Denton Wesley Foundation

February/March 2018 Newsletter

College Ministry as an Intergenerational Community

At the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, student intern Katrina Krauss and I sat down to discuss the Denton Wesley Foundation's budget for the Shiloh food pantry ministry. We knew the statistics: nearly 60% of all college students face food insecurity, and Shiloh provides free groceries to several hundred students each month. But we also realized that we could not spend what we were used to putting into the food pantry. If we did not have the money in our budget to stock the food pantry, how would we help the hundreds of students who frequent Shiloh?

"This is God's ministry, not ours," we decided, "and God sees the need and will provide."

The very next day, a woman named Sue Herring walked into the Wesley.

"I was wondering how my husband and I and our church can help support your food pantry," said Sue, who had felt led to serve at Shiloh for months.

God does indeed provide.

Since then, Paul and Sue Herring of Argyle United Methodist Church have gathered 30 volunteers to cook and serve lunch to over 100 students on Thursdays and to staff the Shiloh Food Pantry. Each week, they collect donations, purchase additional food for the pantry, and help keep our property clean and organized. They greet students and give them tips on how to prepare certain foods or just general advice about adulting. This month, Argyle United Methodist Church has raised money and nearly 700 pounds of food for Shiloh Food Pantry, organized a work day to clean the Wesley, and put together a huge care package for our students!

Argyle's involvement in our college ministry represents an intentional move at the Denton Wesley Foundation to form intergenerational relationships and partnerships. We are striving to put our students into contact with those outside the campus community so that they can reciprocally use their gifts and experiences to enhance one another's lives and relationships with God.

In addition to Argyle's work with our students, we have also been blessed by people like Kent Carpenter of First United Methodist Church who is leading a Bible Study at the Wesley and like Clay Thurmond, Jonathan Perry, Chuck and Cynthia Rives, Russell Van Hoose, Beth Barnhouse, and Krystal Stroud who, with our students, have formed a group called Intersect. They gather twice a month to study the Bible and work for social justice with one another. Together, this intergenerational cohort has worked on initiatives such as DACA education, Denton Women's March, Title IX, and Take Back the Night. It is currently planning a #ChurchToo conference to help churches recognize, prevent, and address sexual misconduct.

Finally, the Denton Wesley Foundation is looking to connect with younger generations. We will be planning and hosting a Youth Worship Night at the Wesley for UMC youth groups in the area in April. Our students have much to give to and much to learn from these youth, and we are eager to form relationships with them.

Far from being just a ministry to college students, the Denton Wesley Foundation is a community in which many generations join together, passionate about each other's lives in Christ and compassionate towards one another. We call this a Com/Passionate Community, and we are thankful for those who make this possible.

Thanks Be to God!

Please join us in congratulating our students and alumni on the following accomplishments and giving thanks to God for the gifts and opportunities provided to these young people:

- UNT junior Kayla Purdom made the Dean's List for the Fall 2017 semester.

- UNT junior Tamree "T.J." Dye has been inducted into the prestigious Sigma Alpha Phi Honor Society.

- UNT senior Jordan Snow was chosen for a selective summer sales internship.

- UNT freshman Emily Williams was selected to be a North Texas Sweetheart, a philanthropic and spirit organization at UNT.

- TWU freshman Terrell George was offered a job at FunStop at First United Methodist Church - Denton.

Way to go, students! We are proud of you!

If you know of a Denton Wesley student, alum, or volunteer who has something to celebrate, please contact Haley so we can publish it in our newsletter!

The Power of Student Stories

This semester, two things are ringing true at the Wesley:

1) sharing our stories is one of the most powerful ways we can learn about who God is to us and to connect with one another, and

2) empowering our students to be leaders and to use their gifts and experiences to build Com/Passionate Community at the Wesley is a powerful tool.

In January, we kicked off our new series, "Sticky Situations," with a "Student Story Night." Four Wesley students shared stories of being stuck and how they found liberation from their "stuckness." Sophomore Student Minister Baylee Davis told a hilarious story about being stuck in fear and how liberating and terrifying a leap of faith can be. UNT junior Joe Hicks shared a powerful story of being stuck in a very troubling low point in his life and how someone believed in him - and in God in him - and helped him find God through worship music, thus pulling him out of the depths. Continuing the evening, TWU freshman Terrell George spoke about being stuck in silence and shame about his identity and how he is finding redemption of his identity in a new theology and new concept of Christ. Finally, closing out this powerful evening, sophomore Emily Spencer shared with us a story of being stuck in a theology that did not offer her hope in a difficult season in her life and how she has found freedom in different forms of Christianity.

The students' opportunities to share their stories has not ended there, either. Recently, we were honored to receive from Lewisville United Methodist Church an invitation to lead worship. During this service, several Wesley students took on leadership roles, such as delivering the children's sermon, serving communion, and performing music. Baylee Davis and UNT junior Ash Milam shared stories of how the Wesley has been a place where they were welcome and encouraged to "stumble after Christ," the theme of our message. Davis shared that through the Wesley, she learned that in order to love God and love others fully, she must also love herself, while Milam likewise delivered a powerful statement, saying, "Sometimes we as a community become so focused on sin that we forget the most powerful weapon we have to wipe out sin: love."

Finally, we will be concluding our worship series on "Sticky Situations", in which we talk about situations in which we can find ourselves feeling stuck, on February 13, when graduate student Lizzy McClinchie will be co-preaching with Campus Minister Haley Feuerbacher on the topic of calling and feeling stuck in indecision. McClinchie has done a great deal of research on theologies concerning calling, driven by her own stories of being stuck. We look forward to hearing God's words through her on this special evening and are excited about continuing to empower our students to search for God's story in their lives and to share these stories with the world around them!

#ChurchToo Conference: Recognizing, Preventing, and Addressing Sexual Misconduct in Communities of Faith

Saturday, April 14th, 1-5pm

201 South Locust Street

Denton, TX

Intersect Faith and Social Justice Cohort, a ministry of the Denton Wesley Foundation, Open Worship, and other community partners such as First Christian Church, is sponsoring a conference to discuss openly and honestly the fact that sexual misconduct and abuse happen in #ChurchToo and that our communities of faith all too often are unprepared to respond in compassionate, helpful, survivor-centered, and Christ-like, theologically- and biblically-sound ways.

Event features include Keynote Speaker Hillarye Hightower of Denton County Friends of the Family, Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence 101 training, workshops on telling our stories, using the Bible to mobilize faith communities, recognizing signs of abuse, problematic "blurred lines" relationships, and more, activities such as a Labyrinth Walk, vendors, worship, and Plenary Speaker Rev. Anna Marie Peterson.

We invite anyone in the community with an interest in helping to end the silence and harm to attend!

The primary goal for the conference is to deliver practical information and real-world insights to addressing the sad fact that sexual misconduct and abuse happens in #ChurchToo.

Tickets: $10

Student Tickets (with Student ID): $5

RSVPs are enabled for this event.