NOTE: Because of room capacity and record-breaking reservations, we are asking people who are attending the Interfaith Conference's luncheon lectures on Tuesday, March 17, 24 and 31, to come early to the First Unitarian Society, 1342 N. Astor St. People will eat in the community room, but we are moving the program from there into the church nave and its pews to avoid overcrowding. This larger space will also allow us to respond to the large interest in our series, "Confronting the Realities of Segregation," and to open up the 12:30 p.m. program to walk-ins for $5. We might well be able to accommodate some walk-ins for the buffet lunch, too, but we cannot guarantee it. That will depend upon when they arrive what the flow of people into and out of the dining area is. (For details about the series, see below)
March Luncheon/Lecture Series
to Focus on Segregation
The Interfaith Conference's annual Tuesdays-in-March luncheon/lecture series this year is offering a dynamic lineup of speakers and panelists addressing the theme, "Confronting the Realities of Segregation."
The series, sponsored by Interfaith's
Peace and International Issues Committee,
will be: March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015
Noon to 1:30 p.m.
First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee – a Unitarian Universalist Congregation 1342 N. Astor St., Milwaukee
How does your faith inspire you
to treat the stranger?
More than 160 people of a wide variety of faiths crowded into the sanctuary of Unitarian Universalist Church West in Brookfield on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 25, 2015 for a program jointly organized by the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee's Committee for Interfaith Understanding and the Brookfield-Elm Grove Interfaith Network (BEGIN) and titled "An Interfaith Experience: How does your faith inspire you to treat the stranger?" Representatives of 13 denominations and faiths gave mini-presentations. Then there was a break for refreshments, including home-made ethnic treats, followed by lively small-group dialoguing at tables. The crowd was so large that extra tables needed to be set up in the foyer.
In addition to Evangelical, Protestant and Roman Catholic Christianity, the other faiths represented in the presenations were: Baha'i, Buddhism, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), Evangelical Christian, Protestant Islam, Islamic Sufism, Judaism, Sikhism, Unitarian Universalism and Zoroastrianism.
More than 250 people of many faiths
have vibrant small-group dialogues
at 2014 Annual Luncheon
The more than 250 people of many faiths, ethnicities and cultures who came to the Italian Community Center for the Interfaith Conference's 44th annual luncheon on December 4 were much more than "attendees." They were fully engaged "participants" as they shared personal stories of their lived experiences of faith or philosophy at each table.
This was a remarkable luncheon, one that reached beyond staid, conventional program models.
Instead of having a keynote speaker, we had people get a taste of our highly successful Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialogue Program by having a half hour of moderated discussions at each table using an appreciative listening process that evokes deep sharing.
Instead of having faith groups and organizations purchase tables and sit with their own people, we dispersed people throughout the ballroom to achieve diversity at every table. People truly had personal, interfaith experiences that bridged differences and fostered understanding and friendship.
Dr. Rob Shelledy, Interfaith Conference Cabinet chair and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's Social Justice Ministry Coordinator, was the emcee. Tonen O'Connor, resident priest emerita of the Milwaukee Zen Center, opened the luncheon with this reflection:
"I'm most appreciative of this opportunity to offer a reflection as the invocation before today's luncheon, and of course the first thing we should share is our gratitude for the food we are about to eat, and our thanks to all those who had a hand in its journey to our table. Food has deep spiritual meaning within all faith traditions, and it is in this spirit that we offer our thanks.
"We gather together today as people of faith with trust that the deep divisions in our society can be healed. Within Buddhism there is an understanding that self and other are in truth, one being, inextricably interrelated, and that all beings are equal participants in this universe. This is what I ask you to consider today. Let us pledge to eliminate those deeply divisive words, "us" and "them" and replace them with "we," and thus take a small step forward toward an end to racial disparity, racial distrust, religious conflict, riots, poverty and the death of children.
"May the word "we" rise in our hearts so that we will look upon others and see ourselves. Recently in Istanbul, Pope Francis prayed that we may "overcome misunderstandings, divisions and disagreements and be a credible sign of unity and peace." The important word here is "credible." Lip service is not enough.
Please join me in a moment of silence within which we consecrate this meal to our determination to step past divisions and bring into being a credible "we.".........................................................................Thank you.
We also gave awards to two exceptional individuals and two highly commedable organizations.
2014 AWARD RECIPIENTS
Frank Zeidler Award
Rabbi Ronald Shapiro
For his leadership in social justice and interfaith relations, from his time as a rabbinical student and summer urban intern working with Fr. James Groppi’s National Welfare Rights Organization to his service as senior rabbi of Congregation Shalom over the past 36 years.
Rev. Herbert Huebschmann Urban Ministry Award
For providing natural healing therapies that transform the body, mind and spirit of people who could not otherwise afford these services, while forming community and breaking down barriers of social isolation and ethnic, racial and cultural separation.
Mark Rohlfing Memorial Award
For her outstanding service as a teacher who advocates for and exemplifies commitment to providing special education students in the Milwaukee Public Schools with an education that will afford a future for them within a society that does not always accept their challenges.
Youth/Young Adult Leadership Award
Marquette University Campus Ministry’s “Midnight Run”
For this student-led initiative’s 26 years of service to the hungry and homeless in Milwaukee through advocacy, awareness building and weekly volunteering by more than 150 students
at 12 meal programs and shelters throughout the area.
Download Flyer or Download Application or Email for Information
Prayer Service for Peace in the Middle East
(For news coverage of the prayer service, see: In the Media)
With conflict escalating in the Middle East, local religious leaders and adherents gathered for an interfaith Prayer Service for Peace in the Middle East at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 16, in All Saints’ Cathedral, Milwaukee.
The Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee organized the service to unite people of many different faiths and denominations in the vision of a world where peace is possible and violence is not inevitable.
In every age and every hour, there are opportunities for diplomacy to defuse conflict, for wisdom to temper anger, for forgiveness to forestall vengeance and for faith to foster what is highest and best in the human spirit. Local leaders offered prayers and stood together, unified in their diversity, as an example of what is possible.
The service concluded with the singing of Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant us Peace), in Latin, Hebrew and Arabic.