ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today signed an executive order, creating the first-ever Interfaith Advisory Council to combat religious intolerance. The 16-member council will meet to review and provide recommendations on best practices to address religious intolerance in the county. Pictures from the event can be found here.

The Howard County Interfaith Advisory Council is not just an advisory body; it is a testament to our commitment to build bridges among faiths. It represents our collective resolve to confront intolerance, to end hate and to serve every member of our community with the dignity that they deserve. This council will play a pivotal role in enhancing the quality of life for all our residents and better connecting us all.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

County Executive Ball initiated the creation of the Interfaith Advisory Council to help combat hate around Howard County, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. The members of the Council will also help address social and community issues, and assist at-risk populations who are suffering from homelessness, addiction, mental illness, domestic violence, food insecurity and poverty. 
Additional duties of the council will include considering issues of hate and religious intolerance facing religious communities, making recommendations to streamline and coordinate services among religious institutions, advising the County Executive on ways to recognize major holidays for different faiths and making recommendations on how to better serve and equip faith institutions in the support of government services.  
The 16 members of the council include: 

  1. Rabbi Craig Axler  
  2. Naresh Chandra Das 
  3. Reverend Rafe A. Ellis, MA, MBA-OD  
  4. Pastor Dewaine Frazer  
  5. Rabbi Gordon Fuller  
  6. Reverend Paige Getty  
  7. Rabbi Jennifer Greenspan  
  8. Rabbi Susan Grossman  
  9. Pastor Tyrone Jones  
  10. Reverend Dae Park 
  11. Dr. Salih Savilgan 
  12. Reverend Denise Schiavone 
  13. Reverend Mary Sulerud 
  14. Reverend Dr. Robert Turner 
  15. Pastor Mandy Sayers 
  16. Elder Gary Wimbish 

Thank you, Dr. Ball, for your trust and your willingness to listen to the collective wisdom of our beautifully diverse Howard County faith institutions. 

Reverend Paige Getty
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia

“I look forward to the ways in which this diverse group will lead the way forward for our larger community, they ways in which we will help and advise the elected officials of this county, and the ways we will come to know one another and create a more whole, a more just, a more peaceful and a better Howard County,” said Rabbi Craig Axler, Temple Isaiah in Fulton.  
A comprehensive report is due by May 1, 2025. The council members’ terms will end on June 30, 2025. 

Media Contacts
Safa Hira, Director of Communications

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