Host and Speakers
The Very Reverend Don Brown, Pastor Emeritus
The Rev. Don Brown, an Episcopal priest, has been a religious leader in the greater-Sacramento community for past 19 years. He served as dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, the cathedral church of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California, from 1987 until his retirement this January. His leadership extends beyond Northern California: He is co-chairman of the Lutheran Episcopal Coordinating Committee, which oversees the joint-ministry initiative known as Called to Common Mission, and is co-chairman of the Episcopal Church’s Standing Committee on Interfaith and Ecumenical Relations. He is also a member of the board of trustees of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. The Rev. Brown also has a chairmanship on the Council of Advice to the Anglican Representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury at the United Nations.
The Rev. Brown is the founding board president of River City Community Services, Sacramento Area Congregations Together and Sacramento Interfaith Housing Network (now Family Promise). He is a founding board member of the Samaritan Counseling Center of Sacramento. He is a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum and has been a member since the first class in 1997. Brown serves on the board and has been involved in the many ministries of Loaves and Fishes. He served as board president of Breaking Barriers, an agency serving those with HIV and breast cancer.
The Rev. Brown previously served as rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Longview, Washington; assistant at Christ Episcopal Church, Lake Oswego, Oregon; and assistant at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Salem. He earned a bachelors degree in philosophy and political science from Willamette University and a Masters of Divinity from the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Carol Anne Brown, now live in Berkeley. They have two adult children.
Jeff vonKaenel is the president and chief executive officer of the News & Review. He has worked with alternative newspapers for over 30 years. Since September 11, 2001, Jeff has spent time getting to know the many religious organizations throughout the Sacramento area while putting together the annual A Call for Unity. The faith groups participating in A Call for Unity have been inspired to build upon Sacramento’s long tradition of interfaith cooperation by creating a new interfaith service endeavor: Building Unity. Jeff serves on the executive board of Building Unity, a coalition of diverse religious organizations, neighborhood groups and Sacramento-area nonprofits working to repair seniors’ homes, and build new homes, and working with landlords and the City of Sacramento to create better, safer neighborhoods.
Ken Cross is the chief executive officer for Sacramento Habitat for Humanity (SHfH). Born and raised in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1974 with a degree in civil engineering. Ken served stateside and overseas as a United States Army armor officer from 1974 to 1984. He was a self-employed financial planner, sales manager and corporate sales and management trainer serving career military-service members from 1984 to 1994. Since 1995, he has volunteered and worked in the nonprofit arena with the Red Cross, UC Davis Medical Center Hospice, and the Spiritual Life Center. He has over 30 years of experience with government, business and nonprofit organizations, helping to make a difference in local communities. Ken joined SHfH as operations officer in November of 2003 and became CEO on October 1, 2005.
The Reverend Dexter McNamara
The Reverend Dexter McNamara is the executive director of Sacramento’s Interfaith Service Bureau. A Presbyterian minister, he has served in congregations and community agencies in Sacramento, and in Denver, Colorado.
The Interfaith Service Bureau is made up of congregations and individuals from many different denominations. Its goals are to increase understanding, respect and trust among people of varying belief systems, and to help the faith community work together in meeting human needs.