Gator Wesley is the United Methodist Campus Ministry in Gainesville, Florida. It was founded in 1925 and exists to make disciples of Jesus Christ on the college campus. We strive to offer unique worship, service, growth, and fellowship opportunities for students. We are also dedicated to leadership development through our Upper Room Staff, Wesley Leadership Team, and Internship programs. Check out the following sections to learn more about John Wesley, the United Methodist Church, our history, and our partnering churches.
Who is Wesley?
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
“Christian perfection is loving God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. This implies that no wrong frame of mind, nothing contrary to love, remains in the soul; and that all the thoughts, words, and actions are governed by pure love.”
The quotes above are from John Wesley. John and his brother Charles experienced a spiritual transformation in May 1738 and began to lead a renewal in the Church of England. The Methodist movement soon spread to America, and it was led mainly by lay members (unordained congregation members). The first official American Methodist denomination was formed in Baltimore in December 1784, calling itself the Methodist Episcopal Church in America.
John Wesley was not a systematic theologian but rather a practical theologian. Instead of faith being purely an intellectual experience, he was adamant that our understanding of faith must influence our actions in the real world. He remarked that we must keep our head and our heart involved in our faith. He is most known for his writings and sermons on God’s grace. He viewed God’s grace as the work of the Holy Spirit in the everyone’s life from the moment of conception to death, leading us to the understanding that God exists, loves us, and sent Jesus for our salvation. For more on Wesley’s distinctive theological influence, please visit: http://www.umc.org/site/pp.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=2310047
The United Methodist Church
The Gator Wesley Foundation is the official United Methodist Campus ministry in Gainesville, FL. There are Wesley Foundations at every major university in Florida, and there are many more around the nation. The United Methodist Church was formed in 1968 when the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren united as one denomination, but our church’s heritage and the presence of a Methodist movement influenced by Wesley has been active in America since before the Revolutionary War. For more information on the United Methodist Church, including history, doctrine, social principles, and more, please visit: http://www.umc.org
A Little of Our History . . .
The Wesley Foundation serving the University of Florida and Santa Fe College was founded in the early 1920’s. With the growth of the College Park neighborhood after World War II, and under the exceptional leadership of Director Thaxton Springfield, University Methodist Church was founded and the Wesley Foundation experienced tremendous growth. A generation later, and with extraordinary leadership from Director Bob Fannin, the church and campus ministry incorporated together and became University United Methodist Church and Student Center.
Over the past few years, yet another generation has brought new challenges and changes in our life and ministry. We are exceptionally excited about the opening of the brand new Gator Wesley Center, located on the footprint of the old sanctuary. After five years of sharing space with the Presbyterian Student Center next door, we opened the doors to the new facility on Easter 2010, with the public Grand Opening at the beginning of the fall semester in August. Additionally, new approaches to the campus ministry and organizational structures have been implemented. In reaching a new generation of students, we have made new efforts in modern worship, outreach, mission, and discipleship that has resulted in consistent increases in worship attendance since 2007. I hope you are as excited as we are about the future of our ministries here in Gainesville!
Our Partner Churches
As the official United Methodist Campus Ministry serving the University of Florida and Santa Fe College, the Wesley Foundation serves as an extension of Florida Conference churches onto the college campuses in Gainesville. All churches support campus ministry throughout the Florida Conference through their apportionment giving. However, several churches have committed more fully to supporting the Wesley Foundation through recommending potential board members, advocating for our ministry and sustaining us through prayers and financial support. We give a special thanks and recognition to the following churches for their support this year:
- University UMC – Gainesville
- Trinity UMC – Gainesville
- First UMC – Gainesville
- Mt. Pleasant UMC – Gainesville
Is your church is interested in partnering with the Wesley Foundation? Let us know!