Jeri Fields is a woman on a mission. One driven by her faith and need to see social justice in the community and beyond. Fields has had a multitude of professional positions within the education system, the church, and most recently as chaplain for the community police department. Yet, through all these different roles, for Fields, there is an underlying theme; she wants to make a difference.
Describe your role at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church; what are your primary duties?
I serve as one of the pastors, which involves leading worship services, officiating at weddings, funerals, baptisms and the Lord's Supper. I am also a resource for our education programs and I work closely with our mission and outreach programs, particularly Agape Reservoir and Families in Transition. My ministry is shaped to identify ways to share the good news of Jesus Christ that heals a world broken emotionally, physically, spiritually; and by the leading of the Spirit to serve God's people so they too know the love of God in Jesus Christ.
Describe Mount Vernon Presbyterian in a nutshell. What separates it from similar institutions?
MVPC is a community of believers. Together we focus our many strong programs, ministries, and activities around participation in God's mission in the world by healing and reconciling and binding up wounds; ministering to the needs of the poor, the sick, the lonely, and the powerless; and engaging in the struggles to free people from sin, fear, oppression, hunger, and injustice. We are a church that highly
emphasizes the idea of social justice throughout the community.
What types of previous careers have you had?
I have had a large variety of positions working for Prince William County Schools. I've done everything from acting as Assistant Principal at Parkside Middle School, to coordinating learning disabilities programs for K-12 students.
What led you to make the change to decide to become ordained?
The injustices of the world; the pain and anguish of those who suffer; and the violence that occurs within the family, the community, and the world greatly pain me. I hurt deeply with those who are victimized. Really, I first sensed a call into ordained ministry when I was in high school. For a myriad of reasons I denied this call. Yet God did not give up on me.
What changes would you most like to see within the Mount Vernon community?
We need to lessen the gap between the "haves" and the "have nots" so that all may have their basic needs for food and shelter met through the availability of resources. Also, as new and younger families move into the community, they should be able to find a church home where they can grow in their faith and become involved in issues of social justice that make a strong community even stronger.
What are your favorite hobbies/interests?
I enjoy visiting with family and friends, taking pictures, listening to classical music, and occasionally playing mindless computer games. I love to learn new things and to be actively involved in a number of activities. I love life and all the opportunities that are available.
What are your favorite restaurants in the community?
I enjoy the diversity of ethnic foods within the Route 1 corridor. Some of my favorite restaurants include Daks, El Pollo Ranchero, Permas, Dishes of India, Hunan Manor, and Primos.
What book has had the most impact on your life?
The Bible has had the greatest impact upon me. As the inspired Word of God, the Bible is the story of God's people called to be in the world, but not of the world. I enjoy books with messages of hope; stories in which lives have been changed and have had a positive impact on others.
If you could use three words or phrases to describe the Mount Vernon Community, what would they be?
Historical; economically diversified; a community of caring people.
What are your most important goals for the future?
Continue to lead the church into a role of mission in this community and beyond; engage people to be connected and experience a sense of community and belonging; advocate for those in need. I also hope to continue to live each day to the fullest and continue to grow in my own faith journey.