Father Joe Vetter, a longtime North Carolina Council of Churches board member and current pastor at St. Therese Catholic Church in Wrightsville Beach, will receive the Council’s Distinguished Service Award during a lunchtime ceremony at the 2012 Critical Issues Seminar on April 19.
“Joe Vetter has been an important leader within the NC Council of Churches for decades,” said Council Executive Director George Reed. “He has served as an articulate ambassador for the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, an influential liaison between the Council and Bishops Joe Gossman and Michael Burbidge, a strong voice for dialogue and understanding among Catholics and Protestants, a keen observer of the religious landscape in North Carolina, and an effective advocate for peace and justice and for the common good.”
A Greensboro native, Vetter has served parishes in Cary, Siler City, Raleigh and Southport, and has been a campus minister at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke. He was editor of The North Carolina Catholic newspaper, and has served the Diocese as Director of Family Life, Director of Communications, Vicar for Priests, Vicar for Religious and Chancellor/Moderator of the Curia. He serves on the Board of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation.
Collins Kilburn, the Council’s Executive Director Emeritus, said of Vetter, “He has surely been a faithful and valuable soldier in the Cause and the causes for so many years. Seems like he was always there when we needed him during my years and apparently he continued right on many years thereafter. Really a great guy, an authentic priest, a worthy servant. I am so grateful for him. For sharing his gifts with me, with the Council, and with North Carolina.”
The Distinguished Service Award honors those whose work reflects their commitment to social justice and ecumenism. Prior recipients include Vernon Tyson, David Forbes, Jimmy Creech, Evelyn Mattern, Tibbie Roberts, Janie Speaks, Charlie Mulholland, Robert Estill, and Cy and Carolyn King.
The award presentation is during the seminar, Eating Well: For Ourselves, for Our Neighbors, for Our Planet, which takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 520 Summit St., Winston-Salem. This daylong program of workshops will look at food as a faith and social justice issue. Topics include the economics of hunger in the midst of plenty, food and water insecurity and peace, buying local, food and spirituality, issues of climate change and personal health, and more.
An optional meal-packaging with Stop Hunger Now takes place from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Morning worship will be led by Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. In addition, Congresswoman Eva Clayton will speak on international hunger. She is the former Assistant Director-General and Special Adviser to the Director-General for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome. And Alexia Kelley will provide the closing plenary presentation. She is Director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and collaborator with First Lady Michelle Obama in creation of the Let's Move initiative.