By Cody Spears
The Wesley Foundation is a place for all students at the University of Mississippi. It has been at Ole Miss since around 1940.
Eddie Willis is the minister at the Wesley Foundation. He said it’s changed a lot in his time here.
“In my five years here, the Wesley has grown from around 15 students to anywhere from 80-125 students on a Thursday night,” he said.
Willis explained some of the things he has focused on to help improve the Wesley Foundation.
“I’ve focused on a great deal on the setting in the chapel, outreach events and making our leadership team stronger,” he said.
The Wesley Foundation members participate in many charity events.
Willis said they go on a mission trip every year. They also sponsor Operation Christmas Child at the Wesley building each November.
“Three summers ago, we began ‘Summer Wesley,’ Willis said. “It really helps with our orientation program in June due to students helping with greeting incoming freshman.”
All students are welcome.
“The Wesley is for University of Mississippi students, but from time to time we have regular attendees who live in Oxford, but attend local community colleges,” Willis said.
Chris Jackson is a leader at the Wesley Foundation. This is Chris’s first year at the university. He started coming to the Wesley while enrolled at Northwest Mississippi Community College. The Wesley has helped Chris in more ways than he ever imagined.
“The Wesley has made me a more outgoing person,” he said. “The Wesley has helped me grow in my faith and has made me a stronger Christian.
“The Wesley has taught me a lot of life lessons. I’ve got a lot of just pure knowledge from being around the people at the Wesley.”
Leadership team member Joey Bates told me about how the Wesley has impacted his life.
“Wesley has provided me a home away from home,” he said. “It has given me brothers and sisters, and has allowed me to grow stronger in my faith.”
Joey is a student intern at the Wesley and on the leadership team.
He was referred to the Wesley from his pastor at home, Larry Hillard.
“Through the Wesley, it has allowed me my first job as a pastor,” Joey said. “Everything about who I am can be traced back to the Wesley.”
The Wesley meets on Thursday nights in Paris-Yates Chapel here on campus at 7 p.m.
They also meet on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. for a women’s Bible study.
They also have a men’s Bible study on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. They refer to it as “Man Cave.”
They have a coed Bible study Wednesday mornings at 8 a.m. These events are open to all students here at the university.