Community Life Thrives at Wesley

Dec 21

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011 9:35 AM  RssIcon

The importance of community is an idea emphasized heavily within the classrooms at Wesley, and a vibrant and caring Christian community is spoken of as an institutional ideal by faculty and administration. But how often do ‘talk’ and ‘lectures’ ensure the lessons of the classroom and the ideals of the administration are translated to daily life in the dorms and the apartments at Wesley? One way Wesley has found to help translate talk into action is though its Office of Community Life, and the various events it sponsors throughout the semester in order to help foster community growth.
Among the most popular of these events are the Saturday evening community dinners, hosted by different church groups from the surrounding area and coordinated by Housing Director Amelia Masdin. These dinners– held nearly every Saturday – are a blessing for the on-campus residents. Church groups prepare and deliver a community-style, home-cooked meal for the resident community. Often the church group stays not just to serve but to share in the meal and fellowship with the students. Laughter and stories are exchanged as dishes are passed and stomachs are filled. Resident directors also organize a few events throughout the semester in order to promote community growth, such as game nights or movie nights.
The fall semester also drew to a close with the Office of Community Life hosting a ‘Dean in the Dorms’ event, in which Community Life Dean Shelby Haggray spent several hours on a Monday evening together with students in Straughn Hall. Dean Haggray and the students shared snacks as well as stories of the best and worst of Wesley experiences – with some students learning for the first time that Shelby herself is a Wesley graduate! The group discussed the values and pitfalls students see in the campus community; issues covered in conversation ranged from parking concerns to effective communication techniques.
Having the dean in the dorms, engaging and fellowshipping with the students in the informal setting of the TV lounge, was a great way for Wesley to show its serious commitment to making community life not just something that is talked about, but is lived and truly valued.
First year Master of Divinity student Christopher Able agrees. He says, “It's obvious that the idea of 'intentional community' isn't just for the Mount Vernon Square Community. It's seeping into the student life of on-campus students, with rising awareness of the need for conflict resolution and spiritual formation in our own lives. The event was great. We got to have a few laughs, got some annoyances aired without feelings getting hurt, and even got some inspiration about how student life on campus could continue to grow.” Many thanks go out to the Dean and the Office of Community Life for their commitment to kindle and nurture community spirit at Wesley!

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