A small crowd gathered in the parking lot between Howard Street and Rankin Avenue on Monday, Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. to witness and show their support for the Wesley Foundation on Western Michigan University’s campus.
The Wesley Foundation Board of Trustees broke ground on the first phase of a project that will provide residential housing and a new student ministry center.
The Wesley Foundation of Kalamazoo is the United Methodist campus community on the WMU campus.
“We offer places for the campus to form community in a safe environment,” Lisa Batten, the campus pastor and director of the Wesley Foundation, said.
“We have and provide free home cooked meals on Sundays to students, three different kinds of church services, service learning opportunities around Kalamazoo, Alternative Spring Break and we’re involved with groups and organizations like the Peace Center. We also have small group gatherings – book, Bible, and even small group discussions,” Batten said.
Batten shared that WMU has purchased the Wesley Foundation’s existing building located near the flagpoles and Lee Honors College. However, the building does not have to be vacated until 2015, when the final phase of the Wesley Foundation’s project should be completed.
Batten explained that the project will provide residential housing and a new, 6,800 square foot student ministry center.
“The residential housing will provide living quarters to 12 people and the new student ministry center will replace the building on campus,” Batten said.
Batten’s shovel, and the shovels of several others on the Board of Trustees for this project, dug into an area where the first of the three residential living spaces is to be built.
Batten said that there’s an application process for anyone who is interested in Wesley Foundation’s residential housing.
The new intentional community living environment includes private bedrooms, semi-private bathrooms, large shared commons and dining areas, fully-equipped kitchen, in-house laundry facilities, enclosed study room, central heating and air conditioning, wireless internet, and a few other amenities.
Batten said that applications can be obtained from the Wesley Foundation’s office or by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested students should be aware that they will have to agree on living in a space with several other students as well as agree to meet once a week for a meal, service project, or discussion, Batten said.
Batten also explained that the new student ministry center will provide much of the same services that the existing building is capable of providing, but with more space.
“Larger gathering spaces for the community meal, the worship services, and for groups to rent the space for dances and events will be providing with the layout of the new building,” Batten said.
She also said that small groups will also be able to meet in the new student ministry building, and there will be offices for herself and others that are involved within the Wesley Foundation.
“We are going to continue to provide the current services and programs that we have and provide to the students of WMU, and even Kalamazoo College and KVCC. The residence buildings will expand more on our concept of community as well,” Batten said.
During the breaking ground ceremony, Batten said that the Wesley Foundation’s vision and mission statement would be fulfilled in the process of this project.
“Our vision is to be an authentic, transforming Christ Centered community. Our mission is to grow disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” Batten read to the small crowd that gathered to witness the breaking ground for the first phase of the Wesley Foundation’s upcoming projects.
Batten said that there really isn’t a date set for the completion of the four phases of this project.
“As for the fourth phase, the new student ministry building, the completion really depends on how quickly fundraising can happen. We have to raise $1.3 million for the student center,” Batten said.