By Jessica King
The Wesley Foundation at Tyler Junior College is devoted to helping students find a haven amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to TJC’s Orgsync and tylerwesleyhouse.com, the Wesley Foundation is a campus ministry of the United Methodist Church that offers students opportunities to grow and develop academically, spiritually, morally and socially.
This semester’s goals for the Wesley House are to “expand our presence on campus” and “grow our worship,” according to Rev. Tabitha Rankin, the director and campus minister of the Wesley Foundation and Wesley House at TJC.
The Wesley House is a special mission of the Wesley Foundation to “offer housing for students who want to live in a Christian dorm,” Rankin said. Although it is a Christian environment, the Wesley House invites students who are not self-proclaimed Christians to live in the Wesley House. The Wesley House also offers an RA program in which students are “not just hall monitors,” Rankin said, but are an integral part of the Wesley House community. Administrative assistant and former RA at the Wesley House, Courtney Hall said, being a part of the Wesley Foundation, “helped me because a lot of students here went through the same majors, so believe it or not, we all became, like, a good, close-knit group of friends. Each semester, each year people arrive and get added to the friend group. You would never think that Wesley House would bring you such amazing friends.”
The Wesley Foundation holds a night of worship at 7 p.m. on Thursdays at Fairwood United Methodist Church. All students are welcome, Rankin said, “whether they are Methodist or not.” The Wesley House is still pending approval for these events to be held in person at TJC.
In addition to its worship service, the Wesley Foundation hosts a “Whata Wednesday” Bible study at 6 p.m. at Marvin United Methodist Church. For this Bible study, any student is encouraged to “bring your Bible; grab a burger,” and dive into God’s word, Rankin said.
The Wesley Foundation also offers free lunch to faculty and students from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday, Rankin said. According to TJC’s Orgsync, the lounge in building two of the Wesley House is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for students to have a place to relax, study or have a snack.
TJC student and resident at The Wesley House, Israel Bowen said, being a part of the Wesley Foundation and Wesley House “helped me get out of my comfort zone, too,” because “I was a shy kid, I didn’t like going out, and now I have a lot of friends over here and everybody over here is cool. They’re all real nice; if you need something, they’re going to try their best to get it to you.” Bowen said he would recommend anyone to come to TJC and be a part of the Wesley Foundation and Wesley House.
For more information about the Wesley Foundation and Wesley House or any upcoming events, students can go online to tylerwesleyhouse.com.