Wesley to take stand at Millsaps


Danielle Cook
The Purple & White

John Wesley will soon appear at Millsaps College.

A model of a proposed statue of Wesley has been completed by Ben Watts, a 1980 Millsaps graduate.

The proposed statue of John Wesley will feature the clergyman in his circuit rider clothing with a Bible in hand.

A location for the statue has not been decided, but one possible choice would have Wesley “close to the library, overlooking the Bowl,” says Kay Barksdale, a member of the group working to acquire funding for the statue and oversee its implementation.

“We’re hoping the Wesley statue would be the first of many statues of great thinkers, great Americans and great leaders which might help inspire our faculty and students to consider their own personal contribution to the world,” Barksdale explains. “Wesley would be a great first choice, as Millsaps seeks to embody Wesley’s view of education and service.”

Millsaps has received support from The United Methodist Church since the school was established in 1890.

“John Wesley is the founder of the Methodist movement, and we are a United Methodist college,” said the Rev. Lisa Garvin, the Millsaps chaplain.

“We seek to embrace the Wesleyan traditions of academic freedom and intellectual growth, connecting the life of the mind to the habits of the heart and a commitment to the least, the last and the lost.”

 “Millsaps has a Methodist heritage, and it’s important to acknowledge that,” Millsaps senior Andrea Dewey says.

“Also, John Wesley was an influential thinker, not just in the church but in many aspects of our daily lives, so he’s a great person to memorialize.”

The statue will be a gift from the Millsaps classes of 1964, 1965 and 1966. Fund raising began when Millsaps Class of 1966 alumnus Lee McCormick visited the campus two years ago.

After seeing a statue of Gandhi, given to Millsaps by the India Association of Mississippi, McCormick recognized the potential for other statues around the campus.

He sent letters encouraging a fund-raising move for a Wesley statue, stating that “a statue of John Wesley is certainly appropriate reflecting our Methodist heritage and recognizing the continued support the college gets from the church.”