Interfaith Earth Network Staff and Board

The Interfaith Earth Network of Southeastern Wisconsin (IEN) is a program of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee.

Our mission is to inspire and support people of all faiths and faith communities to care for Earth based on their own sacred teachings. Through education, advocacy, actions, and networking, we serve as a catalyst for people of faith to live, work, and worship in environmentally sustainable ways.

Our Steering Committee consists of individuals with a passionate concern for the environment who represent diverse faith groups.

Program Staff

Rev. Stephen Hawkins is the Program Director for the Interfaith Earth Network. In 2016-2017, he served as an Agribusiness Advisor with the Peace Corps in Uganda, where he worked alongside community leaders from diverse faith traditions to promote drought-tolerant gardening techniques used for home consumption and to establish financial credit institutions for farmers with school-aged children. Prior to serving in the Peace Corps, he served as the Senior Pastor of an American Baptist congregation in southern Wisconsin from 2012-2016, during which time he collaborated with members of the Wisconsin Council of Churches’ Unity and Relationships Commission to draft Loving Our Interfaith Neighbors: A Study-Action Guide for Wisconsin Congregations and began writing for the Academy of Parish Clergy’s quarterly interfaith journal Sharing the Practice. Stephen earned a Master of Divinity degree in 2011 from Princeton Theological Seminary, NJ, where he co-founded the Interfaith Network for Understanding student organization, which invited neighboring religious communities to participate in an annual Sacred Songs concert. He is currently working on his MBA at Marquette University and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Anderson University, IN, where he studied both world religions and business administration. Stephen is interested in observing how diverse religious communities share their sacred stories in ways that promote ecologically responsible habits. For recreation, he enjoys biking, playing basketball, reading, and traveling. Together, Stephen and his wife have backpacked across Europe, bicycled through Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. He also enjoys spending time with his dog, Eddie.

Steering Committee

Huda Alkaff is the Founder and Director of Wisconsin Green Muslims -an environmental justice organization formed in 2005, connecting faith, environmental justice and sustainability through education and service-. Huda is an ecologist with higher education degrees in conservation ecology, sustainable development, and environmental education from the University of Georgia, and had experience teaching environmental studies courses at the University of Wisconsin. She has been appointed to serve on the environmental justice task force for the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. Huda is a founding member and a leader of the Interfaith Earth Network of Southeast Wisconsin and Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light. She also serves on the national Greening Ramadan | Green Masjid Task Force, the Milwaukee Environmental Consortium Board of Directors, the Milwaukee Water Commons Advisory Team and Community Water Assembly, and the Wisconsin Water Thinkers Network leadership team. In 2015, Wisconsin Green Muslims received national awards and recognitions for their water and climate change-related work from both GreenFaith and the Interfaith Power and Light, the top leading interfaith environmental organizations in the USA. Huda received the 2015 White House Champions of Change for Faith Climate Justice Leaders recognition, the 2016 Sierra Club Great Waters group Environmental Hero of the Year, and in 2017, Huda has been recognized nationally by Environment America as one of the Voices for 100% Renewable Energy. Currently, Huda is co-leading the Wisconsin Faith and Solar Initiative, which has reached 1,000 people and counting in Wisconsin and beyond.

Dianne Dagelen is a member of St. Therese Congregation, where she serves on her parish Green Team. A native Milwaukeean, she has a degree in Theology from Marquette University as well as master degrees in Social Work and Urban Affairs from UWM. A retired clinical social worker, she is the proud grandmother of five. As Chair and Conservation Chair for the Great Waters Group of the Sierra Club, she is a member of the Cleaner Milwaukee Coalition to clean up the Menomonee Valley coal plant, the Coalition for More Responsible Transportation to pursue transit options for the I-94 Corridor and MICAH (Milwaukee Innercity Congregations Allied for Hope) as an advocate for environmental justice. She has organized public participation to preserve county parkways from DOT clear-cutting and ATC transmission towers, and is a member the Wauwatosa Senior Commission. Educating and celebrating community have energized her the past five years by organizing multi-cultural Earth Day events. She enjoys cross country skiing and sailing.

Katie Heinen is a full-time volunteer and life-long learner with a degree in Alternatives in Education, thinks of the world in terms of the connectedness and sacredness of all people and things. Her Catholic faith and deepening spiritual consciousness inspire and compel her to bring her passion and talents to interfaith work in a mindful way, especially in the areas of environment, education and social justice. Katie has served on the IEN leadership team since 2009.

Rev. Kate Fields is a biologist turned pastor; though a Tennessee native, she recently transitioned to Wisconsin to pastor Underwood Memorial Baptist Church in Wauwatosa. Kate serves on the Steering Committee of the Interfaith Earth Network, the National Council of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and is also involved with the BPFNA (Bautistas por la Paz or Baptists for Peace). Prior to seminary she conducted biology pedagogy research while working in both veterinary medicine and in remedial learning/Academic Support. She has done peace-building and climate justice work in Appalachia, Fiji, and broader Oceania. She is committed to nonviolence, peace-building, climate justice, indigenous rights, and to sharing praxis-based creation care theologies with local congregations. Kate loves to work to preserve Appalachian botany, hike with her greyhounds, grow vegetables, promote local food, and listen to folk music.

Jeanne Mantsch (Interfaith Conference Board Contact) has a master's degree in psychology, and worked in the development of computer systems and project management in a variety of settings for many years. Perhaps more importantly, she spent much of her formative years on a family farm near Jackson, Wisconsin, where almost everything eaten, and much that was used, such as soap, was raised or created there. Butchering, meat curing, canning, and use of a root cellar were all part of life. Jeanne brings this respect for old time practices into her life today, and is happy to share those techniques with others.

Barbara Richards (Secretary) brings an active interest in bringing resilient life ways to individuals and communities through her personal lifestyle as well as through volunteer work with local organizations. As a Montessori educator Ms. Richards espoused the Montessori principles of Cosmic Education: Each non-living and living individual part of creation is part of the whole and contributes to that whole by following its basic laws of existence. As we prepare for an uncertain future Ms. Richards promotes the need to reassess our present accepted systems of meeting our basic human needs and to create local just and resilient systems. The challenge of Micah 5: “Act Justly, Love tenderly, Walk humbly with God”, and the Ethical Principles of permaculture: Care for Earth, Care for People, Fair Share for all; purpose the daily choices Ms. Richards makes affecting earth and others, now and forever.

Terry Wiggins (Treasurer) has worked at the intersection of religion and environmentalism for well over a decade, including 6 years of service on the board of the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth. As one of IEN’s advocacy members, she serves as IEN’s representative to the Drinking Water Initiative of Milwaukee Water Commons, the Wisconsin Climate Table, and the Coalition for More Responsible Transportation (CMRT, pronounce it with a soft “c” and say “smart”). CMRT is the coalition opposing WisDOT’s proposed expansion of I-94 between the Marquette and Zoo interchanges, successfully, so far. Terry was arrested in front of the White House in 2011 protesting the Keystone XL pipeline, and she led the movement that achieved the pledge of divestment from fossil fuels from the Unitarian Universalist Association in 2014. These actions reflect her belief that we must keep carbon in the ground to preserve life as we know it. Terry moved to Milwaukee in 2009 shortly after her first grandchild was born. She used to live in Kansas City, Missouri, where she co-founded the Sustainable Sanctuary Coalition, an organization much like IEN.

Linda Sheridan is the Milwaukee area coordinator for Food, Faith & Farming Network, a Madison-based nonprofit that fosters rural and urban relationships and promotes earth stewardship, spirituality and economic justice through healthy food and sustainable farming practices. As coordinator, Linda works with Milwaukee area congregations to present Markets and Meals, locally sourced brunches and farmers' market events during the winter months. She is a member of Wauwatosa Presbyterian Church where she leads the Mission Committee. She is also involved in the Milwaukee Food Council and volunteers with other area organizations. Linda believes that education is the key to helping people make choices about their impact on the environment and its betterment through sustainable practices of living.