My word for Wesley is “Transformation.”
Since I first came here as a freshman in 2010, I have witnessed how Wesley is place that is constantly in motion. Over my seven years here, this congregation of people has grown and adapted to better support each other and the community around us. The people here are engaged, caring souls who take their faith and constantly look for ways help their neighbors.
For example, in the time I’ve been here, Illini Fighting Hunger has become one of the largest service organizations on campus, packaging over 2 million meals. The Wesley Food Pantry has also expanded, opening a pantry at Parkland College and adding service here at the church to better reach those in need. The international community here has grown with the addition of a Chinese ministry and ESL classes to welcome the newest members of our community. And the church continues to offer many studies on topics from poverty to climate change to mass incarceration, focusing on the biggest systemic challenges requiring our response as Christians.
I myself have gone through many changes since I first arrived on campus as a freshman. In my undergraduate career, I went from an attendee of the church to a Peer Minister, helping to lead the student foundation. Since then, I have gone from a student who was financially supported by the church as a PM, to today where I am able to give back to the church. And as many of you know, I also met my wife here in this church. The Wesley Foundation has been there with me during these past years, and is still a part of my ongoing transformation.
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.
(I’m thankful for the community here who has helped me along the way, and I love being a part of that community for others.)