led him to studies in history and geography. For several years he worked as a member of a volunteer team that joined farmers in reforesting Palestine with olive trees and evergreen trees. Continuing in this work, Ismail is committed to international organizing efforts around eco-justice. Ismail has participated in and led many groups - such as - Combatants for Peace and the Parents Circle Families Forum - which are aimed at bringing Israelis and Palestinians together to talk, to see each other without judgement, and to listen to each other. He spent five years at Ecome, an intentional community in the occupied West Bank made up of Palestinians, Israelis, and people from all over the world who are committed to the values of peace, justice, and nonviolence. There he deepened his yoga practice and knowledge of permaculture.He joined the Community of Living Traditions in January 2018 after learning about it through a friend involved in Nonviolent Communication. Here at Stony Point Center Ismail enjoys being involved in guest transportation, landscape maintenance and beautification, kitchen prep, and cultivation of some vegetables that are native to Palestine. Ismail loves to cook meals for the community, share his Pranayana yoga practice with others, and continually practice the art of nonviolent communication. He believes in the saying, “One day your heart will be your passport,” meaning that the openness of our hearts can transport us across many borders and is at the root of peace.
Joyce Bressler is a longtime associate of the Stony Point Center through her over twenty years of work with the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Jewish Peace Fellowship, as well as being a long time resident and activist in Rockland County. With a BA in Government from American University and an MA in Education from New York University, she came to SPC in 2013 to be part of the Jewish cohort of the Community of Living Traditions. Joyce works in the gift shop, and has been part of the Leadership Team of the Summer Institute for young adults “Farm the Land Grow the Spirit” since 2014. She is active in community life in many ways and serves on the Inner Team and Housing Committee. She is passionate about drumming, dancing, singing, writing and local politics.
After working over 20 years as a Resource Center Coordinator for a middle governing body of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and serving as a Church Administrative Assistant/Christian Education Coordinator, Cathy made a life change. With four sons grown and on their own, she sold their home in New Jersey and came to Stony Point Center. Cathy started her Volunteer Resident life here in 2014, supporting the SPC staff by serving as the Caretaker/Hostess of the Gilmor Sloane guest house. Since then she has added other support to SPC by being part of a Transportation team, the Front Desk welcoming team, and, most recently, a newly created Landscaping Team. As part of the Community of Living Traditions Cathy has chosen to support the community by working with our Inner Team, a group that looks at the needs of and finds ways to support the community members. She also helps out with the Housing Team and its projects whenever possible and enjoys being part of our new "Fix-Up" Team. Her faith is supported by being part of the Christian Cohort.
Bill works for Guest Services, and sets up meeting spaces for our guests. He is always willing to assist where he is needed. He is struggling to improve his German, because he occasionally visits Germany to sing in the streets. Bill's songs are available on Spotify and and ITunes. His website is www.charminbilly.com.
Warren Cooper is a life-long member of the Community of Living Traditions at Stony Point Center (CLT). As a member of the Governing Board that approved Rick and Kitty’s proposal, he has grown with the CLT in various levels of engagement. Currently he is the Curator of SPC Productions, which is a media-based ministry of storytelling and documentary seed planting. Warren is based in Philadelphia and spends 1 week personally and 3 weeks virtually with the CLT. In Warren’s “other” life he is the Executive Producer of Music Media Ministry, a multi-media production company focused on the manufacturing and trafficking of Positive Art that nurtures the Movement for Non-Violent Justice Peace. (www.MusicMediaMinistry.com) Warren has a life-long history of service in the PCUSA, beginning with being the eldest son of a Presbyterian Minister. From there Warren has served on every Judicatory level of the Church. He is an Ordained Ruling Elder and Minister of Music who engages the world as a Producer, Broadcaster, Professional Musician and Performance Artist. Warren’s latest CD release is GUITARS AND VOICES…Talking About Choices. It is a work greatly inspired by Stony Point Center and the CLT that tenders creatively surgical observations about the fission in the collision of Social Justice, Righteous Requirements and the American Dream. 10% of all CD sales are pledged to benefit Stony Point Center. (www.GuitarsVoicesChoices.com) You can hear Warren Sunday Mornings on OVATIONS Gospel Music Radio on Sundays @ 6:00a – 9:00a * Listen Live To The Jazz Stream @ www.wrti.org.
Amy Dalton has been a member of the Christian Cohort of the Community of Living Traditions for 7 years. Her roles at SPC are currently focused in communications, fundraising and community engagement. Amy considers herself a faith-rooted scholar-activist, and has been an “observer-participant” in many social justice movements, including Black Lives Matter and African solidarity organizing, the sanctuary movement and immigrant advocacy, the global indymedia network, death penalty and prison abolition, student-labor solidarity, women’s and LGBTQIA liberation. Recently she has helped to initiate the Ambazonia Prisoners of Conscience Support Network and the Global Initiative to end the Cameroons Conflict, and serves on the board of the Center and Library for the Bible and Social Justice (CLBSJ). Amy has earned a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary with a research focus in faith-based community organizing, and a Bachelor of Arts with high honors in sociology/anthropology from Swarthmore College with research focuses in prison history, anthropology of religion and Marxist social theory. She was raised primarily as a United Methodist, and has also been influenced by connections with Jesuits, Quakers, Lutherans, Presbyterians, as well as the tradition of devotion to Mother Mary. She and her partner have a 2-year old daughter.
Farah is a member of the Muslim cohort and can often be found greeting guests at the front desk or brainstorming ways to promote Stony Point Center using social media. She enjoys beautifying common spaces on campus and believes any room could always use more throw pillows. In her spare time, Farah likes to befriend stray cats and wild animals and go on solo adventures exploring the area. At any given time, she is probably reading a minimum of 3 books.
Sherly Fabre is an activist with a background in international political-economy, conflict resolution, interfaith dialogue and communications. She is a member of the Muslim Peace Fellowship and Community of Living Traditions at Stony Point Center, a volunteer librarian at the Islamic Library located at Stony Point Center, and representative to the United Nations for the International Fellowship of Reconciliation. Originally from Haiti, Sherly has lived most of her life as a Haitian immigrant in the United States. She is a founding member of Proyecto Faro, an immigrant-lead organization whose goal is to weave networks of support and solidarity for immigrants in Rockland County, NY. She also organized against war, sexism and racism, and is active in the Palestine solidarity and Black Lives Matter movements. Sherly comes to Ambazonian solidarity organizing as a Haitian person with direct experience of French neocolonialism.
Laura’s journey has included trying out various systems of belief from astrology to Jehovah’s Witnesses to working in a conservative Christian counseling center in Times Square under the auspices of Campus Crusade for Christ. Her formal education includes a Masters in Religious Education from NYU and a Masters of Divinity from NYTS. Laura’s current passions include: theology, the Bible, preaching, biblical storytelling, politics and the mission of the Community of Living Traditions here at Stony Point. She is committed to CLT’s vision, “to create and maintain a space for multi-faith and multi-cultural encounter, where spiritual resources for personal and collective work can be claimed” while working for justice and peace on the planet. Her hobbies are quilting, arts and crafts and writing.
Norman K. Gottwald is Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at New York Theological Seminary and taught previously at the Graduate Theological Union and Andover Newton Theological School. He is author of The Tribes of Yahweh, a celebrated study of the origins of ancient Israel as an indigenous peasant uprising. His other writings include The Hebrew Bible: A Socio-Literary Introduction, The Hebrew Bible in Its Social World and in Ours, The Politics of Ancient Israel, and, as co-author, The Bible and Liberation: Political and Social Hermeneutics. He is a pioneer in the use of social theory and method in biblical studies, a world-wide lecturer on the critical relevance of the Bible to contemporary social struggles, and a citizen activist in numerous civil rights, anti-war, and pro-labor movements and organizations. As an ordained minister of American Baptist Churches USA, he is a strong advocate of popular biblical study committed to social change.
Rabia Terri Harris
Rabia is a co-founder of the Community of Living Traditions at Stony Point Center. She serves as Chaplain and Scholar in Residence at the Center, where she is also on the faculty of the “Farm the Land, Grow the Spirit” Summer Institute for Young People. In 1994, Rabia founded the Muslim Peace Fellowship (MPF) the first American Muslim association devoted to the theory and practice of Islamic nonviolence. In 2009, her long experience in spirituality and community service led to her being chosen as the first president of the Association of Muslim Chaplains. As a theorist and investigator in Islamic peacebuilding and multireligious solidarity for justice, Rabia writes extensively and has lectured and offered workshops nationally and internationally. She holds a BA in Religion from Princeton University, an MA in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures from Columbia University, and a Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy from Hartford Seminary. She loves to garden and has been happily married for over a decade.
Sarah Henkel is a Presbyterian pastor with roots in the Mennonite tradition. She joined the Community of Living Traditions in 2015. Sarah currently serves as Parish Associate at White Plains Presbyterian Church across the Hudson River from Stony Point. Sarah is a member of the Faith Working Group of the Alliance for Fair Food and part of the Support Team for Proyecto Faro, a grassroots immigrant rights group growing in Rockland County. She is a birth doula and finds birth to be a powerful lens through which to expect and envision the new and just world always coming to life around us. Sarah works at the front desk at Stony Point Center and enjoys developing art and graphics for use in the community...and just for fun. She uses some of these designs to create silkscreens for printing t-shirts for community events and guest groups. Sarah invites you to come check out the Community of Living Traditions t-shirt printing press in the Stony Point Center Art Space. Sarah's daily routine includes rediscovering the fine arts of curiosity and deer-observation alongside her 2-year-old child and her partner, Will Summers (one of the SPC Farmers).
Unzu was born in a refugee camp on the Cheju island in the South Sea off the Korean peninsula. She immigrated to Brazil at age 14 and then immigrated again to the U.S. at age 17. She considers herself a 1.5 generation Asian American of Korean descent. A fifth generation Christian, Unzu comes from a family that takes seriously one's personal faith praxis in daily living. Ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1995, her ministry through the national offices of PCUSA has involved women's advocacy and leadership development, with a particular attention to the intersection of race and gender. First and foremost, Unzu considers herself an educator for personal and social transformation. She is the author of Coming Home: Asian American Women Doing Theology and co-author of Singing the Lord's Song in a New Land: Korean American Practices of Faith. Her interest include spiritual formation and promoting peace in the Korean peninsula. At Stony Point Center, Unzu’s primary work is in the SPC kitchen where she loves preparing and serving food as an act of hospitality. She is a member of the Summer Institute Team and the Admissions Team. She joined the Community of Living Traditions on November 29, 2016.
Turtle joined the Community of Living Traditions in 2010. As a resident volunteer she works in the role of Transportation Coordinator, helping guests to arrive to Stony Point Center via local airports and public transportation. She is also a key part of the Information Technology (IT) team here on campus.
Jane is a member of the Advisory Board of Stony Point Center and as a volunteer works in many capacities - planning, finance, sewing, building and grounds work, etc. She is also very interested in programming for our Arts Space, and is a papermaker.
Asher Joy Menashe
Asher ('AJ') is a native New Yorker and member of the Jewish Cohort within Community of Living Traditions. She is a member of the farm team and a master gardener for Stony Point Center. She received her MA in Jewish Communal Services at Gratz college in 2016 and her BA in Philosophy from Brooklyn College in 1999. Her masters internship was actually right here Stony Point Center, where she focused on program development. As a member of CLT, she focuses her community connections on networks of Jews of Color such as the Jews of Color Torah Academy (JOCTA), Black Yids Matter BYM, Bend the Arc's Moral Minyan, and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) Jews of Color Caucus. Some programs that she seeded and nurtured with other members of the Community of Living Traditions (CLT) are: Sanctuary for Landscaping: Pastoral Earth Care (SLPEC); the Unpacking Practice; and the Listening Practice (inspired by the Human Library). SLPEC is landscaping and gardening on the Earth and ecosystem terms. The Unpacking Practice is an internal - CLT - practice to address systemic racism, religious-gender identity-sexual orientation bigotry, and economic inequities by deliberately reflection and discerning together as CLT. The Listening Practice encourages the use of the primal skill of oral history by having Story Tellers tell others their stories. This will be particularly useful for activists. Stay tuned for Listening Space Events that will include our communities and affiliates!
Dr. David Ragland is Senior Bayard Rustin Fellow at the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FORusa). David co-founded and served as co-director of the Truth Telling Project, which began in the early days of the Ferguson Uprising to shift the narrative of the protests and police violence. David is the co-host of the “We Stay Woke” podcast, and teaches at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Community Liberation and Eco-Psychology. David was recently inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College. He is a contributing editor for Waging Nonviolence Magazine, co-author of “Systemic Humiliation in America” and recently published a chapter on Radical Truth Telling and Ferguson in the “Handbook on Violence in Education.” David is also part of the Muslim Peace Fellowship and a multifaith resident member of the Community of Living Traditions in Stony Point, NY. David has served on the board of directors for the Peace and Justice Studies Association, the Fellowship of Reconciliation’s National Council, and as U.N. Representative for the International Peace Research Association.
Bonnie J Ruggiero
Bonnie deals with financial reports and special projects. She is a liaison for Allison House with the Presbyterian Foundation that holds the investments for the maintenance of the property and PC (USA) that leases the house for programs at SPC. She's involved with her Presbyterian church and the Presbytery of Elizabeth. Also, she's the treasurer of El Centro Hispanoamericano, Plainfield NJ, and is a self-employed financial consultant to nonprofits and individuals. She has 2 children and 3 grandchildren. She loves knitting & traveling.
Danielle Saint Louis
Danielle is a non-binary and queer being of Haitian/Canadian descent. They are a parent and member of the SPC childcare cooperative, supporting and nurturing youth development on campus. As a resident volunteer, Danielle works at the front desk at Stony Point Center and enjoys hiking, swimming and boating in nearby forest, mountain and lake areas. Since joining the SPC community in October 2018, Danielle has contributed to co-creating the Unpacking Space for the CLT and groundskeeping with the Sanctuary for Landscaping: Pastoral Earth Care (SLPEC) project. Danielle is a practicing Buddhist and member of the Order of Interbeing, an ordained student of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.
Susan Smith is a member of the Muslim Peace Fellowship and Muslim Cohort of the Community of Living Traditions (CLT) at Stony Point Center since 2014. In addition to working at the Front Desk, she is a member of the Outer Team, which engages in interfaith, peace and social justice outreach and activism at local, regional, national and international levels. Susan is also Director of Operations of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Her main areas of focus and public speaking are migrant justice, confronting Islamophobia, and ending the United States’ military industrial complex and planned destruction and colonization of the Middle East. Along with other members of CLT, Susan is active in the International Sanctuary Declaration Campaign aimed at exchanging information on migrant solidarity work across borders, faiths and cultural contexts; and building international grassroots civil society power to respond to the escalating crisis of displacement. She is the author of Biblical Children's Stories As Told In The Qur'an published by Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an Press and sold in the SPC Fair Trade Multi-faith Gift Shop. Susan deeply loves her daughters Yasmine (age 23) and Dareen (age 21), who constantly keep her privilege in check by reminding her that she’s white; and she is immensely fond of her cats Macho and Bubala.
Matt Zeltzer is a member of the Jewish Cohort of the Community of Living Traditions. He grew up in Rockland County, NY, attended Vassar College, and participated in Stony Point Center’s first Summer Institute in 2010. Matt has worked at several Organic and Biodynamic farms in the Hudson Valley, and is an active member of IfNotNow, a movement aimed to end American Jewish support for the occupation of Palestine. He is a part of the Stony Point Center Farm Team.