closeup of a stone carving on Wesley's building reading "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart"

We are asking our members to share one word that captures their experience at Wesley and explain what it means to them. Here is what they are saying:

emily and scott lux pose with their baby noah
Emily and Scott Lux, with their child Noah, at his baptism.

The church here changes lives by changing itself to meet the needs of the community. I am incredibly thankful for its impact on my life, and am happy that I can be a part of that impact on others who come through here.”
-Kevin Anderson (read more here)

We are called to act with justice, we are called to love tenderly, to serve one another, and to walk humbly with God. To wrap it all up, I challenge all of us to remember our roots, to think of how we can be an ordinary radicals, to embody Wesley in our daily lives, so that Wesley contributes to the radical transformation of the world.
-Ave Rivera (read more here)

This is particularly noticeable with how the pastors and members are very open to the idea of having struggles with our relationship with God. Like wrestling, and real ups and downs, similar to what we may have in relationships with close friends and family. Struggles for many like what it really means to forgive and how difficult it may be, or even not giving as much with our time and money as we could.
-Scott Lux (read more here)

When I describe Wesley to others, I often talk about what Wesley is. It’s the big church with the spire at Green and Goodwin, and most people know what I’m taking about. But the church is not the building, it’s the people.
-Ashlynn Stillwell (read more here)

“Last year Pastor Miriam talked about ‘Just Show Up’ in the first sermon in the “Worship Practices” series in the sense that you don’t always feel divinely inspired to do something. Sometimes you just keep trying even when you don’t feel the spiritual connection. That spoke to me and where I often find myself and where I was when I first came back to Wesley.”
-Jeff Decker (read more here)

“Each of us defines our own possibilities, individually and collectively, at Wesley we move those possibilities toward reality.”
-Herb & Yvette Whiteley (read more here)

“At Wesley, I don’t have to hide my insecurities. Here I find peace. I can ask for help, ask for prayers, ask for forgiveness.”
-Emily Lux (read more here)

“‘Why Wesley?’ my answer is, ‘because it feels like home.’ For me, home is a place where you should feel welcomed, loved, and supported. Home is a little community you share with people you couldn’t imagine your life without.”
-Maggie Thomas (read more here)

“And because of Wesley, we have hope that no matter where our journey leads us next, we can find communities like Wesley that bring us this kind of powerful and transformative hope week to week.”
-Blaze & Caroline Currie (read more here)

“The circle is—
the natural flow of people
through this campus church family
as the years go round and round.”
-Kristen Dean-Grossman (read more here)

No matter who I needed to be on any given day I have walked into Wesley, you have supported me, and helped me to find a way to succeed in being that person.
-Morgan Boes (read more here)

“I am grateful for [our pastors’] willingness to address difficult issues and help us gain understanding, perspective, and guidance within a biblical context. Like the university community in which we live, I am grateful that Wesley challenges our thinking and supports dialogue on issues which may cause discomfort and even disagreement.”
-Sara Kelley (read more here)

“I like the sermons that I hear at Wesley and I keep coming back for more. I learn things that are entirely out of my culture. … My life has become much better since attending church services at Wesley. 
-Weng Chu (read more here)

“The community of faith is what has pulled me toward Wesley over the years. And it is the openness and diversity of community that binds me here. I give thanks for the Wesley community.
-Judith Unger (read more here)

“Once inside I found nothing but friendly faces and kind words from the parishioners and pastoral staff. … I adore the sanctuary that we are in right now and find it to be a beautiful place, but beyond just the building, Wesley has become a haven from the rigors of graduate school.”
-Michael Drummond (read more here)

“I love the fact that Wesley truly welcomes and extends the grace of God to everyone, which includes the LGBT community, for whom I am an advocate. … I find Wesley to be a very welcoming, accepting and loving community, and am proud to call Wesley my church home.”
-Robin Wynne (read more here)

“The friends and family I have found here at Wesley are my safe harbor during a lifetime of near-constant motion. Knowing that you have a safe place to return to is what keeps you grounded, and reminds you that there is a shore on the other side of every ocean.”
-Reshmina William (read more here)

“Wesley, for me, is the place I come to be sent on a quest to live out Christ’s mission, to receive guidance and motivation as I pursue it, and to meet the “party members” who will be traveling with me along the way. As I become more integrated with the community here, I want to become the kind of person who helps to welcome others and aids them in their quests in the same way.”
-Traci Takasugi (read more here)

“I care about Wesley because it’s the first time attending church has felt like a positive choice that I’ve for myself. I choose to be a part of a loving community, and I choose to see myself as a positive presence, beloved by Christ, and working for God’s love and justice.”
-Kerrith Livengood (read more here)

“I come to Wesley because I am inspired by the wonderful, intelligent teachers and mentors I find here. I come to Wesley because the Food Pantry and Illini Fighting Hunger are examples of how faith inspired service can move mountains of food. But mostly, I come to Wesley because it continually renews my faith.”
-Kevin Anderson (read more here)

“It is this genuine appreciation for everyone, to accept everyone for who they are, and what phase of life they are in, that makes it easy for me to say ‘Why Wesley.'”
-Scott Lux (read more here)

“This is a church that’s not afraid to talk about injustices and hurts and abuses—both of people and power— where it sees them, and it’s a church that’s not afraid to back those words up with actions. This is a church that doesn’t deal in abstractions, and that’s something to which I’m honored to be connected.”
-Chris Hedlin (read more here)

“For me, the most important gifts that I have received from Wesley were providing opportunities to serve and to develop as a leader.”
-Diane Jeffers (read more here)

“With Wesley, I am a part of the group of people, young and old, fiery and loud and quiet all at the same time, that wants to do better in this world. It is a loving community, and by some stroke of fortune, it is my community, so that is Why Wesley.”
-Skylar Lipman (read more here)

“In our time with you, we have had many lively and enriching discussions. Our kids tag along to Sunday services and other events. Though there aren’t many kids their ages, they are welcomed and loved, and people find ways to include them and make them feel special.”
-Ryan & Linda Larsen (read more here)

“Wesley honors the pilgrim part in each of us. We arrive here from different nations, communities, languages, families, and vocations. We come with unique gifts and talents and aspirations. We bring our joys and sorrows, questions and doubts, successes and failures. When Wesley is at its best, we honor and accept all pilgrims here.”
-Bob Rauschenberger (read more here)

“I’ve learned more of what’s going on in our world at Wesley, and what our job as Christians can be. Wesley has challenged me think more critically and that we can do more and say more for people who might not have such privilege. For this awareness and clearer understanding, I am thankful for Wesley.”
-Grace Crowcroft (read more here)

“Because of the opportunities provided by Wesley to practice being a Christian and to think-out-loud with peers to better develop my personal sense of God and faith, I will continue to be an active member of the body of Christ.”
-Olivia Harris (read more here)

“It’s a great feeling, as if you’re living in your sweet spot, to use the gifts you have impact the communities you’re a part of. Talk about a sense of belonging.”
-Allie Jones (read more here)

“Wesley has been and is a place where I am figuring out where I fit as a Christian adult. I’ve attended bible studies and events like ‘Doubt Night,’ events and places where I can ask my tough questions and express frustrations with my faith.”
-Erica Eis (read more here)