The new Wesley Connection at Austin Seminary brings intentional focus to the teachings and practices of the Methodist movement in general and the Methodist Church in particular. The Connection will generate broader awareness of Wesleyan thought within the Austin Seminary community to emphasize the Methodist heritage and reinforce connections among United Methodist and African Methodist Episcopal students, faculty, alumni, and clergy.
“Some people say denominational identity is a burden. We disagree," said Melissa Wiginton, Vice President for Education Beyond the Walls and Research Professor in Methodist Studies. "The Wesley Connection at Austin Seminary holds up the gifts of the Methodist movement. In the 'Being Methodist' gathering last fall, we named only a few: the doctrines that humans are born good and that grace draws us ever toward perfect wholeness, the practice of a ‘sent ministry’ rather than a ‘called ministry,’ the mission gene in our DNA, Charles Wesley’s hymns. These gifts enrich our life together at Austin Seminary. The Wesley Connection makes a public statement that the presence of Methodists here is neither accidental nor incidental, but a treasured piece of the Seminary’s identity. We want to bring more Methodists into this place to be formed for ministry in an ecumenical community. We want to feed and strengthen more Methodist ministers for lifelong vitality. The Wesley Connection gives us a dedicated structure for living out those commitments.”
Events at the Wesley Connection will include:
Each year bishops and their cabinets from the Rio Texas, Central Texas, or Texas conferences will be on the Austin Seminary campus to preach, teach, and build community.
The Wesley Connection will host a biennial gathering to feature scholars who are members of the Pan-Methodist Church.
Young leaders from the Texas Youth Academy (TYA) will visit each summer for worship and a meal. The Texas Youth Academy is an advanced discipleship program for senior high United Methodist youth that was initiated by the Texas Annual Conference in the summer of 2009. Patterned after the Duke Youth Academy program, TYA is a two-week summer experience that currently is held at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.
Once every three years, a member of the Seminary faculty will lead a travel seminar to England to visit places of significance to the Methodist movement.