Create community by member organizations acting individually and acting with each other to generate power and influence to positively impact the Racine area.

Build a multi-ethnic, multi-racial interfaith coalition of congregations to celebrate diversity, to educate, to advocate for, and to empower people to address social concerns of the Racine community, east of the Interstate, particularly low and mod erate-income people.

Promote and be guided by common values, diverse cultures and varied spiritual traditions of the member congregations under democratic principles.

Work for justice, equal access to resources, the relief of poverty, and the promotion of the general health and well-being of the Racine citizenry through dialogue, education and actions.

Stimulate new and different efforts to improve our community through dialogue with public and private entities and officials.

Support and strengthen member congregations.


What is RIC?

The Racine Interfaith Coalition is an organization of congregations committed to promoting social justice through training and empowerment of people of faith. RIC was organized in 1994.

What does RIC do?

RIC works to change public and private policies and practices to bring about justice and fairness. This work is done through relationship building, power analysis, and identification of how the changes RIC wants to make can also meet the self interests of partners in change. Issue forums, prayer vigils, rallies, and an annual public meeting are the most visible work of RIC.

How is RIC organized?

Each member congregation has a representative on the RIC Board of Directors which meets monthly. Core Teams within the congregations communicate to the Board of Directors through representatives and to the faith community. The Core Teams provide a base of people for campaign work and help Leaders' recruit and develop issue campaigns. Issue task forces are made up of congregation members and interested allies in the community and focus on change in a specific area of concern, such as neighborhood violence, education and alternatives to incarceration. All religious Leaders' of the RIC member congregations are members of the Ministry Leaders'' Caucus which meets monthly.

What is a RIC Core Team?

As a faith-based community organization, the Racine Interfaith Coalition is grass-roots in its structure. This means that RIC's activities, actions, and issues grow out of the interests and concerns of its member faith communities (congregations). Without these roots, RIC has neither life nor power.
Each of RIC's member congregations forms a "core team" of its own members to function as a strong connecting link between its particular congregation and the RIC Board of Directors. Each team develops community organizing skills to carry forward the congregation's mission and the work of RIC. The core team informs its church about the activities of RIC and enlists its congregation in the campaigns and goals of RIC. A member of the Core Team serves as a representative to the RIC Board of Directors.
Core Teams are organized groups of people within a faith community that provide a crucial link between that faith community and the activities of RIC. Members of a Core Team are involved in a spiritual journey that searches for ways to make their faith active in the quest for fairness and justice. Core Teams are asked to think about social, political, and economic problems and then do something about them.

Building Effective Core Teams
  • Core teams require a chairperson (or captain) and a secretary who records minutes.
  • Strong Core Teams have six to twelve members and may or may not include the pastor of the congregation. Core teams not only require leadership, but they are also excellent ways of developing and training new leaders.
  • One member of the Core Team represents the congregation on the RIC Board of Directors. This is usually, but not always, the chair of the team.
  • Meetings should be at a regular time and place.
  • For effective committee work, each meeting should involve a prepared agenda.
  • The Core Team chair or captain should have regular meetings with the pastor if the pastor is not a regular member of the team. This connection is crucial to keep pastoral support active and available.
  • Core Teams keep in touch with members of their congregations in order to:
    1. Keep informed about concerns of the congregation.
    2. Keep informed about Core Team and RIC activities.
    3. Enlist the aid of congregational members for Core Team and RIC tasks.
    4. Work for turnout at RIC Public Meetings, vigils, and actions.
    5. Enlist people in week-long training and other training opportunities.


Key Terms
RIC: Racine Interfaith Coalition. Organized in 1993, RIC's purpose is to educate and empower people of faith in order to promote social justice and address community concerns.

GAMALIEL: The Gamaliel Foundation is an international organizing institute established to train leaders for the difficult task of building effective congregation-based, community-building organizations. RIC grew out of the work of this foundation.

WISDOM: An umbrella organization that coordinates state and national issues with RIC and its sister groups: AMOS (LaCrosse), CUSH (Kenosha), ESTHER (Fox Valley), JOB (Beloit), JONAH (Eau Claire), JOSHUA (Green Bay), MICAH (Milwaukee), NAOMI (Wausau), and SOPHIA (Waukesha).

Board of Directors: A Board made up of representatives and alternates from all RIC member churches and faith communities. This board controls and directs all of RIC's activities and actions.

Issues or Campaigns: RIC aims at changing certain public or private policies and practices in order to bring about justice and fairness. RIC works with public officials and other persons of power to bring about change. RIC's Sacred Ground Campaign, for instance, seeks to rid Racine areas of conditions which blight them and lower the quality of life. The Police Department and the Racine city government are enlisted in these efforts.

Lead Organizer: A person trained in community-based organizing and hired by the RIC Board to direct RIC's activities.

Ministry Caucus: A group composed of clergy and other leaders of member congregations who meet monthly to discuss RIC's activities. For over 11 years RIC clergy have been holding candlelight vigils whenever homicides occur in Racine.

One-On-Ones: Conversations between two persons designed to build relationships and to better understand the concerns and life commitments of various individuals within RIC and throughout the community. "Power One-On-Ones" take place when RIC leaders have direct conversations with persons of power and/or influence in the community in order to express RIC's concerns and to gain their support.

Public Meeting: An annual event designed to celebrate RIC's accomplishments, publicize RIC's goals, and enlist community leaders and organizations in support of those goals. Congregations encourage their members to attend the Public Meetings so that RIC can speak with power to the Racine community.


Grassroots community organizing is based on building relationships, finding areas of common interest, deepening those relationships, then organizing and developing leadership to bring about social justice or change. As relationships deepen and grassroots organizations grow clearer about the issues that face their communities, a platform evolves.

This platform provides a place for the voices of individuals to be heard. This model of congregation-based community organizing is not about "top down" directives. Rather, it is about creating opportunities for people in communities to come together to act on issues that matter to them. WISDOM, like RIC, began from a community-based need.

WISDOM began more than 20 years ago with the development of MICAH (Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope) and has grown to become a statewide umbrella organization that supports the efforts of groups like RIC throughout the state.
WISDOM now has local organizations in ten Wisconsin communities.

  • so far...
  • Milwaukee (MICAH)
  • Kenosha (CUSH)
  • Green Bay (JOSHUA)
  • Waukesha County (SOPHIA)
  • La Crosse (AMOS)
  • Racine County (RIC)
  • Beloit/Janesville (JOB)
  • Fox Valley (ESTHER)
  • Eau Claire (JONAH)
  • Wausau (NAOMI)
  • And growing...

As 10 different organizations wrestle with the best strategies to organize their own communities, there is a great deal of creativity and leadership development that supports continued experimentation and innovation.

WISDOM's growth continues. Currently, a group of congregations from rural and small-town congregations are working to develop a means of including themselves, their people and their concerns in WISDOM. Groups in Manitowoc, Oshkosh and Madison are also looking to form new organizations, or to join with existing ones. In an era when more and more of the very significant decisions that affect our communities are made in state capitals, WISDOM itself is a model of how an organizing effort can grow without severing its own roots to the people.
biblestudyWISDOM, in turn, is a member of the international Gamaliel Foundation. Gamaliel includes organizations like RIC in more than 20 states in the USA, as well as in South Africa and Great Britain.

The work of RIC, WISDOM and the Gamaliel Foundation are all very similar. We seek to discover, train, and organize leaders to build community and to work together for the common good. We stress the building of relationships across the boundaries of race, class and religion to identify issues that reflect our needs and our values.

WISDOM is currently working on several issues that affect people throughout the state of Wisconsin. For example, we work on Treatment Instead of Prison initiatives in every county as well as at the state level. In 2009-10, WISDOM leaders agreed to work together to lift up the need for our state to finally regulate the Predatory Lending industry.

The Gamaliel Foundation has a national effort called the "Civil Rights of Immigrants" campaign, in which RIC is becoming a leader. This effort to educate people about the plight of immigrants and the need to reform our broken immigration system grew out of Wisconsin's experience, as we discovered that other organizations shared our passion for justice in this area. Members of Gamaliel have also come together to work on other issues, such as Transportation and Health Care.

RIC is represented on the WISDOM Board of Directors by several members, and WISDOM is represented at the Gamaliel Foundation Council of Presidents, the Gamaliel National Clergy Caucus, and on several other boards.

The Ministry Leaders' Caucus of the Racine Interfaith Coalition comes together to live out values of trust, passion, wisdom and radical inclusion as a community striving for justice by building power and developing leaders. We claim a visionary role within the Racine Interfaith Coalition as we pray, reflect, act and break bread together.
RIC's Ministry Leaders' Caucus is grounded in elements of :

  • Connecting our passion for justice to how we live and lead
  • Acting publicly together
  • Leading our churches, synagogues and mosques in the work of organizing
  • Sharing a joint spiritual journey, and
  • Enhancing the quality and depth of our diversity
Grounded in faith and connected by intertwined destinies, the relationships we build ally us for hope as we "do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God." (Micah 6:8)
New leaders are welcome to attend our monthly gathering. The Ministry Leaders' Caucus meets for lunch on the 2nd Thursday of each month from 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm. A different congregation hosts the meeting each month. For information on the location of our next luncheon meeting, please call 262-635-9532.

Congregation Religious Leader
Abundant Life (Assoc. Member) Rev. Elliott Cohen
All Nations Pentecostal Prayer House CLG Rev. Roger Carson
Atonement Lutheran Church Rev. Dana O'Brien
Beth Israel Sinai Congregation Rabbi Martyn Adelberg
Christ Church United Methodist Rev. Mark Swanson, Rev. Tsuker Yang
Cristo Rey Rev. Esteban Redolad
Emmanuel Lutheran Church Rev. Susan Smith
Greater Mt. Eagle Baptist Church Rev. Keith Evans
Holy Communion Lutheran Church  
Lutheran Church of the Resurrection Rev. James Barsch
Messiah Lutheran Church (Assoc. Member) Rev. Leland Longrie
New Omega Baptist Church Rev. Fred Richmond
Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church Rev. Dr. Tony Larsen
Racine Islamic Center Iman Wali Luqman, Nabeeh El Amin
Sacred Heart Catholic Church Rev. Ronald Crewe
St. Andrew Lutheran Church Rev. Michael Mueller
St. Patrick Catholic Church Rev. Esteban Redolad
St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church Rev. Lawrence Kirby
St. Richard of Chichester Catholic Church Rev. Ron Gramza
Siena Center S. Ann Pratt

    Executive Board

  • President - Kenneth Lumpkin
  • Vice-President - Tamerin Hayward
  • Secretary - Terence Pearson
  • Treasurer - Deborah McLemore
  • Past Presidents - Nancy Holmlund
  • Member-at-Large - Colin McKenna
  • Organizer - Pastor Michael Mueller
  • Office Manager - Carol Zukewich


  • Ministry Leaders' Caucus - Reverend Liz Simmons, Chair
  • Communications/Marketing
  • Membership/Leadership
  • Finance
  • Fund Development

    Task Forces

  • Sacred Ground - JaneWitt
  • Immigration Committee - Maria Morales
  • Youth Employment for Disadvantaged Youth - Dwayne Olson