Staff and Trustees
FbRN Senior Consultant
Steve is a social entrepreneur, community activist and independent consultant. Originally an adventure playground worker, Steve has over 35 years experience in the voluntary sector.
Steve was on the original steering group of FbRN and has been a consultant to a number of faith projects and organisations. Steve is a Fellow of the Faiths and Civil Society Unit at Goldsmiths College, London.
Steve has been responsible for forming or co-creating various third sector organisations including Tzedek, Jubilee Debt Campaign, Restore Community Projects and North London Action for the Homeless. Steve is a facilitator assisting many groups with organisational dynamics, strategic planning, creativity and leadership development.
The Trustees of FbRN are drawn from nine faith traditions; Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Zoroastrian. Trustees have an involvement or an interest in faith based regeneration and community development.
Hon John Barnabas Leith (Chair)
Mrs Leonie Rachelle Lewis
Ms Jan McHarry
Dr Natvarlal Keshaval (Natubhai) Shah
Mr Harmander Singh
Canon John D Brown
Hon Barney Leith OBE
Barney Leith has been an active Bahá’í since the mid 1960s and has served on the community’s national governing council since 1993. He was its Secretary for seven years and subsequently served as Director of the community’s Office of Public Information. An important focus during this period was working with Government and Parliament on the protection of the human rights of Bahá’ís in Iran. He is currently on the Bahá’í community’s web presence team and helps coordinate the community’s healthcare chaplaincy service.
Barney has been engaged at the interface between religion and public life for many years. He was FbRN’s observer on the Inner Cities Religious Council, represented the Bahá’í community on DCLG’s Faith Communities Consultative Council, and chaired the Religion and Belief Consultative Group, advising the Equality and Human Rights Commission about religion and belief equality issues. He also served on the previous Attorney General’s Diversity Advisory Group, the Crown Prosecution Service’s Community Accountability Forum, and the Government Equalities Office’s Senior Stakeholder Group.
In addition to being a founder Trustee of FbRN, he is a Trustee of the Inter Faith Network for the UK and a founder member of the Multi-Faith Group for Healthcare Chaplaincy. He is committed to promoting good relations between people of different faiths.
He was appointed OBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the Bahá’í Faith and inter faith relations.
Barney is married, has three grown-up offspring and four grandchildren.
Leonie Lewis is Director of the Jewish Volunteering Network; a charity that seeks to match volunteers to volunteering opportunities in the UK. She is also consultant to the United Synagogue the largest synagogue body in Europe, where she consults on a variety of community challenges. She is also consultant to the new Responsibility Unit at the London School for Jewish Studies, whose focus is responsibility, citizenship and faith.
Leonie has a Masters in Sociology of Education from South Bank University and is an UJIA Ashdown Fellow having just received her MBA. She is involved in many aspects of Jewish Communal life, both professionally and voluntarily and arguably also manages her home and being a grandmother. She is particularly interested in faith, young people and community development issues and holds several voluntary positions including Trustee of the Faith Based Regeneration Network (FBRN), member of the consulting group on a Faith Forum for London, advisor to the Children’s Aid Committee, and to the Faith in Leadership Course. Leonie is also a visiting Lecturer on the Faith and Community Development Masters Course at the University of Westminster.
Jan McHarry is co-director of Community Environment Associates (CEA). She has a unique range of experience in work with both secular and faith-based organisations on social justice and environmental issues. She holds an MSc in Rural and Regional Resources Planning (Aberdeen 1982). Prior to self-employment, Jan worked for Friends of the Earth UK as Information Officer (1987-1990) and Recycling Information Officer (1985-1987). She is an Associate of the Community Development Foundation. She is a Western Buddhist with a particular interest in the links between Buddhist practice, social justice and ecology.
Jan has been involved in the development of various local environmental/sustainability projects, has experience of running a Government grant-funded project, event organization and facilitation. She is an experienced researcher with skills ranging from feasibility studies and local sustainability research projects to information and communications work.
Jan lives in the London Borough of Hackney and as a local citizen has been involved in practical environmental / community since the mid 1970’s. She is author of ‘Reuse, Repair, Recycle’ (Gaia Books 1993 + international editions) and ‘The Great Recycling Adventure’ (Marshall Editions 1994, for children). In the past Jan has been a Trustee of StudentForce for Sustainability, the ECO Information Trust, and the Women’s Environmental Network (WEN). She is involved in various environmental/social justice/interfaith outreach initiatives undertaken by the London Buddhist Centre (LBC), and is an LBC representative to Telco/London Citizens community organizing movement; Tower Hamlets Inter Faith Forum (Steering Group member) and the local Fair Trade groups.
Mr Ramesh Pattni
Ramesh Pattni is the Chair of the Interfaith Committee of the Hindu Forum of Britain. He is also a Trustee of the Chinmaya Mission UK and a Trustee of the National Council of Faiths and Beliefs in Further Education. He is the Secretary of the Chaplaincy Board of the Hindu Forum of Britain and Secretary (Steering Group) of the Council of Dharmic Faiths.
In his professional life he works as a business/management consultant and company director. He has also been trained as a Counsellor.
His first degree was in Physiology and Biochemistry which was followed by an MBA.
Ramesh has many years experience in several areas of social, religious and charitable work. He was involved in several charitable grassroots projects in Kenya including, collecting funds and supporting the activities of an orphanage for children of HIV/AIDS victims, assisting in project work with a children’s charity and collection and distribution of food and clothing.
For 15 years Ramesh has specialised in teaching the universal values enshrined in the Vedantic Hindu tradition by adapting his teaching styles to suit the background and age of his audience and students. He also conducts workshops on spiritual themes like Mindfulness and Meditation and Self Management. He has written numerous articles on spiritual and religious subjects in various publications.
Ramesh passionately believes in building spiritual capital not only as a personal resource but also as a resource that can contribute positively towards creating cohesive and harmonious communities. He believes in the worthy Hindu principle of using personal skills and talents in the selfless service of society.
Dr Natubhai Shah
Dr Natubhai Shah is a retired medical practitioner and Doctor of Philosophy in Jain religion. He is the author of Jainism: The World of Conquerors 2 volumes.
The Faculty of Comparative Religions, Antwerp, Belgium, has appointed him as visiting professor in Jainism, the University of Birmingham has made him Honorary Fellow in Jain Studies and the School of Oriental and African Studies has appointed him as an Associate Fellow.
Dr Shah was the main force in the development of the Jain Centre Leicester, which has become a place of pilgrimage for the Jains and a major tourist attraction for the city of Leicester, and he is now involved in developing the Jain Centre for London
He is the trustee-chairman of the Jain Academy, the Secretary General of World Council of Jain Academies and lectures regularly on subjects related to Jainism.
Dr Shah holds many posts in Jain organisations and is the current chairman of The Jain Net work, The Jain Sangha of Europe and Ahimsa for Quality of Life
He has been involved in interfaith work for many years, is trustee of the Interfaith Network UK and the Faith Based Regeneration Network UK; Council member of the London Faith Forum; Chair of Council of Dharmic Faiths, Barnet Hindu Forum: Vice Chair of Barnet Multifaith Forum; Member of Barnet SACRE, Religious Council for England & Wales; Faith Advisor, UNICEF and represents the Jainism at the highest level. He is the Co-ordinator of the London Council of Jain Organisations.
The Queen invited him for a private luncheon at Buckingham Palace in 2000. He was chosen the ‘Man of the Year ' by the American Biographical Institute in 1991.
On 8th April 2001, he was awarded the highest Jain award the ‘JAIN RATNA’ for his outstanding contribution for the promotion of Jainism by the Prime Minister of India at a premier function organised to celebrate the 2600th birth anniversary of Bhagwan Mahavira at Mumbai.
Harmander Singh is an Honorary Fellow of the University of East London, Justice of the Peace, Co-founder and Principal Adviser to Sikhs in England (Internet based social policy think-tank) whom he represents at national level and on the Faith Sector Panel of London Resilience.
Active participation in the development of Community Cohesion initiatives led him to co-ordinate the Sikh/Muslim Corrymeela project that has initiated a number of new workstreams in conflict resolution.
Harmander has been an Independent Assessor for the Lottery and has held several Corporate and Strategic Policy roles during 24 years in local government. He undertook the development role of successfully establishing the Faiths Forum for London to help complete the vision of nine regional faith forums in England.
He is Chair of the National Sikh Security Forum and a member of the Central Independent (and Safeguarding Children) Advisory Group to the police with additional lay advisory/inspection roles in Education, Social Services and Health; drafts the Asian Manifesto and has drawn up a 25 year Community Development Plan for the UK Sikh community; is a Lecturer on Faith and Political Action; current affairs radio broadcaster, Trustee/Director of several Charities; authored publications for voluntary/faith led organisations and NIACE trainer.
Harmander chaired the first two years of the steering group that established the Vaisakhi at Trafalgar Square which is now an annual London-wide event attracting over 50,000 attendees with a complimentary Canary Wharf event that he still leads on since 2000. A personal motivator and trainer to the world’s oldest marathon record holder (now 99). Harmander has run nearly fifty marathons and 200 half-marathons including 25 consecutive London Marathons and 25 Great North Runs respectively.
Canon John D. Brown
I was ordained into the Church of England in York in 1967 and have served in a number of parishes in urban, suburban and rural settings from the south coast of England via south London to Scotland.
I was advised to take early retirement from parochial ministry towards the end of 1999. Being able since then to devise my own agenda I have supported a number of organisations in a voluntary capacity often as a trustee.
I have always been deeply concerned about the involvement of the Church in the life of communities, believing that Faith relates to the totality of human experience. Aware that we live in a society which is increasingly multicultural, the contribution of other Faiths to our society is crucial and must be studied and encouraged. Listening has to precede talking and acting. I feel highly honoured to be a FbRN trustee.
Dr Babatunde Adedibu
Babatunde Adedibu is a missiologist. He is currently the Policy and Research Officer for Redeemed Christian Church of God, Central Office.
Babatunde is also an Associate lecturer with SpringdaleCollege, Birmingham and lecturer with Christ the Redeemer College, London. Babatunde holds a PhD in Missiology from North West University, South Africa. He is a Pentecostal and an ordained pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, United Kingdom.
Babatunde is the author of Coat of Many Colours: Origin, Growth, Distinctiveness and Contributions of Black Majority Churches to British Christianity and, Storytelling an Effective Communication Appeal in Preaching.
He is happily married and the marriage is blessed with two boys.