Holmes Grenada Center group grows rapidly

4/4/2006

Special to the Advocate

GRENADA — Bettye Parham had a calling in her heart to establish a ministry for her college students. 

With help and encouragement from her dear friend and fellow instructor at Holmes Community College, Claudette Thomas, she decided to establish the Wesley Foundation at the Grenada Center in 1999. Since the Grenada Center is a commuter campus only, it was decided to meet at lunch every other Tuesday. 

At that time, Parham, who teaches business administration, had no idea of the magnitude of the Wesley Foundation. The Rev. Tom Hawks, pastor of First Methodist Church in Grenada at that time, agreed to provide financial and other assistance when he could. He was the first guest speaker, and pizza was the first lunch served to an enthusiastic crowd.

Wesley now meets every Tuesday at noon; alternate Tuesdays the group has a guest speaker and lunch, then a student-led Bible study and lunch. Each fall, Wesley sponsors a canned food drive for a local soup kitchen, “Meet Me at the Pole,” two Christmas children and a traditional Thanksgiving feast the Tuesday before Thanksgiving holidays with a special speaker and music. In 2005 the group served more than 150 students and faculty.

In the spring, Wesley sponsors a Relay for Life team. Two of the last four years, the Wesley team has won trophies for raising the most money, over $4,000 for the American Cancer Society year before last. Last year, it won the award for the “best campsite” and “most enthusiastic” team. At Relay for Life, Wesley sponsors a “pet parade,” several inflatables (moon bounce, giant slide, mechanical bull, obstacle course) and sell luminaries. Relay for Life this year is April 21. Wesley is planning a hamburger cookout before Easter for all students with the proceeds going to Relay.

Wesley continues to grow and serve the community and the college under Parham’s leadership. Jack Holmes, vice president of Grenada Center, has been supportive of Wesley in all of their endeavors. Wesley has sponsored many events, and Jack Holmes has been willing to make the facilities of the Grenada Center available. 

“Wesley is one of my greatest blessings, and I thank God every day for allowing me to be a part of such an important ministry — reaching to young students,” Parham said.

God has blessed Wesley Foundation at Holmes Community College, Grenada Center.  Several traditions have been established:

? A prayer request box has been set up (built by one of our first members), and students are encouraged to put their requests in writing and drop them in the slit. On alternate Tuesdays during Bible study, the requests are taken out and prayed over. At the end of the year, all requests are removed, and the students lift up prayer praises for the many requests that have been answered.  

      Wesley has established a mini Christian Library in Parham’s classroom. Students are encouraged read the variety of books. 

      Wesley recognizes members’ birthday by sending them a card and letting them reach into the “Birthday Grab Bag.” 

      At least once a year, Wesley conducts the service at First Methodist Church, serving as ushers, choir, scripture reading and a good sermon. 

Contact Parham at 1060 Arent Dr., Grenada, MS  38901.