Church Relations FAQs
Why should Virginia Wesleyan College value its relationship with the United Methodist Church?
It is part of our heritage. Virginia Wesleyan College exists because of the sincere desire of the United Methodist Church to promote higher education. The school was chartered in 1961 by a grant from the Virginia Conference of the Methodist Church. Our very name comes from John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.
Is our relationship with the United Methodist Church compatible with a liberal arts college?
The intent of Virginia Wesleyan's charter was to create a church-related liberal arts college that would encourage critical and independent thinking among students of all religious and cultural backgrounds. Virginia Wesleyan has never used religion as a test in hiring employees or for determining the eligibility of students for admission.
Does the Church restrict speech, thought or inquiry?
The United Methodist Church has never tried to interfere with free speech or expression on campus. Law, societal standards and respect for others determine school policy on such matters. The College has also been free to set its own standards in the area of curriculum, without guidance by the Church.
Why should non-Methodists care about the College's relationship with the Church?
The answer might have to be a more practical one, involving simple economics. Everyone at Virginia Wesleyan, regardless of religious belief (or non-belief), receives a financial benefit from the school's relationship with the United Methodist Church. The Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church is the largest single donor to Virginia Wesleyan's Annual Fund. The Church has also been a significant donor to the current Key to the Future Campaign and its gift is projected to exceed $1 million by the Campaign's end. Interestingly, a large number of the top individual donors identify themselves as United Methodists, and base their giving on the College's strong ties to the Church. This money benefits all students, faculty and staff, alike, by making Virginia Wesleyan a wonderful place to learn, teach and work.