Church Women United of Wisconsin and neighborhood ministerial associations also provided a fertile ground for interfaith/ecumenical cooperation.
1967 to early 2000s --
February 17, 1970: The Greater Milwaukee Council of Churches and the Greater Milwaukee Conference on Religion and Race merge to form the Greater Milwaukee Conference on Religion and Urban Affairs (later to be renamed
Rev. John D. Fischer is first executive director. The first office is at
Religious leaders of the 10 founding judicatories provide whole-hearted support. Ecumenical Urban Cadre of urban affairs staff from several judicatories provides vital energy.
May 1970 – Cabinet and Urban Cadre hold retreat at Westminster Presbyterian Church, choose housing as top priority and form task forces staffed by Cadre:
Housing Task Force: Studies housing problems/programs in metro area. Forms advocacy and corporate development committees. Explores providing social services to subsidized housing residents through contract with Roman Catholic Council on Urban Life. Plans fund-raising for housing needs.
Environmental Crisis Task Force: Sends resource materials from April teach-in to congregations. Then focuses on advocacy and providing flow of information.
Project Equality Training Task Force: Assists in beginning of Project Equality of Wisconsin by training religious leaders, planning regional information sessions.
Training Task Force: Directs the
Communication Task Force: Seeks to improve communication with/among judicatories. Works with Wisconsin/Milwaukee Religious Broadcast Ministry to develop radio/TV programming in religion and urban affairs, including bi-monthly TV show planned for 1971. Discusses forming Welfare and Youth Culture Task Forces in 1971.
Other Conference activities/actions in 1970s
Creates Alternative Service Program to employ Conscientious Objectors. Gets State Selective Service approval. Over three years, 41 men participate in research, service and social-action programs.
Creates Public Education Task Force that, with support from judicatory leaders, becomes a major force for integration/desegregation of the Milwaukee Public Schools. It advocates for quality education in the city and suburbs.
Publishes “Urban Scene” quarterly newsletter; sends to 600 area congregations
Forms task force that results in
Establishes resource center with meeting/working space and up-to-date reference materials for judicatory staff, clergy and congregational leaders planning programs to meet community needs
Task force creates two-year training program for congregations or communities undergoing transitions due to racial, ethnic or socio-economic changes.
Conference’s Ethnic Heritage Project publishes 82-page Guide to Ethnic Resources in the
With guest speaker, James L. Santelle, former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
Attend this insightful, free webinar at 7pm, Thursday, August 27th at:
Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee Facebook page
“Constitutional Rights to Religious Liberty: The Supreme Court’s Recent Cases on the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment”
“This academic and interactive program will focus on two, recent decisions of our High Court, addressing the meaning and impact of the Constitution’s protections against governmental establishment of religion and preservations of the right to its free exercise. In addition to describing the factual and legal bases for those landmark rulings, James L. Santelle, the former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (and long-time supporter of the missions and activities of the Interfaith Conference), will comment on the practical significance of the Supreme Court’s decisions for religious and non-faith-affiliated entities. This 90-minute gathering will also include abundant opportunities for participants to ask questions, offer perspectives, and otherwise comment on these important and topical issues.”
This event is sponsored by the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee