|Seeking Justice: SFTS alum honored for church's outreach in Milwaukee
Rev. Karen Hagen and members and friends of Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church in Milwaukee, Wis., were honored on Dec. 8 by the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee for projects and outreach that are making significant contributions to the quality of life in the area.
Hagen received her Master of Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1994 and also earned a Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction in 1996.
Tippecanoe Church has been named the 2011 Rev. Herbert Huebschmann Urban Ministry Award winner. The award highlights Tippecanoe’s ministries of Living Waters Contemplative Life Center and Divine Intervention Cold Weather Ministry to the Homeless. The church’s Food-Justice Ministries includes the Tippecanoe Community Garden and the Native American Wellness Garden, both organic and part of a larger local, sustainable, holistic health ministry.
"We have learned to be faithful in the big things as well as the small things as we moved from a decision model of discernment-action to one of action-discernment,” Hagen said. “We deeply know we have more to lose by not acting, than acting. An adventurous spirit in mission has brought us rich relationships with individuals and communities across a spectrum of human experience and belief. What a joy it is to serve alongside each other.”
Hagen is a key member of Milwaukee’s interfaith community. An enlightened preacher and intergenerational educator, Hagen is also a certified spiritual director, reiki master, interfaith justice activist and ecumenical retreat leader. A member of Spiritual Directors International, Hagen is a practitioner of body, mind and spirit practices from around the world and also is a reflexologist. She serves ecumenically as a church consultant and mentor.
The Living Waters Contemplative Life Center offers outreach to unchurched, dischurched and formerly churched peoples of any and many faith traditions. Its mission is to make spiritual formation opportunities affordable to all people, especially those of modest income and the working poor. It is funded through donations and the generosity of the church’s members and friends. Hagen says participants are grateful that this type of programming is offered by a church, helping to build a foundation of trust leading to new opportunities for faith formation.
The Divine Intervention Cold Weather Ministry works collaboratively with others in the Milwaukee community to provide all night prayer vigils as cold weather intervention to the homeless, including nightly potlucks. In 2010, an average of 14-16 guests participated nightly thanks to assistance from 12 faith communities and over 1,000 volunteers. The program is funded by financial and dry good contributions of the greater Milwaukee Community.
Hagen points out that the Cold Weather Ministry not only serves people in need, but also is a blessing to those who volunteer. One guest said “You know I was coming in here to eat and go to bed. Now, I am coming in here to be with friends.”
The Tippecanoe Community Garden offers an opportunity to learn about and grow organic vegetables, and lower carbon footprint. The church holds wellness and cooking classes, too, in hopes of helping the community learn to eat healthy. The native wellness garden of the Native American medical center helps to bring the wider community together to share wisdom in education and outreach. The church is a designated Food Justice Site for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Hunger Program.
Tippecanoe Church will hold an event in January called “Occupy Your Pantry: Food is Justice.” The event will include a showing of the movie Economics of Happiness and a workshop entitled “Hungry for Change: Food Ethics and Sustainability.”
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