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Morning Sun
  • Expanding ministries: Wesley House breaks ground

  • Songs of praise, prayers for blessing and words of dedication were shared as ground was ceremonially turned just north of Wesley House.

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  • Songs of praise, prayers for blessing and words of dedication were shared as ground was ceremonially turned just north of Wesley House.
    The initial breaking of ground leads into a fast-paced expansion project that will give the ministry a large extra room in which to store groceries and supplies, which then frees up the main room for other ministry.
    “This is an absolutely fantastic day,” said Ellie Foster, executive pastor of Wesley House. “I’ve been dreaming and thinking and praying and talking about this for a long time. I’m just a bit excited.”
    However, she said the work isn’t just the product of Wesley House and the many agencies that provided grant funds to support the expansion.
    “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it,” she quoted from Psalm 127.
    To exemplify, Jim Akins, pastor of First United Methodist Church, with whom Wesley House is an affiliated ministry, read the story of the wise man building his house on a rock and the foolish man building on sand.
    “All we do at Wesley House is built on the foundation of Jesus Christ,” Foster said.
    “This expansion will enable us to do what we do more efficiently.”
    She spoke about the way the ministries have merged -sometimes to the point of humor or discomfort, including being surrounded by supplies during worship.
    “This has been a dream for so long and God has worked in the last few months to pull everything together,” she said. “Low and behold, we start work tomorrow.”
    Kibum Kim, the district superintendent for the Parsons District of the United Methodist Church, led those gathered in a liturgy celebrating the breaking of ground, then noted the process was very different from what he imagined.
    “I always wanted to know how Americans break ground,” said Kim, who was raised in South Korea and said this was his first groundbreaking.
    “This is not breaking ground,” he teased. “As far as I’m concerned, this is digging.”
    Regardless of the name given to the process, Kim said he is excited about the growth of the ministry.
    “What I like to say is good people of God are at work for the benefit of the community,” Kim said. “It makes me really, really proud. This is what the Methodist Church is all about - engaging neighbors, and through their connection engaging the whole world.”
    The project exemplifies that and is a result of church grants and community funds being combined to allow for the expansion.
    “It’s exciting, because it’s another step in what has been an ongoing ministry of First United Methodist Church,” Akins said.
    “It’s a story of how when we listen to God’s call it grows,” he continued. “It is confirmation that we’ve been doing the right thing.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Mary-Kate Sullivan was part of First UMC when ground was broken for the current Wesley House facility in 1985.
    “It’s been really interesting,” she said. “It’s developed into more than we could imagine.”
    She said Wesley House originally was an outreach endeavor, but what was imagined was a little church with members. Since then, it has taken on a ministry beyond what could have been imagined 30 years ago, but Sullivan said that has been because of the continued involvement of members and help from other congregations.
    “We would have never imagined that other churches would join and volunteer, but they have,” she said.
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