Welcome to Wesley United Methodist Church of Chicago!
Our history began in 1954 in the home of Mrs. Annie Potter, with Rev. James W. E. Mitchell, Pastor. The small congregation moved into their newly erected building at 212 East 95th Street in 1959. Despite a series of pastoral appointments, the Wesley congregation continued to grow over the years, expanding the Lay Ministry’s leadership throughout the church. As a result, under the leadership of Rev. Donald Walden, Wesley was able to pay the church mortgage in full after just a few years.
Rev. H. Bernard King was appointed pastor in 1976. Wesley experienced its greatest growth when prayer groups, Bible studies and youth activities were organized. As a result of the growth, the congregation purchased land at 201 East 95th Street, where the church currently exists. Rev. King left Wesley on July 1, 1987, when he was elevated to the District Superintendent of the Southern District of the United Methodist Church, Chicago, IL. However, Wesley continued to expand its outreach to the community by joining the Developing Community Projects (DCP). This connection to the local community has proven to be valuable over the years. Wesley has been a positive place for those seeking spiritual strength and comfort.
In 1995, Rev. Emma C. Robinson became our first female pastor. Under her leadership, the church has experienced tremendous growth in the areas of Bible Study, Worship Services, an outstanding Music Department and expanded programming for our youth. Under Rev. Robinson’s leadership, a new building fund “Rebuild our Walls” was established. Wesley began reviewing new ways to utilize the building space more effectively.
In 2010, Rev. Dr. Le’on Willis was appointed pastor of our congregation. The church continues to expand with regards to the building and renovation of the current facility. Outreach activities have grown when Pastor Willis joined the Development Community Projects (DCP) organization in implementing Project CONNECT. This program was created to address youth violence in Chicago’s Greater Roseland Community where rates of poverty, crime, low educational achievement, unemployment, violence, and crime are among the city’s highest. Joining this faith-based board at the 5th Police District with other pastors in the area has created greater awareness within the congregation of the need to reach beyond our church walls to the community. Pastor Willis also has places a high value on working with the laity in the church.
In 2013, Pastor Woolery was appointed pastor. Since his tenure at Wesley UMC, the church has renovated its main church. Wesley has increased its membership and average worship attendance. The church has also increased its visibility in the community with outreach ministries such as The Taste of Wesley and Back-to-School Block Parties. Under his leadership, Wesley is utilizing its first church building as the Wesley Community Center that will offer programs like The Young Lions Christian Rites of Passage, The Daughters of Imani Rites of Passage, and S.T.E.A.M. tutoring. The Wesley Community Center will be used for both meeting space for small churches and community organizations. Pastor Woolery’s vision is to make Wesley UMC a community church that makes a difference in the lives of the people by providing holistic ministry for the mind, body, and soul.
Wesley United Methodist Church has come this far by faith, thanking God for our past blessings, for the present blessings and for the blessings we have yet to receive! Join us as we continue to do God’s work, knowing and believing that all things are possible for those that have FAITH and BELIEVE!