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2020 Christian Unity Gathering Outstanding Leadership Award Recipients

J. Irwin Miller Award for Excellence in Ecumenical Leadership – Shantha Ready Alonso

The J. Irwin Miller Award for Excellence in Ecumenical Leadership is given to a layperson who has demonstrated a commitment to church unity, and who, by living out this commitment through action in the world, has been a witness to justice and other values affirmed by our common faith in Jesus Christ.

Shantha Ready Alonso
Shantha Ready Alonso has served as Executive Director of Creation Justice Ministries since 2015. In her time as Director, she has prioritized racial-ethnic equity as a driving force for protecting, restoring, and more rightly sharing God’s creation. Her writing has appeared in The Hill, the Colorado Gazette, The Day, Sojourners, Patheos, and Justice Unbound. She has also been interviewed by NPR, Religion News Service, U.S. Catholic, and various podcasts. She has arranged numerous stakeholder meetings between people of faith and policymakers and has testified before the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of Interior, and the White House Office of Management and Budget. She is listed among the 2018 “Grist 50 Fixers” and is a contributing author to For Such a Time as This: Young Adults on the Future of the Church as well as A Child Laughs: Prayers of Justice and Hope. She is editor of the anthology: Towards a Global Christian Movement for Eco-Justice: Young Voices from North America. From 2008-2013, she worked for the National Council of Churches doing young adult, anti-poverty, and eco-justice ministries and then went on to lead the community mobilization efforts of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice. From 2008-2015 she also served as vice chair of the World Student Christian Federation She holds a Master of Social Work and a Master of Pastoral Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and Eden Theological Seminary. Previous study was at the University of Notre Dame, where she collaborated with Maryknoll Missionaries through her Chilean study abroad program. After college, she did congregation-based community organizing with Faith In Action (Formerly known as PICO: People Improving Communities through Organizing) as well as Metropolitan Congregations United in St. Louis and the Gamaliel Foundation. 

President’s Award for Excellence in Faithful Leadership – Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky  

The President’s Award for Excellence in Faithful Leadership is given as a way to reward, promote, and encourage faithful, risk-taking leadership among faith leaders, and particularly among younger faith leaders, in our midst.

Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky

Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1943. His parents fled from Warsaw with him in 1944, just before the Polish Warsaw uprising, becoming war refugees in Germany. They immigrated to the United States as Displaced Persons and settled in Los Angeles, California, becoming members of the Holy Virgin Mary parish. After undergraduate studies in history and political science at the University of Southern California, Fr. Leonid studied at St. Vladimir’s Seminary. He and his wife Alexandra (Mimi) Koulomzine met at a student retreat at the seminary, and married in 1969. Ordained priest in November 1969, Fr. Leonid was assigned to San Francisco’s Holy Trinity Cathedral to build an English-language community in the Cathedral’s St. Innocent Chapel. He and Mimi were actively engaged in Orthodox Christian Fellowship campus work with college students in the San Francisco area. In 1974 Fr. Leonid was called to serve the Church of Our Lady of Kazan in Sea Cliff, and at the same time to work in the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America in Syosset. During his long service at the Chancery Fr. Leonid has represented the OCA in Orthodox, ecumenical, and inter-religious settings. He has been President of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, Moderator of Religions for Peace (international) and Religions for Peace USA, Moderator of Christian Churches Together in the USA, a member of the World Council of Churches governing bodies and serves on the Board of Directors of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). He continues currently as Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations for the Orthodox Church in America. Together with the parishioners of Our Lady of Kazan Church, Fr. Leonid and Mimi have dedicated themselves to building up a welcoming Orthodox Christian community which embodies love of God and love of neighbor.

Gwynne Guibord Award for Excellence in Interreligious Leadership – Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia

Gwynne Guibord Award for Excellence in Interreligious Leadership is awarded to a leader who has worked closely with leaders of many faiths and traditions to explore and uphold the experience and presence of the holy body.

Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia

Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia currently serves as the Executive Director of Religions for Peace USA. He has been a servant-leader in the interfaith movement for over two decades. He is also a member of Board of Trustees of Parliament of the World’s Religions as well as North American Interfaith Network. He is also a founding trustee of Sikh Council for Interfaith Relations and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Global Sikh Council. He is former advisory board member of the Journal of Interreligious Studies. He has served on board of National Religious Coalition Against Torture as well as World Sikh Council – America Region. In 2016 he was awarded Luminosa Award for Unity by Focolare Movement. He has worked with Interfaith Association for Central Ohio for over 20 years and is co-editor of landmark Ohio Bicentennial book Religion in Ohio: Profiles of Faith Communities.