Our staff and board members have a strong commitment to serving the many constituents of our organization. But first and foremost, they focus their energies on those people affected by racism and poverty to provide training for them to have a voice in the decisions which affect their families and community.
Our board represents a cross-section of our community and has a passion for our organization and for bringing about a more just society. The members work hard to ensure long-term sustainability of the organization and oversee that the funds raised are of benefit to the community.
Rev. Silas Johnson - President
Rev. Johnson is the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, located on the east side of Springfield. Pastor Johnson serves as full time pastor, after recently retiring as an electrician. Pastor Johnson's service to Calvary Baptist Church, the Springfield religious community and community-at-large is extensive. In the community Pastor Johnson served on the Educational Task force, as a member of the NAACP, treasurer for the Neighborhood Block 31 Homeowners' Association, Vice-President and Program Chair of the Springfield and vicinity Ministerial Alliance, treasurer of the Baptist Pastors' Fellowship and treasurer for 14 years of the Wood River Baptist District Association. Currently, Pastor Johnson is President and CEO of the Nehemiah Expansion Project, co-chair of the Eastside Community Foundation, member of the Mayor's Homeless Task force and member of the Safety Committee for CWLP.
Pastor Johnson attended Gamaliel week long leadership training in 2010. Calvary was among the first congregations to participate in the “Sacred Conversations on Race (+Action)" program. Calvary provides FCCG with in kind office space, phone, internet service, and use of a copy machine.
Jim Dixon - Vice-President
Jim is a member of AFSCME local 2600 and recently retired from the IL Dept. of Human Services. He represents AFSCME on the FCCG Board as well as the Central IL Trades and Labor. He is committed to equity issues and is currently very active in the Occupy Springfield movement. Jim attended Gamaliel week long leadership training in 2011. He is a monthly sustaining donor of FCCG.
Michelle Pulce- Secretary
Michelle works at the IL Association of Community Action Agencies and represents this organization on the FCCG Board. She is a single young woman and is very involved in community improvement initiatives. Michelle is a monthly sustaining donor of FCCG and attended Gamaliel weeklong leadership training in 2015.
Sr. Linda Hayes - Treasurer
Sr. Linda is a Dominican Sister who serves as data entry manager for the Mission Advancement Office for the Dominican Sisters. She previously served in a leadership capacity as General Treasurer, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, and Administrator of the motherhouse for the Springfield Dominican Sisters. Sr. Linda was a founding board member of Interfaith Funders (IF), an organization dedicated to funding and researching the efficacy of faith-based community organizing. During her time on the IF board, she attended Gamaliel week-long leadership training, long before Faith Coalition was created. Her background is in finance and she has prior experience in grant writing
Reginald Dale is a community organizer with the Faith Coalition for the Common Good, an affiliate of National Gamaliel. He is organizing in Springfield around Criminal Justice Reform and advocating for a change in the unjust laws and policies which put African American men in prison at a rate nearly 6 times the incarceration rate of whites.
Reginald’s personal experience of being incarcerated in county, state and federal penitentiaries has given him the passion to work on this issue. He believes institutional racism is at the core of this unjust cycle and one of the key components to start peeling back the many layers of this diabolical system is ORGANIZING so this is why he has begun his journey to rally his community around this cause. His faith and commitment to his family and congregation provide the impetus for his success.
Celeste Dean is Co-Chair of the Education Task Force and represents ETF on the Board. She has attended several Leadership Conferences with Faith Coalition. The one that has made the greatest impact for her, as well as her community and organization, was Gamaliel week-long training in 2015. She came back a passionate leader, ready to implement her dream for the Clear Book Bag Initiative pilot at Washington Middle School. Celeste attended NTOSAKE, women's leadership training, in 2016.
Sharmin is executive director of Sangamon County Community Resources and represents that agency on our board.
Sam is the past president of Beardstown/Rushville Immigrant Families United. He is an immigrant from Togo, West Africa and has lived in the US for 5 years. His wife and children remain in Togo. Sam works at JSP and is attending college part time. He worked as an English teacher in his home country and is currently studying to be a certified nurse assistant. He is committed to working with leaders in the African community to help improve their lives here in the United States. Sam attended Gamaliel week long training in July 2012.
Ida represents the Ministerial Alliance on the FCCG Board. Ida has lived on Springfield’s east side all of her life. She is African American. Ida is raising her grandchildren and retired as a substitute teacher. She is approximately 70 years old and has been committed to improving the east side black community her entire life. Ida attended Gamaliel weeklong leadership training in 2010 and NTOSAKE in 2011.
Pastor T. Ray McJunkins
Pastor McJunkins is Senior Pastor at Union Baptist Church (UBC), the largest African American congregation in Springfield, located on the east side of the city. He has been pastor at Union Baptist for 12 years. Pastor McJunkins attended Gamaliel week long leadership training in 2010. He is a monthly sustaining donor of FCCG.
Previously served as:
• A Native of North Little Rock Arkansas.
• Served in the United States Air Force from February 1984 until 1988.
• Pastored St. John’s Missionary of Salina, Kansas 1990 to 1998.
• Past Moderator of the Smoky Hill District Association in the state of Kansas.
• Past Board Member of both the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., and the Missionary Baptist State Convention of Kansas.
• Senior Pastor, Bethel Missionary Church, Longview, Texas 1998-2002
• Past-President, Wood River Baptist District Congress of Christian Education
• Past-President of Springfield Baptist Pastors Fellowship
• Co-Founder and Past-President, Faith Coalition for the Common Good (FCCG)
He currently serves as:
• 3rd Vice-President of Congress of Christian Education, Baptist General State Convention of Illinois
• President, Gamaliel Foundation of Illinois and Iowa
• Member Springfield Ministerial Alliance
• Member of American Legion Post 809
• Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. – Mu Delta Lambda Chapter
• Member of Prince Hall Masonic Lodge #3
• Board Member Habitat For Humanity of Sangamon County
• Board Member Mu Delta Lambda Charitable Foundation
His educational background includes an Associate Degree in Management from Capital City Business College in Little Rock, Arkansas. BA in Business Administration, Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, Kansas. He has Certificates and Diplomas from Arkansas Baptist College in Old/New Testament Studies and various courses in Preaching Styles and Techniques, as well as classes in Sociology and Psychology. His Seminary Studies are Christian Counseling Therapist certification from Christian Bible College and Seminary, Independence, Missouri and BA and MA in Christian Ministry from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Missouri.
Shatriya Smith was born, raised and educated in Springfield, IL. She is co-chair of the Civic Engagement and Policy Involvement task force. Shatriya previously worked at the Hope Institute for Children and Families for 11 years and is currently working for District 186 as a substitute aide and is a leasing agent in training for Home Sweet Home Properties, LLC. She is also a newly published poet. Shatriya is a volunteer people chair for Local 2481, a member of the Randall/Gregory Ct. Neighborhood Association and a Precinct 23 Committee Chair. Shatriya attended Gamaliel week long leadership training in 2015 and NTOSAKE, women's leadership training, in summer 2016.
Sr. Mary Jean Traeger
Sr. Mary Jean is the Pastoral Facilitator at St. Francis Cabrini Catholic Parish. There is no resident priest pastor in this parish, so Sr. Mary Jean is responsible for day-to-day pastoral and administrative leadership while priests from a near-by parish offer the sacramental service as well as other priestly service. Sr. Mary Jean was a co-founder of the Faith Coalition for the Common Good. She attended Gamaliel week long leadership training in Nov. 2008.
I became involved with FCCG about 9 years ago in the infancy stage of the Springfield High Speed Rail Project. I was new to the area, had not played in the political field and did not realize my power in influencing the decision-makers on behalf of the community.
I could relate when the Faith Coalition’s Rail Community Benefits Agreement said people from the community should get the jobs on the rail project! OUR people needed those jobs!!! I had attended Gamaliel “Week Long Training” and realized that it was in my self-interest to be on the JOBS Task force, because at the time, I was not working.
I have attended numerous Gamaliel Leadership Trainings including the women’s training called NTOSAKE. NTOSAKE means “she who walks with lions and carries her own things.” The trainings helped me paint the whole vision of what we need to do locally and helped me learn how to build a team and move them to action!
I believe destiny took its course over these past years. I am more aware of who I am. I have a voice! What I say matters! I have discovered my passion and self- interest and I am now a POWERFUL leader.
Joanna works for AFSCME and brings to FCCG her extensive knowledge about the state legislature and the law-making process
Rev. Martin Woulfe
Rev. Woulfe was raised in the south suburbs of Chicago and joined the First Unitarian Society of Chicago in 1987. While in seminary, Martin worked at Maryville, an emergency service shelter for abused and neglected youth. After graduating from seminary, he and his wife, Angela, were in charge of a group home for troubled teens; Martin likes to call that his "finishing school" for ministry.
Martin served for two years as the Interim Minister at the UU Community Church in Park Forest, IL, where the members ordained him in March, 2003. Afterwards, he accepted a call from the Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation in Springfield, IL, where he has served for more than twelve years. His wife, Angela, is from Spain and works as a pharmacist. They have one daughter, Celeste, who is now a junior in high school and is learning to drive!
Shelly Heideman - Executive Director/Lead Organizer
Shelly was born and raised in rural Nebraska, the eldest of ten children. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Benedictine College, Atchison, Kansas. She and her husband, Wayne, have been married for 37 years and are the parents of four children and grandparents of eight grandchildren. They have lived in Pleasant Plains, IL for 33 years, where Shelly served as mayor from 1993-2001. She was the executive director of the Elizabeth Ann Seton Program, a small nonprofit social service agency, for 8 years.
Shelly is currently the Executive Director and Lead Organizer of Faith Coalition for the Common Good, a faith based nonprofit organization which addresses social justice issues and trains people affected by racism and poverty to have a voice in the decisions which affect their families and community.