Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee

- A Luncheon / Lecture Series -

Sponsored by the
Peace and International Issues Committee
of the

The Danger of Silence:
Using Our Voices, Hands, Feet & Pocketbooks to Effect Change

March 6, 13, 20, 27, 2018
Noon to 1:30 p.m.

First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee –
A Unitarian Universalist Congregation
1342 N. Astor St., Milwaukee

Issue Update Presenters

Peter Bakken
Coordinator for Public Policy, Wisconsin Council of Churches,
which supports grassroots advocacy on issues of social & economic justice and empowers faith communities to give public witness.

Bruce Wiggins
Chair, Social Justice Council, First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee,
& involved in advocacy for many years as a city planner, a teacher of non-profit management, & executive director of two non-profits.

Astar Herndon
State Director, Wisconsin 9to5,
who, as a non-profit advocate & community organizer, has managed various policy campaigns aimed at changing communities of color, using her skills & talents toward the missions of equality & unity.

Jeanne Geraci
Executive Director, Benedict Center,
which offers the Sisters Program: A street outreach, case management and skill building program for women in prostitution and or/sex trafficking. The program is an innovative community-police partnership and is gaining recognition as a more effective way to improve the health and safety of women and communities.

Mariana Rodriguez
UMOS Program Manager, UMOS Latina Resource Center,
a lead agency for the Metro Milwaukee Rescue & Restore Project
working to raise the awareness of sex and labor human trafficking in the metro Milwaukee area and other targeted counties, leading to increased victim identification and improved service response to the needs of foreign national victims of human trafficking.

Amy Rowell
Manager of Community Engagement, The Guest House of Milwaukee,
which was founded in 1982 as a community-based solution to the growing number of homeless in the central city.

Rev. Karen Hagen
Pastor of Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church,
home of Divine Intervention Ministries which has grown to be a year-round ministry with 4 missions serving the homeless.

Tim Baack
President/CEO, Pathfinders,
which empowers youth confronted by homelessness, crisis or trauma to be safe & connected in order to develop a path towards self-sufficiency, healthier families, and a stronger community.

Kirsten Shead
Water City Program Manager for the Milwaukee Water Commons,
where she co-leads the Drinking Water Initiative team & has been actively involved in efforts to address lead in tap water since June 2016.

Robert Miranda
Editor of Wisconsin Spanish Journal & featured international weekly columnist of the Istanbul, Turkey based national newspaper Yeni Asya (New Asia). Robert is a longtime community advocate currently organizing with the Freshwater For Life Action Coalition (FLAC) he co-founded. He has been at the center of the lead in water issue in Milwaukee.

4 Sessions

March 6, 2018 – ‘The Fierce Urgency of Now’
Peter Bakken, PhD, Coordinator for
Public Policy, WCC; Bruce Wiggins, Chair, First Unitarian Society Social Justice Council; Astar Herndon, State Director, 9to5 Wisconsin

March 13, 2018 – ‘Human Trafficking: Sex & Labor’
Jeanne Geraci, Executive
Director, Benedict Center; Mariana Rodriguez, UMOS Program Manager, Latina Resource Center

March 20, 2018 – ‘Homelessness’
Amy Rowell, Manager of Community Relations,
Guest House; Rev. Karen Hagen, Pastor, Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church; Tim Baack, President/CEO, Pathfinders

March 27, 2018 –‘Lead in our Water’
Kirsten Shead, Water City Program Manager,
Milwaukee Water Commons; Robert Miranda, Founder & Community Advocate, Freshwater for Life Action Coalition

2 Ways to Register

By Mail:

Complete registration form and mail check to:

Interfaith Conference
5409 W. Vliet St.
Milwaukee, WI 53208


$57.00 - series of four
($55.00 + $2.00 service fee)
$16.00 - individual sessions
($15.00 + $1.00 service fee)
To add multiple sessions to your order click "Continue Shopping" on the PayPal screen.
Choose a Session

For more information, call the Interfaith Conference at 414-276-9050

To our supporters & participants:
"Thank you for a stellar year!"

Interfaith Conference
of Greater Milwaukee

2017 Highlights

One Community” Program – Launched this fall to address structural causes of the area’s severe racial and economic segregation. We connect suburban and urban congregations to examine causes, bond through personal sharing, and get constituents motivated by faith to contact legislators.

Speaking Out – Issued statements on hate, refugees, synagogue bomb threats, and the beating of a local Muslim woman.

Renewing Hope – Our Interfaith Earth Network (IEN) marked its 10th anniversary with “Renewing Hope,” an inspirational open house that drew 200-plus people to the Urban Ecology Center for workshops, discussions, and interactive displays by 30 organizations offering practical ideas on water, food, education, energy, advocacy, waste, and more.

Get The Lead Out – Our IEN program director also worked part-time for the Milwaukee Water Commons and represented us as co-chair of a major effort to address health threats caused by lead in the city’s water system.

Hope, Unity – After violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., we had leaders from five faiths offer prayers of hope and unity in front of the Wisconsin Assembly at the start of its Aug. 17 special session. View the video clip here (Wait several seconds for the video to start after the freeze-frame photo appears).

Important Perspectives – Partnering with the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, we held intercultural dinner dialogues for 400 people of diverse backgrounds, faiths, and philosophies during the run of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Disgraced, by Ayad Akhtar.

Women & Faith – An Interfaith panel of five women discussed womanhood and faith for a talkback audience of 90 people after a Rep performance of Akhtar’s challenging, The Who and The What.

“People of Faith United for Justice” – We, the Wisconsin Council of Churches and six other groups held this biennial advocacy day in Madison to protect the social safety net, confront sex trafficking in rural and suburban communities, and preserve clean drinking water.

Reaching Medical Professionals – We partnered with the Medical College of Wisconsin for an evening of multi-table, interfaith dinner dialogues with 70 students, faculty, and others.

Understanding Shabbat/Sabbath – Working with the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, we had six panelists talk on how different faiths set aside time for prayer and rest.

Tuesdays-in-March – The annual luncheon-lecture series organized by our PIIC Committee focused on “Youth Power: Inspiring Stories of Active Hope” and drew more than 200 attendees.

Greater Milwaukee CROP Hunger Walk – 400 people participated. Some proceeds are being shared with the Central City Churches and the Bay View Community Center food pantries. The award-winning Latino Arts Strings Program youths performed.

2016 and 2017 – Working with Rockwell Automation and its Faith Friendly and Allies Employee Resource Group, we conducted lunchtime dialogues and interfaith presentations for employees.

IFC Annual Luncheon crowd challenged, inspired

Dec. 7, 2017 – More than 300 people attended the Interfaith Conference’s 47th Annual Luncheon at the Italian Community Center, making it our second-largest annual luncheon in the past decade. It was timely, compelling, and inspirational.

Lecia Brooks, outreach director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, spoke on “How Wisconsin’s Faith Communities Can Respond to the Rising Visibility of Hate and Extremism in Wisconsin and Across the Nation.” Her photos of torch-bearing white supremacists and her statistics on hateful acts against African Americans, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs and others were a galvanizing demonstration of the importance of the Interfaith Conference's work.

Judith Longdin, director of the Catholic Archdiocese’s Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Concerns since 1993 and a longtime Interfaith Conference leader received our Frank Zeidler Award from Elana Kahn, an Interfaith Cabinet members and director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, and Janan Najeeb, a longtime member of our Committee for Interfaith Understanding and president of the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition. Her words and theirs painted a picture of the greater Milwaukee area's rich history of interfaith collaboration and outreach.

One highlight came when a religiously and racially diverse group of 21 people from the Sherman Park area representing congregations, community organizations, social service agencies, and city government gathered on the front platform for our urban ministry award to be presented to the Sherman Park Association of Religious Communities (SPARC) for teaching tolerance, celebrating diversity, and peacefully addressing important community concerns since 1985. Then Oriana Carey, chief executive officer of the Coalition for Children, Youth & Familes, accepted the Mark Rohlfing Memorial Award for CCYF and spoke about the importance of foster families and adoptions.

47th Annual Luncheon

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Italian Community Center
631 E. Chicago St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202 - Map

Registration: 11:00 a.m. Program/Lunch: Noon - 1:30 p.m. Starts promptly at Noon

$47 per seat (plus $2 online ordering fee)
$376 per table of 8 (plus $12 online ordering fee)
$400 Bronze Level per Benefactor table (no online ordering fee)
$500 Silver Level per Benefactor table (no online ordering fee)
$600 Gold Level per Benefactor table (no online ordering fee)

Keynote Speaker: Lecia Brooks
“How Wisconsin’s Faith Communities Can Respond to the Rising Visibility of Hate and Extremism in Wisconsin and Across the Nation”

Lecia Brooks is outreach director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which uses litigation, education, and advocacy to teach tolerance, fight hate, and seek justice for the most vulnerable members of society.


Frank Zeidler Award
Judith Longdin
For exceptional service since 1993 as an Interfaith Conference Cabinet member and officer, and as director of the Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Concerns for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee – including assisting with the Conference’s various educational and social programs, co-chairing the Catholic-Jewish Conference, co-founding the Muslim-Catholic Women’s Dialogue and promoting
dialogue and relationship building on the local, regional and national levels.

Rev. Herbert Huebschmann Urban Ministry Award
Sherman Park Association of Religious Communities (SPARC)
For its vital work since 1985 in bringing together a wide variety of Sherman Park denominations and faiths to develop relationships and to join with neighborhood groups, social service organizations, government officials and others in teaching tolerance, celebrating diversity, and peacefully addressing important community concerns, including last year’s unrest.

Mark Rohlfing Memorial Award
Coalition for Children, Youth & FamiliesFor assisting people since 1984 who are changing the lives of children through foster care and adoption by connecting them with the information, training, education, and support they need to excel in their challenging and rewarding role. The coalition has expanded to serve foster families, provide technical assistance to agencies, and build state-wide recruitment campaigns.


Italian Community Center
631 E. Chicago St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202 - Map

Thursday, December 7, 2017
Registration: 11 a.m. to noon
Luncheon: Noon to 1:30 p.m.

For Questions: call (414) 276-9050 or email


Save the Date! Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017
Greater Milwaukee CROP Hunger Walk

New: Two food pantry partners, great entertainment, Kids Fun Run
Site: McKinley Park shelter on lakefront south of McKinley Marina,
1750 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr.

Time: Free registration starts 12 noon: 2-mile lagoon walk 1:30 p.m.

The 32nd Annual Greater Milwaukee CROP Hunger Walk organized by the Interfaith Conference will offer some exciting new features and opportunities in addition to easing hunger and drawing a festive, diverse crowd of children and adults from many faiths, cultures and races.

Of course, we still are seeking donations of food for the Hunger Task Force at the walk site and monetary donations for Church World Service or other international agencies. Get donation envelopes and other materials at (414) 276-9050 or donate online at: Milwaukee CROP Hunger Walk

New highlights include:

  • Mariachi Juvenil, the flagship ensemble of the Latino-Arts Strings Program, performs before the walk. For every person who participates in our hunger walk, an anonymous benefactor will give $1 to support a 2018 tour by this award-winning youth group.
  • Jahmes Tony Finlayson will do interactive drumming with kids/youths. There also will be a Kids Fun Run, a Sikh henna artist, balloon animals & hats by a costumed Buddy the Wonder Dog balloonist, cookies, and snacks.
  • Two local food pantries and the Interfaith Conference will equally share 25% of the monetary donations: Bay View Community Center Food Pantry, Central City Churches Outreach Ministry Food Pantry.
  • In addition to bringing a food donation for the Hunger Task Force to the walk site, walkers can bring fresh garden produce or store-bought produce for Tikkun Ha-Ir of Milwaukee to distribute to food sites.
  • Church World Service, which helps organize these CROP Hunger walks around the nation, is providing aid to victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in addition to its regular international aid and development work. Most donations go to CWS unless otherwise designated in online giving.

To better use our resources, this year we will offer only the 2-mile walk around the lakefront lagoon. But “long walkers” who want to be in solidarity with people who walk miles for fresh water will have the option of carrying a gallon jug of water on the lakefront walk.

For more information, contact (414) 276-9050 or

Interfaith leaders open Wisconsin Assembly session
with prayers

Five leaders of diverse faiths from the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee offered inspirational prayers of hope and unity to open the Wisconsin Assembly's special sesson in the State Capitol on August 17. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos asked us to do this after we posted a statement in response to the racial hatred and violence in Charlottesville, S.C. (See statement below) You can view a short video by clicking on: Assembly Prayers (You will first see a freeze-frame image of the Assembly seating area. Wait several seconds and the video will begin)

Interfaith Conference statement
on hate in Charlottesville

The Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee is urging people of all faiths throughout southeastern Wisconsin and beyond to speak out and stand guard against the white supremacist hatred that violently burst from the underbelly of our American culture in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.

These hate groups are trying the soul of our society, and these are not the times for people of faith to respond with pious platitudes and lukewarm expressions of concern.

The world is all too familiar with the violent catastrophes that await a nation when racial and religious hatred are not vigorously opposed. Jews are still being vilified by contemporary hate groups. African Americans feel the continuing lash of racism, both subtle and brutal. The Sikh community here has felt the bitter sting of a white supremacist’s gunfire. We need no more reminders that none of us is immune from evil.

Religious leaders should preach out, speak out, and uphold the dignity of every person. People of good will should live up to the highest ideals of their faiths and philosophies and not merely mouth them behind closed doors.

There remains more light than darkness. Many local faiths, denominations, organizations and institutions work long hours to counter injustice, fear, hate, and bigotry. The Interfaith Conference is one of them. Find one. Add your voice. Add your energy. Even in the incredible busyness of our digitally connected lives, do what you can, whenever you can, wherever you can. And do it today. At some point, waiting for one more tomorrow could be too late.

Approved by Interfaith Conference Executive Commitee August 14, 2017

Aug. 5 in Oak Creek
Interfaith display tent at Sikh memorial run/walk

Continuing its various collaborations with the Sikh community, the Interfaith Conference will have a canopy tent with interfaith displays and information at the Chardhi Kala 6K Memorial Run/Walk on Saturday morning August 5 in Oak Creek. This event is held by Serve2Unite, which was created by young Sikhs to promote interfaith and intercultural understanding through public service after a white supremacist fatally shot six people and wounded four others at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek in 2012.

The memorial run/walk includes free local and ethnic food, children's activities, presentations, and displays in a festive atmosphere. It begins and ends at the Oak Creek High School football field, 340 E. Puetz Rd., Oak Creek. Registration is from 7:30 a.m. until the 9 a.m. start of the run/walk. The run/walk and all activities are free. To register, click here.

People also are encouraged to bring a donation of nonperishable food for Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin. The event also includes a blood drive. Sign up here.

This event memorializes the shooting victims and raises scholarship funds for Milwaukee area high school students entering college, with an emphasis on their volunteer public service. "Chardhi Kala" is the spirit of relentless optimism, a philosophy that empowers us to persevere and grow from hardship. The event is an opportunity for people of all faiths and backgrounds to come together to celebrate the universal values of service (seva), unity, and resilience (Chardhi Kala).

The run/walk is part of a series of memorial activities over that weekend. The full schedule of events:

Friday, August 4
The Akhand Path -- a 48-hour continuous reading of the Sikh Holy Scriptures (the Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji), with a free langar/community meal served at all times, at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, 7512 S Howell Ave, Oak Creek

Saturday, August 5
Chardhi Kala 6K Memorial Run/Walk, food donation, blood drive, and other activities -- Registration 7:30 to 9 a.m. start, Oak Creek High School football field, 340 E. Puetz Rd., Oak Creek.

Sunday, August 6 (at Sikh Temple of Wisconsin)

Akhand Path recitation -- concludes at 10:30 a.m.
Kirtan (hymn sung in praise of God) -- 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Words from victims' families and community leaders -- 1:30 p.m.
Free Langar/community meal served throughout the day

For More Information, Sikh Temple of Wisconsin


Please make a donation to support the vital work of the Interfaith Conference in these challenging times.

Or send checks to Interfaith Conference, 5409 W. Vliet St., Milwaukee, WI 53208

Upcoming Events

Interfaith Earth Network

Faith & Ecology:
A Conversation

Every 3rd Tuesday

The Experience of Creation

Appreciating the natural world in a mindful way. Opening our senses we respond creatively to nature's summons.

Fall 2017 Conversation Dates:
Sep 26th, Oct 17th,
Nov 21st, Dec 19th

Free & open to the public!

Urban Ecology Center
Riverside Park
1500 E. Park Pl.
Milwaukee, WI

For more information,
email Kirsten Shead

This series invites persons of all faiths and spiritualities to gather
to reflect upon and converse about a chosen word or topic.

The Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialogue Project

8-12 people of any faith or spiritual background, or none at all, share a meal in an intimate space and discuss their beliefs and experiences in a moderated format that makes them feel safe and welcome.

For more information see the Amazing Faiths Page or call
(414) 276-9050

Also, check out Amazing Faiths on Facebook!

Contact Us

Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee
5409 W. Vliet St.
Milwaukee WI 53208

(414) 276-9050

Email Us:

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