Hephatha Lutheran Church, located on 18th and Locust St. in Milwaukee, is a neighborhood congregation, which focuses intensely on the several block radius of the church. The church works closely with two community partners: the Dominican Center and Hopkins Lloyd Community School. Outreach ministries serve to blur the line that exists between "church" and "community" to create "church community" and or "community church."
Primary Focus: Neighborhood outreach, Baby Sanctuary, Youth Development, Assisting Sex-trafficked Women
Lutheran Affiliation: ELCA
Note: The following video was created by Outreach for Hope to support ministries of congregations located in low-income central city areas of the Greater Milwaukee Synod, ELCA.
Operating Budget: $228,350
Hephatha Lutheran Church is the lead faith partner in the Benedict Center’s Sisters North collaborative. Hephatha developed an “outpost” site for the Sisters North Drop-In Center, where congregational leaders made 321 outreach contacts with women being sex-trafficked in 2019.
The Strong Baby Sanctuary has sites at the church and Hopkins School and includes weekly parent meetings and direct assistance. It has now been merged with the Coalition On Lead Emergency, which provides lead education and distribution of lead filtering pitchers. Hephatha is also a partner in the Birthing Moms Proposal—a pilot project through the Milwaukee Health Department. The Birthing Moms Proposal requires the Health Department to provide a lead-free kit to each birthing mother (10,000 annually).
Who is Served: Hephatha’s church community is 96% African American and younger than average for Milwaukee Country. The Strong baby Sanctuary and Coalition On Lead Emergency impact those who are at highest risk of lead poisoning. It supports women of child bearing years and their infants, toddlers and children under age 6. The program also serves to reduce the rate of infant mortality, which is disproportionately high among Milwaukee’s African American community.
The Sisters Program serves women involved in the street-based sex trade, which includes women who are sex trafficked. Approximately 50% of women served are either “literally homeless” or “precariously housed” per the definition used by the TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) program.
Location: 1720 W. Locust Street, Milwaukee, WI 53206