Wesley Foundation at UTK

The United Methodist Collegiate Ministry at the University of Tennessee

Our Mission

The Wesley Foundation "strives to be an open, diverse Christian community, extending love on campus."

The Wesley Foundation is open each day from 9 am until 10 pm. Come by and hang out or study between classes. Everyone is welcome!

Spiritual Survival Skills at College

  1.  Find a faith community that accepts you for who you are, and genuinely offers a safe place to share your deepest faith, your worst fears, your biggest doubts, and your triumphs; a community that encourages you to grow but doesn¹t try to force you into a rigid mold of what it means to be a Christian, or a Jew or a Muslim etc.
     
  2. Just get involved: Even if you participate in just one gathering a week or once a month, get involved! Being in college offers you the unique opportunity to participate in numerous types of worship, prayer, and faith development without having to travel far or take much time out of your schedule.  The activities in which you participate now will help shape the person you are after graduation.
     
  3. Volunteer Service: There are many opportunities on campus to become involved in community service. Whether it is through the Appalachian Center for Community Service or a Religious Life group, you can find ways to "be the miracle" and make a difference in someone's life. Offering your time and talents to others is not only a benefit to those who receive them, but also serves as a visible witness as you put your faith into action.
     
  4. Pray without ceasing: Praying is something one does. It is an active orientation to the world around us: our classes, friends, dates, family, jobs, and problems. Being in prayer means letting our lives become a prayer to God. It is in prayer that we find the motivation and clarity to practice our faith.  Try to take some time every day for prayer or meditation, and look for ways to expand your knowledge and practice of prayer.  If you have the opportunity to participate in retreats or prayer groups, take it!
     
  5. Keep your ears open: Listening is the bridge between God and you and others.  It involves attention, being present, and hospitality.  It is an essential part of the discernment process and one of the best ways to show our regard for others.  But it takes practice to develop a "listening heart."  Consciously decide to make it an integral part of your daily spiritual life.  Remember, one who listens joins the Spirit of the One who is always more ready to listen than we are to pray.
     
  6. Openness: Are you open to new ideas, new experiences, new people? Openness is a key quality for the life of faith.  In faith terms, the Spirit of God blows where it will, and it requires openness to the unexpected (a willingness to try something new, or consider a new idea, or befriend someone different from you) to be receptive to new possibilities brought by the Spirit.  So take risks!  Don¹t be afraid to engage in conversations with people who challenge you or who don't have the same beliefs as you!  By engaging in dialogue, you can refine your own beliefs and learn from others.  And be willing to give others the benefit of the doubt!
     
  7. Hope: Faithful people are characterized by their hope. To hope is more than merely wishing for good things to happen. It involves patience, courage, confidence, and persistence.  It means to be ready at every moment for the Grace of God.  One way to strengthen and embody hope is to form caring relationships with peers. The insecurity of our day is an overwhelming burden for us to bear; caring relationships are a powerful witness in our hope for the future of humankind.
     
  8. Think: It may sound strange to suggest that training one's mind to think is a form of faith work, but it has been long recognized that the spiritual journey is a lifelong process of "faith seeking understanding." Learning to think carefully about what one believes is an essential part of faith.  Many times religion can be reactionary rather than thoughtful, so use these years to deepen your ability to be a thinking person of faith. Make your faith your own, and do not simply accept someone else's version of "the truth."
     
    Take responsibility for educating yourself about your tradition and figure out why it's important to you. Ask questions! If there is something you don't understand or something that doesn't make sense or troubles you, talk to a the Chaplain, Assistant Chaplain, or your pastor.
     
  9. Gratitude: This is both a state of mind and a way of life!  As a state of mind, it is rooted in a thankfulness for the gift of life from a loving God. In turn, this becomes an attitude by which we live our lives, grateful for beauty, for mystery, for God's presence, for each other, and the countless gifts of love, compassion, and wisdom we can offer each other.  So, appreciate the small stuff; be aware that God's hand is in all things. Recognize the divine presence living in others.  Along the way, don¹t be too hard on yourself or others.  Be forgiving. You will occasionally fall short of your goals, and friends and professors may disappoint you.  Practice acceptance and forgiveness every day!
     
  10. Love: Love of self, love of neighbors, and love of God are the foundation stones of the world's religions. Love is not simply or primarily warm fuzzy feelings, it is a willed intention to be loved by God and to actively express love for others.  Learning how to love more deeply is the goal of the spiritual life!  Look for opportunities, great and small, to be a bearer of love to others. Remember, "faith, hope and love, abide, but the greatest of these is love" (The Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version. 1 Corinthians 13:13)