Where are the young adults in the UMC?
Don't worry, we found them.

Some are slurping up free soup at Chattanooga's Wesley Foundation. Others are tutoring elementary students on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at Radford's Wesley Foundation. A few are living in the basement at the UTK Foundation. At least one is playing volleyball for the Highland Cavaliers in Wise.

Not that it's all fun and games for these college students. As the five stories in this special Campus Ministry edition will show, young adults must navigate bumpy and sometimes harrowing paths.

They need the church, and we need them.

"What I don't think people understand is that the Wesley Foundation is the United Methodist presence on the state-related college campus," says the Rev. Karen Lane, chair of the Holston Conference Board of Higher Education. "That's us, that's part of us. People in the church talk all the time about losing our young adults, and yet here we have these incredible, vital ministries in the Wesley Foundations."

Holston Conference is home to five Wesley Foundations: at Radford University, University of Virginia College at Wise, East Tennessee State University, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

The directors of these five campus-ministry centers receive salary support from the Fair Share apportionment. Each Wesley Foundation also receives Fair Share funds for part of its operating expenses, according to the Rev. Grady Winegar, cabinet representative to the Board of Higher Education. "Districts contribute to operational expenses, and then each Foundation raises funds through projects and alumni giving," he says.

For some students, the Wesley Foundation provides almost a daily source of fellowship and activity. For others, campus ministers and their surrounding student communities seem to emerge just when a lost or lonely student is in need.

At Radford University in Wytheville District, Martee Buchanan spoke of ministering to four students with emotional breakdowns last fall, including two attempted suicides.

"These situations take an enormous amount of time," she says. "But thank God, Holston Conference hasn't lost that vision. Thank the good Lord that we have the support to keep these campus ministries going."


Bishop's Column

Cover Story:
Where are the young adults in the UMC?


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The Wesley Foundations

University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
(page 4)

Radford University
(page 5)
University of Virginia College at Wise
(page 6)

East Tennessee State University
(page 7)

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
(page 8)

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