Who We Are

Cathy Merchant, Interfaith Leader

Cathy PicCathy Merchant is the Interfaith Leader of the Living Interfaith Sanctuary in Vancouver, BC. She studied with Rev. Steven Greenebaum and worked as the Associate Minister of the Living Interfaith Church for three years before moving to Canada in 2017 with her family.

Cathy is a Mahayanan Buddhist who is married to an Ismaili Muslim and who has dedicated her life to “living Interfaith.” Prior to studying with Steven, Cathy specialized in conflict resolution pertaining to the Israel / Palestine conflict. She worked for the Compassionate Listening Project, the American Friends of the Parents Circle Families Forum, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

In 2013, Cathy received her Master’s degree in Middle East Studies from the University of Washington. She is currently studying at the Vancouver School of Theology, where she hopes to complete her Master’s of Divinity degree by 2022.

She is on the boards of the Multifaith Action Society and the Planetary Resilience Council, and is also a certified Compassionate Listening facilitator.

Leslie Buerschaper, Spiritual Care Provider

Leslie PicLeslie graduated from the Vancouver School of Theology in the spring of 2019 with a Master’s Degree in Public and Pastoral Leadership. Her main focus was in inter-religious studies, research on inter-generational trauma (primarily related to the Holocaust), and field work in spiritual and pastoral care in emergency management and with first responders.

Leslie holds an Honours BA in Child, Youth and Family counseling. Prior to moving to Vancouver, Leslie worked in mental health and with young offenders and their families in the Toronto District School Board. Leslie has also taught ESL and life skills training to new Canadians.

In her community of North Vancouver, Leslie is the volunteer Chaplain / Spiritual Care Provider for North Shore Emergency Management, co-facilitates a spiritually-based mental health support group at Mount Seymour United Church, as is a Block Watch Captain and Zone Liaison.

Leslie holds certificates in: Mental Health First Aid from the Canada Commission for Mental Health, Resilient Minds from the Canadian Mental Health Association and Vancouver Fire Rescue through the BC Association of Fire Chaplains, Peer Support Worker through Vancouver Coastal Health, Peer Support Group Facilitation from Sanctuary Ministries and is a Member of the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care. Leslie is also in the process of obtaining her marriage officiant license through the United Church of Canada.

Rev. Steven Greenebaum, Founder of the Living Interfaith Model

Steven PicSteven Greenebaum is the Founder of the Living Interfaith model and the Head Minister of the Living Interfaith Church in Lynnwood, WA (our sister congregation). He describes himself in this way: “My faith is Interfaith. My spiritual path is Judaism. My tribe is Humanity. I’m also a minister, choir director, and vegetarian.”

Steven was formally an Associate Minister at the Interfaith Community Sanctuary in Seattle, WA, where he served from 2007-2010. He has an abiding interest in and passion for Interfaith. Steven’s book, The Interfaith Alternative, was published in April 2012. His second book, Practical Interfaith, was published in October 2014. At present, both are available in Europe, Australia, Canada, and the United States. Steven’s latest book, One Family: Indivisible…A Spiritual Memoir, will be released October 2019.

Steven holds Master’s degrees in Theology, Mythology, and Music. He was the Director of Music at the Evergreen Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Marysville, WA for ten years. He has also been deeply interested in environmental and social justice issues all his life and spent three years as the Executive Director of Citizens for Environmental Responsibility.

Our Sanctuary Council:

President – DoraLi Harrison

Vice President – Louise Mangan

Treasurer – Liz Shorten

Member at Large – Brynn Craffey

Member at Large – Jennifer Sharlow

Member at Large – Sheila Cook

Member at Large – Sandy Hwang

Voting member in the case of a tie – Cathy Merchant

You can read our Council meeting minutes here.

Our Interfaith Advisory Council:

Indigenous Spirituality Adviser – Mary Fontaine (Hummingbird Ministries)

Business Adviser – Siddika Jessa (WiderLens)

Muslim Spirituality Adviser – Sheikh Nasir Zaidi, Religious Consultant

Muslim/Non-Muslim Cooperation Adviser – Steve Slocum (Salaam, USA)