'JD Wesley' finds many ways to support, serve


Special to the Advocate 

Support and service are the focal points of the Wesley Foundation on the Jefferson Davis Campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Gulfport. 

The “JD Wesley” is what this campus ministry is called, and supporting the campus’s students, faculty and staff is what its members do; that and serving others through mission projects. 

The students, faculty and staff are supported with free weekly lunches. This is the ministry’s main event when everyone on campus is welcomed with friendship, foosball, scripture, prayers and a local United Methodist pastor’s “five-minute message.” The local UM churches demonstrate their support by bringing a Tuesday lunch once each semester. The pastors also come to give the message and spend time talking to the students. 

Most of the students on this community commuter campus have jobs, and many spend their Sundays working. These five minutes may be their “church.” The lunches also offer a weekly break from their struggling financial situations. 

The awarding of scholarships is another avenue of support for the JD students. Need-based financial assistance is available for active members. Leadership scholarships are awarded to active members who fulfill the leadership requirements. 

Since a large number of the students have small children, a free diaper ministry has been started. A limited number of Wal-Mart gift cards are distributed at Christmas and Easter for the children of JD students.  

Not all of the JD Wesley Foundation’s emphasis is on the campus. The ministry reaches out to others both in the community and afar. A group of students, friends and advisory board members traveled to Juarez, Mexico, to paint a missionary’s house and also to plan and provide Bible school for the 70 children who attend “Casa Amigo.” Easter baskets for local food pantries and working at a Habitat for Humanity house are two of the opportunities that the ministry has to serve others. 

The funding for student scholarships and mission trips and projects comes from the proceeds of the annual Sampling Supper. Each year more than a dozen United Methodist congregations and their pastors take part in the event. This year’s supper will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 24 at Long Beach First UMC. The pastors will wear chef’s hats and aprons as they serve samples of the dishes that are cooked by the pastors and church members. Entertainment is provided by the school’s show choir, Coastal Vibrations, directed by Dr. David Knowles.  

To find out more about the 2007 Sampling Supper contact the Wesley Director Janis Slade at wesley4jd@aol.com or call 228-863-4296.