An Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee Retrospective
This year Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee celebrates 50 years of fostering interfaith, intercultural, and interracial understanding, tolerance, and friendships across our county and city-suburban lines.
On February 17, 1970, The Greater Milwaukee Council of Churches and the Greater Milwaukee Conference on Religion and Race merged to form the Greater Milwaukee Conference on Religion and Urban Affairs. (Renamed Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee in 1985). Rev. John D. Fischer was the first Executive Director, and the original office was located at 704 W. Wisconsin Ave. At that time, the Conference consisted of 10 founding judicatories whose religious leaders whole-heartedly supported the endeavor. An Ecumenical Urban Cadre of urban affairs staff from several judicatories formed Task Forces to get to work on the priorities of the time:
- Housing Task Force: Studied housing problems/programs in the metro area. Formed advocacy and corporate development committees. Explored providing social services to subsidized housing residents through a contract with Roman Catholic Council on Urban Life. Planed fund-raising for housing needs.
- Environmental Crisis Task Force: Sent resource materials to congregations, and focused on advocacy and dissemination of public information.
- Project Equality Training Task Force: Assisted in establishing the Project Equality of Wisconsin by training religious leaders and planning regional information sessions.
- Training Task Force: Directed the Academy of Religion and Urban Affairs for clergy and laity of the metro religious community, and others.
- Communication Task Force: Sought to improve communication with/among judicatories. Worked with Wisconsin/Milwaukee Religious Broadcast Ministry to develop radio/TV programming in religion and urban affairs, including a bi-monthly TV show planned for 1971. Discussed forming Welfare and Youth Culture Task Forces in 1971.
In honor of the Interfaith Conference’s anniversary, the Milwaukee County Historical Society recently recognized this valuable organization at their Annual Awards Gala. Link to Annual Award Gala for MCHS
Interfaith Conference appreciates the community’s support, as they foster programs to increase interfaith understanding, advocacy and social justice issues. Now more than ever, the Conference members, faith leaders, and all those who are part of our 21 judicatories, are essential to “upholding the dignity of all, and the solidarity of the human community.”