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Church foundation set to take over dorm management

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FROM THE TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH:

Church foundation set to take over dorm management
BY REBECCA HOEFFNER
rhoeffner@tylerpaper.com

The Wesley Foundation at Tyler Junior College will take over management of the campus' West Hall dormitory, effective in the fall of 2013.

"This is a historic occasion," Mike Metke, president of Tyler Junior College, said. "As far as I know, we are the first 2-year college to do this. We are excited about the innovative approach."

The Wesley Foundation, a branch of the United Methodist Church that focuses on ministry to TJC students, had been outgrowing the Wesley Foundation Methodist Student Center for some time, said the Rev. Sunny Farley, director of the Wesley Foundation.

"Our mission is to serve and support all students, and we will be more equipped to do that," the Rev. Farley said. "It's our Christian calling."

The dormitory's name has been changed to Wesley House, in recognition of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Movement.

Tyler Junior College was interested in purchasing the building the Wesley Foundation had outgrown, next to the campus on South Baxter Avenue. The organization had been there since the 1950s, the Rev. Farley said.


The organization sold the building to the school in exchange for a 30-year lease agreement to manage the dormitory.

The facility can accommodate about 40 students, and the organization will run its usual Bible study and free lunch programs there as well.

Even though TJC is a public school, there is a demand for faith-based housing, said Ralph Allen, board member at the Wesley Foundation.

"It's an opportunity to expand the ministry that's provided to all students, and offer the added ministry to students who want to live in a Christian environment," he said.

School officials went to the Texas Attorney General to make sure there wouldn't be any separation of church and state issues, Metke said.

"We were very careful," he said.

The Wesley House will accept applications in the coming weeks. For more information, visit tylerwesleyhouse.com.
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