The Wesley Heritage benefactors, Dr. L. Elbert Wethington and his wife, Lois, have graciously provided the endowment for the Wesley Heritage programs, which is administered through the United Methodist Foundation. The monies from this endowment can be used for lectures, dramas, library resources, workshops, special faculty studies, ecumenical conversations, course offerings, a visiting Wesley scholar, or other approved projects.
Dr. Wethington was an educator in the US and the Philippines for many years and since 1990 has served as president of the Wesley Heritage Foundation. Through the years, he and his wife have donated several books and collections to Methodist University, including Mrs. Wethington’s book, Visual Poetry: My Journey into Chinese Painting and a set of John Wesley’s works in Spanish entitled Obras de Wesley, 14 volumes.
In 2011, Dr. L. Elbert Wethington challenged Methodist University personnel to find a new way of engaging Methodist University students more directly in the annual Wesley Heritage Celebration. The result was a contest in which all MU students were invited to submit proposals for creative, multimedia projects that would showcase the lives and legacies of John Wesley and/or Charles Wesley. Students were encouraged to let their creative imaginations soar and create a video; an original piece of art, music, or drama; or even a Wesley-style sermon in modern language. Elbert and Lois Wethington agreed to offer a $500 cash prize to the creator of the project judged to honor John and/or Charles Wesley in the most creative and engaging way. A committee made up of Heritage Fund officers, faculty and staff at Methodist University, and United Methodist clergy and/or lay members review the student projects and select a winner.
- 2020: “Rediscovering Christianity’s Surprise” by Dr. L. Gregory Jones
- 2018-2019: “Thank Goodness, God Is Not in Control!” and “God Can’t: Why God’s Love Is Uncontrolling” by Dr. Thomas Jay Oord (The Wesley Heritage Celebration moved from Fall to Spring.)
- 2017: “Wesley and the Poor” by the Methodist University Spring Break 2017 Mission Team to Peru
- 2016: A Celebration of the Moravian Love Feast and the Moravian Influence in Methodism
- 2015: Launch of the “Journey with the Wesleys Research Challenge”
- 2013: Lecture “Discovering the Five Passions of the Wesley Heritage” by S T Kimbrough, Jr., internationally known scholar, author, and singer, on the music of John and Charles Wesley.
- 2012: Lecture “Methodism Comes to America: The Bristol Connection” by David Worthington, Manager of the New Room at John Wesley’s Chapel in Bristol, England
- 2011: Lecture “Whence Methodist U?” by Dr. Mark Wethington, on John Wesley’s legacy in education and its implications for Methodist University, and the presentation of an original student project on Wesley.
- 2010: Wesley Heritage Seminar featuring a screening of Wesley with panel discussions featuring the film’s producer, Rev. John Jackman, and lead actor, Burgess Jenkins, along with Dr. Mark Wethington, Dr. M. Elton Hendricks, and the Rev. Phil Bauguess
- 2009: Wesley Workshop featuring “John Wesley: A Life Committed to Social Justice” by Dr. Mark Wethington, “Charles Wesley and a New Era for Congregational Singing” by Dr. Stan McDaniel, and “Will the Real John Wesley Please Stand Up?” by Dr. Kenneth J. Collins
- 2009: Ride! Ride!: A True Story from the Life of John Wesley, a two-act musical by Penelope Thwaites (music) and Alan Thornhill (libretto). Performed at Methodist University by special arrangement with Bardic Productions of London, England
- 2006: “The Whole Wesley’s Mission of Holistic Salvation: A Model for Today” by Randy L. Maddox
- 2005: “Sweet Singer: A musical play about Charles Wesley, the Sweet Singer of Methodism” by Steven Kimbrough with Timothy E. Kimbrough
- 2004: “A Matter of Heart and Life: John Wesley’s Protestant Course-Correction” by David Lowes Watson
- 2004: “Afternoon Tea with John Wesley” by Denny Wise