Joe Phelps is a minister in greater Louisville–for 22 years as Pastor of Highland Baptist Church, and now as Justice Coordinator for Earth and Spirit Center. He is also co-chair, with Dr. Kevin Cosby, of EmpowerWest, a black-white clergy coalition calling for recognition, repentance, and repair of injustices to black Louisvillians.
Joe earned a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Joe came to Louisville KY in 1997 after 18 years as a minister in Austin, Texas. As a young pastor he founded the Capital Area Food Bank, now called the Central Texas Food Bank, which provided more than 45 million pounds of food to families in need in 2017. He served on Kentucky Refugee Ministries board; founded No Murders Metro, an interracial group that met weekly at murder sites in Louisville; and began Friday Church, a lively gathering bent toward recovery and restoration. Joe’s views are carried regularly by TV and print media, and in 2019 he received the Joan E. Thompson Lifetime Award for Peacemaking by the Center for Women and Families, who created a , and the Peacemaker of the Year award from Interfaith Paths to Peace.