Monday, May 14, 2007


Just some info from a pamphlet on the LHRA-

Who is LHRA?
-an association of individual and congregational members from Lutheran and ecumenical denominations in all 50 states
-involved since 1953 in the struggle to eradicate racism and other oppressions
-confronts the hard issues of human justice through a variety of programs in a positive, holistic, and challenging way
-staff, board members, and members are women and men, lay and clergy, gay and straight, young and mature, from many different cultures. We are from families of all types, from every part of the country, and some from around the world. We come from many walks of life and perspectives

Why should I participate in the LHRA?
-Involvement in a national network of dedicated and committed people of God
-Being empowered through Biblical insights
-Understanding the gifts of your own cultural background while hearing the stories of others and being enriched by those stories
-Enhancing your ability to listen and have meaningful conversation across cultural, racial, and other barriers
-Learning to recognize oppression and the role we each play
-Moving toward constructive ways of working across differences
-Making positive changes in your own life, congregation, and community
-Discovering new ways to continue to grow

Bringing people together to do justice.
Breaking down hostilities and fears.
Building human community.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Noahs Second Trip

On my second trip to Walnut Way and Cross Lutheran Drew and I interviewed both Pastor Ken Wheeler and Marilyn Miller of the Lutheran Human Relations Association (LHRA). Both Pastor Ken and Marilyn Miller told us what they how Walnut Way has grown and improved and also what they see in Walnut Ways future. Pastor Wheeler first got involved helping with Walnut Way when members of his church approached him with the idea of working with the community, and he has now been working with them for about five or six months. Pastor Wheeler goes on to tell how he has seen vast improvements in the neighborhood like a decrease in crime and an increase in the friendliness between people in the community. The Pastor specifically mentions the improvements in the area of Seventeenth Street. I most defiantly agree with the Pastor when he talks about the beauty of that area, I had a chance to drive through and see that area first hand and the homes of that area really stand out. Another aspect of the interview I found interesting was when asked if there were any negatives to the rebirth of the area I was surprised to hear that there was. Pastor Wheeler said that as new homes are built and the neighborhood improves the property values rise and makes it difficult for longtime members of the community to afford to stay. I never really thought about this aspect of the rebuilding process and the more I thought about it the more I realized that this is a difficult problem to solve. If the members of the community can no longer afford to live there, what can they do? They would have to move out of the neighborhood or find a new job, both of which are not something a longtime community member is going to want or be able to do.
We also interviewed Marilyn Miller of the Lutheran Human Relations Association. I leaned a lot listening during this interview, especially when asked is race relations are still improving today. Marilyn said that with every good thing that happens a not-so-good thing happens as well, race relations have been two steps forward one step back situation. She said that in order for things to continue improving there must be constant communication and engagement between people in the community. I very much agree with what Marilyn said, if people are able to communicate what they need and how to improve the neighborhood good things will happen.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Noahs first trip to Cross Lutheran

For the first time I traveled to Walnut Way in order to get in touch with and learn about the people who live and work there. To do this I toured the neighborhood with resident and community leader pastor Kenneth Wheeler. I meet pastor Wheeler at his Cross Lutheran Church located in the Walnut Way neighborhood. When I first arrived Pastor Wheeler explained how Cross Lutheran Church is one of the many churches in the area and is actually the only Lutheran church. After this he took me down to the lower level of the church where he showed me both a mess hall and a public clinic. The pastor explained to me how every week down in the mess hall they serve a hot meal for people in the community. This is one of the churches regular outreach events and is a great service to the community. Also in the lower level of the church is a local clinic. This clinic employ’s both paid doctors, nurses and many volunteers. The clinic serves over 3,000 people. Then Pastor Wheeler took me on a short tour of the neighborhood. He pointed out several of the local restaurants including Galst Food, Jake’s Deli, and Speed Queen Bar-B-Q. All of these businesses have been fixtures in the community for year. Finally Pastor Wheeler explained how both the Second Harvest Food Bank and the Milwaukee County Transit System building came to be. Years ago homes in the area were cleared to make way for a highway. The highway was never built and these buildings were put in the homes place.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Interview with Pastor Ken Wheeler

The following is an interview Noah and I conducted with Pastor Wheeler of Cross Lutheran Church.

Interview with Marilyn Miller

The two items below are video interviews with Marilyn Miller of the Lutheran Human Relations Association (LHRA).