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Know the Facts About COVID-19 and the Vaccine: January 14, 2021
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Rev. Vergel L. Lattimore, Ph.D., President, Professor, Pastoral Psychology and Counseling, Hood Theological Seminary - GREETINGS
Dr. Vergel L. Lattimore III is President and Professor of Pastoral Psychology and Counseling, Hood Theological Seminary, Salisbury, North Carolina (NC). He is a native of Charlotte, NC. He is married to Joy Renee and they have three adult children.
He is Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Care and Counseling and former Director of the M.A. in Counseling Ministries, Methodist Theological School in Ohio (1990-2012). He served as Director of Counseling, Addiction and Psychological Services (CAPS), Syracuse Community Health Center, Inc. (1988-90). He also worked as a Core Staff Pastoral Counselor/Area Coordinator, Onondaga Pastoral Counseling Center (1983-88), Syracuse, NY. He was Assistant Dean, Office of Minority Affairs, Duke University (1977-79).
He is an ordained Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. In the Air National Guard (ANG), he served as Assistant to the Chief of Chaplains, U.S. Air Force, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, DC (2003-2005). He was the first African American chaplain to attain the rank of Brigadier General in the U.S. Air Force and the ANG.
He is a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) (1987- ); a Clinical Member, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT, 1992- ) a licensed Independent Marriage and Family Therapist (Ohio, 2004- ); a member of Rowan Helping Ministries, Board of Directors (2012- ); a member of Carolinas Healthcare System, Professional Advisory Group (2012- ); and a member of the Salisbury Rotary Club (2012- ).
His honors (selected) include: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (Life Member); Livingstone College Alumni Leaders Hall of Fame Inductee (2005); The Air Force Legion of Merit Medal (2005); State of Ohio National Guard – Distinguished Service Medal (2005); Who’s Who in Black Columbus (2008, 2009 – 7th Edition); Who’s Who in Black Charlotte (2012 – 4th Edition); Presidential Award, 136th Livingstone College Founder’s Day Observance (2015).
His publications include Instruments of Peace: The Viable and Strategic Role of Religious Leadership Factors in Averting War (BiblioScholar, 2013); "Civilian-Military Relations and the Tuskegee Airmen: Managing a Domestic, Moral Battle for Racial Parity," in The A.M.E. Zion Quarterly Review, January 2001, Vol CXIII, No. 1, pp. 19-25; "Responding to Alcohol and Drug Abuse: How the Pastor May Respond to Substance Abuse." Ministry: International Journal for Pastors. May 1999, pp. 11-13; "A Theology of Addiction: Spiritual, Psychological, and Social Roots." Journal of Ministry in Addiction & Recovery, 1997, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp 47-62; and "The Positive Contribution of Black Cultural Values to Pastoral Counseling." Journal of Pastoral Care, 1982, Vol. 36, No. 2, pp. 105-117. He is also a published poet in Beyond the Stars (1995/96), National Library.
Rev. Dr. Nilous M. Avery, II, Board of Trustees, Hood Theological Seminary, Pastor, Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Salisbury, North Carolina - OFFERING PRAYER
A native of Asheville, Avery is the oldest of four children born to the late Reverend Dr. Nilous M. Avery, Sr., and the late Christine Watson Avery. His father served more than 51 years as Pastor of Asheville’s Hill Street Baptist Church, and his mother served more than 40 years as a classroom educator and educational administrator in North Carolina.
Avery has continued his parents’ legacy. He has been pastor of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Salisbury since 1992, and prior to that he taught in Asheville City Schools. Avery was chosen Asheville’s Teacher of the Year in 1989, and his peers elected him president of the Asheville Unit of the North Carolina Association of Educators. He finished his career in public education by serving as an assistant principal in Asheville City Schools.
Since Avery took over the helm at Mount Zion, the city’s second-oldest African American Baptist church, the institution has become recognized as a moral force in the Rowan County community.
Avery’s impact on the larger community is evident by the many board appointments he has received. He has served on the boards of the Salisbury-Rowan Habitat for Humanity, Salisbury-Rowan Communities in Schools, Rowan County Helping Ministries, Rowan County Arts Council, and the former Rowan Regional Medical Center, now Novant Health Rowan Medical Center. For eight years, he sat on the board of directors of the Rowan County Department of Social Services and has the distinction of having been both vice chairman and chairman.
Avery is an active pastor/member of Rowan Missionary Baptist Association and has served as chairman of its Ordination Council. At Livingstone College, he serves on the United Negro College Fund Leadership Committee. As the chief Missionary Baptist in North Carolina, he represents the convention as a trustee of Shaw University, on the board of directors of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. and on the executive committee of Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Missions Convention. He is a member of the Board of Trustee at Hood Theological Seminary.
Avery, who has one son, Joshua, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Divinity degree from Shaw University in Raleigh, the oldest Historically Black College in the south. He earned his Doctor of Ministry from Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury.
Dr. Karen Owens, Director, Center for Chaplaincy, Adjunct Professor in Pastoral Theology, Hood Theological Seminary - PANEL MODERATOR
Rev. Dr. Karen Lenora Owens was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas, and moved to North Carolina in 2004. She holds the B.S.M., M.A., M.Div., and D.Min. degrees. Her doctoral dissertation titled: Developing a Pastoral Care Model at the Dove’s Nest of the Charlotte Rescue Mission for Women Addicted to Drugs and Alcohol, determined if an aspect of pastoral care was integral to the healing and restoration of addicted women.
Currently, she provides ecumenical care as a Behavioral Health Chaplain and member of the Chaplain’s Professional Advisory Group for the Northeast Division of the Atrium Healthcare system. She is the Director of the Center For Chaplaincy at Hood Theological Seminary as well as Adjunct Professor in Pastoral Theology for doctoral students, also at Hood.
Dr. Owens is a member in full connection in the Southwest Rocky Mountain Conference of the Western Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Zion Church. She is also an Associate Minister at her local church, where she serves as mental health counselor and oversees the women’s ministries. She has served on various civic boards and commissions related to business, social justice, public service, and readily addresses her passion regarding mental wellness / mental illness in ever-evolving societies.
Dr. Karen Owens retired following a nearly thirty-year career in Corporate America and Philanthropy, primarily as a Corporate Trainer, working across diverse landscapes. She is the owner of Clearly Stated, LLC, a free-lance and communications services company, where she enjoys her passion for writing, editing, researching, and teaching her clientele base. Her knowledge and editing skills have successfully assisted post-doctoral students at various institutions across the country. She is the proud mother of two grown sons, Larry, a gifted graphic artist in Kansas City, Missouri, and Kaleb, a human resources executive at the City of Dallas, Texas.
E. Benjamin Money, Jr. MPH, Deputy Secretary for Health Services, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
E. Benjamin Money, Jr. joined the North Carolina Department
of Health and Human Services in 2019 as the Deputy Secretary for Health
Services. His portfolio includes the Division of Public Health, Division of
Health Services Regulation, the Office of Minority Health, and the Office of
Rural Health. Ben previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of
the North Carolina Community Health Center Association (NCCHCA) during a
10-year period of unprecedented growth in organizations, clinical sites and
patients served. In this role, Mr. Money was a the vice-chair of the National
Association of Community Health Center Primary Care Association Leadership
Committee, the Chair of the Southeast Health Care Consortium, a member of the
boards of the NC Institute of Medicine, the NC Health Care Quality Alliance,
the NC Health Information Exchange Advisory Board, the NC Safety-net Advisory
Council, the Care Share Health Alliance and the public health practice advisory
committees for both the East Carolina Brody School of Medicine and the Gillings
School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill. Ben’s 36-year career in health care began in community mental health and
includes 11 years in local public health and 18 years with community health
centers. He holds a master’s degree in public health nutrition from the
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Mr. Money recently completed a
certificate in Climate Change and Health from the Yale University School of
Dr. Michelle Laws, PhD, MA, Assistant Director for Consumer Policy and Community Stakeholder Engagement Division of Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services
Dr. Laws is a native of Chapel Hill, NC and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Master of Arts Degree in Sociology from North Carolina Central University (Magna Cum Laude); and a PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine (Phi Kappa Phi). She is currently the Assistant Director of Consumer Policy and Community Engagement for the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services within the Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Laws’ distinguished professional career includes serving as the Assistant Director for the Community Health Coalition, Inc., which focuses on improving health outcomes and eliminating health disparities among African American and historically marginalized populations; the former Executive Director of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP (2014-2016); serving as an adjunct professor, teaching undergraduate courses in sociology, research methods, and statistics for North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, and college-transfer courses in federal and state prisons.