By Allie Pires
For 100 years, the Wesley Club at the University of Washington has transformed the lives of young people at the intersection of faith, justice, and community. Are you or someone you know a Wesley Club alum with stories and memories to share? Read on after this story to learn how you can participate in our centennial celebration!
My grandfather passed away in the middle of finals week, my first year of college.
Because I was two states away and unable to fly home, I said goodbye to him over the phone before he passed peacefully in the middle of the night.
The following morning, my first stop was the kitchen of the Wesley Club, a homey little refuge across from the bustling University of Washington campus.
Even though the cookie jar was, as always, filled to the brim, I knew I had more to bake: my Grandad John’s oatmeal cranberry chocolate chip cookies. They tasted as perfect that day as they ever did anytime we visited when I was a little girl. He somehow always managed to make dried fruit in chocolate chip cookies work; that morning, they were the only thing I needed.
After I emerged from my cloud of baking, our campus minister and I laid some cookies at our makeshift altar and lit a candle for my grandad. I had never felt farther from my family of origin, but I knew that Wesley Club would have a space for me to grieve and pray and cry and be surrounded by love.
I needed a moment of holiness that morning, and in that conference room, in front of some cookies and a candle, I found it.
A trusted space to doubt, ask questions, and explore identity
Wesley Club is a space for all of us who need a community when we’re far away from home.
When I first walked through its doors, I had more questions and doubts than ever before. I entered as a queer person coming into my identity and as a Christian stepping into a more mature relationship with my faith.
Here, I found a trusted space to doubt, ask questions, and explore my identity: to push and pull and stretch my faith. And the more I let certain aspects of the religion I was raised with fall away, the stronger my relationship with God and myself became.
I have celebrated and cried, held others and been held myself here. I have forged life-long relationships amid the home-cooked meals, the abundance of cookies, and the couches perfect for napping on.
It’s where I found my people, my faith, and myself over many hot meals and the overflowing cookie jar.
Celebrating 100 years of the Wesley Club
To celebrate the centennial anniversary of Wesley Club and commemorate our rich history, we are calling for the Wesley community (past and present) to share their stories! We will compile these submissions for our 100-year celebration in September 2023.
Please get in touch with email@example.com to share your story and get involved. Alternatively, submissions can also be sent via mail to 1414 NE 42nd St #202, Seattle, WA 98105.