Visitor FAQ

We’ve tried to think of questions newcomers or visitors might have. If you have others, just ask anybody. If one person doesn’t have your answer, he or she can find someone else who does. You can call with questions to Pastor Karen at 224-1947.

Sunday Morning Service

What time should I come?

We have one service on Sunday mornings, at 10:30 a.m. The accompanist begins playing a prelude at about 5 minutes before the service time, and the service starts (usually on time) with a greeting from the pastor.

What should I wear?

You will see people in a wide variety of attire at Wesley, and we are comfortable in that diversity. In general, we tend toward the casual: slacks and jeans for both men and women with shorts and sandals in the summer. But some people like to dress up, and that's ok too. If your teenager wants to wear their torn jeans don't fret, they will be in like company. Everyone is welcome!

What goes on during the service?

The service includes bible readings, hymns, a song sung by the choir, a sermon and a time of sharing prayers of joy and prayers of concern. An offering will also be taken. The words for prayers and responses, as well as the hymns are projected onto a screen, but are also available on a printed bulletin. The bulletin can guide you as to what will be happening in the service, and indicates when, if you are able, you are requested to stand.There is usually a Children's Message during which all children are invited to come and sit on the chancel (the raised area at the front of the sanctuary) to listen to and participate in the message. It is fine for parents to come forward with their children, especially if they are young or especially shy about coming forward the first few times. (See the Children's participation section below for more information on kids & worship.)

The service usually ends with the congregation standing and being invited to join hands with the people around them while a benediction (a blessing) is given, followed by singing together a short song, "Go Now in Peace." The accompanist will then play the postlude during which time you are invited to leave the sanctuary and join the rest of the congregation on the patio for coffee and fellowship. The service usually lasts about an hour, but on a communion Sunday or with other special happenings, it may run over by a few minutes.

Do you have any hearing-assistance devices?

Yes. Ask for one at the Media Tech booth, located at the back left of the sanctuary, near the stained glass windows.

What happens after the service?

The service is followed by coffee hour and fellowship, in which we gather to catch up and meet newcomers on the patio.

When is Communion?

Holy Communion is served at the service on the first Sunday of the month. Communion is served at other special services through the year, especially during Holy Week.

Who can participate in Communion?

United Methodists practice an "open table," which means that anyone who wants to receive Communion in the spirit in which it is offered, including chilren, are welcome to come and receive both bread and cup.

How is Communion served?

We usually celebrate Communion by "intinction". The ushers direct people up the center aisle, where the Communion servers hold the bread and "wine" (non-alcoholic white grape juice, since some of us are in recovery for alcoholism). Each person receives a piece of the bread, then dips it in the grape juice and eats it. Afterwards you return to your seat by way of the side aisles for a time of prayer and reflection. While Communion is being served, we sing hymns or the accompanist plays meditative music.

Can I get a copy of a sermon?

We don't publish print copies of the sermon, but sermons are usually available as audio files from our website that can be listened to on your computer or your .mp3 player. You can find them here.

 

Getting Here

Where is Wesley located?

Wesley is located on Barstow Ave. (between Shaw and Bullard Aves.), about halfway between First St. and Cedar Ave., near Fresno State's Bulldog Stadium. Click here for a map. Look for our large sign on the southeast corner of Barstow and Fourth Street. Turn south off of Fourth St. to get to the only driveway with access to our campus.

Where do I park?

There is plenty of parking in our lots all the way around our campus. There are specially designated visitor parking spaces directly in from the driveway, and this would be a great place to park the first time you come.

How do I find the sancutary/worship space?

This can be a challenge for newcomers on our campus, which includes several separate buildings. John Wesley Hall is the multi-use space that is used for our Sunday morning worship services. It is the tallest building on our campus, and is located on the northwest corner of our property. As you come in the driveway from Fourth Street, you will see the back side of the building directly in front of you. The entrance to John Wesley Hall is from the patio in the center of our campus, and there are several walkways from the parking lots leading to the patio. If you are not sure, feel free to ask anyone you see to help you find the sanctuary.

 

The Church Building

Are the buildings handicap accessible?

Yes, all of our buildings are one-level, and wheelchair accessible. Unfortunately, we don't have automatic openers on any of our doors, but on Sunday mornings there are many friendly people who will gladly open and hold doors for you. A wheelchair accessible restroom is located in John Wesley Hall Sanctuary/worship space down the hall from the front right corner of the worship space (as you face the front).

Where is Childcare located?

As you enter the campus from the driveway off Fourth Street, you will see the fenced playground of our Childcare building ahead and to the right. The name of this building is "Education West," and the door to the Childcare center is off the green space in the center of the campus on the east side of the building. Look for the rainbow striped door in the center of the building. On Sunday mornings, this door is usually unlocked, and parents with children enter without knocking. At other times, the door may be locked for security and a Childcare staff member will need to let you in.

Where does the Sunday School meet?

At 9:15 a.m. on Sundays, our campus is a busy place with classes and groups for all ages. Sunday School has a summer break from June to August. Sunday School for children ages 3-5th grade meets in Education East building, located on the northeast corner of our campus. Look for the door in the center of the building, near the gate to the play-yard. Sunday School classes for children in grades 6-8 meet in the Winterberg Education Center (WEC), on the east side of our campus. Enter through the main door of the WEC off the green space, and in the atrium, ask to be directed to the class for your child's age group. Sunday School Room #1 is next to childcare. Sunday School for youth in grades 9-12 meets in the Youth Room, located in the Education West, in the far door closest to the parking lot. Classes and groups for adults meet in a variety of locations, depending on the expected size of the group and the space available. Look for free-standing sign-posts on the walkways each week for the classes that will be meeting that day and their locations. Common places for these classes to meet include:
  • The Fireside Room, our "fellowship hall," located off the large cement area near Education East and the Winterberg Education Center
  • Winterberg Education Center, Room #2, accessed through the main WEC entrance, and immediately to your left
  • The Office Conference Room, which can be found near the reception area of the Office (enter from the main patio)
   

Where are the rest rooms?

There are a number of restrooms available on our campus. They are located:

  • In John Wesley Hall Sanctuary/worship space, men's and women's rooms are behind the back right corner (as you face the front). Also accessed by the hallway door beside the cabinet/table in the narthex (entryway).
  • A wheelchair accessible restroom is located in John Wesley Hall Sanctuary/worship space down the hall from the front right corner of the worship space (as you face the front).
  • In the Office building, two unisex restrooms are available behind the reception area. The volunteer at the desk will be glad to direct you.
  • From the Fireside Room, mens and women's restrooms are located beyond the double doors on the east side of the building. The Office restrooms are also convenient from this location.
  • In the Winterberg Education Center, mens and women's restrooms are located behind either side of the wall of the entryway atrium.
  • Restrooms for children are also located in Education East and Education West (childcare).

 

 

Children’s Participation and Activities

May my children stay in the Sanctuary during the service?

You and your children should do whatever you feel most comfortable doing.

You are most welcome to keep your children in worship for the whole service. Some parents see helping their children learn to be a part of worship as an important part of children's faith formation. Many families have discovered bringing special books or quiet activities and even small snacks help their children not get too restless. Activity Packs (a clipboard with pencils and markers, and activity pages) are available from a box at the front of the sanctuary near the choir risers. We keep them there because we offer them to children who are staying in the worship service after the Children's Time, but you should also feel free to get an Activity Pack before the service begins.

Most children, even the very young, come to worship for the first part of the service. They are invited (but not required) to come to the front for the Children's Time. It is fine to come forward with your child if they are very young, or if they are nervous or shy about coming forward, especially the first few times. After Children's Time at the 8:30 a.m. service, children in second grade and younger are welcome to go to Childcare. We encourage children in third grade and older to stay in the service, reading the prayers and hymns with us.

If your children go to Childcare, or participate in Sunday School, we ask that you fill out a yellow "Registration Card for Children & Youth" which can be found in the chair-backs in the sanctuary and give to the staff member or teacher the first time they attend. This card gives parents/guardians a chance to give us any special information about your child that may be helpful, including allergies and other medical conditions. You should feel free to accompany your child to Childcare or Sunday School, especially if they are nervous the first few times.

What if my child becomes restless?

We understand some of the normal sounds of babies and toddlers are "sounds of life," and a part of welcoming children and families as a part of our congregation. If your baby or toddler gets fussy, and seems to be distracting to the people around you, feel free to take them to the narthex (entryway area), where there are chairs, couches and a rocking chair. There is a speaker from the sound system in the sanctuary in the narthex, so you can comfort and distract your child and still listen to the service. If your child calms, you are welcome to re-enter the service.

You are welcome as well to take any children second grade and younger to Childcare at any point in the morning.

What if my child is too young or too active to sit through the service?

Parents are welcome to take children second grade to 6 years old to Childcare at any point in the morning, beginning at 8:15 a.m.; if 5 years and under, beginning at 8:45 a.m.

What youth activities do you have?

Besides a Youth Sunday School class that meets at 9:15 on Sunday mornings (which includes a snack), our youth schedule regular service, learning and fellowship activities. Check out the Youth Ministry webpage for info on current activities, or contact Elizabeth Nixon.

 

Getting Involved

How can I be of service on Sunday mornings?

We are delighted that many people are involved in our Sunday morning activities. Volunteers are welcomed! Several different people coordinate these variety of volunteer opportunities. Contact Lorrae Emory, our Administrative Assistant, in the office who can put you in touch with the person who coordinates the area in which you are interested. Some of the opportunities to serve include:
  • Greeter
  • Usher
  • Liturgist (scripture reader)
  • Media Tech
  • Choir
  • Help with the Coffee Time at 11:30 a.m.
  • Teach Sunday School for children, or lead/facilitate a class for adults
     

Are there ways to be of service to the community through the church?

Yes, we offer a wide array of volunteerism. You can be a part of Base Camp, our weekly community meal that connects with our low-income neighborhoods, our Reading-and-Beyond after-school tutoring program, or help serve a meal to the homesless at Roeding Park. With the exception of Sunday morning, Wesley ministries are also open for a helping hand. For more opportunities, visit Volunteer

Are there Bible study or spiritual growth opportunities?

Yes. Although some groups and classes meet on a continuous basis, many spiritual growth opportunties meet in one to four weeks, which we hope will make it easier for newcomers to join in. To find current offerings go to our Adult Faith Formation page, or check the yellow announcements insert in the bulletin each week. For information about on-going spiritual growth ministries, click here.

 

Membership

How do I become a member?

Three to four times a year, Pastor Karen offers "Living the Journey" a class which explores the 6 Practices of Discipleship, our shared spiritual practices as a community. This is the only required class for membership, and members join twice a year. To be put on the list to be notified when Living the Journey is next offered, simply check the "Interested in Membership" line on a Communication Card. Members can join by transferring their membership from another church, by re-affirming their faith if a transfer is not possible, and by baptism and profession of faith if they have never been baptized. For more information about joining Wesley, contact the pastor.

What if I’m not a Methodist?

We have a number of active persons at Wesley who are not members or even United Methodists! There are very few things that non-members can't do (one is represent us to our United Methodist Conference), and we encourage non-members to plunge right in and get involved in anything at Wesley that interests you: ministry groups or projects, classes, committees, events. In fact, we hope you will get involved before you make a membership decision to check out whether Wesley is really a good fit for you as a faith community.

What are the expectations of members?

Membership at Wesley is about making promises (both to this faith community and to God) that you will "go deeper" with this community of disciples -- that you will commit your presence, participation and prayers, that you commit your time and treasure, that you commit yourself to a shared journey of deepening, growing Christian discipleship. We expect that in some way that reflects your unique spiritual journey, you will engage the 6 Practices of Discipleship.

Do I have to give a certain amount of money to the church?

We welcome all to participate with us whether or not they are able to contribute money.  We do invite all who consider Wesley their church home (whether they are official members or not) to make a commitment to contribute (to "pledge") a certain amount, either weekly or monthly.  We consider this commitment a spiritual discipline that is a part of our discipleship.  Pledges are confidential, and are known only by the bookkeeper and the finance secretaries who keep records of giving (to be able to give you records of your giving at year end).
It is entirely up to you to decide how much to give, and a pledge is not binding.  We know that the financial circumstances of families and individuals can change quickly, and your pledge can be modified or withdrawn at any time.  In deciding what to give, we offer the guideline of a percentage of income as a way to level between those who have more and those who have less.  We commend the biblical practice of a "tithe" or 10% of your income, but the important thing is to do what you can.  Some have found that reaching 10% was less of a struggle when they started with their current giving level and increased it by 1% per year (or even 0.5% per year).