A documentary on the history of Wesley United Methodist Church will premier at the downtown Minneapolis church this week.
Produced by the Rev. Suzanne Mades, who served as pastor of Wesley Church from 2002-07, the documentary follows the church’s nearly 150 years of existence. It includes the stories of Mary Clarke Nind, who in the 1800’s raised over $17 million dollars towards mission work.
Also highlighted is Dr. George Mecklenburg, whose program of Organized Unemployment kept 7,000 families off the welfare rolls during the Great Depression.
Declining membership forced Wesley, one of the first megachurches in the Twin Cities, to disband in 2008. The towering Romanesque Revival-style building next to the Convention Center is on the National Register of Historic Places.
In more recent times, Wesley Church is known for being the first “reconciling congregation” in Minnesota, meaning it’s committed to ministry regardless of a person’s race, gender, age or sexual orientation.
In fact, Wesley church earlier this year welcomed the New Harmony congregation, which has tried to attract people from the Twin Cities’ large gay community.
According to the documentary, a new non-profit corporation is being formed to both preserve and manage the historic Wesley building. The documentary premiers Thursday at 7:30 p.m.