Staff and Directors

Meet the organizers, directors, and executive committee board members committed to bringing about justice in Pennsylvania.

Dedicated to bringing about justice to Pennsylvania

Bishop Dwayne Royster | Interim Executive Director

droyster@powerinterfaith.org

Bishop Dwayne D. Royster, a leading voice in modern faith-based activism, wants to change the world. Whether he is serving as a pastor, challenging the status quo as a political activist, educating and empowering communities as a radio show host, or encouraging and inspiring audiences around the country as a writer and public speaker, Bishop Royster’s work is fueled by deep faith and passionate commitment to bringing about social justice.

Bishop Royster has served in pastoral ministry for the past over 26 years in a variety of positions and denominations. Driven by his deep commitment to the four biblical principles of redemption, restoration, renewal and refreshment, Bishop Royster works diligently to meet people where they are and instill in the congregation a need to be like Christ: slow to judge always ready to offer grace and mercy.

Bishop Royster currently serves as Senior Pastor of Faith United Church of Christ in the North Michigan Park Section of Washington, DC. Bishop Royster is an advocate for preparing congregations for the ministry of availability. Prior to his current role as Senior Pastor, Bishop Royster has had the honor of presiding over the Living Water United Church of Christ (Founder and Senior Pastor); Mid-Town Parish UMC (Pastor); Way of Life Ministries Mennonite Church (Church Planter and Pastor); Harold O. Davis Memorial Baptist Church (Staff Minister) and Camphor Memorial UMC (Associate Pastor). Bishop Royster has also served the United Church of Christ in the following capacities: United Church of Christ Board of Directors (2013-2017); UCC Executive Committee (2016-2017); Penn Southeast Conference Consistory (2008-2012); Philadelphia Association Executive Committee (2008-2012); Philadelphia Association Committee on Ministry (2010-2014) and Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice Board (2010-2014).

Bishop is a graduate of Geneva College’s Center for Urban Theological Studies (BS in Urban Ministry Management), a graduate of the Lutheran Theological Seminary In Philadelphia (M.A. in Religion Degree- African American Church specialization), and has studied at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to his pastoral responsibilities, Bishop Royster is the General Secretary of Higher Ground Christian Fellowship International and serves on the College of Bishops.

Bishop Royster has extensive organizing, advocacy, political and faith leadership experience. He believes that it is imperative that a prophetic faith voice is heard in the halls of power calling for equity and respect for the moral value of every human life. He currently serves as the National Political Director of Faith in Action (formerly the PICO National Network), the nation’s largest faith-based organizing movement committed to racial and economic justice with 40+ federations in 26 States and 4 countries.

Bishop Royster serves as the Founder of the Society for Faith and Justice, an ecumenical religious order committed to a charism of social justice as a spiritual discipline and spiritual practice. Bishop is also the former Executive Director of the POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild) and a former councilman-at-large for the Municipality of Norristown. And when he’s not blogging at “Change The Damn World,” Bishop Royster can be found co-hosting a radio show, “Solutions”, on Philadelphia’s WURD.

Bishop Royster’s work and ministry have been featured in the Philadelphia Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Time Magazine, Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia Magazine, New York Times, RT Today, Fox News, Religion and Ethics Weekly (PBS), ThinkProgress, Huffington Post, Fresh Air (PBS), Voice of America, Washington Post, The Washington Informer and many other outlets.

Bishop Dwayne D. Royster is married to the lovely Suzette Royster and together they are the parents of two beautiful daughters.

Reverend Yvette Davis | Director of Formation

ydavis@powerinterfaith.org

Pastor Yvette Davis is Associate Pastor of Urban Engagement with Cookman Beloved Communities Baptist Church in Philadelphia, PA, The Rev. Dr. Donna Jones, Senior Pastor.  

Prior to that, Pastor Davis served in the United Methodist Church in pastoral and extension ministry roles.  Among these roles, she was the first African-American woman pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Harrisburg, PA and Asbury United Methodist Church in York, PA, and Bridesburg United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, PA.

She served as the Director of The Office of Urban and Global Ministries, Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century Coordinator, and Shalom Coordinator for The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church.  Pastor Davis resourced more than 120 urban local United Methodist churches in the areas of ministering with ethnically and socioeconomically diverse populations in an urban context.

Pastor Davis serves on several Boards and Committees including The Christian Churches United Healing Communities Organizing Committee; The WITF Community Advisory Board; the Strategic Planning Committee for Jewish Family Services; and The Emerging Ministries Consulting.  

Pastor Davis earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from New York University; a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from Drexel University; attended Drew Theological Seminary; and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Business Administration at Capella University.  She is a Lilly Foundation Clergy Leadership Fellow and a JP Morgan Chase Foundation Fellow for Nonprofit Management for Faith-Based Leaders.   

Pastor Davis currently lives in Harrisburg with her cat, Buster.  When she has spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends, reading, crocheting, and practicing for her motorcycle license test.

Kendra Cochran | Director of Civic Engagement

kcochran@powerinterfaith.org

Kendra Cochran is a West Philadelphia native. Her activism began at age of 17, when she organized against the School District of Philadelphia. Kendra attended Bennett College, where she fed her organizing passion as a lyricist, using art to develop her activist voice. She has worked as the Data and Training Director for Enroll America, Regional Organizing Director for the PA Democrats, and also served in various leadership roles on political campaigns. Kendra’s goal in her current work is to AWAKEN the PEOPLE and empower them to become leaders through education and development of their individual gifts.
Yvette Gimenez  | Director of Operations

ygimenez@powerinterfaith.org

Yvette has a graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She comes to POWER from the world of Motherhood and the profession of Early Childhood Education.  She has spent the last 20 years of her life working in her calling as a mom, doula, writer, grief counselor and an advocate for young children and families.
Emilie Haertsch | Director of Communications

ehaertsch@powerinterfaith.org

Emilie Haertsch brings ten years of nonprofit communications and editorial experience to POWER. She grew up in Bucks County and graduated from Temple University, where she studied English, political science, and German. A member of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Germantown, she also served in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and completed the Contemplative Leaders in Action program at St. Joseph’s University. Emilie received her MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College, and she writes essay and memoir. She is passionate about using storytelling to support justice work.
Will Fuller | Interim Director of Organizing / POWER Metro Community Organizer

wfuller@powerinterfaith.org

A son of western Kentucky, Will originally joined POWER in the fall of 2016 to complete a Community Organizing Fellowship through Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE). He currently organizes full-time for POWER’s suburban counties. A 2010 Teach for America alumnus, he is dedicated to the causes of educational equity, faith-based social justice, theological education reform, and racial reconciliation. He holds a Masters of Education from Lipscomb University and an M.A. in Theological Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Jordan Ford | POWER Philadelphia Community Organizer / Economic Dignity Organizer

jford@powerinterfaith.org

Jordan Ford is a faith-based community organizer fighting for social justice and liberation.  He is a proud husband and father. He and his family are members of Love Zion Baptist Church in North Philadelphia. Jordan also serves on the board of the Center for Economic Empowerment at Love Zion, Inc. He is currently working as the Economic Dignity organizer for POWER, organizing around affordable housing, raising the minimum wage, and preemption repeal.

Jordan grew up in the Poconos and attended Howard University, where he studied political science. He has eight years of organizing experience, having begun his community organizing career at ACTION United. Before joining POWER, Jordan worked on the Krasner for District Attorney campaign as the finance director. His passions are racial and economic justice, missions, and evangelism.

Mary Laver  | POWER Philadelphia Catholic Community Outreach Organizer

mlaver@powerinterfaith.org

Mary Laver, a long-time co-leader of POWER at St Vincent de Paul parish/ Germantown, is now POWER’s Catholic Community Organizer.   Buoyed by the bold words and example of Pope Francis re/ seeing and empowering people on the margins, she helped the PICO Network create the “Year of Encounter with Pope Francis” program involving 150 Catholic parishes nationally and 12 in the Philadelphia area.  The 3 other areas of Catholic outreach POWER is undertaking now are with Catholic universities seeking a partnership with POWER, “Millennial” Catholics eager to work together to combat racism in the criminal justice system, and African immigrant Catholics through the Office of Cultural Ministries of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Professionally, Mary’s background is in academia  (teaching/ administration at Cabrini University and other local higher ed institutions) but she now eagerly embraces the role of “pracademic,” putting the theology of God’s inclusive love and justice into practice through interfaith systemic change work with POWER. Mary welcomes your ideas and feedback.
Lena Glickman | Formation Coach and Trainer

lglickman@powerinterfaith.org

Lena Glickman grew up in a small town in Southern Vermont. She attended Oberlin College, where she majored in history, focusing on race and class in America. As an organizer for Pennsylvania Working Families, she built power around economic and racial justice in Bucks and Montgomery Counties. Buddhist Vipassana meditation and Quaker faith and practice serve as guiding forces in her life and organizing–pushing her toward greater presence, connection and action for justice.

Lilah Saber | POWER Philadelphia Community Organizer

lsaber@powerinterfaith.org

A native of the Jersy Shore, Lilah is the daughter of Egyptian immigrants and grew up in an interfaith household with Muslim and Christian influences. She attended West Chester University where she completed a Bachelor’s of Social Work with a concentration in youth empowerment and urban community change. Since joining POWER, Lilah’s work has centered around organizing and training congregations in Northwest Philadelphia and developing youth leadership. She is passionate about combating adultism and promoting equity for young people.
Jaisy Omollo | POWER Philadelphia Community Organizer

jomollo@powerinterfaith.org

Jaisy B. Omollo is from the Pennsylvania area, born in New Jersey. Jaisy was raised her two parents who migrated from Kenya, East Africa in search for better opportunities for themselves and their children. As she watched her parents struggle in this country she believed that it was her duty to take advantage of the opportunities that the country had to offer in honor of her parents.

In 2014 Jaisy attended La Salle University where she received her Bacelor’s in Political During her time at La Salle University, she was recognized as a student leader in many organizations at the University and even the Surrounding community. She served as the Vice President of the African American Student League, Senator of Student Government, and even student member of the Board of Trustees. In her third year in college, she was offered an opportunity to work for the campaign of Pennsylvania’s current Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Immediately after that, she was offered to serve as a legislative intern in the office of Councilwoman Cindy Bass.

After earning her degree she continued her efforts as an organizer and Minority advocate and was recruited by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to serve as on Capitol Hill in the office of Congressman John Lewis, legendary Civil Rights leader. Through this experience she has built relations with the grandson of Nelson Mandela as well as the staff for Impact Strategies by Angela Rye of whom she volunteered for after her time on the hill.

Now that Jaisy is an organizer with power, she hopes to continue making an impact for others throughout Pennsylvania and even in the country.

Rev. Angela
Rev. Angela Brown-Vann | POWER Bucks County Organizer

avann@powerinterfaith.org

Rev. Angela is an Associate Minister at St. Mark AME Zion Church in Newtown, PA. As the minister in the “second chair” her duties include co-laboring with Pastor Sandra Reed as preacher, teacher, director of ministries and community leader. 

Rev. Angela’s ministerial career began after completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at La Salle University.

While working in ministry, Rev. Angela worked professionally as a Currency Trader, Mortgage Lender, Financial Planner, Financial Analyst, Financial Systems Architect and Real Estate Investor. Ministry was always her life’s work. During her years in Corporate America, Rev. Angela started several jobs programs that employed persons who were members of her church. She still provides low cost financial services to seniors.

Rev. Angela was a founding organizer and Director of Churches Take a Corner (CTAC), a ministry that began in Wilmington, DE as a way to get congregations of faith to galvanize their members to “take back the streets.” CTAC grew to become an organization that worked to reduce the rate of recidivism, increase rates of hiring persons from Wilmington’s inner city, housed men and women who were released from prison and improved relationships between the police department and the community.

Now, Rev. Angela continues to preach, teach, train and lead according to the words of the Lord spoken to Isaiah the Prophet, “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”

Nathan Sooy | Director of Public Policy / POWER Central PA Area Director

nsooy@powerinterfaith.org

Nathan Richard Sooy has nearly 30 years experience working with social justice organizations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio. Before coming to work for POWER, Sooy was Central Pennsylvania Campaign Coordinator for Clean Water Action for nearly 8 years organizing against the effects of fracking on water and air. Nathan was Executive Director of community organizing projects in Baltimore, Maryland and Muskegon, Michigan. Nathan built a successful Labor/Community Coalition in Wisconsin that developed increased progressive voting power in state elections. Sooy also the Associate Director of the Cleveland office of Ohio Citizen Action and got his first significant training in community organizing in Detroit during the 80’s.

Sooy has been trained as a leader and organizer in the traditions of the Gamaliel Foundation, PICO Network, and DART Network and is an alumnus of the Midwest Academy and National Peoples Action.

Rabbi Julie Greenberg | Climate Justice Coordinator

jgreenberg@powerinterfaith.org

Julie grew up in the civil rights movement of the 1960s in Wash. D.C. and in Mississippi where she formed a lifelong commitment to building a world free of racism, sexism and economic oppression.  She was trained in organizing in the feminist movement of the 1970’s and in Movement for a New Society from 1977 into the 80’s. Since then she has lived in Philadelphia for 35 years where she raised 5 children.  Julie is in her 18th year as Rabbi of a center city congregation and also teaches classes on Systems Thinking, Diversity and Equity and Organizational Development at the Council for Relationships. Since POWER’s founding, Julie has worked in a variety of roles. She currently coordinates POWER’s Climate Justice and Jobs work and organizes money to sustain POWER’s mission.
Terri Burgin | Climate Justice Fellow

tburgin@powerinterfaith.org

At POWER, Terri Burgin, a native of Philadelphia, wears several hats: At the congregation level, she is the long time co-chair of the St Vincent’s POWER Local Organizing Committee—training and mobilizing parishioners to bring their faith into the public arena in support of POWER’s social justice campaigns. Serving first as a member and then as Co-Chair of POWER’s Economic Dignity Team since its inception, Terri helped achieve a living wage victory for the City of Philadelphia. During Terri’s tenure on Economic Dignity she nurtured POWER’s emerging Climate Justice work and now is a Climate Justice Fellow organizing on staff to connect racial, economic and climate justice. She works with community members and allies to press PECO to reduce the use of fossil fuels that cause health problems in neighborhoods targeted by poverty and overburdened by environmental toxins, to expand the use of local solar power, and to generate jobs for affected communities in newer, cleaner technology fields. Terri is a deeply Catholic organizer, with her eye always on the PEOPLE who deserve to be treated with the dignity God gave them and is proud to be leading in a faith-based people’s organization.
Rev. Gregory Edwards
Rev. Gregory Edwards | Director of POWER Lehigh Valley

GEdwards@powerinterfaith.org

Rev. Dr. Gregory James Edwards is the Director of POWER Lehigh Valley, Founder and Senior Pastor of the Resurrected Life Community Church, United Church of Christ, and President and CEO of the Resurrected Community Development Corporation. Under his leadership the church and community development corporation have experienced exponential growth, evidenced by membership, financial self-sufficiency, and employment creation.

His contextual approach to urban ministry–based upon an understanding of the intersectionality of race, spiritual growth, educational empowerment, economic self-sufficiency, community development, and public policy–led to the creation of the Resurrected Life Children’s Academy, the James Lawson Freedom School, and the Campaign for Change community organizing initiative.

Dr. Edwards currently serves as Board Chair for Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley, and board member for the Community First Fund, the financially largest Community Development Financial Institu- tion (CDFI) in Central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley focused on improving the economic well-being of historically marginalized, and under represented communities in Eastern Pennsylvania. He previously co-chaired the Water Fountain Project, a regional task force comprised of African-American and Latinx political and community leaders committed to addressing educational and economic inequities in the greater Lehigh Valley. He is the co-founder of LVSU, (Lehigh Valley Stands Up), a multi-racial, class- crossing grassroots initiative purposed to create an equitable and just Lehigh Valley through policy change.

Rabbi Mordechai Liebling
Rabbi Mordechai Liebling | Director of Reflection and Renewal Process

MLiebling@powerinterfaith.org

Rabbi Mordechai Liebling came to POWER from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College where he founded and directed the Social Justice Organizing Program.  Prior to that he was the Executive Vice-President of Jewish Funds for Justice. Earlier he was the Executive Director of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation.  Before attending rabbinical school, he was a community organizer in Boston.

He was a co-founder Shomrei Adamah the first U.S. Jewish environmental organization and of T’ruah: A Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. He serves on the boards of the Faith and Politics Institute and The Shalom Center of which he is President Emeritus.  He has served on the boards of numerous national and international NGO’s. He helped create and was part of the leadership team of Green Justice Philadelphia that successfully stopped the development of a new Southport Oil Terminal in 2016. 

Rabbi Liebling is part of a Faith in Action Training Team that leads workshops on Racism, Antisemitism and Christian Hegemony and, co-leads workshops on these issues in other venues. He and Lynne Iser, his wife, lead workshops and retreats on The Work That Reconnects developed by Buddhist scholar, deep ecologist and activist Joanna Macy.

Executive Committee for the Board of Directors

  • Rev. Melanie DeBouse, Co-Chair
  • Rev Mark Tyler Co-Chair
  • Rev. Michael Caine, Treasurer
  • Frances Upshaw
  • Hildegard Kent
  • Liz Brunton
  • Erica Owens
  • Lori Hershey
  • Imam Abdul-halim Hassan
  • Rev David Tatgenhorst