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The word faith comes from a Latin word fidere, which means to trust or to believe. In the late eighteen hundreds, our founders, many of whom were prominent figures in the United Methodist Church, believed that a Methodist institution of higher learning was needed to serve the educational needs of the people of the Northwest Conference of Kansas.
With faith, perseverance and the support of local businessmen and church leaders, Kansas Wesleyan University opened its doors in 1886. Much of the Wesleyan community held membership in the First United Methodist Church on 8th Street; however, a lack of transportation and unpaved roads made it difficult to attend services, elevating the need for an on-campus church. Space constraints soon spurred conversations of building a stand-alone church across the street. Wesleyan faculty and staff donated a percentage of their salaries to fund the church, which opened in 1917, as University United Methodist Church.
The relationship between Kansas Wesleyan and University United Methodist Church has flourished for nearly a century. Many of the ministers and staff received degrees from Kansas Wesleyan, and many of our students became active members and administrators at the church. The Lectionary Cross you see today is carried in all formal events on campus. Carved on the cross are the KWU and UUMC letters, symbolizing the strong connection between the university and its neighbor church.
University United Methodist Church has become part of the Wesleyan experience, including providing the longtime traditional Sunday Buck Meal for our students. Together, the University United Methodist Church ministers and our campus ministry staff provide numerous opportunities for faith sharing, prayer and dialogue that allow students of all faiths to feel welcome as they continue to search for meaning in their life.
More than 10,000 students have found the unique blend of academic excellence and spiritual development a perfect foundation for personal and professional growth at Kansas Wesleyan University.