The InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit is a faith-based civic organization made up of visionary religious and lay leaders of many faiths whose shared values compel them to work toward a community that lives together in harmony.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Detroit InterFaith Leadership Council
10821 Capital St
Oak Park, MI 48237
- BRING TOGETHER, encourage and nurture interfaith groups and networks
- SUPPORT CONCILIATION between and among religious groups as well as the community at large through active conflict resolution
- PROMOTE INTERFAITH EDUCATION so that the metropolitan Detroit community can benefit from the synergies and creative benefits that knowledge and understanding can provide.
Board of Directors
Robert A. Brutell, Chair
Robert A. Bruttell was born in Detroit, attended Sacred Heart Seminary high school and college during the tumultuous years of the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement, the War in Vietnam, civil unrest in Detroit and the assassination/murders of national leaders all of which helped mold his life as well as his view of life.
He is a Licensed Builder with more than 40 years in the construction industry and is president of Bruttell Roofing, Inc. In addition, Mr. Bruttell is an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy where he teaches history, religious studies and social ethics.
by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan with their Interfaith Partner Public Service Award 2010.
Education: Awarded BSBA degree from Lawrence Technological University.
Awarded Master of Arts in Religious Studies by the University of Detroit Mercy
In addition to the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, he is a member of the Interfaith Scholars Colloquy; serves on the Board of Directors of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion as well as the Ecumenical Theological Seminary; Member of the American Academy of Religion and the National Roofing Contractors Assn.
Mr. Bruttell is married to Judy Bruttell. Together they raised three children who are now wonderful adults. Personal interests include travel and bicycle touring.
Imam Mustapha Elturk, Treasurer
Imam Mustapha Elturk was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1955. He immigrated to the USA in 1976 amid the start of the Lebanese civil war. With a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics, he retired his Electronics Engineering Consultant profession to dedicate the rest of his life to the service of Islam.
Imam Elturk is a student of the Islamic thinker and scholar, Dr. Israr Ahmad, one of the most respected contemporary teachers of the Qur’an. Imam Elturk’s passion to study the Qur’an dates back to 1995 when he encountered Dr. Israr Ahmad in one of his lectures in America which gave Imam Elturk the spark to delve into the meaning and understanding of the Qur’an.
Imam Elturk is quite active in the Muslim community of North America. He has been active in propagating the message of the Qur'an to Muslims and non-Muslims alike through Friday sermons and lectures in Mosques and other facilities all across America.
Imam Mustapha Elturk, is a publically engaged Muslim leader and a leading interfaith activist in the Detroit Area. Elturk served on many boards. He is,
- A board member of the University Islamic Center (Wayne State) in Detroit, Michigan.
- An executive board member/Treasurer of the InterFaith Leadership Council (IFLC) formerly the Interfaith Partners of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion (MRDI)
- President of the board of directors of the Interfaith Center for Racial Justice (ICRJ).
- A member of the Steering Committee of the Community of Faiths, Police, and City (CPC) of the City of Warren.
- Vice-Chair of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan (CIOM) and Co-Chair of the Imams Committee of CIOM.
- A member of the Imams with the Assembly of Muslims Jurists of America (AMJA) under the leadership of Sh. Dr. Salah al-Sawy.
Imam Mustapha Elturk joined the Islamic Organization of North America, IONA in 1995 and became quite involved as he was appointed the Director of Education and Training prior to his present position as an Imam and President. He is a full time Imam at IONA.
Rev. Daniel Buttry, Secretary
Rev. Dr. Daniel L. Buttry is the Global Consultant for Peace and Justice with International Ministries of the American Baptist Churches. He has pastored two churches in the United States and for ten years directed the Peace Program for the ABC. Since 2003 he has served in his current position helping Christians around the world to be more effective peacemakers, including in inter-religious conflicts. He has conducted conflict transformation trainings around the world, and in a few situations has been part of mediation teams between armed groups. He has written a number of books on topics such as church renewal, preaching and peacemaking, including Interfaith Heroes, and Interfaith Heroes 2, Blessed Are the Peacemakers and Peace Warrior: A Memoir from the Front. Dan is one of the founding members of the InterFaith Leadership Council, as well as it’s predecessor organization, Interfaith Partners. His wife Sharon Buttry is an urban minister in Hamtramck where they live. They were co-founding members of Hamtramck’s interfaith group, The Common Word Alliance. Dan and Sharon have 3 adult children.
Kari Alterman, Director
Kari Alterman is the Regional Leadership Director, and Detroit Regional Director for the American Jewish Committee. Before coming to AJC in 2007, Kari spent 11 years working with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, most recently as its Leadership Development Director. Her professional interests include the importance of the lay-professional relationship and the tools and skills necessary to be a successful leader. Kari has also served as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Michigan School of Social Work on the American Jewish community and its organizational make-up.
Kari is a graduate of the University of Michigan, holding a Bachelors of Arts in History as well as an MSW and Certificate in Jewish Communal Service. In her volunteer life, she served for 6 years on the board of trustees of Congregation Shaarey Zedek, and is a past co-chair of its pre-school. Kari is an executive committee member and founding member of the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit. She is an avid reader and baker. Kari and her husband, Eddie, live in Franklin, Michigan, with their daughters Noa and Adina, and dogs Sanford and Hannah.
Victor Ghalib Begg, Director
Victor (Ghalib) Begg is a retired businessman, senior advisor, chairman emeritus, and co-founder of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan. He is also co-founder of the Muslim Unity Center Mosque in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, board member and co-founder of the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, board member of the Michigan Round Table for Diversity and Inclusion, member of the Midwest Muslim-Catholic dialogue, and a frequent op-ed writer in the Detroit newspapers on Muslim issues. Begg has made numerous radio and TV appearances talking about Islam and issues faced by the Muslim community. In 2001 Begg was elected to the Bloomfield Hills Board of Education and served a four year term.
Rev. Barbara Clevenger, Director
Pastor of Unity Church, Farmington
Stephanie Day, Director
Detroit Interfaith Outreach Network
Rev. Kenneth Flowers, Director
President, Michigan Progressive Baptist Convention; Pastor of Greater New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, Detroit
Bishop Greg Geiger, Director
Greg Geiger is an ordained Bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has (twice) served as Bishop of the Farmington Hills Ward. Bishop Geiger was raised in California and joined the LDS Church in 1971, while studying at UCLA. He later transferred to Brigham Young University, where he met his wife Denise. They will be celebrating their 39th wedding anniversary this summer. They are the parents of 5 married children and have 12 grand-children. He is presently serving as a teacher of young adults and a public affairs representative for the LDS Church in Michigan.
Professionally, Greg was recruited to Ford Motor Company as a financial analyst in 1977, after graduating from BYU, and completing an MBA at the University of Utah. Michigan has been Greg and Denise’s home since then, except for three years on foreign assignment in Europe. He left Ford as Director of Finance in 2007, and is presently President/ CEO of Third Millennium Partners, a consulting firm specializing in strategic analysis and organizational effectiveness.
Bishop Geiger is very active in community affairs – among other things, he is the Convener of the Farmington Are Interfaith Association, and a Board member of Neighborhood House (a Farmington community relief agency), the Southeast Michigan Red Cross, and the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit.
Michael Hovey, Director
Michael Hovey is the Coordinator of Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit. He is also an adjunct instructor at University of Detroit-Mercy where he teaches the courses: Study of World Religions and Catholic Social Ethics, and at Marygrove College, where he teaches the courses: Religion and Justice and Human Rights and Literature in the Master’s Program in Social Justice Program. Michael was born in Detroit, raised in Romeo, and is a graduate of Sacred Heart Seminary High School (1969). He is a member of Gesu Parish in northwest Detroit.
Following a year at University of Detroit, and faced with the military draft, he opted to join the U.S. Navy, where he was trained first as a personnel clerk, then as a drug abuse counselor and, in Japan, as an intercultural relations trainer. After serving for two years in Japan and following several very moving visits to Nagasaki, he requested and received an honorable discharge as a conscientious objector (1976). Soon after his discharge, he entered the Maryknoll Missioners community, and served as a Brother for five years (1977-82). During that time, he ministered in the South Bronx, New York, studied Spanish in Cochabamba, Bolivia for six months, and engaged in pastoral work in a shantytown in Lima, Peru for a year and a half.
Michael went on to obtain a B.A. in Peace Studies from Manhattan College (1983) and a Master of Theological Studies degree in Christian Social Ethics from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1985). He served as Executive Director of the Pax Christi Center on Conscience and War in Cambridge from 1985-1990, and engaged in Ph.D. studies in international human rights at Syracuse University, where he also earned an M.A. degree in Political Science (1994).
From 1995-2002, he was a lay campus minister and coordinator of Peace and Justice Education at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, where he also served as an adjunct professor of peace and justice studies. A member of the global Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, since 1976, Michael served as principal NGO representative for Pax Christi International at United Nations Headquarters in New York City (1999-2003).
As Coordinator of Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, Michael serves as a member of the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit Board of Directors, a member of the Orthodox-Catholic Witness in Metropolitan Detroit; a member of the advisory committee of the Holocaust Educational Coalition, and the recording secretary for the Religious Leaders Forum.. He has represented the AOD at numerous ad hoc gatherings (e.g., when a house of prayer has been desecrated) and has spoken at a number of houses of worship (mosques, synagogues, Baptist and other Protestant, Orthodox, Sikh) at their invitation on ecumenical/interfaith themes. He has worked with Bishop Francis Reiss on the annual Midwest Catholic-Muslim Dialogue, and presented the Catholic keynote address at the October 2009 conference in Milwaukee at the invitation of the USCCB.
Michael's travels in the Navy, as a missioner, peace educator, and promoter of ecumenical/interfaith relations have taken him to 27 countries in Asia, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. After living in various parts of our world and our country, he is delighted to be back in Detroit, to join with others who pray and work for the realization of the Psalmist’s dream: “Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss.” (Psalm 85)
Gail Katz, Director
Gail Katz is a recently retired English as a Second Language Middle School teacher where she also sponsored a diversity club called STARS (Students Taking a Right Stand) for fifth through eighth graders. Gail coordinated many diversity initiatives throughout the Berkley School District.
For the last eight years Gail has chaired the World Sabbath (www.worldsabbath.org), an annual interfaith event that focuses on our youth, who make peace banners, give prayers for world peace, and share their songs, chants, and dance from their ethnic backgrounds at this beautiful event.
Gail was an Interfaith Partner for the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, where she coordinated a program for 150 seventh graders called the Religious Diversity Journeys for six school districts in Oakland County, Michigan.
Gail is currently on the board of the Interfaith Leadership Council and serves as chair of the Education Committee. In March of 2006 Gail helped to found a women’s interfaith organization called WISDOM (Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit) and developed a website (www.interfaithwisdom.org) and a monthly newsletter called the WISDOM Window, where people of many faiths can get information about local interfaith community service projects and educational opportunities as well as national and international interfaith happenings. Gail is one of the 29 contributors to the WISDOM book entitled Friendship & Faith: the WISDOM of Women Creating Alliances for Peace (ReadtheSpirit Books, www.friendshipandfaith.com). WISDOM became a non-profit 501(c)3 with a board of directors made up of 8 different faith traditions, and Gail was WISDOM’s first president. Gail also chairs a division of WISDOM called Face to Faith, whose mission is to bring high school teens of different faith traditions together to interact and dialogue with each other.
Gail is one of the founders of AOK (Acts of Kindness) Detroit, an annual interfaith community service initiative for adults and teens to help uplift the city of Detroit. She is also involved in the Chaldean/Jewish initiative in Metro Detroit, and serves as the social action chair to bring both the Chaldean and Jewish communities together to break down misunderstandings and build respect. Gail is on the advisory board of the Jewish Gay Network of Michigan, and is also a past president of Kadima, a Southfield, Michigan based Jewish Mental Health Agency, where she advocated for the newly established Child and Adolescent Program, and where she has chaired several educational conferences on youth with mental illness.
Gail is married to Robert Katz, and together they have 7 children and 6 grandchildren. She is a member of Temple Israel, a reform synagogue in West Bloomfield, MI, where she is on the board of directors, and has helped to spearhead the volunteer literacy program with Dixon Educational Academy in Detroit.
Dr. Daniel Krichbaum, Director
Daniel Krichbaum was appointed Director by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission in July 2010. Previously, Dan served as Governor Jennifer M. Granholm's Chief Operating Officer. In that position, he championed efforts to aggressively improve the state's economy, increase access to health care for all people, and ensure a high quality, highly educated workforce.
Before his work in state government, Dan served as President and CEO of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion for 11 years. He was also Executive Vice President at WTVS (Channel 56), Detroit's public television station. Dan also served as Director of Recreation and Parks for the City of Detroit and he was the minister of several churches in both New York and southeast Michigan.
His wealth of state government and private non-profit experience are enhanced by his educational background. Dan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the College of Wooster, a Master of Divinity Degree from Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University, a Masters of Philosophy of Education from Wayne State University and is an ordained United Methodist Minister. In 1976, Dan was awarded a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education from Wayne State University.
His community service includes the United Way Community Impact Council, Greater Detroit Area Health Council Board of Directors, Michigan Interfaith Loan Fund Executive Committee and the SEMCOG (Southeast Michigan Council of Government) Board of Directors.
Dr. Krichbaum lives in Bingham Farms with his wife, Susan. He is the father of four grown children.
Nancy Thayer, Director
The work of Nancy Thayer is included in numerous museum collections including the Detroit Institute of Arts, Muzeum Papiernictwa, Duszniki Zdroj, Poland, Foundation MINT ALAPITVANY, Budapest, Hungary, and in over 100 private and corporate collections throughout Europe and the U.S. She was recently commissioned to create nine major sculptural paintings for the city of Detroit, and 3 for major health care facilities in Michigan. Her work has been shown extensively throughout the U.S and in Italy, Germany, Hungary, Poland, The Netherlands and Korea, She is on the faculty of the University of Michigan, School of Art & Design, Ann Arbor. She also is serving on the Executive Board of Directors of InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, an organization whose purpose is to bring leaders of many faith communities together in actively promoting peace, respect and mutual understanding. She is a Trustee of Japhet School, a national award-winning school focusing on character development and strong academics
As a member of the Board of Directors of Interfaith Partners of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, in 2008 she organized and co-curated a museum exhibition, Reflections of the Spirit. The exhibition included works by artists of diverse ethnicities, nationalities, religions, racial backgrounds and traditions. As a result many hundreds of faith leaders, students, artists and members of various community organizations came together to hear the artists speak about their work from their own spiritual perspectives and to see the visual interpretations. In 2009 she organized and directed two symposiums focusing on forgiveness from a faith-based perspective for the University of Michigan, School of Art & Design. Leaders from the Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu communities participated.
In describing her paintings she states,”While the visual content refers to and suggests forms of nature, they are not meant to be representational. Working in studios in the mountains of Mexico, the flat farm fields of the Saginaw Valley and urban Detroit neighborhoods of crack, concrete and decay, I have expressed in my paintings a melding of internal and external environments and atmospheres. My intention is always to communicate an affirmation of life and hope - even in the midst of what often appeared to be the opposite.
Leon Tupper, Director
Former Chair of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion
Founded in the wake of 9/11
Most of the members of the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit were founding members of the Interfaith Partners, a group that started at a meeting on September 12, 2001. At that meeting, clergy and community leaders met in the aftermath of 9/11 to plan a joint prayer service, which was held at Detroit’s Fort Street Presbyterian Church.
Enlisting the congregations
The group continued to meet monthly, moderated by Rev. Daniel Krichbaum, then the executive director of the Detroit office of the National Conference for Community Justice, which later became the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion. Very early in its work, the group decided to take the interfaith effort to congregations rather than to confine their work to dialogue among individuals. Efforts focused on joint service projects to get congregations involved.
During this period, Rev. Dan Buttry, who is now secretary of the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit board, drafted a concept paper outlining the goals and plans for the Interfaith Partners, and tha
t paper served as an important guide and outline for the activities of the interfaith community in the Detroit area for the past decade.
The group’s work continued to expand with the support of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion and its assistant director Steve Spreitzer, who was the group’s main contact.
“Reuniting the Children of Abraham”
In one of the Interfaith Partners’ signature activities, member Brenda Rosenberg started the “Reuniting the Children of Abraham” project, a theatrical production with a diverse cast of young Muslims, Christians and Jews, described as “a peace initiative that uses the creative arts to build bridges of understanding.”
Among numerous other honors, the Reuniting the Children of Abraham project received the 2004 community service award from the NCCJ and was featured in a CBS News special on religion in America.
The call to prayer
The Interfaith Partners also were key to resolving a controversy in Hamtramck in 2004 over the The Adhan, or call to prayer, being aired by some of that community's emerging Muslim congregations. Through community meetings and interfaith advocacy, leaders of the Interfaith Partners were key to resolving the issue, leading the Hamtramck city council to unanimously pass a resolution allowing the practice.
Another important milestone came out of the education committee of the Interfaith Partners, the books Interfaith Heroes, Volumes One and Volume Two, written by Dan Buttrey, have been the result.
The women's interfaith group, WISDOM (Women's Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit) has, as one of its co-founders, Gail Katz, who is a current IFLC director and was a former Interfaith Partner.
InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit
In 2010, leaders on the Interfaith Partners saw a need to create a new organizational structure for the group, and formed the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, a faith-based civic organization made up of independent, visionary clerical and lay leaders of many faiths. The goals of the group are to bring together, encourage and nurture interfaith groups and networks; to support conciliation between and among religious groups as well as the community at large through active conflict resolution; and to promote interfaith education so that the metropolitan Detroit community can benefit from the synergies and creative benefits that knowledge and understanding can provide.