Social Action

Central to Wesley’s mission is our commitment to service and social action. There are a number of ways you can make a difference with Wesley, with the Social Action Ministry serving as a hub for our social justice activities. Read on to learn more!

Social Action Ministry

Our Vision and Mission: The Social Action Ministry is committed to publicly witnessing, advocating, and providing opportunities to act, encouraging Wesley to prophetically bring God’s vision to reality.

Our Roots: We find inspiration in the United Methodist Social Creed and Litany and Social Principles. Several years ago Missions Committee and Social Action Committee merged to form a super group under the ethos “mission in action and action in mission.” Today Social Action Ministry supports mission activities at Wesley as well as in the local community, nation, and world through apportionment of our budget.

A group of people stand outside in walking gear

Social Action Ministry members and others gather for CROP Walk 2014.

Our Legacy: Wesley has a rich history of promoting hunger action (see below), peace and justice activities, fair trade, and environmental consciousness that we intend to uphold with events that we organize and participate in year after year including CROP Walk, Peace with Justice Sunday, and an alternative holiday market.

Our Focus: Additionally, each year we choose a few topics to focus on that we believe to be particularly relevant in this time and place. For academic year 2014-2015 our focus was on Poverty—which relates to hunger, homelessness, education access, crime, undocumented immigration, and disenfranchisement—and Contemporary Issues Facing The United Methodist Church—which include marriage equality, violence, and marginalization of populations. Stay tuned for more details about our 2015-2016 themes. Interested in joining the Social Action Ministry team? Contact Allie Jones at aljones4@illinois.edu.

Movies with Meaning

The Wesley Student Center and Wesley Social Action Ministry are teaming up to sponsor “Movies with Meaning,” a film and discussion series focused on important social justice issues. This semester’s Movies with Meaning events will be based on Thursdays in Black and focus on the issue of violence against women.

Green Team

Wesley’s Green Team is a group of church members and Wesley Student Center students interested in questions of sustainability and environmental justice. The Green Team seeks to promote awareness of environmental issues and it works to make Wesley’s facilities more environmentally friendly. We meet on a monthly basis  to discuss current and future project initiatives. We are always looking for new members to advance our goals, and you do not have to be a member of our church to help. If you would like to get involved, please email Joe Hooker at jhooker1514@gmail.com. Click here to check out the Wesley Green Team on Facebook. And stay tuned for the Green Team Tip of the Week!

Fighting Hunger

Champaign County has the third-highest poverty rate in Illinois, and 16.5% of its residents experience food insecurity each month. Wesley is working to change that, with several organizations dedicated to fighting hunger: Wesley Pantry, which runs two food pantries each month, and Illini Fighting Hunger, a student-run food repackaging organizations. For more information about fighting hunger at Wesley, click here. 

three people standing in front of a house being built on a mission trip

A house being built as part of a Wesley mission trip to Jonestown, Mississippi.

Mission Opportunities

There is incredible interest in expanding missions at Wesley. It’s a way to enact our faith and engage people outside of the current Wesley family, while at the same time building long-term, meaningful relationships within our local, national, and international communities. The goal is to make an extended (10+ year) commitment to missions at each of these levels. We hope to address the issues they face holistically in a self-sustainable manner, rather than with a band-aid approach that fails to address the cause of the wound and requires continual re-dressing.

Progress has been made on this front and new partnerships are being formed:

  • Locally we partner with Cunningham Children’s Home for a conversation partner program. This will involve engaging the young residents in one-on-one conversations on topics that will help them develop core values that will guide them throughout their lives. Conversations will take place on nine Sundays in February and March, 2015, from 4pm to 5pm. Training will be on Sunday, January 25, 2015, from 3pm to 5pm. Sign up soon! For more information or to sign up, contact Chaplain Gay King Crede at gkingcrede@cunninghamhome.org or 217-337-9063..
  • Nationally we plan to build on the already wonderful relationship and ministry that members John and Ann Spurgeon have with Jonestown, Mississippi. For several years they have led trips to the Mississippi Delta region to work with Habitat for Humanity. Jonestown is rich with American culture and history but rife with systemic poverty. Interested? Contact John Spurgeon.

Accessibility

At Wesley we are blessed to have persons with varying physical and mental abilities involved at numerous levels of our ministry. This also includes impairments that may not be visible, such as dyslexia or depression, and those of a temporary nature (such as injuries caused by accidents). We strive to create an environment that is fully inclusive of all persons and even have a separate Inclusiveness committee dedicated to that endeavor. Wesley has embraced the social model of disability, identifying ‘disabling barriers’ rather than an individual’s impairment as the issue to be addressed.