Wesley House and Campus Center Project Underway
October 02, 2009
With a resounding thud of the sledge hammers, the Wesley House and Campus Center building project got underway.
On July 1, the Wesley Foundation, a campus ministry of the United Methodist Church, hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for a new student housing development project at the University of California, Berkeley. Members of the community, the campus, and the United Methodist Church gathered to celebrate the start of this new "spiritual community center."
Designed to provide an "intentional living community" for up to 95 students, the Wesley House and Campus Center features eight five-bedroom apartments and a number of common spaces, including a library, a kitchen "to continue the tradition of breaking of bread together," an all-purpose room, a student lounge, and a campus ministry on the ground floor.
"This is not just a building. What we are creating here is an environment - an environment that will help develop a whole person," the Rev. Tarah Trueblood, executive director of the Wesley Foundation, told the celebrants.
The center, committed to helping students grow and develop intellectually and spiritually, will provide opportunities for leadership development and opportunities to reflect and build relationships, as well as the opportunity to integrate what they learn into their own lives.
"The mission of the Wesley Foundation is to create a spiritual community at the University of California, Berkeley of open hearts, open minds, open doors," Trueblood stated.
"This ceremony is a sign of our deep commitment to continue our long Wesleyan history of being a faith community fully engaged in the world through the lives our young people," the Rev. Renae Extrum-Fernandez, Bay View District Superintendent, told the gathering. "We are people who go into the world to open hearts to the power of love, to open minds to the possibilities of peace, and to open doors to the participation of human communities at its best."
The Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Kuan, a professor at the Pacific School of Religion (PSR) and member of the California-Nevada Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, advised the United Methodists to do a better job of "cleaning out the rusty pipeline."
"We are at a tipping point," Kuan said, "a crisis situation, in terms of losing our young adults from most of our churches. College is a formative time in the lives of our young adults - a time when their identities and values are shaped."
"There is no better time or place than now to begin strengthening our campus ministries," he challenged.
To that end, "The Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry (BHECM) is committing and devoting significant energy and resources in its strategic plan for young adults, in general, and to campus ministry in particular," Kuan added.
Thanking everyone for their help, support and guidance, Trueblood concluded, "It has taken a lot of hard work and a lot of miracles … but every time we needed a miracle one was there."
Against a backdrop of clapping and cheering, individuals hoisted sledgehammers in a ceremonial swing to the brick wall surrounding the terrace.
View video here.