2018 Events and Activities

Events and Activities in 2018


Annual Luncheon -- See the DREAM CRAZY BIG Keynote Talk: VIDEO 

Dec. 6, 2018 --DREAM CRAZY BIG! -- With arm gestures, inflections, a beaming smile, and a booming voice, Pastor Hurmon Hamilton urged the more 240 people at the Interfaith Conference's annual luncheon on Dec. 6 to bust paradigms and "dream crazy big." We can all make a difference, with steps large and small, in a world that needs our light to overcome the darkness, he said. 

Hamilton, pastor of a nondenominational congregation in California that is racially and politically diverse, exhorted people to listen to others, understand their pain, and not demonize them because they hold different political or social views. In his keynote presentation, he drew upon his nearly 10 years' experience as a founder and president of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization and 17 years as senior pastor of Roxbury Presbyterian Church in Boston. During that time, he oversaw that interfaith group's rise as a significant political and moral change agent in Massachusetts. 

Also at the luncheon, the Interfaith Conference presented: its Frank Zeidler Award to the Rev. Tonen O'Connor, resident priest emerita of the Milwaukee Zen Center; its Rev. Herbert Huebschmann Urban Ministry Award to the Milwaukee Transitional Jobs Collaborative; and its Mark Rohlfing Memorial Award to Renee Elias, executive director and co-founder of the Rides and Reins therapeutic, horse-assisted program in Slinger, Wis., that serves children with special needs.


Committee for Interfaith Understanding

Nov. 19, 2018 -- Traveling Photo Exhibition on Gratitude for Faith/Diversity -- 
A few days before the Thanksgiving holiday, our Committee for Interfaith Understanding opened a traveling exhibition in Milwaukee City Hall’s rotunda titled “Gratitude...A Celebration of Our Common Humanity.” A collaboration with the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, it featured 15 photos taken by MIAD students from a sacred texts class during visits to places of worship and meditation. The 20 students each submitted 20 photos to reflect both their experiences at the sites as well as their personal spirituality or philosophy. The exhibition’s photos were selected from 400 entries on the theme of gratitude for faith/diversity. The resulting images showcased the incredible diversity of the Milwaukee area while also acknowledging the similar threads that connect us to our fellow humans. The winning photos were printed on large banners and hung in the City Hall rotunda for two weeks. Smaller versions of the photos were later printed and matted for gallery-type display. All are available as a traveling exhibition. 

Previously, on Oct. 11, we also held an Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialogue at MIAD for the participating students and about 15 other students and faculty, with moderators and guests from diverse faiths present to enrich their interreligious experience. These dinners are open to people of any faith, spirituality, or philosophy. 

An interfaith program and reception for the exhibit opening drew about 50 people when the exhibition officially opened the evening of Nov. 9. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Interfaith Executive Director Tom Heinen, and MIAD Professor Leslie Fedorchuk, director of service learning, all spoke. A portion of the program was devoted to the sounds of calls to prayer and included Jim Salinsky of Congregation Sinai blowing and explaining the shofar, 10th Grader Ubaid Grays reciting the Muslim call to prayer in Arabic, the Rev. Reirin Gumbel from the Milwaukee Zen Center demonstrating and explaining the use of a wooden mallet and sound board in inviting Buddhists to meditation, and the Rev. Marilyn Miller of Reformation Lutheran Church used both silence and a spoken message to focus and inspire the crowd. The Rev. Tonen O'Connor, resident priest emerita of the Milwaukee Zen Center, and Janan Najeeb, chair of our Committee for Interfaith Understanding and president of the Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition, then led the crowd in an interfaith litany of gratitude before all attendees were invited to take a few minutes to share with someone next to them what they were grateful for. Barbara Tracey, choir director of St. Michael's Catholic Church, then played guitar and led the crowd in a singing of "Malo Malo, Thanks Be to God" in several languages. 

May 9, 2018 -- "Mary, Mother of Jesus" Program – About 200 people attended our event at St. Mary’s Catholic Faith Community in Hales Corners to deepen their understanding of Mary: her Jewish roots, her position of honor in both the Christian and Muslim traditions, and different perspectives across the spectrum of Protestant and Catholic theologies and devotional practices.. 

Judith Longdin, former director of the Archdiocesan Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Concerns, was the moderator. Presenters included: Mary Matestic, Catholic educator and writer; Dr. Sherry Blumberg, Jewish educator and lecturer; Janan Najeeb, president of the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition; and the Rev. Karen Sundland, an American Baptist minister.

May 7, 2018 -- Panel Presentation on Arranged Marriages -- The Interfaith Conference arranged for a dynamic panel of five women from different faith and cultural backgrounds to give responses after the free screening of a movie about arranged marriages in the UW-Milwaukee Union Cinema. “Arranged,” the final offering in this year’s Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival, focused on a Muslim woman and an Orthodox Jewish woman who are friends and first-year teachers as their respective families strive to arrange marriages for them. 

About 200 people attended the movie, and many remained to hear the presentations afterwards. Panelists commented on the movie and on traditional practices and contemporary changes in arranged-marriage customs in their faith and cultural traditions. 

Panelists included:

  • Shauna Singh Baldwin, an award-winning Canadian-American novelist and playwright of Indian descent, who lives in Milwaukee and attends the Sikh temples in Brookfield and Oak Creek
  • Chava Metzger, Director of Educational Support at Yeshiva Elementary School (an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish school) and a practicing school psychologist
  • Liliane McFarlane, Grants Manager for the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and a co-founder and member of the Milwaukee African Women’s Association 
  • Mayhoua Moua, Executive Director of Southeast Asian Educational Development, founding president of the Hmong American Women’s Association, and founder of a consulting firm that provides translations and diversity training
  • Zehra Tahir, Vice Principal of Salam Middle and High School, school counselor, and board member of both the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition and the Islamic Society of Milwaukee

The moderator was Janan Najeeb, a founder and president of the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, which organizes the film festival.

April 15, 2018 -- A program titled "Mary, Mother of Jesus: Jewish, Christian, Muslim Perspectives" had to be cancelled for future rescheduling because of an unusual April sleet and snowstorm, but nearly 30 people who did not know this showed up at St. Mary's Catholic Faith Community in Hales Corners for the program. Catholic speaker Mary Matestic, who was there in case that happened, gave a presentation on the parish's dynamic statue of Mary and on Catholic perspectives on Mary, with Interfaith Executive Director Tom Heinen adding interfaith perspectives during a Q&A session for an overall program that lasted about an hour. People were invited to come to the full program when it is rescheduled. People of all backgrounds are welcome to this exceptional opportunity to deepen their understanding of Mary: her Jewish roots, and her position of honor in both the Christian and Muslim traditions.

April 4, 2018 -- Interfaith Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance -- All Saints' Episcopal Cathedral in Milwaukee partnered with the Interfaith Conference to present a program on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination entitled "Continuing Dr. King's Call: An Interfaith Gathering." A religiously diverse crowd of nearly 100 people attended.

The primary speakers were:

  • Rev. Dr. John R. Walton, Jr., immediate past chair of the Interfaith Conference Cabinet (our board of directors), a current board and executive committee member, and pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, the oldest African American Baptist congregation in the city.
  • Rabbi Noah Chertkoff, senior rabbi of Congregation Shalom in Fox Point, the largest Jewish congregation in Southeastern Wisconsin.
  • Imam Yaseen from the Islamic Dawah Center/Masjid Al-Rahman in Milwaukee.

Also speaking were: The Very Rev. Kevin Carroll, dean of All Saints' Cathedral; Elana Kahn, chair of the Interfaith Conference board and director of the Jewish Community Relations Council/Milwaukee Jewish Federation; Tom Heinen, executive director of the Interfaith Conference; and Rhonda Hill, director of the Interfaith Conference's inter-religious, inter-racial and intercultural dialogue programs.

Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialogues and Other Dialogues

Ongoing -- Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialogues in private homes -- We are continuing to hold one to two of these free dinner dialogues each month in private residences throughout the metro area under the leadership of Rhonda Hill, our AFDD program director. From January through July 2018, more than 80 people particpated in these dinners in private homes across the metro area. Additional people participated at tables in large-group gatherings at Carthage College and Pius XI High School in January and April. 

Under this format, 8 to 12 people of different faiths, philosophies, cultures, and races gather for a simple vegetarian meal and a dialogue guided by a trained moderator. Our appreciative inquiry process creates a safe environment in which people share personal stories of their lived experiences and come to a deeper understanding and appreciation of one another.

Nov. 14, 2018 -- In the spring and on November 14, we collaborated with the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee to hold two Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialgoues that drew about 28 students. 

Nov. 4, 2018 -- PRESENCE AT THE PARLIAMENT – We presented a workshop on our creative use and expansion of our Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialogues to 40 people from various countries at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto, Canada. The dinners evoke deep personal sharing across faith and racial lines. This workshop was a collaborative effort of presenters representing four different organizations in three geographic localities: The Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, Wisconsin; The Buckminster Fuller Center for Spirituality and Sustainability on the Campus of Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Illinois; The Interfaith Forum of Greenville, South Carolina; and the Religion Department of Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. We do these dinner dialogues throughout the year and had more experience than the other organizations. Rhonda Hill, our Amazing Faiths program director, and Tom Heinen, our executive director, did the main presentation. Furman University students trained by the other organizations moderated live Amazing Faiths dialogues for the attendees so that they could experience what we talked about.

Oct. 21, 2018 -- Congregationalists, Muslims & State Department visitors -- The First Congregational Church of Wauwatosa collaborated with the Interfaith Conference to host an Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialogue that drew 60 Congregationalists and Muslims. We were joined by a delegation of seven U.S. State Department guests from Burundi, Costa Rica, Egypt, Macedonia, Sierra Leone, Thailand, and Turkey. The International Institute of Wisconsin hosted the delegation for its visit to the Milwaukee area while on a tour of the United States 

The following day, these international visitors met with Elana Kahn, Interfaith Conference Cabinet chair and director of the Jewish Community Relations Council; Ahmed Quereshi, Interfaith Conference treasurer and immediate past president of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee; and Tom Heinen, Interfaith Conference executive director. Afterward, the visitors toured the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, which is in the same building as the Jewish Community Relations Council/Milwaukee Jewish Federation. 

These visitors are invited to the United States under the auspices of the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program. The Meridian International Center arranged their program. The purpose of their visit to the United States was:

  • Review the historic origins of religious freedom, pluralism, and civil rights in the United States
  • Explore the role of religious leaders in their communities and their cooperative efforts with leaders of other religious traditions
  • Examine the impact of religion on public and political life in the United States, the reasoning for separation of religion and state; and how that separation compares and contrasts to similar concepts in other countries

Aug. 12, 2018 -- Congregationalists & Sikhs -- The First Congregational Church of Wauwatosa collaborated with the Interfaith Conference to host an Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialogue that drew a total of 70 Congregationalists and Sikh Community members. This was part of the church's intentional outreach to diverse faith communities. 

Aug. 19, 2018 -- New "Amazing Faiths 2.0" Dinners -- 40 people attended our inaugural 2.0 in-depth dinner dialogue, held at the M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi School of Islamic Sufism in Franksville, northern Racine County. These 2.0 dinners start with a presentation by the host faith and sometimes an additional faith to make this a more in-depth learning experience prior to the personal sharing of lived experiences of participants' faith or philosophy. Held shortly before the Muslim Eid that commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to God, we had two Muslim speakers talk about Sufism and the Muslim version of that scriptural story (Armita Saleki & Dr. Nahid Ojand) and we had a rabbi (Rabbi Michal Woll, from Congregation Shir Hadash, Milwaukee) talk about the Jewish version and perspective. 

July 22, 2018 -- Amazing Faiths Reunion Dinner -- Our Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialogue (AFDD) program hosted its Annual Reunion Dinner at Plymouth Church UCC, giving those who attended previous dinners the opportunity to rekindle old relationships and establish new ones. Thirty-one dinner guests from eight faith traditions participated in the dinner dialogue with the theme “Stirring the Waters: An Interfaith Perspective on Water.” Stephen Hawkins, Program Director for our Interfaith Earth Network (IEN), opened the dialogue by sharing personal stories from his agricultural work with religious leaders in Uganda, where he recently served for a year and a half with his wife as Peace Corps Volunteers. He and religious leaders created community gardens able to withstand both droughts and flooding. Dinner guests were then served a vegan meal while they used our appreciative inquiry process to talk about the sacred qualities of water within their faith traditions. The event was held at Plymouth Church in space leased by Congregation Shir Hadash, a Reconstructionist Jewish community.

April 8, 2018 -- Carthage College Dialogue -- Led by Rhonda Hill, our Dialogue Program Director, the Interfaith Conference held simultaneous Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialogues for 24 students and faculty in a gathering room at Carthage College at its lakefront campus in Kenosha. We provided volunteer moderators. The Rev. Kara Baylor, College Pastor and leader of the college's Center for Faith and Spirituality, organized the event and participated in the dialogue at one of the tables. The college provided food. 

Jan. 15, 2018 -- Pius XI High School Dialogue -- The Interfaith Conference and Rhonda Hill, director of our interfaith, inter-racial and intercultural dialogues provided moderators and conducted lunch dialogues for 100 faculty, staff, and administrators in various rooms at Pius XI Catholic High School in Milwaukee on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day as in-service training.

Interfaith Earth Network of Southeastern Wisconsin 

Ongoing  Justice at the Tap  Interfaith Earth Network Program Director Stephen Hawkins is continuing to meet with potential community partners to learn and share as we form our plan to address the health threat to children and women of child bearing age of lead in in the city water system through education, outreach, distribution and installation of filters, and some advocacy.

Ongoing  Faith and Ecology  We continue to plan and lead conversations on the third Tuesday of every month at the Urban Ecology Center, Riverside Park. The primary purpose of these “conversations” is not to teach or provide information, but to call on us to reflect on, become more mindful about, our connection to creation. Our overarching theme for this year is “Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril” exploring the question: do we have a moral obligation to take action to protect a planet in peril?

October 13, 2018 – "Wisconsin Unleaded;" American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin Annual Gathering – In partnership with the Milwaukee Water Commons (MWC), IEN's Stephen Hawkins and MWC's Brenda Coley presented during a breakout session on the current lead exposure concerns in Milwaukee and throughout the state of Wisconsin. Participants were provided a state map indicating whether lead pipes were prevalent in their counties and were provided information for addressing this issue through their congregations in their home communities.

September 19, 2018  "Our Spiritual Ties to the Earth"  The Sum-mer-del Garden Club (and all women's club from Delafield, Oconomowoc, and Summit, WI) invited our Interfaith Earth Network’s Faith & Ecology Team to lead club members through a guided reflection of “Our Spiritual Ties to the Earth.” Thirty-seven skilled gardeners participated in this discussion-based presentation, highlighting the prominence of environmental stewardship among the world religions. Participants were provided passages of sacred texts from diverse religious traditions and quotes from key religious figures, sparking open-ended small group conversations. Coming together as a large group, participants were then given the opportunity to discussed how faith impacts work in their gardens and with their neighbors.

June 7, 2018 – “Lead-Safe Homes” – The Interfaith Earth Network sponsored an open house event at Hephatha Evangelical Lutheran Church for families in Milwaukee's Amani neighborhood. In collaboration with the Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers' Lead Outreach staff, blood testing was available for children while parents learned about the dangers of lead exposure through paint, water, and soil. With the help of the Dominican Center and the Social Development Commission, 58 lead water filters (NSF/ANSI 53) were distributed to households with a total of 83 children under the age of six. A nutritionist was also present to share information about the importance of a healthy diet in preventing lead absorption. Refreshments high in calcium were served.

April 20, 2018  Trash Talking Workshop  Our IEN Trash Talking Project Team offered a variation of our “Trash Talking” workshop with four, 15-minute sessions for 80 to 100 students at St. Catherine’s school on Milwaukee's west side as part of their Earth Day event.

April 11 & 12, 2018 – Sustainability Summit & Exposition  Our Interfaith Earth Network Steering Committee again participated in the annual Sustainability Summit & Exposition, sponsored by and held at Milwaukee Area Technical College's main downtown campus. The theme was "“Moving Toward a Sustainable Economy: Engaging Our Future Leaders.” The summit is intended to attract primarily adult students of many ages. IEN leaders took turns staffing our display and interacting with participants as well as making connections with other individuals/organizations we might collaborate with. They spread the word and generated discussions about sustainable lifestyles and practices, including natural burial and the health threat caused by lead in the city's water system. Stephen Hawkins, our new IEN Program Director, participated in a panel discussion on sustainability and volunteerism opportunities around the world. He and his wife recently returned from 1½ years in Uganda as Peace Corps Volunteers. He was an agribusiness specialist, teaching nutrition, drought-tolerant gardening, and financial literacy.

March 11, 2018 – Mini Green Fair at St. Pius X Parish – IEN participated in this congregation's first-ever mini green fair, by tabling and interacting with participants, much the same as at the Winter Farmers' Markets. 

November 2017 - March 2018 -- Winter Farmers' Markets -- IEN leaders collaborated with the Food, Faith and Farming Network to demonstrate our support for their Winter Farmers' Markets and accompanying locally-sourced breakfasts, which are hosted by and held at various congregations. These offer farmers financial support by giving them venues to sell their products. We help by promoting the markets through our email, social media platforms, and by staffing IEN table displays at these markets to share information about other sustainability issues. We have been generating a lot of interest/conversations around the idea of natural burial as well as the problem of lead in local municipal water systems. This season we tabled at 5 of the 9 markets in Milwaukee and area suburbs. 


PIIC Tuesdays-in-March Luncheon Lectures 

This year’s March luncheon-lecture series drew an average of 108 registrations for each of the four Tuesday sessions, which had the overall theme The Danger of Silence: Using Our Voices, Hands, Feet & Pocketbooks to Effect Change.” In an effort to not only inform people about critical issues but also to give them opportunities to take action, each session featured table displays and representatives from organizations engaged with that day’s focus.

The schedule was:

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, 9 to5 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

All sessions were held at the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee, the traditional site for this series. Average attendance was 90, with attendance at three sessions exceeding 100. 


Outreach into the Workplace

Nov. 29, 2018 -- Jewish Speaker at Rockwell Automation -- As part of the Interfaith Conference's continuing collaboration with the interfaith employee group at Rockwell Automation, we arranged for Moshe Katz, chair of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation Board, to speak about Judaism at a lunchtime event organized by the corporation's Faith Friendly and Allies Employee Resource Group. He gave a lively, wide-ranging presentation to about 25 employees in person while others at remote sites viewed and listed to a video feed. The presentation was video recorded and archived so that other employees could view when they have time. 

Sept. 18, 2018 -- Interfaith Honored at Rockwell -- Susan Schmitt, then senior vice president for human resources at Rockwell Automation, presented a crystal globe award to Interfaith Conference Executive Director Tom Heinen in recognition of the assistance he has given over the past several years to the corporation's interfaith employee group. The presentation was part of the Faith Friendly and Allies Employee Resource Group's annual Members' Appreciation Event, which was held in the lounge atop the global corporation's landmark clock tower with some Interfaith Conference leaders present. 

Aug. 15, 2018 -- Hindu Speaker at Rockwell Automation -- Dr. Lakshmi Bharadwaj, a representative of the Hindu Temple of Wisconsin in Pewaukee and a member of the Interfaith Conference's Committee for Interfaith Understanding, gave a presentation on the basics of Hinduism to about 35 members of Rockwell Automation's Faith Friendly and Allies Employee Resource Group at the global corporation's Milwaukee headquarters on the near south side. The presentation was viewed by employees at other sites via a video link and was recorded and archived so that other employees could view it later. The Interfaith Conference arranges these educational experiences for the employee group.

June 26, 2018 -- United Church of Christ Speaker at Rockwell Automation -- The Rev. Jane Anderson, a regional minister overseeing the southeastern district of the United Church of Christ's Wisconsin Conference, spoke about her denomination's history, beliefs, and ministries to about 40 employees at Rockwell Automation's corporate headquarters in Milwaukee. The appearance by the Rev. Anderson, who has a designated representative on the Interfaith Conference's board, was arranged by the Conference's executive director.


Oct. 27, 2019 -- CONDEMNING ANTI-SEMITIC VIOLENCE AT PITTSBURGH SYNAGOGUE -- The Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee issued a statement strongly condemning the anti-Semitic violence carried out against worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Although this atrocity has not taken place in our geographic area, we are aware of the effect such acts of terror can have on our local community. Our prayers, our support, and our commitment to continue to act in solidarity are with those in Pittsburgh and our local Jewish community as they mourn and continue to struggle with the immoral scourge of anti-Semitism. The Interfaith Conference reaffirms our common commitment to the inherent dignity of every human being as made by a loving Creator and recommits itself to peacemaking and justice among our constituent bodies and beyond. For full statement, see: Interfaith Advocacy.


Nov. 15, 2018 -- HELPING IMMIGRANTS -- The Interfaith Conference Cabinet, our board of directors, voted to endorse the efforts of a newly created group to provide more accurate information and more knowledgeable referrals to effective, honest and affordable legal services for legal non-U.S. citizens seeking help with citizenship and other immigration-related legal matters. In doing so, the Cabinet asked that the group of individuals, which had been meeting as a steering committee under the working title of Milwaukee Assimilation Project, change its name to better reflect its purpose and to use language that does not carry the multiple meanings that "assimilation" does for some faiths. Before voting, the Cabinet also asked to have a representative on the steering committee to help with the effort and to ensure close coordination with our Interfaith leaders. Patricia McFarland, a Cabinet member from the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee and the Unitarian Universalist Congregations of Southeast Wisconsin, volunteered to serve as the representative. (The steering committee subsequently changed its name to the Wisconsin Immigration Network, or WIN.) 


Oct. 29, 2018 -- STANDING AGAINST HATE – After a gunman killed 11 people and wounded 7 at a Pittsburgh synagogue, we helped gather dozens of Milwaukee area religious leaders to stand in solidarity at a Jewish community gathering on Oct. 29 in Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid, Glendale. With the large group of religious leaders behind him on the synagogue's bimah (front platform), the Rev. David Simmons -- the Interfaith Conference's vice chair and the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee's Ecumenical and Interreligious Officer -- spoke these powerful words to the hundreds of Jewish community members who were facing them, "You are not alone!" 

Oct. 10, 2018 -- FAITH AND DEMOCRACY – Three Interfaith Conference leaders served on a planning committee led by Daniel Bergen, executive director of Marquette University’s Office of Community Engagement, to collaboratively organize an interfaith panel discussion on the topic of Faith and Democracy in Troubled Times. The Zeidler Center for Public Discussion also participated in the planning and moderated roundtable discussions after the presentations by panelists. The event was held Oct. 10 at Bader Philanthropies, 3300 N. Doctor M.L.K. Jr. Drive. The five panelists included Dr. Michael Lovell, president of Marquette University. Interfaith Executive Director Tom Heinen served as moderator for the event, which drew a capacity crowd of about 120. Other panelists included: Rabbi Dena Feingold of Temple Beth Hillel in Kenosha; Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah, director of religious affairs for the Islamic Society of Milwaukee; Grady Crosby, vice president of public affairs & chief diversity officer for Johnson Controls and president of the corporation's foundation; and .Dr. Jenny Heckman, a private faith-based counselor who formerly served as woman’s pastor at Elmbrook, Metrobrook, and Brew City evangelical churches. 

May 16 & 17, 2018 -- Southeast Wisconsin Reentry Employment Expo -- The Interfaith Conference was one of the co-sponsors of this expo and helped with the publicity for this networking event. It was designed for employers, work-readiness agencies, and other supporting agencies. Faith leaders called them to develop new relationships that will make hiring and retaining qualified, work-ready citizens returning for incarceration profitable for all. The main organizers were the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. A total of 53 businesses and 26 agencies were represented at the event. The mission was: to inspire employers to hire the formerly incarcerated and make it easier for them to hire by connecting them with people and organizations that can deliver work-ready employees by providing prompt, sustained support services. 

May 12, 2018 -- Rhonda Hill, director of our Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialogues Program and liaison to our Committee for Interfaith Understanding, spoke about her Interfaith Conference work at the 6th Annual Milwaukee Public Montessori Peace Summit at Lloyd Barbee Montessori School, 4456 N. Teutonia Ave. With the theme of Kindness Rocks!!!, the event featured keynote speaker Ajamou Butler speaking on "Brother Heal the Hood."

April 26, 2018 -- Interfaith Conference Executive Director Tom Heinen participated with several members of faith communities from Southeast Milwaukee County in sharing visions for the community and new ways to unite it. It was organized by Pastor Lynne Hines-Levy and was held at her church, Cudahy United Methodist Church, 5865 S. Lake Dr., Cuday.

Awards & Honors
Dec. 1, 2018 --Interfaith Conference Executive Director Tom Heinen and his wife, Katie, were jointly presented with the Together We Can! award by the Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition at the MMWC's annual dinner in the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts for their "ongoing commitment to diversity, partnership and building community." Their work with the Interfaith Conference and also with its Committee for Interfaith Understanding was cited. At the same dinner, U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore presented them with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition in honor of their "tireless service."