2013 Annual Black Excellence Awards Religion Honoree Dr. Kenneth Wheeler

March 15, 2013
Dr. Kenneth Wheeler

Dr. Kenneth Wheeler
Cross Lutheran Church/
Bread of Healing Empowerment Ministry


Dr. Kenneth Wheeler has spent most of his adult life in the church. First entering Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, in 1970, Wheeler graduated with a bachelor’s degree in religion four years later. Kenneth, coupling his passion for the Good Word with his enthusiasm to serve his fellow man, decided to pursue a career as a pastor.

Kenneth earned his doctorate in divinity from Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, OH, in 1982, and would answer calls to the congregations of Fellowship Lutheran Church in Jacksonville, FL and Community Lutheran in Los Angeles, CA. It was in 1986 when Kenneth answered a call that would bring him to Milwaukee, which has been his home since.

After brief service at Hephatha Lutheran Church, Kenneth became the assistant to the Bishop of the Greater Milwaukee Synod, a post held for 18 years. Kenneth was then called to Cross Lutheran Church, where he served as senior pastor.

During Kenneth’s tenure at Cross Lutheran, he became the active leader of several ministries at the church; his greatest involvement was in the Bread of Healing Empowerment Ministry. Bread of Healing focuses on empowering individuals to take control of their own lives and to never lose hope. Its key feature is assisting those in poverty by providing free meals, assistance in finding employment, and providing counseling for those with substance abuse issues. Cross also opened two satellite clinics to expand its free clinic for those without medical insurance.

Kenneth recently retired as the senior pastor at Cross; however he was asked to stay on as the head of Bread of Healing.

Kenneth has been joined on his life of service by his wife of 37 years, the former Cloria Elizabeth Lewis. Cloria is a retired Milwaukee Public School teacher and administrator. Kenneth and Cloria have three sons, Kenneth, Eric, and Harrison; they also have three grandsons.