Three Newcomers Will Help Wesley Community Development Advance Mission
August 24, 2022
Seeking to expand the breadth and depth of its services, Wesley Community Development has added three staff members to its team of real estate professionals.
The additions enable Wesley to more fully live into its mission to imagine new models for what faith communities can look like. As the United Methodist-affiliated, non-profit organization celebrates 20 years, Wesley is working with a growing number of congregations in three states to re-purpose and/or sell property with an eye toward sustainable ministry.
Among its recent projects, Wesley helped create Prosperity Ridge Apartments in Kannapolis for seniors and built a first-of-its-kind women's and children’s shelter in Asheboro. In total, Wesley has developed more than $160 million and plans to expand into more states in the years ahead.
The trends are clear. As aging congregations contend with building and maintenance costs, there is greater interest in finding innovative re-uses of church property. That’s where Wesley comes in. The team helps clergy and lay leaders consider ways to turn facilities into assets rather than burdens.
“These team members increase our capabilities in strategic areas,” said Joel Gilland, president of Wesley. “Their combined experience and talent will support the work we are already engaged in, as well as increase our capacity to partner with our clients.”
Rachel Gonzalez, Executive Assistant to the President & CEO, has held administrative roles in education, law, municipal government and hospitality. A native of Baton Rouge, Rachel spent most of her life in Pinehurst and graduated from St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, NC with a degree in political science and philosophy.
Chad Brannan, Director of Construction and Development, brings 20 years of experience in managing projects. He’s a familiar face thanks to his work on the WNC Conference Center. Chad also supervised renovations at Rocky Mount UMC in Mooresville, Harrisburg UMC, and The Foundation for Evangelism in Lake Junaluska. Chad holds a degree in civil engineering from UNC Charlotte.
Jeff Rogers, PhD, Director of Congregational Engagement, has a background in ministry and higher education. He served in church staff positions as a pastor, guest preacher and teacher in Anglican (Canada), Baptist, Christian (Disciples), Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches. Among his publications, Building a House for All God’s Children: Diversity Leadership in the Church (Abingdon, 2008), offers biblical and practical perspectives on the journey toward embracing diversity. Jeff holds a PhD in philosophy from Princeton Theological Seminary.
Founded in 2002, Wesley Community Development helps congregations re-imagine their physical spaces to better meet modern-day needs. For church properties that have closed, Wesley helps envision what the buildings could become.
Through its signature Seeds of Change program, open to any Methodist church regardless of conference, the Wesley team works with pastors and lay leaders to assess how buildings and land are being used. They study demographics to learn more about pressing needs in their communities. The resulting dialogue sparks bold, new ideas for how churches can boost local economies, provide extra space for nonprofits who need to expand, and more.