Submitted by The University of Iowa Wesley Center
The University of Iowa Wesley Center is a welcome place to creatively explore spirituality within an anti-racist, queer-led, intersectional, and justice-seeking community.
Every week at the Wesley Center, students are open to ask deep questions and share their stories as they seek to grow spiritually at an important intersection of their lives.
During a shared meal at the Tuesday Table or through rich conversation at Wednesday Bible Study, they experience the Wesley Center community. It is here that they can learn with one another about subjects such as how to seek justice from leaders like the Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition, from groups who accompanying migrants at the border, or about refugees in their local community.
The Wesley Center values their history of social justice activism and faithful witness, spiritual formation, and community outreach. This history is rooted in Christian and Wesleyan traditions, but all students are welcome from any religious background or spiritual tradition.
The Wesley Center seeks to help students awaken and practice the best of these spiritual traditions and to learn, grow, and deepen. They value realness—real community, real conversation, real questions, real connection, and (of course) real food!
Students from the Wesley Center shared the following.
"I’m a lifelong United Methodist, but when I came to college, I hadn’t been active in my home church for about two years. I was curious about the Wesley Center, however, so I went to a pancake dinner event at the beginning of the fall semester. I’m a lesbian who loves science, finds truth in the teachings of many religions, frequently questions my Christian faith, and doesn’t always take the Bible literally. People like me are not always welcome in the church, but (they) affirmed that I’d be welcome at Wesley. Now, I attend Tuesday Table and Wednesday Bible Study almost every week. I invite all of my friends to come with me. Every student who comes to the Wesley Center, whether they were invited there or simply stumbled in, finds a welcoming place to develop their spirituality and study the teachings of Christ."
"Growing up, I was taught to envision heaven as a place where people sat at rows of long tables with the most delicious food in front of them. The catch being the spoons were too big to feed yourself. However, the spoon was long enough to feed the person across from you. That was heaven, where the way to feed yourself was to first make sure you fed your neighbor. I think this example best describes the Wesley Center and the core mission it strives to achieve, and not just because a lot of the programming involves delicious food."
"When I first walked into the Wesley Center, I was not sure what I was in for, I just knew I was looking to be spiritually fed, some desire/need inside of me that was not being met. I found that and much more. The beauty of being in a community is that when I was fed, the intrinsic response is that I was also able to help someone else get what they were looking for. My time at the Wesley Center was made up of wonderful individuals who each brought their own amazing skills or talents to the table. Many not knowing what they were bringing or that they were bringing something that someone else would be needing. Friendships and connections developed organically and a true family was built around seeking hard truths and opening ourselves up to each other and the wider world around us."
"The Wesley Center does amazing work. There is an unwavering commitment to building a community of students who are passionate, caring, generous, and firmly rooted in a sense of self that brings peace. I know that not only my college experience but also who I am since leaving, has been forever changed by time at the Wesley Center. There will be many students yet to come who deserve the same chance to seek and find just like I did."