After 16 years, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will return to the Midwest city of Milwaukee Wisconsin for the 15th Churchwide Assembly.
“Milwaukee” comes from an Algonquian word meaning “good," “beautiful," “pleasant land” or (appropriately for the assembly,) “gathering place [by the water]."
Milwaukee and Wisconsin have a rich Lutheran heritage. Part of that heritage is the Lutheran roots in healthcare. The Milwaukee Lutheran Hospital began in 1863 now continues to serve the community as “Aurora Sinai Medical Center and Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center”. The Lutheran Deaconess Motherhouse of Milwaukee provided training for nurses, staffing for the Hospital and other institutions. The Institution of Protestant Deaconesses began in 1849 and the first American born Deaconess, Sister Louisa Marthens, was consecrated by Dr. Passavant in 1850. While, Sister Rose Kroeger, 96 years old, is the last member of the Lutheran Deaconess Motherhouse of Milwaukee, the Lutheran Deaconess Motherhouse Endowment fund continues to fund many projects in Milwaukee. Today, celebrating this rich historic ministry of prophetic diakonia, the Deaconess Community of the ELCA continues to welcome women into community and service.
In addition, the nation’s oldest Lutheran high school is in Milwaukee (Milwaukee Lutheran High School [LCMS]). The state has many other Lutheran churches and schools of different denominations; ELCA affiliated Carthage College is just a short drive south of the city in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Our host synod, the Greater Milwaukee Synod, has its office located a few miles southwest of the Wisconsin Center, where the Churchwide Assembly will be held.
Located in downtown Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Center is surrounded by various dining and recreational attractions, many which are a quick walk or bike ride away. Couldn’t fit your cycle with your luggage? Bublr Bikes has stations all around the city with bike rentals for as low as $3 for a 30-minute trip.
The city and surrounding areas had a major influx of European immigrants during the mid-1800’s to early 1900’s, with many of those influences still seen today. The city is known for a wide variety of festivals throughout the year, such as Summerfest, Bastille Days, Festa Italiana, Oktoberfest, and African, Arab, Irish, Mexican, and Native American festivals throughout August and September. In the 1920’s, there was even some mob influences, as famed Chicago mobster Al Capone owned a house in a suburb of Milwaukee. (For a dining experience that mimics the farce of spies and espionage, why not try downtown Milwaukee’s location of The Safehouse? If you don’t know the password, don’t worry…you’ll just need to prove you’re a friendly spy.)
Along with the many historical buildings, Milwaukee boasts a few of the nation’s major breweries, as well as some more popular local ones. Schlitz, Blatz, Pabst, and Miller all called Milwaukee home, though Miller is the only major brewery that remained. Regionally, New Glarus, Leinenkugel, and Sprecher all remain popular around the area. It also was the home to the fictitious Shotz brewery on the television show Laverne and Shirley, a spin-off of the also popular show Happy Days. (On a cool day, why not go to the Milwaukee Riverwalk and visit the “Bronze Fonz” statue? “Eyy!”)
In 2006, Milwaukee was named one of the “Dozen Distinctive Destinations” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.” With a variety of theaters, museums, architecture and various cultural influences, it’s no surprise. We are excited to return to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2019, and hope you will be as well. For more information on the city, please go to https://www.visitmilwaukee.org.