1980's

Rev. Fischer resigns after 10 years to become executive director of Wisconsin Council of Churches. Frances Beverstock, recently retired as Milwaukee Presbytery urban consultant, is interim director.

 

Patrick Flood selected as new executive director as of Sept. 1, 1981. 

 

 

1985, the Greater Milwaukee Conference on Religion and Race changes its name to the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee to emphasize interfaith.  It’s also shorter for news media.

 

1985, organizes the first Greater Milwaukee CROP Walk with Church World Service to fight hunger internationally/locally. Walk grows and continues today at lakefront.    

 

In fall of 1988, Flood resigns to lead new interfaith organization in Austin, Tex. After six-month search, Jack Murtaugh, Interfaith’s program director, succeeds Flood as executive director.

(Photo 5: headshot of Jack Murtaugh…might have to send that Tuesday afternoon)

 

Some other Conference activities/actions in 1980s

Forms Religion and Labor Committee with Milwaukee County Labor Council, AFL/CIO in 1981. Issues include union busting. Sponsors six annual conferences, national speakers.

Creates Interfaith Fund for Jobs. Raises money to provide loans for small businesses.

 

Wisconsin Farmers Foundation. becomes Interfaith Conference affiliated program staffed by the Conference to help small farmers and address rural communities’ needs.

Forms Peace & International Issues Committee. Raises voice in opposition to US policy regarding Nicaragua, El Salvador and South Africa with local/national groups.

Forms CAN (Congregation Action Network) to help congregations advocate for responsible/ just public policy on issues important to low-income families.

Establishes annual Rev. Herbert Huebschmann Award and Frank Zeidler Award in 1985 to recognize social-justice work of congregations and individuals.

Devotes staff person to criminal justice issues and improving police/community relations.

Assists efforts by congregations and groups to revitalize neighborhoods. 

Helps create MICAH (Milwaukee Innercity Congregations Allied for Hope) by letting organizers/donors use Conference’s tax-exempt status.

Holds luncheons for religious and business leaders to understand each other, work on issues.

Creates programs to help unemployed seek job interviews, involve volunteers personally. 

Conference’s Food and Shelter Coalition sponsors nine district briefings on welfare reform, each is followed by a meeting with district’s legislators.

Holds series of public education luncheons in 1980s.