The Wesley Foundation in Cambridge was founded in 1918 to serve the spiritual and social needs of United Methodist students at Harvard, Radcliffe, MIT, Wellesley, and Lesley. In the late 1940’s through the early 1960’s, it was not uncommon to have over 100 students attend Wesley Foundation Sunday evening activities at Harvard-Epworth. Students prepared and enjoyed a common meal, listened to and debated with outstanding speakers about religion, ethics and philosophy, and shared in student-led worship services. Retreats and social outreach projects were also popular during those years.
In the early 1960’s, several of the leading members of the Harvard-Epworth congregation made significant gifts to the Wesley Foundation in Cambridge to support this ministry, and in particular to facilitate the purchase of a parsonage for its full-time director. A two-family house on Avon Hill Road and Bates Street was purchased. The unit on Avon Hill was occupied by the director of the Foundation; the unit on Bates Street was rented out. By the mid 1960’s, however, student interests had shifted, and the desire to maintain a director of student activities vanished. At that time, the Wesley Foundation offered use of the Avon Hill parsonage to Harvard-Epworth.
The Wesley Foundation currently supports campus ministries through contributions.In addition, the Foundation funds an intern at Harvard-Epworth whose mission is to develop on campus ministries.The Wesley Foundation also supports the parsonage for Harvard-Epworth.