Rooted in Hope: Cultivating Generosity and Grace
Wesley United Methodist Church has always been ROOTED IN HOPE, back to its founding over 125 years ago – a hope to create a place where everyone was welcome. When the Issei, first generation Japanese-Americans, were facing discrimination and exclusionary laws, they established Wesley as a place of worship, a place of belonging, and a place of hope. Through its rich history and thoughtful stewards of its mission, today, Wesley continues to carry the message of hope and belonging to the church community and beyond.
The strength of Wesley comes from the many generations who have nurtured the church, its programs, and people, with great care. Through reconciling ministries, youth and family programs, and Compassion ministries and outreach programs, the church continues CULTIVATING GENEROSITY AND GRACE for future generations. This past year provided many highlights, and thanks to the generosity of church members and friends of the 2023 Stewardship and Capital Campaigns, we were able to achieve the following:
  • Created additional staff support roles: We are almost fully staffed and we now have a Director of Administration to directly support our Senior Pastor, staff, and ministries, as well as a Media and Technology Coordinator to expand our online presence. We are also able to now provide administrative support to the Nichigo congregation and Compassion ministry.
  • Became a partner organization with Second Harvest Food Bank: As part of our Compassion ministry, our church community now distributes three pallets of food to folks in our neighborhood every week, including 35 families from Grant Elementary School.
  • Kicked off Neighbor Groups: More than 80 people are now involved in our new Neighbor Groups that meet once a month in homes across the Bay Area.
  • Collaborating with the San Jose Buddhist Church: We are co-sponsoring the First Annual Japantown Curry Cook-Off in November, benefiting Yu-Ai Kai Senior Services and the Nikkei Matsuri Foundation.
  • Updated spaces to better facilitate meetings and fellowship: We redesigned the Fireside conference room and the Administrative building office, and relocated resources from the former Fireside Room to the Nichigo Library, where we have also created space to serve as a small conference room.
  • Rolled out the new Wesley UMC App: We launched a new app to centralize all Wesley information, which includes everything from worship bulletins, upcoming events, and prayer requests, to online giving.
  • Progress made with garden project and fencing: The glass doors and additional windows in the Fellowship Hall were installed to provide better access and viewing of the new garden, and security fencing was installed around the perimeter of the 5th Street property, given trespassing and vandalism on church property. Funds are in place to complete the garden and the additional fencing in the back lot.
  • New Wesley UMC signage underway: We are currently in production of our new signage (Wesley UMC and flaming cross) at the 5th Street entrance of the sanctuary, which will improve the overall visibility of our church.
Now is a time of renewed strength at Wesley – a time of new leadership, a continued commitment to creating a place of belonging, and enriching opportunities for connection and fellowship within the church and greater community. We cannot do this alone – we need the collective power of Wesley to support our ministries. We hope you can continue to cultivate generosity and grace in our church and community by giving of your time, talents, and financial support of the church, to help Wesley to grow in ministry.
Join us in supporting Wesley’s Stewardship Campaign (General Fund). There is much to look forward to at Wesley, and with God’s strength and love, we will surely soar on wings like eagles.
2024 Stewardship Campaign
The Stewardship Campaign finances Wesley United Methodist’s General Fund, which supports the day-today operations of Wesley UMC, including staffing (pastoral compensation, housing allowances, health insurance, pensions), ministry expenses, committee work, and general building maintenance.
The heart of the General Fund supports many ministries of the church, including God’s Garden (Sunday School) children’s programming, Youth Ministries (including the MYF/high school and CAF/middle school programs), as well as other ministries under our Council of Ministries. Staff compensation (57%), maintaining our facilities (24%), and contributing to the conference ministries (12%) are the largest expense items coming out of the General Fund. Many other needs are provided by fundraising and designated giving, such as memorials, endowments, and missions.
Our estimated 2024 budget for the General Fund is $924,000. In 2023, 99% of the General Fund budget comes from generous private support from church members and friends of the church including estimates of giving through the Stewardship Campaign, plate offerings, holiday offerings, and one-time donations. Of private donations, about 80% of the operating budget is made through estimates of giving through the Stewardship Campaign. Additional revenue is generated through church fundraisers (such as the Aki Matsuri and Nikkei Matsuri) and building rentals, but both have been significantly reduced over the last few years.
In addition to all that the General Fund supports (as outlined above), the 2024 Stewardship
Campaign will support the following:
• Hire a pastor to support our Nichigobu congregation
• Replace fluorescent light bulbs with LED bulbs throughout the entire church campus
• Provide ongoing landscape services for the new garden once it is complete
Note: We would like to call out that we will not have a Capital Campaign this year. Thanks to the many donors who gave to the past Capital Campaign, we made great progress on the garden, doors to the Fellowship Hall, and fencing around the church. We are in a strong position to finish out the projects. With that said, there are additional investments to our buildings that will need to be addressed in the near future (kitchen and Fellowship Hall updates, etc.). We are in the process of compiling a comprehensive list of priorities to enhance Wesley UMC for the near and long term, and will be in touch in the future.