Meet the Interfaith Council

Current Members

Jeffrey Lidke is Assistant Professor of Religion at Berry College and is the IFC Chair for the 2004-2005 year. With a Ph.D. in Comparative Religions, Jeff has found that the practice of Asian arts and meditative practice has been a powerful compliment to his intellectual studies, teaching and writings. As a perennialist, he believes that there is a deeper truth that transcends the social, cultural and historical circumstances of each religion. And so, while he values the unique heritage of each religious tradition, he also seeks in his interfaith work to understand what it is that connects us all to the divine.  

David McKenzie has been a member of the Religion and Philosophy Department at Berry for 27 years, and is currently a Professor of Philosophy. He has been deeply committed to the development of interfaith relations at Berry, and is delighted at the accomplishments of the Council. He is a Christian and a proponent of progressive-liberal Christian theology, but is open to the revelation of God in all of the major religions as well as various minority and new forms of spirituality. He is also bivocational, serving as Pastor of Rehoboth Baptist Church in Cave Spring, a moderate Baptist congregation.  

Ellen Johnson is an assistant professor in the English Department at Berry. She belongs to the Chattanooga Friends Meeting (Quakers), which is part of the Friends General Conference. She also leads Dances of Universal Peace, an interfaith worship activity, in Decatur and elsewhere. She is pleased to have been elected to the Interfaith Council because she knows that there are many different ways to commune with God, and she hopes that all students at Berry will feel welcome here, no matter what their path.  

Past Members

Wade Carpenter is associate professor of Education at Berry College and is an Episcopalian. He hopes to see the IFC further the communion of saints, adding that "the rest is pretty much up to God".

Brent Simoneaux is a student member of the IFC. His personal faith is Unitarian Universalist. He is on the council to do his part to help people realize the importance of faith and the many possibilities for it that are out there. 

Gary A. Waters is Associate VP for Advancement at Berry College. He is a member of the Trinity United Methodist Church in Rome. Gary's interest in serving on the IFC is to assist Berry with the challenge of a historic commitment to Christian values in an increasingly diverse community.  

Cary Sanders is a Christian, moderate Baptist. Her faith teaches her that God's first commandment is to love our fellow human beings. To Cary, that means understanding and respecting others various viewpoints, and embracing them because of their inherent worth as children of God. Serving on the Interfaith Council allows her to be a part of a group who shares this goal. 

Kathleen McMahan is an Episcopalian and active member of Canterbury Club at Berry College. Her interest in the IFC stems from her strong belief in the unity of the human race through faith in a higher power. As a Christian, she is bound by her faith to show God's love to everyone, regardless of their religious affiliation. She hopes that the IFC will be able to make those of different backgrounds feel more welcome at Berry.