John Manke is an active former Bay View resident who is involved in numerous neighborhood organizations, including the Bay View Historical Society, the Humboldt Park Fourth of July Association and the Shore Shore Farmers Market. He believes Bay View has a fine tradition in its past that we do not want to lose in the future.
The year is 1930, and a few Bay View men are organizing a Lutheran congregation at the Odd Fellows Hall, a three story building the lodge shared with their sisters, the Rebekahs. The address as South Kinnickinnic and East Potter avenues. Less than ayear later, these Lutherans bought a little white house at 3103 South Herman Street and remodeled it into a chapel.
The Unity congregation was on its way. Now, the Lannon stone building at 1025 East Oklahoma Avenue houses not only two worship services but an every-Wednesday soup kitchen and the Open Door Clinic that same evening.
The clinic doors open at 5:30 p.m. Any person with a limited income can receive service from health professionals.
Last year a total of 331 people were served at the clinic. Georgia Seis, pastoral care chaplain at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, is the co-ordinator. The staff includes two health professionals-physicians or nurse practicioners.
Twelve faith groups in the Milwaukee area, ranging from the Islamic Society to four Roman Catholic, provide a sounding board for the Open Door Clinic and conduct ecumenical services at a variety of Milwaukee locations.
And here is where the Rebekahs come into the picture again. On May 5, Caroline Dalga rd, presiding officer of the Crystal Rebekahs, presented the clinic with a check for $250.00. The money is designated for a digital thermometer and disposable therometers. The Crystals are one of six lodges in Wisconsin to receive money gifts from the national group.
The Crystals no longer meet in Bay View. They hold their gatherings at Underwood Baptist Church in Wauwatosa, but they are proud to have helped Unity get its start those 79 years ago on Kinnickinnic Avenue !
This story is written by Mary Becker, a retired columnist for CNI Newspapers, South Shore editions.