At the Wesley Center, we cherish gathering together in person. We believe in the healing, transformative power of being together: sharing in conversation and reflection and study, listening to stories and lingering in Divine truths, sitting together in silence and contemplation, laughing and crying together, and of course, sharing delicious, homemade food. (And, drinking all the coffee and tea, and eating all the dark chocolate.) Being together, in spirit and body, is at the center of who we are, what we believe, how we practice our faith, and how we make meaning in our lives.
Our lives depend upon each other. We need each other. We belong to each other. And, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and after deep discernment and ongoing discussion, the Wesley Center staff and board of directors has decided to hold all of our programming for the Fall 2020 semester online. We will not be gathering in person. While we are so very sad to postpone gathering at table, and sharing enfleshed interaction, we believe this is the safest, wisest, and most responsible decision. We adamantly resist the notion that we must only look out for ourselves, or elevate convenience or comfort at the expense of human life and collective health.
We will continue to offer meaningful and engaging programming, however. We need connection and meaningful interaction now more than ever! We’re bringing back our Spiritual Biography series on Tuesday evenings, and will have a chance to hear from wise and delightful humans located far and wide, as they share about the religious teachings and spiritual wisdom guiding their lives, and the spiritual practices sustaining their labor for collective liberation. We will still practice the Prayer of Examen (and other contemplative spiritual practices) together each week. (not your typical) Bible Study will still gather, taking the texts far too seriously to take them literally, and reflecting on our own contexts in relation to the scriptural text. We are also looking forward to offering a new program designed to deepen our engagement in anti-racism, and dismantling white supremacy. (This will be geared toward and led by white people, doing white people work. Obviously all welcome, but we recognize that for BIPOC folk, participating in this sort of space can be exhausting, and further harm.) In and through it all, we are so excited to welcome back those of you who have gathered at our table, and who transitioned with us online back in March. And we are also so eager to meet new folks, develop new connections, and invite those who are looking for the spiritual depth, community care, and enlivening connection we so value to join us!
The Wesley Center remains committed to caring for one another, and particularly committed to prioritizing the needs of those made most vulnerable. We recognize that we share a fundamental human vulnerability; we also recognize that systems of inequality and oppression (racism, capitalism, ableism, cisheteropatriarchy) leave some of our beloveds more precarious than others. At the heart of our faith is the commitment, modeled by Jesus, to center those who are marginalized, prioritize the needs of those too often left least, and last, and honor our interconnectedness by remembering that “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” Please let us know if there are ways we can extend care and support in the weeks and months to come. We are praying for you. We are laboring with you. We are invested in your surviving, and thriving. And we are so very eager to be together again, in person, as soon as we (safely, responsibly) can. Be well…and for the time being, see you soon, online!
With care, and in solidarity,
The Wesley Center Staff and Board of Directors