Welcome to Wesley United Methodist Church of Chicago!
Our history began in 1954 in the home of Mrs. Annie Potter, with Reverend James W.E. Mitchell serving as the pastor. In 1959, under the leadership of Reverend Scye McWilliams, construction of the first church building began at 212 East 95 th Street. Unfortunately, Reverend McWilliams passed away before the building was completed. In 1964, the small congregation moved into the newly constructed building at 212 East 95 th Street.
Subsequent to Reverend McWilliams’ death, Reverends Zimmerman, Whalen, Pierce and Middleton served as interim pastors. In 1965, Reverend Dr. Howard W. Henson was appointed as Wesley’s first full-time pastor, and under his leadership, the membership grew from twelve to sixty.
In April 1968, The Methodist and The Evangelical United Brethren Churches merged to form The United Methodist Church denomination, and Wesley Methodist Church became Wesley United Methodist Church (Wesley UMC). That was also the year Reverend Donald Walden was appointed as Wesley UMC’s pastor, and he encouraged and developed lay leadership throughout the church. Under his leadership, the church was able to pay off its mortgage loan substantially sooner than the scheduled date.
In April 1973, Reverend Robert House was appointed to Wesley UMC and he served until June 1976 when Reverend H. Bernard King was appointed to Wesley UMC. Under Reverend King’s leadership, the congregation experienced its largest growth, to date. It outgrew the building at 212 East 95th Street, and the current building at 201 East 95th Street was constructed. The congregation moved into the 201 East 95th Street building in 1983. Reverend King served until June 30, 1987, when he was elevated to District Superintendent for the Chicago Southern District.
In July 1987, Reverend Dwight Stewart was appointed to Wesley UMC and he served as pastor until June 1995. As a member of the board of Developing Communities Project, Reverend Stewart helped to increase the membership’s awareness of the needs and concerns within the local community.
In July 1995, Reverend Emma C. Robinson became Wesley UMC’s first female pastor. Under her leadership the church experienced remarkable growth in the areas of Bible study, worship services, music ministry and youth activities. It was under her leadership that the congregation initiated plans to rebuild the church edifice. Reverend Robinson retired in June 2010.
In July 2010, Reverend Léon Willis was appointed as Wesley UMC’s pastor and he served until June 30, 2013. During his tenure, plans for the church edifice changed from rebuilding to renovation. Pastor Willis was passionate about community outreach, and this was evident from his work with local churches and schools, as well as serving on the board of Developing Communities Project, Inc., to effect programs and services that embodied the mission of Wesley UMC.
Our current pastor, Reverend A. Charles Woolery, Sr., was appointed to Wesley UMC in July 2013. Under Reverend Woolery’s leadership, the church building was renovated, and the church is experiencing continued growth in ministries and outreach efforts.