Beginning in June 1989, wide consultation was undertaken to address the urgent need of the Works of Wesley in Latin America, and critical consideration was given to the ways and means of serving this need. In August 1990 the Wesley Heritage Foundation, Inc. was chartered as the legal and financial vehicle through which this verified, urgent need could be met by translating and publishing a scholarly edition of the works of Wesley in Spanish. In October 1990 the Foundation committed itself to the financing and administration of the program developed by an international Design Team of ecumenical church leaders and Hispanic and Anglo scholars of Wesley. OBRAS DE WESLEY consists of 14 volumes,including sermons, journals and letters, the Notes Upon the New Testament, and all of the major treatises. With Professor Justo Gonzalez as the general editor, 17 Hispanic scholars participated in the translation of the Works of Wesley (Bicentennial Edition).Since the production of the 14-volume set was completed in October 1998 (approximately 10 years after the inception of the project), OBRAS DE WESLEY has been widely distributed and subsidized by the Foundation, especially among the family of Churches with roots in Wesley, throughout Latin America and in the United States. Many local United Methodist Churches in the United States, along with national boards and agencies and other groups, have been sponsors of numerous sets that have found their way into the studies, homes, district offices and seminaries of Wesleyan people throughout Latin America and the US. In June 2002 a study guide, “Guia de Estudio,” was published by the WHF to assist persons in the use of OBRAS DE WESLEY.
On one occasion of the public presentation of OBRAS, the General Editor, Dr. Justo Gonzalez, said, “For the first time, Wesley’s Works are available to the millions of people who speak Spanish. Wesley will be free to speak for himself, resulting in a more indigenous, authentic Methodist tradition developing among those who speak Spanish. I envision, in the time to come, some scholar yet unborn coming . . . with new insight because of the work done to make available Wesley in Spanish.” In a keynote address at the Global Consultation on the Impact of Las Obras de Wesley, Dr. Mortimar Arias said this, “The translation and publication of Las Obras de Wesley is a key that, potentially, may open the Wesleyan heritage to any candidate among the more than three hundred millions of Spanish speaking peoples in the Americas and in other places of the world. Language is the first key to receive the message, like the listeners at the First Pentecost, who heard the Word “en su propia lengua.” Because of this major [translation] undertaking, the 18th century Evangelist of England, John Wesley, is not confined to the land of his birth or to the English speaking nations; Wesley is right now speaking and preaching in Spanish of the 21st century, and in many parts of the world.”
Having completed the translation, publication (Phase 1) and distribution (Phase 2) of the Wesley Heritage Project, the Foundation is now focusing its efforts on defining and shaping Phase 3. Phase 3 is committed to the promotion of Wesley studies and spirituality. Through the use of income from the Wesley Heritage Endowment and other sources, the Wesley Heritage Foundation will be seeking to encourage scholarly research and publication in the area of Wesley studies and spirituality among Hispanic churches, pastors and lay leaders, academic institutions, scholars and students. The President of the Board of Directors, with Board review and approval, seeks out proposals and projects which make available additional resources in the Wesleyan tradition of theology and spirituality including books, scholarly treatises, multi-media presentations, spiritual formation materials, etc. The Board, and the Church at large, is extremely grateful to Dr. and Mrs. L. Elbert Wethington who first established the Wesley Heritage Endowment, and in particular, to Dr. Elbert Wethington, who was President of the Foundation for 25 years and who guided the translation, publication and distribution project. Dr. Mark W. Wethington, a United Methodist pastor for 30 years, has been President since Dr. Elbert Wethington’s full retirement in 2005.
Projects in process of development or discussion:
1. Availability of Obras de Wesley on the website
2. Paperback reprint of Obras de Wesley
3. A written history of the INMP of Guatemala
4. DVD/Video in Spanish on “Practicing the Means of Grace” in cooperation with UM Communications
5. The translation of 27 Wesley sermons into Cuzco Quechua
6. The translation of 27 Wesley sermons into K’iche for Guatemalan Mayan Methodists and Pentecostals of Guatemalan highlands
Contributors to recent projects or to general support of the Foundation: $5000 Grant from the North Carolina Annual Conference of the UMC Peace with Justice funds to support the CD Edition of Obras de Wesley; Gifts from Individuals
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