A photo of Outreach for Hope's new Executive Director, Rev. Chris Manke.

The Board of Directors of Outreach for Hope, a partner ministry of the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the ELCA, has chosen the Rev. Chris Manke to serve as Executive Director. Manke has served as pastor at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Wauwatosa for over 24 years and will begin his role on August 1, 2020.

“I am humbled to accept the call to serve as Executive Director of Outreach for Hope, engaging in their mission to be a resource for transformation in our synod,” said Manke. “I have had the opportunity to witness the many and impactful ways that Outreach for Hope accompanies ministries who walk with communities experiencing poverty.”

He added, “During the current COVID-19 pandemic and period of awakening following the brutal police killing of George Floyd, this mission is more important than ever.”

Over the past 25 years, Outreach for Hope has granted more than $4.4 million to ministries serving low-income communities in southeast Wisconsin. Grants are funded by donations from generous individuals, organizations, and congregations.

Recently, Outreach for Hope initiated the COVID-19 Stimulus Check Appeal, which to date has raised nearly $78,000 for programs directly serving those most affected by the pandemic.

“I look forward to partnering with Chris and with all those who care deeply about the work of the Church and the witness of the Gospel as we engage in the many challenges of the coming years,” said Greater Milwaukee Synod Bishop Paul Erickson. “We still have a lot of work to do to dismantle the systems and beliefs and behaviors that have perpetuated the injustices of our church and society, and I’m grateful that Chris has answered the call to join in this work.”

“This is an important time for Outreach for Hope and our mission,” said Cynthia Halverson, president of the board. “I have great confidence that Chris will step into this role and help us build on a strong history of resourcing impact in our urban ministry settings while also leading us in new ways for a new time.”

Manke’s hiring follows the interim leadership of Michael Groh, an Outreach for Hope board member who assumed the role in 2019.

For more information, contact Bishop Paul Erickson at 414-671-1212.