On December 14, 2012 Fr. Joel Weir (STOTS 2010) was invited along with nearly 100 other Orthodox Christian professional and organization leaders to participate in the White House Conference on Orthodox Christian Engagement. This event was hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement in conjunction with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and facilitated by International Orthodox Christian Charities [IOCC].
Fr. Joel was asked to participate in the conference as a result of his extraordinary humanitarian efforts from 2006-2008 when, as part of the seminary’s summer internship program, assisted the IOCC with its efforts to help rebuild the storm ravaged communities in the gulf region that were slowly climbing out from under the devastation left by hurricane Katrina.
An article written by Fr. Joel highlighting the experience was included in the 2010 Tikhonaire and can be viewed here. More information regarding the conference is available at oca.org.
When asked about his invitation to participate on behalf of the IOCC, Fr. Joel replied “It was humbling to be asked, especially because I have not participated in anything organizationally in a few years. Upon graduation I asked to limit my involvement so that I might organically grow into my parish assignment.”
“I am very thankful for the opportunity. It appears the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships is very eager to let the Orthodox parishes know of the various community programs that are available to them on both a national and local level to help assist with the charitable efforts that many of them are already engaged in.”
More information on these programs can be viewed on the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership website. Further information from the IOCC regarding the conference can also be seen here.