Toms River Regional Schools Hall of Fame

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Rt. Rev. Vincent King Pettit

Following graduation from Toms River High School in 1942, Bishop Vincent Pettit entered the U.S. Army where he served in the South Pacific. When he returned to civilian life in 1946, he decided to pursue his interest in nature. He earned his Bachelor of Science in agricultural research at Rutgers University (1947-50). As the years passed and he found success in his own business, his thoughts turned more to the church. Influenced by his father's fine example and by his own experience and faith, he felt called to the priesthood.

Bishop Pettit graduated with honors from the Philadelphia Divinity School and was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in 1958. Later, he would pursue additional Masters of Sacred Theology in the areas of theology and pastoral counseling at Temple University (1962-3) and New York Theological Seminary (1979-80). In 1984 he was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by the General Seminary in New York City.

From 1958-84, Bishop Pettit pursued his ministry at All Saints, Wenonah; St. Barnabas, Mantua; St. George's, Pennsville; St. Mary's Keyport; Trinity, Cranford; and Christ Church, Toms River. He was consecrated bishop in 1984 and served as suffragan bishop for the Diocese of New Jersey until his retirement in 1991. During his sabbatical, he served as the Bishop in Residence at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, California.

In addition to being a member of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church (1982-88), Bishop Pettit was a deputy to the General Convention. He also served as the Diocesan Youth Director for nine years. As Chair of the Standing Liturgical Commission of the Episcopal Church, he devoted countless hours to the revision of the Book of Common Prayer which was completed in 1979. At present, his time with the Commission is spent developing inclusive language liturgies for the Episcopal Church. Since his retirement, Bishop Pettit has been able to spend more time pursuing his interests in stamp collecting, photography, gardening and making Chinese and Persian rugs. His theological work continues. At the request of the Lambeth Convention, he is preparing a study of the ordination rites of bishops throughout the Anglican Communion.

By his ministry at the parish and diocese level, Bishop Pettit has improved the quality of life in his community. The impact of his work on liturgical language is felt throughout the Episcopal Church each time the Book of Common Prayer is used. The Toms River Schools Hall of Fame welcomes the Right Reverend Vincent King Pettit in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments and his service to his community.

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