JOURNEY OF FAITH

Watching a young boy grow up in Chicago, one might wonder how many observers had any idea of the tremendous influence he would eventually have on his fellow man.  And yet the inspiration seems to have hit him early.  Jerry Streets has been quoted as saying:  “One of the important things that happened to me growing up on the south side of Chicago and being exposes to various denominations and religions and later as a member of a  Baptist Church was learning what it meant to be a spiritual, moral and ethical person, and member of the global community even as a teenager.”

Frederick J. “Jerry” Streets earned his bachelor of arts degree in sociology and psychology in 1972 from Ottawa (Kansas) University. While an undergraduate, he conducted independent research at the Institute on Race Relations in London.  He is a graduate of the Yale Divinity School, holds a master of social work degree from Yeshiva University, certificates from Harvard University’s Program on Professional Education and The Staff College of the National Institutes of Mental Health, and a doctorate in social welfare from Yeshiva University. Ottawa University has also honored him with the Doctor of Divinity degree and an outstanding achievement alumni award.

The Reverend Doctor Streets served 17 years (1975-1992) as the Senior Pastor of the Mount Aery Baptist Church in Bridgeport, CT.  He developed a number of significant programs there addressing the mission of the church in an urban context.  His efforts included an AIDS Ministry, a Latch Key After School Program, and a Health and Social Service Education and Referral Service for low-income and elderly people, as well as programs to develop affordable housing, minority male mentoring, outreach to the elderly, scholarships for youth, commodities distribution for the needy, and many more. He led in 1978 and 1979 a group of African American and Jewish religious and civic leaders to Israel as a part of a lergaer effort and dialgue to foster a better relationship among members of the African American and Jewish communities.

He has served as a psychiatric social work associate at the Greater Bridgeport Community Mental Health Center and the Child Guidance Center of Bridgeport, and as a research associate and faculty member at the Hartford Seminary

In 1992, Reverend Streets was appointed Chaplain of Yale University and Senior Pastor of the University Church. The oldest college church in America, founded by Yale in 1757, the University Church formerly affiliated with the United Church of Christ, is a nondenominational ecumenical Yale Unniversity Christian church.  He is the first African-American and the first Baptist minister to serve in Yale’s chaplaincy, a position whose deeply-rooted tradition grows from the 18th century. He is also an adjunct member of the faculty at Yale Divinity School. He is a former member of the Clinical Social Faculty of the Yale Child Student Center. His research and teaching interests are in pastoral theology, institutional leadership and development, law and religion, and social welfare. Under his leadership the Chaplaincy at Yale is considered a model of what Chaplaincy is today in a complex and diverse institution of higher education.

Reverend Streets has made several visits to Bosnia as a senior consultant with the Harvard University Program in Refugee Trauma.  There he met with refugees, physicians, and educational, religious and civic leaders to implement a model of psychiatric and pastoral care for those traumatized by war.  He continues as a consultant/faculty member of HPRT to train mental health professionals from around the world to address the spiritual aspects of those coping with traumatic experiences. 

Chaplain Streets was a member of a delegation sponsored by the Connecticut Conference of the University Church of Christ and The Mennonite Church, which visited with regional and civic leaders in Colombia, South America.  He joined over 100 scholars and professionals of non-profit and non-governmental organizations who convened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to promote greater understanding of the non-profit sector’s relationship to higher education and peace making in the western hemisphere.  Rev. Streets was also a delegate to the first world conference of religious leaders ever to convene at the United Nations in 2000. He has led a group of Yale student and religious leaders on a service/learning visit to Cuba and met there with religious, political and humanitarian leaders. Among his many contributions to the community are his services as a former member of the Board of Aldermen for the City of New Haven, the Board of Police Commissioners for the City of Bridgeport and New Haven, CT, the Executive Committee for the Yale New Haven Teacher Institute, the Connecticut State Judiciary Selection Commission and the Board of Trustees for Ottawa University.  Rev. Streets is the developer and leader of a workshop for child advocates at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry. This is a program of the Children’s Defense Fund founded by Marian Wright Edelman. He is one of the founding board members of the Iranian Human Rights Documentation Center. He is the recipient of a number of awards and is the author of numerous publications including being the Editor of  Preaching In The New Millennium (Yale University Press, March 2005).

 
Jerry Streets