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Board of Directors - Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy
- Anne Sapp, President
- Rev. Dr. Whit Bodman
- Dr. Dan Brinks (Bio Coming Soon)
- Rev. Mel Caraway
- Mohamad Elibiary
- Beaman Floyd
- Jerry L. Massey
- Reverend Jim McClain
- Ellen Sable
- Rev. Franz Schemmel
- Rev. Dr. T. Randall Smith
Anne Sapp is the retired Director of Special Projects at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). HHSC administers nearly three dozen state and federal programs for low-income Texans, including food stamps, nutrition programs for hungry children and adults, health care coverage for low-income households through the Medicaid program, access to community-based programs for the elderly and people with disabilities, and regulation of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Prior to joining HHSC in 1992, Ms. Sapp served in the Mississippi Governor’s Office in several positions. As Special Assistant for Health and Human Services, Ms. Sapp advised the Governor on emerging health and human services issues and served as the Governor’s liaison for state and non-governmental health and human services organizations. In the position of Director of Policy Management, Ms. Sapp was the liaison for the state legislature, minority groups and agency heads, and managed issues research and development. Ms. Sapp served as Chair of the Welfare Reform Inter-Agency Council, which included state agency heads, and representatives of private and non-profit service agencies, and had oversight of the state’s welfare reform plan.
Ms. Sapp’s previous positions have included Elementary School Teacher and Community Coordinator in the Office of Community Affairs, Boston Public Schools, and Director of Development at Mississippi Industrial College.
Ms. Sapp received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Brandeis University, completed graduate study in urban education at the University of Massachusetts, and studied education administration at Tufts University.
Associate Professor of Comparative Religions
• ThD – Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2004
• MDiv – Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina, 1977
• BA – University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1973
Whitney S. Bodman came to Austin Seminary in 2002 from Harvard Divinity School where he completed his Th.D. in Comparative Religion and Islamic Studies. During graduate school he served as interim at the Congregational Churches in Wrentham and Uxbridge, Massachusetts. Bodman also taught at Harvard Divinity School as a teaching fellow and at Hellenic College in Brookline.
A 1977 M.Div. graduate of Duke Divinity School, Dr. Bodman was ordained in the United Church of Christ. He has pastored several churches in the northeastern United States, and has been involved in interfaith organizations, including Ecumenical Clergy for the Middle East Crisis and the Massachusetts Conference of Churches Jewish-Christian and Muslim-Christian Dialogues. His current research focuses on the Qur’an, modern Islam in the Middle East, and rituals of sacred space and pilgrimage.
He is currently chair of the Texas Conference of Churches Muslim-Christian Forum and meets with the TCC Jewish-Christian Forum. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Texas Impact.
Rev. Mel Caraway recently retired as pastor of Button Memorial UMC in Little Elm where he has served since 2013. In retirement he is active in faith and justice ministries, spiritual formation, is has begun work on two books, one on “Green Discipleship” and the other on the implications of faith in the development of British policy towards their African colonies.
A native of New Orleans, Mel entered the ministry after careers in higher education and marketing/consulting. He graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1969 with a B.A. in History and Political Science and received a M.A. in History in 1971 from USM. He moved to Nashville, TN where he pursued a Ph.D. in African Colonial History and Modern British History at Vanderbilt University, finishing all the requirements but the dissertation. He received his M. Div. from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in 1992.
He spent the next nine years working in higher education Administration at Vanderbilt University, Lamar University, and West Georgia College, where his last position was as Director of the Student Center and Director of Student Activities. Marketing and consulting work spanned the years of 1983-88, and he moved to Dallas in 1984.
During that time his volunteer work in humanitarian and social justice arenas expanded. He served as a Volunteer in Mission to Kenya in February 1987 and June 2012, and to Cameroon in 2006. He has also done extensive volunteer work in the area of low income housing in Dallas, especially West Dallas, 1985-1988. He worked in many areas of Habitat for Humanity, serving as Director of Dallas Habitat for Humanity in 1987 where he was the first paid staff member for the Dallas affiliate. He also served on the Board of Directors, Grayson County Habitat, 1993-1995 and worked with Rockwall Habitat, 1995-1997.
While attending Perkins School of Theology from 1988-1992, he served Northaven UMC as an intern and on the staff from1989-1990. His pastoral appointments have included:
· Assistant Pastor at Sachse UMC, 1991-1992
· Pastor, FUMC, Tom Bean, 1992-1995
· Pastor, FUMC, Royse City, 1995-1997
· Pastor, Saint Jo & Forestburg UMCs, 1997-2002
· Pastor, FUMC, Lancaster, 2002-2006
· Pastor, Buckingham UMC, Garland, 2006-2007
Pastor, FUMC, DeSoto, 2007-2010
Pastor, Oak Park UMC, Paris, 2010-2011
Pastor, Trinity UMC, Denison, 2011-2012
Mel was Chair of North Texas Conference Commission on Religion and Race, 1993-2001; served as chair, North Texas Conference Church and Society Task Force, 2002-2006 and has been a member of Task Force, 2002-present; and conducts workshops throughout the Annual Conference on the Social Principles. He also is co-Chair of the NTC Green Team for which he conducts workshops on “Green Discipleship.”
Mel is married to Robin M. Caraway, a CPA in practice in McKinney, Texas.
He has one son, Christopher Hayes Caraway. Chris, his wife Sabrina and their children, Judah Hayes (14), Joy Liora (12), and Judah (7) live in Cumming, Georgia.
Mohamed Elibiary co-Founded the Freedom and Justice Foundation (F&J) in November 2002 to promote a Centrist Public Policy environment in Texas by coordinating the state level government and interfaith community relations for the organized Texas Muslim community.
In 2005 F&J launched the Texas Islamic Council (T.I.C.) as a subsidiary membership body for Muslim congregations and has quickly grown it to become the state's largest Muslim network representing 85,000 Texans. As Coordinator of the T.I.C., Mohamed has developed working relationships with similar faith-based entities around Texas including the Texas Conference of Churches and the Baptist General Convention of Texas. In 2006 the 16 largest Muslim congregations and civic organizations in Dallas-Fort Worth followed this example by creating a collective representative body called the North Texas Islamic Council (NTIC) and Mohamed was elected to its 7 member executive governing body.
Mohamed has received several awards for various accomplishments, including being appointed an "Ambassador" by the City of Plano and the "Invisible Giants Award" from the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, Alabama. The "Invisible Giants Award" is a national award given annually to persons who've followed in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by getting people registered and voting with past recipients being a who's who of the Civil Rights Movement. While voluntarily serving our country's public diplomacy needs, Mohamed has given lectures to European and Middle Eastern Muslim leaders on improving Christian-Muslim Relations. Several of his interviews about America, the War on Terror and Interfaith Relations have been broadcast in dozens of countries.
Mohamed has written numerous articles published around the country on US-Muslim World Relations, been interviewed on numerous Conservative Talk Radio programs about issues related to US-Muslim World Relations, was recently part of a "Public Voices" documentary focused on repairing the American Democratic experiment that aired on nearly 300 television channels, and lectured before numerous Academic and Civic audiences on Contemporary Political Islam in the 21st Century and US National Security Policy towards it. In the North and Central Texas Region, Mohamed has also served as a coordinator of Homeland Security Community Relations between the Muslim community and the FBI for the past two years. Mohamed has been recognized for his subject matter expertise, community leadership role and volunteer public diplomacy contributions by multiple US Government Agencies including recently as a guest of Secretary Condoleezza Rice at the State Department Iftar Dinner in 2006 and the Whitehouse in 2007.
Mohamed is a graduate of numerous civic programs including the FBI Citizens' Academy, National Sheriffs Association Crime Watch Program, Leadership Plano, Plano Citizens' Academy, Plano Police Citizens' Academy and Plano Fire Citizens' Academy. Something interesting about Mohamed is that he's taught Media Executives from both the major Sunni and Shia Political Parties in Iraq on "What is the Media's Role in a Democratic Society", and has been called a "Verbal Murder" by Mike Savage on his Radio Show for Challenging the President's use of terms such as "Islamic Fascists" in media interviews broadcast globally to millions of viewers.
Prior to co-founding F&J, Mohamed spent seven years in the Banking and I.T. industries with a background in Management and Network Engineering. Mohamed grew up in Far North Dallas attending Richardson schools from elementary to college, and was a starting left midfielder for the UT-Dallas Soccer Team. Mohamed has been married to his lifelong companion since 1996, and they have three beautiful daughters.
Beaman Floyd is a consultant and lobbyist with more than 20 years of experience in public affairs. He owns his own lobby firm, and has worked on behalf of a variety of clients, among them property and casualty insurance companies and trade associations, public education associations, parents’ rights groups, local government subdivisions, higher education groups, and religious groups. His activities include legislative strategy and direct lobbying, media relations, grass roots strategy, and academic research.
Mr. Floyd has been highly involved in several major policy issues in Texas, including property and casualty insurance reform, catastrophe policy, workers’ compensation reform, healthcare, public school finance, and higher education policy. He frequently represents clients in both the print and electronic media, both in Texas and nationally. He is also a regular guest lecturer to college faculty groups, in college classrooms, policy forums, an other political and educational settings.
Mr. Floyd works with several organizations to advance the understanding of public affairs advocacy, and is currently working with
international officials in emerging democracies to establish ethical lobbying practices. He is a Charter Member of the Professional Advocacy Association of Texas.
Prior to working in Texas, Mr. Floyd served on the legislative staff of the Louisiana House of Representatives with the Legal Division, which included the Civil Law, Criminal Justice, and Judiciary committees. He also worked with Louisiana Public Television. Floyd is a veteran of the United States Army where he served as an infantryman.
Mr. Floyd earned his B.A. with a double major in History and Russian Studies from Louisiana State University. He completed the Honors Core Interdisciplinary Studies program and was selected to participate in the History Doctoral Proseminar program sponsored by the American Association of Colleges. He earned an M.A. in Theological Studies with an emphasis in Ethics and Church History at the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Born and raised in Austin, Mr. Floyd is a sixth-generation Texan. He is an active member of his church, and a regular participant in local and international mission work. As a native Austinite, he enjoys just about any outdoor activity on land or water, music, kids, and dogs.
Jerry Massey has recently retired as Sr. Vice President of the ETMC Regional Healthcare System in Tyler, Texas where he was responsible for the operations of ETMC's rural 13 hospital system. He holds a Bachelors degree in Economics from Texas A&M University in College Station and a Masters in Public Administration from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.
Jerry is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. He is active in the United Methodist Church and has held many local, district and conference positions including Lay Leader of the North District and a member of the Core Leadership Team of the Texas Annual Conference. He and his wife Susan are members of St. Peters United Methodist Church In Katy, Texas.
Jim McClain and his wife Kercida have been in ministry together for over 20 years. They share three wonderful children, two fantastic grandchildren, several "grand dogs" and two precious foster children who now serve admirably in the role of grandchildren.
Reverend McClain received his M. Div. from the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in 1991 and his Bachelors from Texas Tech. He has continued studies in Leadership through Family Systems, Leadership in a Post-Modern Culture, Preaching Methods and Applications, Benedictine Liturgy and Monastic Life and has performed in a couple of musicals since graduation.
The McClains grew up in The United Methodist Church and since ordination have served churches in Austin, Seguin, Victoria, Mason, Elgin and now Laurel Heights.
Reverend McClain feels the church is called to be in ministry with the community. If you asked him to share the one gift he has shared with the congregations and communities where he has served, he says it would be that he has experienced a personal knowledge of "The Peace of Christ that passes all understanding."
Ellen served as co-chair of Texas State Public Affairs for the National Council of Jewish Women, coordinating the public policy agenda in Texas for NCJW on a wide variety of issues, including civil liberties, economic justice, separation of religion and state and the well-being of women, children and families. She received the Belief in Action award upon the conclusion of this appointment. Ellen continues her commitment to civic engagement as the chair of public affairs for the Austin Section of NCJW. She previously served as president of the Austin Section and was a founding member of the Austin Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Additionally, through NCJW Austin’s Transitions to Success program, Ellen coordinates life skills workshops for individuals transitioning from foster care to independence.
As an active member of Congregation Beth Israel in Austin, Ellen is an educator, lay leader and student mentor. She is a regular Torah chanter and has taught Hebrew and Torah cantillation. She received the Woman of Valor award for her contributions toward educating students at Beth Israel.
Ellen is a long time volunteer and board member for Faith in Action Caregivers – West Austin, providing transportation services and companionship for elders in the community. She has been a member of the Cabinet of the Jewish Family Service in Austin, a social service and support agency. Another of her passions is mathematics education. She is a math tutor and serves as a volunteer for Austin Partners in Education, coaching high school students toward improving skills and academic performance.
Ellen holds an M.S. in Environmental Engineering and worked in the field of solid waste resource management in New York State before relocating to Austin in 1995. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Ellen and her husband David have two daughters.
Rev. Franz Schemmel is a Lutheran minister in Weatherford, Texas. He serves in the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church In America (ELCA).
The Rev. Dr. T. Randall Smith is Past President of the Board of Directors of Texas Impact, and has served on the board in two different decades. Dr. Smith is also a Past President of the Texas Conference of Churches. His service to the communities in which he has resided has included board membership on social service and non-profit organizations including Child Protective Services, local housing authorities, and regional faith-based service providers.
Dr. Smith is a fourth-generation Texan, born in Baytown, TX on the upper Gulf Coast. A life-long United Methodist, Dr. Smith received his call to ministry while attending the University of Houston from which he graduated in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He then entered Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, and graduated with a Master of Theology in 1972. He took his first appointment that year as the Associate Pastor for First United Methodist Church in Katy, TX. Dr. Smith was ordained a Deacon (transitional) in 1970 and an Elder in 1973. He became a Probationary Member of the Texas Annual Conference in 1970 and a Full Member in 1973. In 1992, he earned a Doctor Ministry degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in worship and preaching. Before his retirement in 2010, he served congregations in east and southeast Texas including Houston, Tyler, Beaumont, Pt. Arthur, Pittsburg, Spring, Texas City, and Deer Park.
Dr. Smith has served the Texas Annual Conference in many capacities during his career, but the major focus of his service has been in the areas of ecumenism, social justice, and worship. He has previously served as Conference Chairperson of Worship, Conference Chairperson of Peace with Justice and Peace and World Order, and Conference Chairperson of Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns. He presently is Chairperson of the Conference Social Principles Implementation Ministries work group which includes ecumenical and social justice ministries.
Dr. Smith is presently serves as the Director of Congregational Development for the North District of the Texas Annual Conference in Longview, TX. He is married to the Rev. Sandra W. Smith, District Superintendent of the Northwest District of the Texas Annual Conference, Tyler, TX, where they reside. Sandra and he are parents of one son, Nathan, who is writer and web content editor for KM Delaney & Associates in Houston, TX.