Our Staff and Steering Committee consist of individuals from diverse faith groups, who display a passionate concern for the environment.
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 (MDiv) degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, NJ, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Marquette University, WI, along with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from Anderson University, IN. He is currently working on his PhD in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, specializing in Social Institutions. For recreation, Stephen enjoys biking, watching baseball, playing basketball, reading, and camping. Together, Stephen and his wife have backpacked across Europe, bicycled through Angkor Wat in Cambodia, reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and canoed in the Amazon rainforest. He also enjoys spending time with his dogs, Eddie and Poppy.
Huda Alkaff is an ecologist, environmental educator, and the Founder and Director of Wisconsin Green Muslims, a grassroots environmental justice group formed in 2005 to connect faith, environmental justice, sustainability, and healing through education and service. Wisconsin Green Muslims has educated thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds in Wisconsin and beyond on a variety of environmental topics, including climate change, water, food, fair trade, solar energy, energy efficiency, waste reduction, and transportation equity. The group’s Green Ramadan campaign is now shared and implemented in approximately 20 states and globally, and the initiative Energy Democracy: Faith Communities for Equitable Solar has connected with over 4,500 people from different constituencies. Huda is a founding member of the Interfaith Earth Network of Southeastern Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light and has spent two decades working as an advocate for environmental justice, initiating Muslim and interfaith programs focused on energy and water conservation. Huda received the 2015 Obama's 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. Also, Huda received the 2018 Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education Eco-Justice Award.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With guest speaker, James L. Santelle, former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
Attend this insightful, free webinar at 7pm, Thursday, August 27th at:
Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee Facebook page
“Constitutional Rights to Religious Liberty: The Supreme Court’s Recent Cases on the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment”
“This academic and interactive program will focus on two, recent decisions of our High Court, addressing the meaning and impact of the Constitution’s protections against governmental establishment of religion and preservations of the right to its free exercise. In addition to describing the factual and legal bases for those landmark rulings, James L. Santelle, the former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (and long-time supporter of the missions and activities of the Interfaith Conference), will comment on the practical significance of the Supreme Court’s decisions for religious and non-faith-affiliated entities. This 90-minute gathering will also include abundant opportunities for participants to ask questions, offer perspectives, and otherwise comment on these important and topical issues.”
This event is sponsored by the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee