History and Heritage

The Wesley Center

Our motto: Do all the good you can

While using the name Wesley has become frequent around Hamline University, not everyone is aware how the name reflects our mission of exploring vocation or community outreach. Who was this man, John Wesley?

Wesley's life spanned the eighteenth century (1703-1791). When he was in college, he participated in a small group that studied the Bible together and also visited the prisons. As his movement for renewal in the church gained momentum, he was not always allowed to preach in the village churches, so he began addressing growing crowds in the marketplaces and fields. His message energized many, especially poor laborers who began to read to better participate in the small groups of his movement. He wrote a book about medicine, funded a clinic, and spoke out against slavery and all those who profited from it. Even when he was eighty, he continued his works of mercy, begging one day a week for money to give to the poor. Wesley was also a man of contradictions; he supported the king and opposed the American Revolution even though he recognized the deep desire of the Americans for freedom. Many credit his well-read mother and early training for his openness to women actively participating in his movement.

While these biographical notes begin to illuminate the man who said, "Do all the good you can," they are not enough to capture his passion for these causes. To study this Wesley is to become open to belief in the possibility of persons becoming on fire with a love for God. This love translates into daily acts of mercy that in turn challenge the status quo. These values have remained as part of its identity during its century and a half of existence. Making the world a better place has been a byword for graduates as well staff and faculty.

Today's graduates still expect to be measured the way that they approach life as educated persons who care about the world.  Wesley would recognize the spirit of inquiry, the service to others, and the energy for life in those who frequent the center that bears his name.

—Rev. Linda Gesling, Ph.D.
Excerpt from TEVP Vol. 2, No.1, 2005

United Methodist Connections

Hamline University has a long history with the United Methodist Church. From our founding in 1854 through a gift by Bishop Leonidas Hamline, we have always sought to live up to John Wesley's vision to "do all the good you can." However, while embracing the values of the Methodist tradition, we do not want to exclude members of our community in the process. In fact, our United Methodist tradition is to be a connectional community!  As such, we are a United Methodist related university and also multi-faith in our programs.

Love Boldly campaign

Love Boldly is a Minnesota United Methodist Church (minnesotaumc.org) campaign for LGBTQ+ inclusivity in response to the decisions made by the global United Methodist Church. In February 2019, the church reaffirmed their stance that “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teachings.” The church voted against LGBTQ+ individuals becoming clergy and getting married within the church. As a Methodist affiliated institution, Hamline and the Wesley Center is working to institutionalize the Love Boldly campaign into our campus framework to put into action the “do no harm” legacy championed by John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement. Love Boldly seeks to demonstrate to the wider body of the UMC that we will not be complacent in the harm of these policies. We invite you to show your support for the inclusivity movement by attending Love Boldly events and engaging in promotional materials when you come across them.

For more information: Contact Chaplain Kelly Figueroa-Ray at kfigueroaray01@hamline.edu and Love Boldly student staff at loveboldly@hamline.edu.

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