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Board Members

The Interfaith Coalition Board of Directors represents many different congregations and faiths in our community. They bring a wealth of experience and commitment to the mission of Interfaith.

Barbara Mathers-Schmidt – First Congregational Church

Barbara-Mathers-Schmidt_1Barbara was the department chair and faculty member for Communication Sciences and Disorders at Western Washington University for many years. She is chair of the Family Promise Leadership Team. 

She is deeply concerned about those without the good fortune to have a home, adequate nutrition and clothing, and believes that the collective work of dedicated community volunteers is often the most effective way to offer critical and sustainable programs to serve people in need. I value that Interfaith is a coalition of people of faith who are acting together to reach out to those who need support.

Joyce Pedlow – St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

Joyce-PedlowJoyce is retired from a career in human resources administration, most recently at the Bellingham Herald. She says, “I believe the Coalition has had a rich history of faith organizations working together to support some of our most vulnerable neighbors with the basic needs of access to health care and emergency housing.”

Holly Telfer – St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

Holly-TelferHolly had a long career in nursing and health care and was the Interfaith Coalition board chair. “I feel that providing housing for the homeless affects everything else a person may be able to accomplish. We are making a difference in the world,” she says.

Nathan Dwyer – Bellingham Covenant Church

Nathan is a partner in the law firm of Robinson & Kole where he focuses his practice on workers’ compensation and personal injury law.

Nathan is very interested in how to confront the growing issue of homelessness in our community. Several of Nathan’s clients have dealt with the issue and he has seen first-hand how challenging the lack of a stable home can be for individuals dealing with injury or disability.

Seth Thomas – St. James Presbyterian Church

Seth Thomas is the Pastor of St. James Presbyterian Church. In his first years in service at St. James, Seth has developed a deep love for the work of Interfaith Coalition and the way that our collaborative network of congregations can serve as a structure for addressing some of the most unjust and systemic struggles facing people in our community.

Seth has served in ministry in the Bellingham community for over a decade, previously serving as Music Director at Birchwood Presbyterian and College Minister at the INN University Ministries at First Presbyterian Church. 


Jeff Ziels – Assumption Catholic Church

jeff-ziels-board-member-interfaith-coalitionJeff Ziels is a lifelong parishioner of Assumption Catholic Church and has been involved in various volunteer positions at both the church and school, including chairing the Parish Council. He believes strongly in our mission and believes that having folks of different faiths work towards a common good helps the entire community prosper. After years as a self-employed woodworker/contractor, Jeff now is the Director of Facilities at WECU. He is married with two children. Other than time away for college, studying abroad, and a couple of years in the Peace Corps, he has lived his whole life in Bellingham.

Sue Dabney – Garden Street United Methodist

Sue is a retired Family Medicine physician. She began her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the South Pacific and then was a Health Educator at the University of Missouri before moving to Bellingham. Sue is an active volunteer at her congregation, Garden St. United Methodist Church. She has volunteered with interfaith Coalition’s Family Promise program and earlier as a women’s severe weather shelter volunteer.

Sue mentions that “It is an opportunity to serve an organization that has done so much for our community over 35 years. It is an honor to be asked to be on the board.”

Geraldine Reitz – Congregation Beth Israel

Geraldine is a Chaplain at St. Joseph’s Medical Center and a former guidance counselor and teacher. She is an active volunteer at her congregation, Beth Israel, and currently is Community Board President of Hillel, Western’s Jewish student’s club. 

“I am interested in broadening my sight and the depth of my understanding of the issues and the world in which some of the patients I visit at the hospital and the Hospice live. I look forward to connecting with and working with others who are doing the important work of the Interfaith Coalition.”

Devin Connolly – St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Deming

Devin works in crime victims’ advocacy and she has gained exposure to many different faith traditions through her extensive travels. She is an active volunteer at her church and at the Community Meal at the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center in Kendall.

“I am interested in joining the board of the Interfaith Coalition because I am motivated by the prospect of productive dialogue among people of various faiths. I have seen firsthand how many families in our community struggle to find and keep a roof over their heads. I want to be involved in finding solutions through working with Interfaith Coalition.”

Raquel Hansen – United Church of Ferndale

Raquel has been an HR professional for 23 years and is currently the Director of Human Resources for Samson Rope Technologies in Ferndale. She has coordinated her company’s United Way efforts and through this work has been exposed to all the important needs of our community and the critical issues we face. Through Interfaith, she can make a difference in people’s lives. She is a member at United Church of Ferndale.

“I have been wanting to volunteer to help vulnerable children and family homelessness. The work that Interfaith Coalition does is essential to helping families in ways that are important to me.”

Renee Hoemann – First Christian Church Disciples of Christ

Renee is a speech-language pathologist in a pediatric clinic in Bellingham. Prior to that, she worked as a social worker with the Opportunity Council. She has been an active member of First Christian Church Bellingham for over 20 years and has served in various leadership positions and currently serving as a deacon and Family Promise volunteer. She has also served on the family selection committee for Habitat for Humanity.

“I am interested in serving on the board of Interfaith Coalition because their mission and values align with mine. I believe that my faith calls me to actively serve those in need in my community.”

Family Promise Leadership Team

Sue Dabney (Board Member), Roland Trenouth, Konrad Kocsis, Pam Pries, Sidney Evans, Cari Griffith

Barbara Mathers-Schmidt (Chair, Board Member), Carolyn Roy (Staff), Susan Jancic, Joyce Pedlow (Board Member), Paula Tarleton (not pictured), Renee  Hoemann (not pictured, Board Member), Sandy Zeitel (not pictured)