Winter 2019 Newsletter

The Winter 2019 Newsletter is out! In it, you can read about the importance of our Dinner Fellowships, an update on the Alumni House Renovation, and the challenges of relapse. You can read more here

Fall 2019 Newsletter

The 2019 Fall Newsletter is out! Inside you can read all about a new scholarship, recent graduates, and our Annual BBQ Cookout! Click here to read it!

Summer 2019 Newsletter

Spring 2019 Newsletter

The Spring 2019 Newsletter is available! In it, you can read about Executive Director Ellen Blathers’ recognition by the Milwaukee Times by being awarded the Black Excellence Award. Read more here.

2019 Celebration of Recovery

Serenity Inn opened its door to residents on Easter Monday, April 12th, 2004, a fitting beginning for addicted men looking for a new life just after the Christian observance of Christ’s resurrection! On that April day, the staff began following the mission of the organization as it does today, 15 years later: To provide structured housing and rehabilitative services in an environment of support and accountability that will give addicted men the opportunity to rebuild their lives.

May 9th marks the 9th Annual Celebration of Recovery. Please consider joining us at the Italian Community Center to help us celebrate. Highlights of the evening include messages from a resident and a graduate (designated the Alumnus of the Year), a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle, a great meal from the Bartolotta kitchen, and special recognition of Fox Point Lutheran Church as Community Partner of the Year! Mike Strehlow of Channel 58 will again be the Master of Ceremonies.

What can you do?

➢ ATTEND on Thursday, May 9th. The cost is $85 per person. For a $2500 donation, you become part of the HOST COMMITTEE and host a table for 8. For a $5,000 donation, you become an EVENT SPONSOR and host 2 tables. Invitations will be mailed in early March.



For more information, to request an invitation, or to make a silent auction donation, contact Lorraine Buehler at, 414-964-8933.

Winter 2018 Newsletter

The Winter 2018 Newsletter is out and can be found here. In it, you can read about remarkable year we’ve had eight graduations in 2018.

Fall 2018 Newsletter

The Fall 2018 Newsletter is out and can be found here: Fall 2018 Newsletter. In it you’ll find out about a new way to donate to Serenity Inns as well as information about the Serenity Inns’ Annual Cookout!

Summer 2018 Newsletter

The Summer 2018 Newsletter is out and can be found here: Summer 2018 Newsletter. In it you can find highlights from the 8th Annual Celebration of Recovery, information on the Good Samaritan Campaign, and the latest edition of “Where are they now?” .

Tribute to Joy True Harshberger

Joy True Harshberger passed from this life on April 22, 2018.  Joy was a member of the team that imagined Serenity Inn into existence and served as its first Executive Director.  Pr. Rick Deines wrote this tribute to Joy shortly after she passed.


On a June evening in 2001, I gave Joy a ride home from the airport.  Five of us had just returned from several days of experiencing Samaritan Inns in Washington, D.C.  Joy had worked along with me for a few years in the Milwaukee Lutheran Coalition, the ELCA and Greater Milwaukee Synod’s ‘urban ministry strategy.’  That group planted the seed that became ‘Serenity Inns.’  As we rode toward her home, I asked her about how she thought a Samaritan Inn approach would work in Milwaukee. She immediately and ‘joy’-fully said, ‘Of course. Do you think we can get support?’  I said, ‘Yes, if you would accept being the Executive Director?’ After she took a couple of deep breaths, she bubbled  ‘yes, of course.’ That ‘Yes’ became the heart of SI’s mission. 

When folks ask how does a dream like Serenity get actualized, I point to that ‘Joy’ moment.  When she said ‘yes,’ I knew Serenity was going to happen, someway, somehow.  The internal life of the early years (2000-2010) was always a commitment bolstered by ‘hand to mouth’ sustenance.  Joy’s work with Ron Jones at The Siebert Lutheran Foundation, her staffing beginning with Ellen Blathers and her faithfully establishing the core program of Samaritan Inns as the Serenity approach are a few ways she made it work.

Along with Ellen, Joy owned on a daily basis the nitty-gritty, thankless details that come with working with men in recovery with few resources.  She and Ellen knew commitment.  That ‘team’ always showed up.  When the life of the program was in doubt, she used her own financial resources to fill SI’s economic gaps that appeared between funding cycles. She was all in, all the time.   Serenity was her vocation, her ‘call from God.’  That I do not want to forget.  That I want you to know because it is a special quality.

We all know the reality of loss.  At the same time we know of the kind of acceptance that is possible when we don’t control things.  We rejoice in lifting up her gifts, recognizing their importance in our ongoing quest to be a loving, caring mission of recovery.  We claim for her, her family, Serenity Inn, and ourselves the Spirit of life that lives on. I trust we will be faithful to that memory and continue her work. 

I conclude with both sadness and a renewed sense of what a compassion centered life-fulfilled can bring to a community.  We continue to be gifted by Joy’s life.

Thank you, Joy, and the peace that passes all human understanding keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus, who you know as your saving presence.

Serenity Inns March 2018 Newsletter

The Spring 2018 Newsletter is out and can be read here:March 2018