The Midler Ave Wesleyan Church is the oldest church in Eastwood according to historical records. It began June 4th, 1896, when a small group of Christians formed The Eastwood Union Church. Dr. Rev. John S. Willett was called to serve as pastor and began preaching in July. This new responsibility was in addition to his work as assistant editor of the Wesleyan Methodist Connection’s (denominational) periodical. The following year, 1907, the congregation voted to become a member of the Wesleyan Methodist Connection. Money was saved, plans developed and the present building was constructed and completed in 1915. In 1918 the present 1,400 lb. bell was placed in the belfry, and still rings every Sunday calling people to worship. The church grew and was attended by many leaders who served in the denominational headquarters located in the center of Syracuse. Rev. Willett served as pastor for 28 years. Following his death in 1935 the church was renamed Willett Memorial Wesleyan Methodist Church in his honor.
In 1968 the Wesleyan Methodist Church merged with the Pilgrim Holiness Church and the new denomination was named The Wesleyan Church. Shortly thereafter the congregation approved changing the church name to Midler Avenue Wesleyan Church.
The Wesleyan Church
The name "Wesleyan" is in honor of John Wesley, a priest in the Church of England who was the inspiration and founder of the Methodist movement. It was while studying the Bible that he received assurance of his own salvation through faith. This led to his preaching the good news of God’s love and grace to the common people of England that resulted in that nation's greatest spiritual revival. It was biblical truth that motivated Wesley to develop a school for orphans, create a job programs, provide medical assistance for the poor, work to reform inhumane prisons, and argue for the abolition of slavery. In his words, the Bible is "the only and sufficient rule for Christian faith and practice.” This remains the conviction of The Wesleyan Church today.
It was that very conviction that motivated Methodist pastors to work for the abolition of slavery in United States. Failing to get Methodist Episcopal Church to outlaw members from owning slaves, many Methodist pastors and members with drew in protest. In 1843, they attended a convention in Utica, New York and voted to form The Wesleyan Methodist Connection. The pastors and members of the new denomination worked tirelessly to abolish slavery and help slaves get to freedom on the underground railway, and to secure equal rights for women. In 1853 the young denomination became the first church in America to ordain a woman. Ever since, women have equal opportunity with men to serve in Christian leadership and ministry in The Wesleyan Church.
The Wesleyan Church has become a global church with 5000 churches serving in over ninety countries. The mission of The Wesleyan Church is to fulfill the vision of transforming lives, churches, and communities through the hope and holiness of Jesus Christ.
Midler Ave Wesleyan Church Today
The church family is a Bible based, love motivated, group of Christians committed to obeying and keeping the two Great Commandments, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' and 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Loving God is in response to His love for mankind, and is expressed in worship, learning and obeying. Loving others is expressed in living out the “golden rule” in personal relationships and service.
The church family seeks to be a place where others can come and find acceptance and encouragement while learning from God’s word how to live a Christian life of faith and purpose, filled with hope and peace. They seek to be a congregation where one can experience healing for the wounds of life, forgiveness for sin that hurt others, trust is developed, and healthy relationships are establish and enjoyed.
The church family is committed to work together in harmony to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus to make disciples of all nations, by sharing His love and truth with others, inviting them to become His faithful followers and instructing them in all He taught about salvation and living a holy life filled with the sure hope of heaven.