It’s the Big 6-0 for The Wesley Foundation at the University of Texas at Arlington!

by Vance Morton*
If you can remember 1954 – or if you know how to work the Google machine – you’re likely to recall that year as a time when some very important and life-changing transformations began. While transformative events like the end of racial segregation in American public schools thanks to the U.S. Supreme Courts famed Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision, or the beginning of the end of polio thanks to Dr. Jonas Salk’s medical breakthrough dominate the history books, Wikipedia and Jeopardy categories, the Central Texas Conference also boasts a rather significant lives-changing event of 1954 – the official birth of the UTA Wesley Foundation.
Like most paradigm shifting events, the seeds of change were planted and nurtured long before the harvest began. For the UTA Wesley Foundation, those seeds were planted five years earlier as a ministry of FUMC Arlington. It was 1949 when Harvey Williamson, an associate pastor at FUMC Arlington, first launched a college ministry at Arlington State College. And then, during the 1953-1954 school year, the ministry was officially incorporated as the Wesley Foundation at Arlington State College. And thus began what is now 60 years (and counting) of ministry as a missional outpost for the United Methodist Church on UTA campus.
On Sunday, Feb. 9, a steady stream of past and current members and friends of the UTA Wesley Foundation happened by “the Wesley” to celebrate all that the organization has done, is doing and will do in support of our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Campus Minister and Director of the UTA Wesley Foundation Rev. Joseph Nader (who was rockin a killer bowtie for the event!) was pleased to see so many of the people that have had their lives transformed by their association with the UTA Wesley Foundation mingling and sharing stories with current members.
"It is great to celebrate the past 60 years of ministry as a missional outpost on the campus of UTA with an event like this,” Joseph stated. “So many people have been involved in reaching this campus for Christ, and it’s great to visit with a lot of them at the party. We are grateful for so many people who are invested in our work on campus."
The collegiate and campus ministries of the Central Texas Conference play a vital and unique role in our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world as they engage with those who are often at a crossroads in their spiritual walk. We celebrate all the work being done in the service of our Lord by our campus ministries, and especially on this milestone occasion.
Happy 60th birthday UTA Wesley! As God’s household, you are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. The whole building is joined together in him, and it grows up into a temple that is dedicated to the Lord. Christ is building you into a place where God lives through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:20-22 CEB)

*Vance is the director of Communications & IT for the Central Texas Conference.