A Historical Timeline of Cross and the Community, continued
In 1963, after 95 years of service, Cross Lutheran Day School was forced to close for financial reasons. From 1963-1982, the building was used as a day care.
In 1984, the school building was sold to Shalom High School, a privately funded alternative school.
In spite of land being purchased for the church on the north west side of Milwaukee, Pastor H. H. Schauland resisted the idea of moving out of Milwaukee’s central city. At his urging, the congregation remained rooted in Milwaukee. The land was eventually sold and is now the home of Luther Manor.
In 1967, riots broke out over issues of de facto segregation in schools and housing as well as police relations, resulting in the shooting death of one man and the destruction of many of the businesses on 3rd Street. The city was under martial law for ten days.
Just two weeks later, Pastor Joe Ellwanger arrived from Birmingham and found racism just as strong here as it was in the South.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the Black Panthers asked Cross Lutheran to host their breakfast program. The Board of Elders were concerned about indoctrination that could result, and instead formed the Central Cities Citizens for a School Breakfast Program. This program eventually became what is now the Hunger Task Force, an independent non-profit.
In the early 1980s, Cross created a food pantry that began to address growing community needs, later expanding to address spiritual needs, lack of jobs, substance abuse and more. This grew into the current Bread of Healing Empowerment Ministry.
As the level of crime increased and the number of ex-offenders grew, Project RETURN was started in 1981 to address the gaps in service helping ex-offenders transition back into society.
In 1983, Cross voted to become a Sanctuary church, standing up to the government when the laws passed conflicted with our Christian duty to love and help our neighbors and those in need.
1989 saw Cross join with 7 other churchs to form MICAH, Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope. To this day, MICAH works tirelessly to address the issues facing Milwaukee’s central city community.
Cross’ first LGBT wedding was held on Saturday, September 18, 1993, with the marriage of Joseph Rogan and David Nordstrom.
In 1984, the Adult Center began, a place for older adults to come together and remain socially active.
In 1995, Cross’ electrical system caught fire, engulfing the entire church in flames. The church was rebuilt, using existing walls and the steel roof beams, which were strengthened by flames.