Meet Bill

The deeply shared features of the human family’s diverse sacred stories form the basis of my work with the Fetzer president and community. Together, we are working to identify a shared sacred story that will serve as a basis for broad collaboration to advance personal and social transformation based on the priority of love.

I am passionate about collaboration among the world’s different religious traditions. Before joining Fetzer in November 2019, I served for 25 years as the secretary-general of Religions for Peace, the world’s largest multi-religious organization. In that role, I worked with religious communities in more than 90 countries to mount concrete projects in conflict resolution, protecting human dignity, and advancing integral human development that honors the full person while protecting the earth.   

I served as an advisor to President Obama on the Multi-religious Cooperation and International Affairs Task Force of the White House Faith-Based Council. I was also an advisor to the US State Department Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. 

Before my work in Religions for Peace, I was a professor and dean of a Roman Catholic graduate seminary. I studied Buddhism in Sri Lanka and practiced Zen meditation for five years in Japan. I studied molecular biology at Purdue University and was the recipient of its Distinguished Alumni for Science Award in 2005. My graduate degrees are in systematic theology. 

I am married to Yasuko Vendley, and we enjoy a cross-cultural multi-religious partnership aligned with Fetzer’s commitment to building a more loving world.