Interfaith Leadership Forum 2023 | 4th Forum

“Interfaith Engagement with the Environmental Crisis”

About the 4th Interfaith Leadership Forum (ILF):

Rumi Forum, Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington, and Washington Theological Consortium present the 4th Interfaith Leadership Forum (ILF): “Interfaith Engagement with the Environmental Crisis” on May 31, 2023. The program features keynote speaker Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, an interfaith panel, and an opportunity for small group dialogues.

Event Video:

Keynote by:

Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, D. Min., started at Adat Shalom when the synagogue was only eight years old, and meeting at the JCC – he was still in rabbinic school, Founding Rabbi Sid was part-time, Shabbat morning services were every other week, and cell phones hardly existed. Upon ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1997, he became its first full-time rabbi and has joyfully served here ever since.

Rabbi Fred currently serves as Chair of the National Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life and is on the boards of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment and Interfaith Power and Light (The Regeneration Project). Fred has also been deeply engaged in social and racial justice (including Jews United for Justice), multi-faith (a past board member of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington), and Israeli-progressive (J Street and more) efforts.


Growing up in Alabama surrounded by woods and creeks, Sevim Kalyoncu discovered at an early age that her most direct connection with God came through nature. To this day, she still finds peace in natural surroundings and holds a deep concern regarding humankind’s responsibility as vicegerent of the earth. She is involved with multiple local climate action groups and is dedicated to helping educate youth about the importance of environmental awareness for spiritual, mental, and physical well-being. She holds a B.S. from Georgetown and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and has many years of nonprofit experience in Washington, DC, and the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also a naturalist interpreter and a yoga instructor.

Rev. Dr. Gilson Waldkoenig teaches methods for understanding ministry in context and applied theology rooted in the resilient grace of Christ. As Director of the Town and Country Church Institute (TCCI), Dr. Waldkoenig teaches courses in rural and Appalachian ministry and is sought out by synods, judicatories, and other seminaries for consultation and teaching. His research has included multiple-church ministries, environmental ministries, and a variety of other topics, all reflecting his practical theology of “means of grace and scenes of grace.” He belongs to St. James Lutheran Church in Gettysburg. His books include Cooperating Congregations and Symbiotic Community; The Lost Land and his reviews appeared in Agricultural History, Journal of Appalachian Studies, Journal for Study of Religion, Nature & Culture, Christian Century, and others.

Dr. Rajwant Singh is the founder and President of EcoSikh, a global organization working on the climate crisis facing the planet. It has engaged the worldwide Sikh community to take action on environmental issues. He also co-founded the National Sikh Campaign, an initiative to inform Americans about the Sikh identity. Dr. Rajwant Singh is also the Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE), an organization that has worked with the White House and the members of the United States Congress. He organized a large gathering of the Sikhs to interact with political and elected leaders at Capitol Hill. He was instrumental in organizing the first-ever celebration of Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary at the White House in 2009.

Kristin Barker is co-founder and director of One Earth Sangha whose mission is to cultivate a Buddhist response to ecological crises. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leader program and now teaches with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. As a co-founder of White Awake, Kristin has been supporting white people since 2011 with a Dharma approach to uprooting racism in ourselves and in our world. With a background in software engineering as well as environmental management, she has worked at several international environmental organizations. She is a GreenFaith Fellow and serves on the advisory board of Project Inside Out. Kristin was born and raised in northern New Mexico and currently lives in Washington DC, the traditional lands of the Piscataway people.

4th ILF was part of “IFC Days of Unity”:

The Interfaith Leadership Forum (ILF) presents its 4th program during Days of Unity, entitled “Interfaith Engagement with the Environmental Crisis”. Rumi Forum and its partners are glad to be collaborating with the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington (IFCMW) for the 4th ILF, which coincides with their 6th Annual Days of Unity during the month of May 2023.