Interfaith Action Board & Staff

Executive Committee

Birch Burghardt, President, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, has volunteered with our Hospitality Center and the Emergency Overnight Shelter and serves on an Interfaith Advocacy group for the Homeless.  She has also served on the Board of Directors of Housing Options for the Mentally Ill and has actively volunteered in various capacities at Connections for the Homeless.  Birch previously worked as an educator, teaching at universities and the Chicago Public Schools, writing curricula, and directing a volunteer tutoring program in Chicago.

Thomas Carney, Jr., Vice-President, is a member of St. Nicholas Parish where he is involved in the Parish Lay Empowerment Group and the Parish Transformation Process, leads the St. Nick’s CROP Walk team and previously represented St. Nick’s on the steering committee of Unity Weekend, Evanston. He has a long history of volunteerism, beginning in the late 1960’s with The Woodlawn Organization and the International Christian Students’ Association. Currently, he is involved with the Notre Dame Club of Lake County’s Project Warmth coat drive and the Christo Rey St. Martin College Prep High School Waukegan’s search for corporate partners for the Work Study program. Tom is a trial lawyer in Chicago, working primarily in employment law.

Anne Heinz, Secretary, a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, has been a soup kitchen regular for many years.  At St. Mark’s, she has been a long-time teacher and served several terms on the Vestry, including senior warden.  She trained as a political scientist and worked on program evaluations in the areas of education and criminal justice.  She retired from the University of Chicago, where she was an academic adminstrator.

Rita Bailey, Treasurer, a member of Northminster Presbyterian Church, Rita Bailey, Treasurer, a member of Northminster Presbyterian Church, retired from the Internal Revenue Service after 39 years as a corporate examiner. She volunteers throughout her church, including working with the Night Ministry team and the 2nd Friday Sack lunch team. She is also a member of the Northminster Fellowship committee, Christian Education committee, and Finance committee. Rita has been a Sunday School teacher at Northminster since 1983. She volunteers with Faith in Action, which supports the independent living of older adults and people with disabilities in Evanston. She regularly volunteers at our Producemobile and is one of it’s current team of organizers.

Simon Anolick, a member of Beth Emet – The Free Synagogue, is an intellectual property attorney with HERE, a location and navigation company, in Chicago. Simon has been in leadership at Beth Emet for many years, serving on the Board of Trustees for over 10 years including 3 years as Secretary.  He has also led various committees including Adult Education, Worship, Nominating, and a Cantorial Search Committee.  Simon also served for 12 years as one of four people on the Ozerim (Helpers) Committee that helps the clergy provide for the needs of congregates by arranging meals including providing a Shabbat meal to a congregate each week, _minyan _leaders for families sitting shivah, and rides.  In 2014, Simon, with Debbie Render, Kathy Kaberon, and Gita Weintraub, were honored as Beth Emet’s Vision Keeper sponsored by Interfaith Action.

Richard Cahan, a member of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, is a journalist who writes non-fiction books about Chicago and photography. He teaches photography to eighth graders at the temple and is active in several arts organizations.

Melia Pappas has been the Church Administrator at First Congregational Church of Evanston for the last 14 years.  Through her involvement at First Congregational, Melia has firsthand experience with Interfaith Melia Pappas has been the Church Administrator at First Congregational Church of Evanston for the last 14 Action’s Warming Center,  Friday Brown Bag Lunch,  emergency overnight shelter and other community outreach programs.  She has also coordinated the annual Christmas “angel tree” between First Congregational and Family Focus.  Melia is a member of St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago.

Richard Peterson, a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Evanston. is a Structural Engineer by profession  who primarily does engineering on buildings. He has volunteered with the Hospitality Center and Overnight Shelter  and Warming Centers during the winter. He has also been the Coordinator of the Sunday Soup Kitchen all with Interfaith Action of Evanston. At his church he has served on their Council, on their Faith in Action Committee as well has been a Sunday School Teacher for many years.

Joey Rodger is a member of the Evanston Friends Meeting (Quakers) and a chaplain for the Evanston Police Department, has served Interfaith Action as a member of the Direct Services Committee and has some experience serving in the soup kitchens.  For 18 years she served as CEO of national organizations serving public libraries.  Prior to that she worked as an early childhood librarian, a jail librarian, and an elementary school teacher.  She has served the Friends meeting as Clerk, as a member of various committees, and as their representative to clergy groups in Evanston.  She co-founded Peaceable Cities: Evanston and served as its Executive Director for five years.  She has also served on the Human Relations Commission for the City of Evanston.

Ann Rosewall is a Presbyterian minister serving at First Congregational Church of Evanston, UCC.  First Congregational’s involvement in the sack lunch program, warming center and winter overnight shelter compelled her to become more invested in the work of IAE, where she is a member of the fund raising committee.  She is also a member of the Policy Organizing Committee of the Community Renewal Society.  Rev. Ann was raised in Evanston, served as a hospital chaplain in Austin, TX, and as adjunct professor at McCormick and Garrett-Evangelical Seminaries.

Dave Rouleau, Evanston Baha’i Community, is a Vietnam Veteran who began working at the Baha’i National Center in Evanston in 1980. His responsibilities included the training of 1200 Baha’i governing boards across the United States and handling issues related to community functioning. Dave retired in 2012 but continues to serve as a volunteer consultant for both the national and international centers of the Baha’i faith.

Heather Soto, a member of First Congregational Church of Evanston, UCC, is a community advocate with a Masters in Social Work, working to ameliorate homelessness and hunger. As a commissioner for the City of Evanston she works to provide for the planning, expansion, maintenance, conservation, and rehabilitation of Evanston’s housing stock. At First Congregational Heather serves as the chair of Fellowship and as a member of the Mission and Deacon Boards.

Rev Warren G. Smith, senior pastor of Fisher Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church-Zion since 2006. Warren is a member of the Evanston Clergy Fellowship, a graduate of Leadership Evanston and the Evanston Citizen Police Academy. Rev. Smith spent 20 years as a social service program administrator before his ministry career and is trained in sexual and child abuse prevention and intact family care. He says his personal goal in life to “to achieve success and balance through developing enduring relationships with individuals who are engaged in building stronger communities.”

Adrian Willoughby, a parishioner at The Vineyard Church of Evanston, spent  more than a decade with a Fortune 500 company. During that time, he took responsibility for the customer service operations, spending much of his time on project management an as a process designer seeking to to improve internal and shared processes with vendors, suppliers, and customers. Somewhat burned out, and having once lived in an affordable housing development created by Reba Place Development Corp, he reached out for volunteer opportunities there. Soon after his stint as a volunteer at RPDC, he joined its staff as a project manager, subsequently stepped in as acting director, and then became Executive Director in 2015. Since then, he has worked to lay the foundation for the next 30 years of RPDC as an integral part of the affordable housing landscape for the City of Evanston.

Interfaith Action Staff

Executive Director, Susan Murphy

Administrative Assistant, Sara L.

Employment Counselors, Marcia Rosen Kemp and Charlene Parris

Computer Trainers, Don Piven and Olga Rickets-Peart

Maintenance Manager, Kim Jefferson