Social Action

Service and social action are central to Wesley’s mission. 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 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.

Champaign County Public Defender Stephanie Corum on Peace With Justice Sunday, 2018.

Our Legacy: Wesley has a rich history of promoting hunger action, peace and justice activities, fair trade, and environmental consciousness that we 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: Each year we choose a few topics to focus on that we believe to be particularly relevant in this time and place.Our 2017-2018 theme is Incarceration — which has aftershocks in communities and families, often results in disenfranchisement and homelessness, puts financial and administrative strain on local government units,  and traps some individuals in cycles of recidivism. For academic year 2014-2015 our focus was on Poverty and Contemporary Issues Facing The United Methodist Church. Interested in joining the Social Action Ministry team? Contact Allie Jones at aljones4@illinois.edu.

Movies with Meaning

Periodically, the Wesley Student Center and Wesley Social Action Ministry team up to sponsor “Movies with Meaning,” a film and discussion series focused on important social justice issues.

Green Team

The Wesley Green Team joined Faith in Place members from across Illinois on Advocacy Day in Springfield, April 2018.

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 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. Contact Charles Evans at charles.eleanor@sbcglobal.net if you’re interested. Connect with the team on Facebook. If you’d like to see what the Green Team is up to, subscribe to the quarterly newsletter.

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. 

Mission Opportunities

Working on a Habitat home during the 2018 Mission trip.

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. For more information or to sign up, contact Chaplain Gay King Crede at gkingcrede@cunninghamhome.org or 217-337-9063.
  • Nationally we are building on the 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? Read about the 2019 trip here. 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 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.