Dr. Mary Jean Lewis-Jiles is a spiritual person of great determination, vision and integrity. She served for 15 years as dean of the Wisconsin General Baptist State Congress of Christian Education. Under her leadership the Congress grew from 300 delegates to 2,000. She retired as dean in 1990. Her life took on a whole new spiritual direction in 2002, when she became a part-time chaplain at Froedtert Hospital. She worked on the spinal cord injury unit and saw many young men come into the unit with spinal cord injuries from gunshot wounds. This left her with a strong desire to help them rebuild their dignity and self-worth and as a result, she is the executive director and founder of Victims of Intense Crimes Embracing Others, Incorporated (V.O.I.C.E.), a faith-based non-profit organization.
Mary Jean has earned a total of six degrees: two bachelor’s degrees; three master’s degrees and one Ph.D. She has a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in educational psychology and one in administration. All three were earned from UW-Milwaukee between 1967 and 1973. In 1984, she earned a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies from the American Baptist Theology Seminary in Nashville, TN. In 2002, she earned a master’s degree in religion at the Divinity School of Trinity Evangelical International University in Deerfield, IL. Being highly motivated to continue her studies, in 2006, she earned her Ph.D. in practical ministry at Master Divinity School of Evansville, IN.
Mary Jean refers to teaching as a ministry and not a job. She taught at Milwaukee Public Schools for 29 years and also served as an assistant principal for one year before she retired. She also taught a course in Frankfurt, Germany in 2004 and 2005.
Mary has been the first at many things. In 2011, she was the first female and the fourth officially elected vice president of the Wisconsin General Baptist State Convention Parent Body. She was also the first female to hold the position of president of the Wisconsin General Baptist State Congress of Christian Education, Inc.
A teacher at heart, Mary Jean loves to do workshops and has trained many people. A future goal of hers is to bring together female evangelists and pastors together in the Wisconsin General Baptist State Convention Incorporated. She will also be ministering in Liberia, Africa, in October, 2013.
She is the widow of the late Deacon Eddie Jiles; and they had one daughter together, Gertrude Jiles-Babbs. Mary Jean has two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.