Good food helps attract Northwest CC students to Wesley


Special to the Advocate

SENATOBIA — The Wesley Foundation at Northwest Community College was busy this past academic year — busy growing. 


In August as the semester opened and the Wesley Foundation held its first meeting with lunch (free pizza), only eight people were in attendance. The Rev. Mark McNair, a.k.a “Brother Buck,” decided things had to change. He thought of the movie Field of Dreams and the  famous line that came from it: “If you build it they will come.” McNair heard, “If you feed them they will come.”


The story in Matthew about Jesus feeding the 5,000 also inspired him. Those who know Brother Buck also know that he likes to cook, and he is good at it. So he started putting his gift into practice. It only took a few weeks for news of his pot roast and homemade spaghetti to get around campus. Soon the Wesley meeting was averaging 20 attendees.


Brother Buck couldn’t keep up with the numbers by himself, and he recruited several church groups to help supply the meal. Many supplied the food and some the money to pay for the food. This did three things:


Lightened Brother Buck’s load

Eased the pull on the Wesley Foundation funds

Gave the local United Methodist churches a real connection to the Wesley Foundation at Northwest.  


The only problem was the group had no place or space of their own. At the first of the semester, the students met in one room in the student center. By the end of the spring semester, They had moved four times due to the college needing the space where the Wesley group was meeting. In the end they were back in the room where they started.


Many of the students wanted to do something to help clean up on the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. They decided to sacrifice their spring break and take a trip to the coast to help in the rebuilding effort.  The NWCC Wesley partnered with Itawamba Community College Wesley and Walls UMC and took 17 students and adults to Biloxi to the Seashore United Methodist Assembly. The group stayed four days. They shingled roofs, sheet-rocked rooms and removed old wiring from damaged homes.  They came home tired, sore and sunburned but also full of the love showed to them by the people they helped.


They went to show God’s love to others and in return were also given much love. A mission trip to help others became a mission of growth; for in striving to help others one cannot but help to grow in spirit.


By the end of the spring semester the Wesley group was averaging 32 attendees. Many were coming for the home-cooked meals but most for the fellowship and sharing of the Word. The group had grown in number and spirit. The students look forward to the fall semester and the many possibilities ahead of them. They will continue to pursue the dream of a place/space of their own and becoming a group that is known on the campus as a place for all God’s children.