This Methodist congregation which now serves Charleston in a large, modern, and accessible building had its beginning in a humble log cabin in 1834. As membership grew, services were held in a building at 10th Street and Van Buren which also served as a schoolhouse. A stone church dedicated at 9th Street and Monroe in1895 burned in 1914, was rebuilt in 1915, and was destroyed again by fire in 1995 while housing the Charleston Community Church congregation.
Moving to the current building on Fourth Street in 1967 enabled Wesley United Methodist Church to minister more fully to its congregation, Eastern Illinois University students and staff, and the Charleston community.
Almost from its inception the Charleston Community Early Learning Center has been located in our building. We send a representative to their board, but do not run or control CCELC, which is the only sliding scale day care in Charleston. Also on “Wesley corner,” is the EIU Wesley Foundation, a ministry of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference churches to college-aged young adults with open hearts, open minds, and open doors who seek to encounter the living God known through Jesus Christ, according to their website.
Wesley United Methodist Church is “not just a building, it's the people.” We take seriously the Three Simple Rules given by John Wesley, founder of Methodism: “Do No Harm, Do Good, and Stay in Love with God". Through the years, some of the Wesley UMC members have served as community leaders, while others volunteer to practice mission and social justice projects in quiet, unacknowledged ways.
Strong ministerial leadership, dedicated staff and multiple volunteers create inspirational services of worship and meaningful Sunday school classes for all ages.
L. Joan Gregg, Church Historian