The Denton Wesley Foundation

December 2017/January 2018 Newsletter

Wesley's Friends Meets a Need in Denton

On a Sunday evening in October, college students from the Denton Wesley Foundation nervously waited in the Daycare Wing of First United Methodist Church - Denton for the arrival of a child for Wesley's Friends, a respite ministry for children with special needs and their siblings. This was the official launch of the program, organized and piloted by passionate Wesley students, who saw a need for a safe space for not only children on the Austism Spectrum but for their siblings to play while their guardians were given an evening to themselves. After advertising at the Kristen Farmer Autism Center, at FUMC, in Denton ISD, and on social media, we had only gotten one reservation.

Thirty minutes later, we had to amend our order for pizza because six beautiful, bright, and lively children had joined us, and each of our students was paired with a new friend to play with throughout the night. One couple whose daughter delighted our volunteers with her intelligence and knowledge of dinosaurs informed us that it was in fact their anniversary, and Wesley's Friends gave them the unexpected ability to go out and celebrate together. Another grateful couple thanked us profusely as they picked up their sweet, well-behaved children, saying that they were used to childcare agencies telling them that their children were too much to handle.

Originally organized by graduating senior Haley Love and currently led by junior Rachael Watson, who works as professional caregiver, Wesley's Friends is not only staffed by students passionate about ending the stigma of Autism and providing a safe space for mutual learning with children on the Spectrum but by students with vast experience and training in special education. Leaders like UNT students Sean Henderson and Emily Spencer have worked for the Autism Center, and Sean and social-work major Ash Milam, a Camp Summit counselor, currently work for Denton ISD. Other regular volunteers like TWU junior Layton Hernandez, UNT freshmen Khalil Anthony and Emily Williams, and TWU freshman Terrell George have ample volunteer experience working with children with different needs.

Wesley's Friends is funded by a generous grant from a member of First United Methodist Church - Denton and is supported through advertising and the use of space by FUMC. Help us spread the word that Wesley's Friends offers a free, fun, safe space for children on the Autism Spectrum - and their siblings - on the third Sunday of every month from 5-8pm. Information can be found on the Denton Wesley Foundation Facebook page, and reservations can be made by emailing Haley Feuerbacher at

Pictured above: Wesley's Friends leader Rachael Watson (right) and Wesley volunteer Chelsea Hamner play with the precious children at Wesley's Friends.

Sharing the Wesley Story and Growing the Wesley Family at the Winter Wonderland Gala

It might not have been snowing, but it was a winter wonderland inside the Denton Wesley Foundation on Saturday, December 2, when supporters of DWF and students alike gathered to celebrate the season and the work that God is doing in this campus ministry at the Wesley Christmas Gala. Guests shopped at a student art show, created sympathy and encouragement cards for Suncreek United Methodist Church's Longest Night Service, snapped photos at the photo booth, enjoyed live Christmas music from the Wesley Band, sipped cocoa from the hot chocolate bar, and dined on a meal prepared by DWF Board Chair Darren Merritt, Campus Minister Haley Feuerbacher, and Wesley students Allison Hebron and Jennifer Pache.

The event raised funds for Wesley programming and daily operations that allow us to continue to train students to use their gifts for ministry. These range from providing budgets for our Thursday-night fellowship activities, free lunch program, weekly worship services, and GPS (Gifts, Passions, and Service) Teams like Intersect, Shiloh Food Pantry, and Wesley's Friends to paying utilities in the Great Hall for our Wesley musicians to practice leading worship. The Wesley is growing - in its reach to the community and in its numbers, and in order to continue to creatively navigate our students to God and to service to our Lord and world, we are looking for community partners who believe in the need to disciple young adults into faithfully and passionately following Christ. These partnerships look like prayer supporters who commit to lifting up the Wesley regularly, one-time and planned financial giving, and volunteers for Thursday lunch prep and service, Shiloh Food Pantry, facilities repairs, transportation help, and Bible study leaders. This year, we are thankful to our Thursday lunch and Shiloh volunteers from Argyle United Methodist Church, organized by Paul and Sue Herring, and look forward to bringing more groups on as volunteers at the Wesley.

In addition to accepting pledges and one-time donations to the Wesley, the Gala raised money through a successful Silent Auction, which boasted a wide array of items such as tickets to dinner theater, sporting events, and area attractions, themed baskets, art and décor, jewelry, and baked goods. We would like to extend our gratitude to all our friends and supporters who donated items to the Silent Auction and to companies like Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, Raising Cane's Chicken, NRH2O Water Park, the Frisco Rough Riders, and Sci-Tech Discovery Center who provided in-kind donations. We are also grateful to Trinity United Methodist Church for providing tables for the event, and our MVP of the Gala was most definitely Amanda Baker, Ministry Administrator of the Denton Wesley Foundation, who planned and organized this wonderful night. We are also deeply appreciative of our students who helped decorate, served dinner, ran the auction, and provided photography and entertainment.

The highlight of the evening was hearing our students share their stories at the Wesley Gala, speaking about particular ministries like Unplugged, Shiloh, and Wesley’s Friends or simply sharing candidly how they feel God has been using them or has led them to the Wesley not only to find acceptance and community but to find faith again or perhaps for the first time. Several attendees of the gala told me that this was their favorite part of the evening and that the resounding message they heard through the various testimonies spoken was that this place – the Wesley – is a home for these students. We will continue to attempt to create just that – a place of unconditional love and grace but also a place where we hold each other to high standards, speak honestly with one another, and challenge one another to grow and to go out from this home to share what has been nurtured here in them with the world.

Pictured above: Board Chair Darren Merritt and his lovely wife await dinner service in the Great Hall.

Check Out More Gala Pictures on Our Facebook Page!

Student Spotlight: Sean Henderson

When asked to be the Student Spotlight for December/January, the always-creative musician and senior English major at UNT Sean Henderson replied with the following verse...:

"I'm Sean Henderson,

musician at the Wesley,

Hablo espanol.

The kind of guy who

would dictate his 'about me'

through verse of haiku

Journeying through a

personal bildungsroman,

Conclusion pending

Cheap wine and hot tubs

Are essential pillars to

how I live my life

Currently priming

my mind for heresy in

a seminary

Studying English,

wondering about questions

that induce passion

Passion that escapes

via creative outlets

as music and words

Passion that includes

hearing a story and

finding truth in its worth

Passion that includes

recognizing an absence

and constructing art

Beneath the surface

is a reflection of the

friends I've made here."

When Sean is not studying, he can be found playing bass at Open Worship at FUMC, in his band around Denton, or at House Worship at the Wesley, extending his compassionate friendship to students at the Wesley, engaging in deep dialogue with good conversation partners, working in Denton ISD, volunteering with Wesley's Friends, running, or apparently writing autobiographical haiku.

Intersect Faith and Social Justice Cohort

Sunday, Jan. 14th 2018 at 7pm

Denton Wesley Foundation, 1501 Maple St., Denton, TX 76201

Are you passionate about the intersection of Christianity and social justice and activism? Join this intergenerational Bible study and action group on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month at 7pm at the Wesley. Co-founded by Open Worship at FUMC-Denton and the Denton Wesley Foundation, Intersect is open to anyone! We gather for contextual Bible study to use Scripture to guide our theologies and action surrounding difficult topics such as immigration, gender issues, policy, and more. This month, we will be organizing a presence at the Denton Women's March and planning a #MeToo event at UNT to push for the protection of Title IX.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Volunteer at the Wesley!

We would love to have you join the Wesley Family! Here are some ways to get involved:

- Join our Prayer Team to commit to praying for our students and concerns

- Help teach our Faith Seeking Understanding Bible Study this spring by joining a rotation of instructors. 1 hour monthly commitment.

- Free Lunch Meal Prep and Service - Cook and serve a meal on Maple St. for students passing by (approximately 100-150 lunch-sized servings needed). Great for Sunday School classes and groups! Meal service is on Thursdays from 11:30am-1pm.

- Be an Adulting 101 Resource Provider. Once a month, we will hold an Adulting 101 Night, during which students can work one-on-one with adults to navigate difficult life situations like applying for loans, shopping for insurance, buying a car, finding a job, etc. 2 hour monthly commitment.

- Handy with tools? We need a team of people who can help us save on the cost of calling repair services when we are experiencing issues around the Wesley. Volunteer for our Facilities Team!

- Donate to the Shiloh Food Pantry! We are always looking for shelf-stable donations, as well as donations of personal hygiene items and school supplies.

- One of our biggest needs is to organize a Fundraising Team that can help us raise support for the Wesley! Are you creative, connected, or simply willing to give us a hand? We'd love to have you on the team!

Email Haley at to volunteer!

Donate to the Wesley Today!

The Wesley runs off of gifts from people like YOU who care about our young adults' remaining and growing in the Christian faith and finding supportive, loving community in their first years navigating the world on their own.