About Wesley

Our Faith

Wesley United Methodist Church is a caring, intergenerational, inclusive faith community committed to helping people develop and deepen a relationship with God through Jesus Christ for loving service in the world.
Wesley United Methodist Church proclaims, without reservation, God’s unconditional love and grace and affirms the dignity and worth of every person as created in the image of God. We are a Reconciling Congregation welcoming into the full life of the church all persons regardless of age, ethnicity, economic circumstance, gender identity and sexual orientation. We welcome all who wish to worship God. 

Scriptural Foundation: 

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your strength,
and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
– Luke 10:27 NRSV

Simplified in the motto:
“Ai Shin, Ai Rin” (Japanese)
Translation: “Love God, Love One Another”

Our History

Wesley United Methodist Church was established in 1895 by the evangelical spirit and vision of pioneer Issei (first generation Japanese-American) Christians and the struggles and hopes of immigrant families who had come to farm the rich soil of the Santa Clara Valley.
With a simple faith, sincerely felt and expressed, these early Issei gathered to worship God, to have fellowship, and to nurture each other in Christian love.  In 1913, through their sacrifices and labor, they built the first modest church structure at our present site.  With the help of Christian community workers, they began Church School for the children.  From the church’s earliest beginnings, its women organized to provide care and support for almost every aspect of church life.
During World War II, from 1942 to 1945, Executive Order 9066 illegally incarcerated 120,000 people of Japanese descent, including U.S. citizens in isolated internment camps. During this time the church remained shuttered.
After World War II, Japanese Americans slowly returned to San Jose.  Spurred on by a steadily growing congregation, Wesley Church burgeoned with programs and ministries and new facilities.  The Choir was born; lively youth fellowships developed for junior high, high school, and young adult ages; the congregation continued to reach out with mission programs for world hunger, for abused women and children, families of prisoners, and Vietnamese refugees.
In 1952, church members built a Chapel with an entry tower, followed by a Church School building in 1959 and its second floor addition in 1964.  By 1974, our congregation had purchased more land for a parking lot and had completed a large, much needed Fellowship Hall.  And in 1989 construction of the current Sanctuary and Chapel were completed.
Many dedicated ministers of the gospel have served and guided Wesley Church during its history, and our church has influenced and nurtured several of its young members who have chosen to pursue the pastoral ministry. You can find more information in our centennial history book, which can be purchased in the main office.
Today, Wesley Church, in its English-speaking and Japanese-speaking congregations, actively serves and ministers to our community, drawing people together from all parts of the Santa Clara Valley for worship, education, and fellowship.
We rejoice with the energy and activity of our youth groups, Church School, and Young Adult Fellowship.  We find Christian nurture in Bible study groups.  Our activity calendar is filled with youth and adult conferences and camps, the church picnic, family camp and Mochitsuki (steamed rice making); workshops, discussions, and special speakers.  As Christians, we believe that we are called to a ministry of healing and reconciliation, and Wesley Church strives to be true to its call, reaching out with social concerns programs such as that for the unhoused.  We make our facilities available to senior citizens’, educational, service, and cultural groups.
Wesley United Methodist Church seeks to glorify God through a diversity of programs – and all serve as a testimony to the vitality and commitment of our Church in addressing the needs and concerns of our community.
While remaining true to its Japanese heritage, Wesley Church has become a true multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-generational church family. All are welcome to worship and fellowship at Wesley, where people of diverse backgrounds seek unity in the common ground based on the teachings and example of Jesus Christ.

Wesley Stained Glass

This beautiful stained glass, created by Alan Masaoka, can be located in the Chapel at Wesley United Methodist Church.  A description of each panel can be found below.
The Crucifixion
Scripture: Luke 23: 26, 27. “As they lead him away, they seized one, Simon of Cyrene who was coming from the country, laid on him the cross to carry it and there followed a great multitude of people.”
Simon of Cyrene had come to Jerusalem to observe the Passover and was among the crowds following Jesus. Being of large stature, they seized him to help carry the heavy burden of the cross. The opportunity to “catch the cross” may come to anyone at any time.
The Resurrection
Scripture: John 20: 14-16. She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. He said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away”. Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him, “Raboni”.
Very early in the morning, the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and two disciples came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away. They looked inside and saw the linen cloths lying there in the empty tomb. Immediately, the disciples went back to their homes.
Mary Magdalene remained alone in the garden in contemplation of the recent events. She encountered Jesus but she did not know him until he called her by name. She responded in glad surprise, “Raboni!,” and immediately recognized and accepted him as her risen Lord and Savior, Teacher, and Spiritual Guide.
The Sending Forth
Scripture: Mark 16: 15 “Go ye into all the world and proclaim the Good News to the whole creation.”
Additional scriptures:
Matthew 22:37
Love God with all your heart, soul and mind
Matthew 22:39
Love your neighbor as yourself
John 13: 34
Love each other as I have loved you
John 21: 15-17
“Do you love me truly?……Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep. Feed my sheep.”

The Stained Glass Windows are dedicated to those faithful, early pioneers who gathered for worship and religious activities, and in 1895 were chartered: the beginning of Wesley United Methodist Church, to all individuals who chose to serve God best by helping to establish, to preserve, to enhance the ministry of Wesley United Methodist Church, to those presently honored by their loved ones, to be an inspiration to all who worship in this church.