Why Wesley?: Chris Hedlin

Good morning! I’m Chris. I’m here to do this week’s “Why Wesley” talk. When Pastor Miriam asked me to do this, I was so pleased and honored. Since I had only started attending Wesley this past fall semester, it almost didn’t seem right that I’d get to share what I was thinking!

But, of course, as some of you long-time regulars know and I’m having the joy of discovering, that’s “Why Wesley.” That someone like me—who was looking for a church home—could be included in something like this…Well, that’s why I’m here.

The word I’ve chosen to encapsulate this is “connectedness.” Now… I’ve chosen this strategically—using my English grad student skills—for its double meaning, which lets me speak to two aspects of Wesley that are really important to me.

First, Wesley gives me a feeling of connectedness to others. The warmth and inclusivity of this church amazes me. I joined the grad study reading group basically after my first week here, and I somehow already felt like I belonged there. In this group, I’ve nuanced my faith, but I’ve also found true friends, who have enlivened my whole experience on this campus. They are just the first among a whole slew of people—certainly Pastors Julie, Miriam, and Dan among them—who have actively reached out to me and made me feel a part of this community.

The second aspect of Wesley that I want to celebrate is its connectedness to the social realities of our time. I’m among those who are disturbed by the inequalities in our community and our nation and, frankly, pretty terrified about what lies ahead in the upcoming years. I’ve only been here for several months, but I’ve seen already that 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.