Why Wesley?: Ashlynn Stillwell

My name is Ashlynn Stillwell and my family and I have been members here at Wesley for 4 years. When Pastor Miriam asked me to speak for a bit about “Why Wesley?”, I thought about when we moved to Champaign 4 years ago. We were shopping for a church and we visited Wesley. At the end of the service, as we do every Sunday, was coffee hour. My husband and I are pretty hardcore introverts, so the idea of talking to strangers for a whole hour seemed awful. So we left after the service. And John Gutzmer followed us out the front door, introduced himself, and invited us back the next week. So we did.

As I thought about “Why Wesley?”, the one word I would use is people. These are my people.

My people are noisy children who run or skip down the aisle for Children’s Moment. And my people are grandpas with a seemingly endless supply of Tic Tacs for said noisy children.

My people are beautiful voices in the choir. And my people are those in back, trying to find the pitch and the beat.

My people are tired, weary, stressed students. And my people are tired, weary, stressed professors.

My people come from different parts of the world, are different races, genders, and sexual persuasions.

But we’re all struggling, wrestling with the Holy Spirit and doing the work of the Lord, through social action ministry, work for the environment, and through the Wesley Food Pantry fighting hunger.

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.

These are my people.

Why Wesley? The people.