Meet the Inaugural Sacred Journey Fellows

Responding to the deep divisions in the United States, IFYC and Fellowship in Prayer have launched a fellowship with $15,000 awards over two years to support faith leaders who are demonstrating the power of interfaith cooperation to bridge deep divisions in America’s civic fabric. The Sacred Journey Fellowship brings together a cohort of 11 civically engaged leaders to support, inspire, and connect bridgebuilding efforts across various sectors.   

“The Sacred Journey Fellows is a racially and religiously diverse group of highly capable and, in some cases, highly visible leaders who view interfaith cooperation as a key aspect of their calling and commitment,” says Dr. Eboo Patel, founder, and president of IFYC. “Together they will grow in their own leadership capacities as they learn from one another’s spiritual commitments and personal and professional experiences.”  

We are excited to announce the inaugural cohort of the 11 religiously diverse and accomplished leaders who view interfaith cooperation as a key aspect of their calling and commitment. The Fellows were selected this summer from a base of over 1,700 IFYC alumni who possess the skills and knowledge to serve as interfaith leaders in all sectors, including faith, public health, education, business, and government. 

In addition to the $15,000 award, Sacred Journey Fellows will receive additional funding for collaborative projects among cohort members, participate in an intensive Sacred Journey Fellowship retreat and receive ongoing support to grow their leadership experience and professional networks through mentorship with senior-level IFYC staff. 

The public will be able to learn from the Fellows as they reflect on their experience and learning in multimedia pieces for IFYC’s Interfaith America online platform, sharing the stories of their work and inspiring others in the network and beyond.    

Please meet the 2021 Sacred Journey Fellows: 

Anu GorukantiMD is a public health practitioner and a pediatric hospitalist at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center at the University of CaliforniaSan FranciscoHer background is in implementation science and systems change and she is particularly interested in the care of immigrant and refugee children as well as addressing racism as a key driver of disparities in our healthcare delivery systems. She identifies as Hindu/Buddhist and cares deeply about building safe spaces for reflection and introspection for all people.

Ariel Burger is a public educator and the author of the Publisher's Lunch Club book, Indie Buzz Book selection, and National Jewish Book Award winner, Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel's Classroom (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). He is the founding director and senior scholar of The Witness Institute, whose mission is to create a more compassionate and just world through public education programs and leadership development. Emerging from Ariel's 2008 talk titled "Toward a Methodology of Wonder" and his apprenticeship with Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel, the Institute addresses the roots of human behavior through study, reflection, the arts, and practice. A Hasidic-trained rabbi, Ariel received his PhD in Jewish Studies and Conflict Resolution under Elie Wiesel. A lifelong student of Professor Wiesel, Ariel served as his Teaching Fellow from 2003-2008, after which he directed education initiatives for Greater Boston at Combined Jewish Philanthropies. As a Covenant Foundation grantee, Ariel develops cutting-edge arts and educational programming for adults, facilitates workshops for educators, consults with non-profits, and serves as scholar/artist-in-residence for institutions around the world.

Dominique Isaac Grate was born June 8, 1990, in Long Branch, NJ. He is the son of retired Major Willie James Grate, Jr. and Felicia A. Grate. He obtained his B.A. from the University of South Carolina where he studied under the world-renowned Dr. Stephanie Mitchem, majoring in African American Studies, with a minor in History. In 2008, Pastor Grate received his call to serve in the ordained ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. A 2013 inductee into the National Academy of Young Preachers, Rev. Grate graduated from Wake Forest University School of Divinity, where he was an Ed & Jean Christman Fellow. A Life Member of the NAACP, Columbia Urban League Young Professionals, Alpha Psi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., My Carolina Alumni Association, and Rotary International. Pastor Grate has served as the Senior Pastor of Historic Trinity AME Church in Manning, SC. His ministry passions include rural ministry, humanitarian missions, and historical preservation. For fun Pastor Grate enjoys playing the board game RISK with friends, reading non-fiction, and watching Netflix/Hulu. Prior to serving as the Senior Pastor of Historic Trinity, Pastor Grate served two charges in the Columbia Annual Conference: Calvary AME Church (Batesburg-Leesville) and New Mt. Zion AME Church (Lexington). 

Farah Siddiquiis the Co-Founder and Global President of Faithforce, the Interfaith Employee Resource Group at Salesforce. She's a bridge-builder, diversity and inclusion advocate and speaker, and has advised numerous corporations as they embark on their interfaith or faith-inclusion journeys. Farah also sits on three nonprofit boards; Preemptive Love, an organization committed to building peace around the world; Syrian Community Network, a refugee and immigration support nonprofit in Chicago; and the IL Muslim Civic Coalition, empowering the voices of underrepresented communities in Illinois. 

Rev. Joseph L Morrow is Associate Pastor for Evangelism and Community Engagement at the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago. Joe has worked extensively in congregational, non-profit, higher education, and corporate settings. Previously, Joe served on the staff of IFYC as Campus Engagement ManagerAs a leader within the Presbyterian Church USARev. Morrow serves as the chair of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board. He has also served as a member and vice-chair of the Mission Responsibility Toward Investment (MRTI) committee of the denomination. MRTI works to ensure that the denomination's extensive investments reflect its values and are socially responsible by utilizing various methods of shareholder engagement and leveraging ecumenical and interfaith relationships. Joe's interest in providing public and pastoral leadership has been shaped by experiences of intercultural service and study in France, Israel/Palestine, Niger, and Thailand. He holds degrees from North Park Theological Seminary and Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Joe is husband to Sung Yeon and father to Ella. 

Rabbi Joshua Stanton is spiritual co-leader of East End Temple in Manhattan and a Senior Fellow at CLAL - The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. You may have already seen Josh on CNN or in a documentary film or read about him in syndicated media, publications, book chapters, and articles that have appeared in ten languagesRabbi Josh was ordained from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 2013, where he received numerous awards and honors, including the David G. Sacks Prize for General Academic Excellence, the Rabbi M. Cohen Award for Ecumenical Studies, and the Rabbi Samuel J. Levinson Prize in Religion and the Humanities. Additionally, while at HUC-JIR, Rabbi Josh served as Founding co-Editor of the Journal of Interreligious Studies, the preeminent academic journal in the field of interreligious studies. He received international acclaim for his work, being honored as one of six global finalists for the $100,000 Coexist Prize. He is an alumnus of Amherst College, from which he graduated magna cum laude with majors in history, economics, and Spanish.  Rabbi Josh's passion for religious pluralism and interfaith dialogue has led to his participation and leadership around the world. He serves as a Trustee of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, which presides over Jewish-Christian relations with the Vatican and World Council of Churches, as well as on the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Youth Core. Rabbi Josh was named a 2019 Faith Justice Hero by the Interfaith Center of New York. He was selected for the Germanacos Fellowship in 2016 for his work in Jewish-Muslim dialogue.

Hannah Kardon is the Teaching Pastor of Urban Village Church - a multi-site, bold, inclusive, relevant, LGBTQ-celebrating, and anti-racist Christian community in Chicago. She is the author of Healing and Joy on Our Journey and co-author of Finding Peace in An Anxious World, resources for spiritual centering and growth. Hannah believes that God is goodGod made us to be exactly who we are, and we can live in communities of belonging across differences. This has led her to all kinds of places – from a non-religious upbringing in Tokyo to a Christian commune in Memphis to interfaith youth service leadership, to right here at UVC to be a part of God's bold inclusive, relevant mission. When not at church Hannah loves puzzles, swimming, baking, her husband Matt, and their two children. 

Katie Gordon is a co-founder and national organizer with Nuns & Nones, a collaboration between Catholic Sisters and spiritually diverse millennials that seeks to create communities of care, contemplation, and courageous action. She is also a staff member of Monasteries of the Heart, an online monastery of over 20,000 members that translates Benedictine wisdom for contemporary seekers. At the heart of both projects is the faith that intergenerational and interspiritual committed communities are essential for responding soulfully and prophetically to the greatest challenges of our times. Katie finds her spiritual home in Erie, PA with the Benedictine Sisters in a small intentional community called the Pax Priory, a site of monastic tradition and experimentation. She is also building community locally with other monks and seekers who are drawn to the Benedictine tradition reimagined anew. Her deepest hope is to break open the "archetype of the monk" so that more of the "spiritual but not religious" might be able to cultivate this universal contemplative dimension. Katie studied at Harvard Divinity School where she explored the intersection of religion, politics, and identity in contemporary society, including the intersections between prophetic traditions and American politics, storytelling and spirituality, and new forms of community that weave faith and justice. While at HDS, Katie worked with the Formation Project (born out of the work of the Sacred Design Lab), the On Being Project's Civil Conversations Project, and a Retreat Center Collaboration sponsored through the Fetzer Institute. Prior to divinity school, Katie spent several years organizing interfaith community programs, campus initiatives, and leadership programs with the Kaufman Interfaith Institute at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She also holds a Master of Interfaith Action from Claremont Lincoln University and a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Political Science from Alma College. 

Lawrence Lin is a Humanist who grew up in Texas and currently lives in Columbus, Ohio. Lawrence was born and raised as the son of Taiwanese immigrants. He grew up in a Buddhist family, though he was generally indifferent to this unless he was praying alongside his grandparents in the temple. Lawrence's first interfaith experience was as a young child spending time with his mother at a local church where she used to help out the Sunday school to make ends meet. However, he didn't recognize the power of religion, spirituality, and interfaith until he took a class titled "Religion and Hip Hop" - taught by an inspirational humanist scholar - in his first year as an undergraduate student at Rice University in Houston. Ever since that experience, Lawrence has sought to explore the various ways interfaith interaction can improve education and teamwork. As a medical student, Lawrence developed an experiential learning course that took students across the city of Houston visiting various places of worship and learning from faith leaders and congregant members about religion, spirituality, and medicine. Now as a resident surgeon in plastic and reconstructive surgery, Lawrence continues to seek opportunities to study the intersection of religion, spirituality, and patient care. 

Lisa Doi is an organizer with Tsuru for Solidarity, a national network of progressive Japanese Americans organized against detention and incarceration. Locally, Lisa is also the president of JACL Chicago, a civil rights organization, and a member of the Midwest Buddhist Temple, a Shin-Buddhist congregation in Chicago's Old Town. Academically, Lisa is a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies at Indiana University. Her research looks at Japanese American community pilgrimages as a form of public memory and community-directed history. Lisa is an avid reader and is currently enjoying lots of bike rides around Chicago. 

Nadiah Mohajir is a lifelong Chicagoan, Pakistani-American-Muslim, mother of three, public health professional, reproductive justice activist, and anti-sexual assault advocate. She is the Co-founder and Executive Director for HEART Women & Girls. For the last ten years, she has led the organization to provide sexual health education and sexual violence awareness programming and advocacy to thousands of individuals, organizations, and campuses across the country. HEART has broken many cultural barriers, raising awareness and advocating for important issues such as sexual and reproductive health, sexual violence, and media literacy. HEART ultimately aims to dismantle the stigma, silence, and systems that prevent individuals from seeking information, healing, and justiceNadiah has worked in public health and reproductive justice for over 20 years in a variety of settings, including, but not limited to research, academics, policy, and community health. Her past work includes projects such as redesigning teen pregnancy programs, improving pregnancy outcomes in low-income communities in Chicago, running sex education programming for vulnerable youth, and evaluating innovative cross-sector partnerships in public health. She earned her Master's degree in Public Health in 2009 from the University of Illinois at Chicago and herBachelor's degree in Public Policy Studies from the University of ChicagoNadiah has also participated in several fellowships, including the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, Germanacos Fellowship, is a recipient of the Women's Innovation Fund, and most recently was selected to participate in NoVo Foundation's Move to End Violence program. She is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2018 Chicago Foundation for Women's Impact Award and the El Hibri Foundation's Community Builder award. She currently serves on the executive board of directors for the National Women's Health Network. 

Fellowship in Prayer is a grantmaking organization based in Princeton, NJ. It was founded in 1949 and has been awarding Sacred Journey grants since 2015. 

If you are looking for a way to become an interfaith leader, work for racial equity and build bridges, please check out our free curriculum "We Are Each Other's" and start your interfaith leadership today

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The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.