Celebrating Diversity: Welcoming Karen Buddhists to South Milwaukee

Yesterday, I posted about Zion Lutheran moving its worship services from its previous home at 9th and Michigan to its campus on South Chicago Avenue. The new owners of the church — the Karen Buddhist Associate of Wisconsin Inc. — will only add to our city’s growing religious diversity, and that makes us stronger as a city.

The KBAW temple first hosted worshipers several weeks ago at their Sticky Rice Festival and are now meeting their regularly. It is their first official home after meeting for years in various rental spaces in and around Milwaukee.

I am proud to welcome them to South Milwaukee, and excited to learn more about their culture and the Buddhist religion.

I met with church leaders, families and others recently, and left thankful they have chosen our community, and excited to see them become part of our city. They have pledged to open their doors to those who want to learn more about them and their beliefs.

Many of the church members are recent immigrants fleeing war from Burma, and Myanmar, into Thailand. In that way, it’s a similar story to the Karen Chin Baptist Church at the former St. Mary’s in South Milwaukee.

Learn more about the Karen people here, and Buddhism here.

As we welcome the new temple, I reflect once again on the second generation reuses of our city’s churches. Besides St. Mary’s and Zion now hosting the Karen people, the former St. Mary’s campus is also being used as a funeral home, senior living facility and sports/pop culture memorabilia business. The former St. Adalbert’s Church is now the Masjid Al-Huda mosque and Guidance Academy. And the Muza Church.

I will always embrace that change, for a more promising future, together.

1 Comment

Filed under South Milwaukee

One response to “Celebrating Diversity: Welcoming Karen Buddhists to South Milwaukee

  1. Marlene Ott

    Wonderful post, Mayor Brooks! The great melting pot of South Milwaukee has welcomed immigrants in the past is opening its doors again. Your open heart and supportive hand will make it so much easier for them to become a part of the SM community. Will their children also be attending our schools down the road or are they already settled into housing elsewhere? It would be a great experience for both them and for our own kids to share experiences and traditions. Thanks for your leadership. SM is blessed to have you.

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