Beginning this fall, the first residents are all settled into the new and improved Wesley House on TJC’s campus.
“We came up with a plan where Wesley Methodist wanted to have its own living, learning community and they were willing to put in the money to fix it up,” said Dr. Metke, president of TJC. “The dorm that they are leasing from us is a very old dorm that our Physical Plant wanted to tear down.”
With the desire to have more space to expand their fellowship, the Wesley Foundation took this opportunity to make things happen.
Like many other campus ministries, the Wesley Foundation has provided lunch, Bible study and worship services for students, but generally wanted to do much more by providing a Christian environment for students to actually live in and having staff members available at any given time.
“Somehow we got into a conversation with Dr. Metke and I think maybe we just said to him like ‘hey we want to stay on campus and continue to serve the students here at TJC, but we really would like to move locations,’” said Sunny Farley, director and reverend of the Wesley Foundation.
TJC and the Wesley Foundation were able to exchange buildings and with “sweat equity” volunteers succeeded with making the many renovations that needed to be done before opening in August.
Wesley House has made multiple renovations to the building including a brand new deck, doors, furniture, floors and wall painting. The new facility also has a kitchen and a grill that students can access when they are checked out to cook meals for one another.
Now, the Wesley House is a home to 40 students. With the help of six staff members, three of them living in the dorm, help is available to the students at any time.
With this new dorm, the Wesley House’s main goal is to be there for students, welcoming them with love and care, supplying a safe and homely feeling. These new changes have impacted the relationships between the students and staff members, allowing them to be more involved in one another’s lives. Students no longer just visit when a program is going on or when an event is taking place, they are immersed in it. The building has actually played a role in keeping the Wesley Foundation and it’s students unified.
A TJC freshman student who considered living in another dorm was satisfied after choosing Wesley House when referred by her pastor.
“Most of the people here believe in the same thing as I do, so it helps me a lot,” said Teresa Welch. “If I ever need to talk to somebody about my faith or my belief or something, I know there’s somebody right here that I can talk to instead of going out and searching for people.”
Wesley House welcomes any students who want to join. Residents are chosen on a first-come-first serve basis; meaning when all rooms are filled, there will be a waiting list.
The Wesley Foundation still interacts with the TJC campus itself by hosting events and activities such as Flash Mob Missions, Baxter Bash, face painting and community service for any students wishing to participate. Worship services are now held outside on the lawn where many students can easily stop by known as “Tuesdays on the Turf” at 6 p.m.
With this building, Wesley would like to continue to provide emotional and physical support, so students can be more involved and further their education.
“I guess we’ll see where God leads us,” said Farley. “We’ve faithfully tried to follow what God has directed us to do, which is this exact thing.”