UA Wesley campus ministry consecrates new home

On the bright, sunny afternoon of April 24, more than 200 people gathered to help consecrate the new Wesley House at the University of Arkansas. It was standing room only, with people lining the second floor balcony of the facility to share in the service below.

The Rev. Emily Burch welcomes attendees of the consecration service for the Wesley House at the University of Arkansas. COURTESY PHOTO

The Rev. Emily Burch welcomes attendees of the consecration service for the Wesley House at the University of Arkansas.
COURTESY PHOTO

As the student praise band led those gathered in worship, the energy and enthusiasm was tangible. The Rev. Emily Burch, U of A Wesley college pastor and director, welcomed and thanked everyone for all that they have done to make the day possible. Brooke Hobbs, U of A sophomore and a Wesley student leader, stood before a sea of faces from as far away as Tulsa, Houston and Memphis, bearing witness to the difference being a part of a Wesley college ministry makes in her life.

Also in attendance were Bishop Gary Mueller and the Rev. Dr. John Robbins, senior pastor of Central UMC Fayetteville, which joined a partnership with the Conference in 2014 to revitalize the ministry and underwrite the Wesley House building project. Robbins reflected on Central’s decision to become the lead church among Conference churches in funding the U of A Wesley ministry: “We didn’t have to do this, but we had to do this,” he said. It was a movement of the Holy Spirit, Robbins believed, that launched the unique partnership between a local congregation and the Conference to write a new chapter in a vital young adult ministry at the U of A.

The Rev. Stephen Coburn, Northwest District superintendent, and Kaylee Smith, Wesley student ministry president, led a litany of consecration, echoing the ministry’s mission statement of helping students “CONNECT, GROW, and BEAR FRUIT in their life in Christ during their college years.”

Elizabeth Murphy, long-time member and current chair of the U of A Wesley Advisory Council, challenged all in attendance to join God’s Kingdom movement at U of A by sharing in the work of the college ministry. She spoke of remaining naming opportunities in the facility, as well as U of A Wesley’s Extra Mile Club, launched at the consecration service.

The day ended as every party should—with cake, punch and talk of great plans for the future. For more photos from the service and other information about U of A Wesley, visit www.uawesley.com.