Josh plans a reboot of UM campus ministry in Detoit.


  • Some years before 2009 the former Wayne State University Wesley Foundation ceased operations and ended their lease on space in the WSU student center.  It had been a campus ministry enriched by numerous clergy and student leaders.  Some funds designated for campus ministry at Wayne State were left in the Detroit Annual Conference account to be used at a later time.

2009 - Relaunched!

The first WSU Catalyst group visits Peaches N' Greens.

  • In the Summer of 2009, WSU student Josh McKamie served with the Young Leaders Initiative as a Summer Intern.  At the end of that experience Josh wondered if he could continue working with YLI during the upcoming school year.  With Josh's leadership a Division on Ministries with Young People grant was awarded which provided startup funds for Josh to help YLI relaunch a United Methodist campus ministry at Wayne State.
  • During the Fall of 2009 Josh and YLI Director Carl Gladstone developed a model of campus ministry unique in its approach.  Based off of the "Kingdom Assignment" projects happening in churches around the United States, each student would be given $100 to design and pursue a missional project in the City of Detroit.  The campus ministry would support these students with mentors, speakers from around the non-profit and ministry world, partner congregations, field trips and studies helping them understand the cultural context of Detroit and Christian call to active discipleship.
  • With this plan, "Catalyst at Wayne State" was born.  Weekly meetings began in Fall 2009 and the first student projects began in the second semester of that school year.

2010-2013 - An Emerging Model

Weekly speakers included US-2s, UM pastors, local non-profit leaders and more.

  • Over the next few years Catalyst continued as a registered student organization supported by a growing number of local churches along with YLI staff leadership and dollars.  The DAC Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry also became a re-founding partner during this time by making available those funds left over from the previous Wesley Foundation at WSU.
  • A growing set of student projects (see links/descriptions on our home page) were completed, giving the organization a good sense of its impact on Detroit and the students engaged.
  • Then, in 2012, Liz and Lydia Lanni were invited to come tell the story of Catalyst at the GBHEM sponsored "Imagine What's NEXT" conference.  While there they told about Catalyst, gave some examples of the student projects accomplished and then gave away 3 $100 micro-grants to NEXT attendees to pursue their own projects back on their campuses.

2014 - Motor City Wesley

Practice projects like "Design Detroit's Next Mass Transit Map" get MCW students thinking creatively about their role in Detroit's transformation.

  • By the Spring of 2014, students involved with Catalyst realized that the ministry needed to grow.  In consultation with YLI staff a plan was developed to continue WSU Catalyst as one small group in an expanding network of Catalyst-style student groups.  So, with new Covenenat Partner churches coming on board, new specific student constituencies were pursued.  Metropolitan UMC began outreach to the International students of Wayne State.  Returning Catalyst students began designing a Graduate Student group.
  • This new network also needed a new name, and "Motor City Wesley" was suggested.  While claiming the best of our United Methodist campus ministry heritage it also refocused our work on the various student communities and partner congregations in our midst and across Metro Detroit.
  • Now, through formalizing partnerships with the Detroit Annual Conference, the Michigan Area Campus Pastors Group, and new capacity-building grants being pursued, Motor City Wesley is ready to continue leading United Methodist campus ministry in the heart of Detroit consistent with Josh McKamie's unique vision from 2009.