Our Staff

Message from Our Director

EPF Staff & Board Members

Melanie Atha, Executive Director


Executive Director Melanie Merkle Atha has demonstrated her dedication to advancing peace and justice around the world in her roles as collaborative lawyer, collaborative practice group non-profit founder, and, most importantly, as a baptized Christian. She was hired as Executive Director of EPF in January, 2019.

As a lawyer in private practice for nearly thirty years, Melanie discerned her call to transform her law practice from traditional litigation to collaborative conflict resolution as a member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama, an urban church which lives out its mission to share the Good News of Jesus Christ at the altar and in the street. She has served St. Andrew’s as a vestry member, stewardship chair, Christian Education teacher, diocesan convention delegate and in various other roles. A graduate of EfM, she is glad to have the opportunity to marry her professional skills and her spiritual gifts.

Melanie is excited about the challenge of leading EPF into its bright future. She has spent her time as ED traveling the country with her husband, Steven, making connections for EPF in parishes, at diocesan events, at youth gatherings, and wherever people eager to connect with others who have a passion for social justice can be found. If you or your group would like to schedule a visit with Melanie and learn more about EPF and how EPF can support you in your efforts to wage peace and justice, please reach out to her at epfactnow@gmail.com.

In addition to serving as ED of EPF, Melanie also serves the Global Collaborative Law Council (“GCLC”) as its Executive Director. Like EPF, GCLC is a peace promoting organization — it is an international collaborative law practice group dedicated to expanding the use of collaborative law to all areas of legal conflict. Melanie hopes to serve as an effective, enthusiastic ambassador for both missions, to make lots of lasting connections, and to promote peace and justice as she travels through God’s magnificent creation!

Melanie was born and reared in rural Marengo County, Alabama. She has a BA in political science from Birmingham-Southern College and a JD from Vanderbilt University School of Law. She and Steven have two grown sons, Richard and Tate.

Shannon Mikolajczyk Berndt, Palestine Israel Network Support

Do you need some EPF brochures, bumper stickers or t-shirts? Talk to me. I also handle administrative chores for our Palestine-Israel Network. I have been on staff since 2012 and a member since 2006. I am so blessed to work with the wonderful folks that support the Episcopal Peace Fellowship. This has been a wonderful opportunity for me to learn and grow and to continue my activism.

After living in Ithaca, NY for 18 years, I have returned to my roots in the mountains of central Pennsylvania. We now live in Claysburg, PA, where I live with my husband, my son and my dog.
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