The year 1916 marks the actual beginning of formal church activity by Methodists in the university community. Second floor rental space known as Champlin Hall was secured when it was vacated by the Presbyterians. The cost was $5.00 per month during the summer and $10.00 during the winter. On August 12, 1916 Rev. William S. Handy, appointed as student pastor in 1915, reported that there were 77 families in the college area who were Methodist by membership or by preference, so on September 24, 1916, the Campus Methodist Church was organized.
In November of 1918, Proudfoot, Bird and Rawson were secured as architects for a church consisting of three parts, a social unit, and educational unit, and a chapel. Contractors Charles Weitz and Sons began the construction of a temporary one-story building on the completed foundation of the social unit with a 40' by 60' addition in the rear. This temporary building, officially designated as Wesley Hall but generally referred to as The Shack, was opened on January 16, and was dedicated on January 23, 1921. The building proved to be one of the most popular places at the university, being in demand by such aorganizations as the Faculty Women's Club and the Cosmopolitan Club, in addition to the Wesley Foundation work which was carried on every day rather than Sundays only.
On September 29, 1955, Dr. Nichols delivered his 20th anniversary message at Collegiate Methodist Church. There were thirty-four members present who had attended his first sermon in the church. Following the service these members gathered on the front steps and had their picture taken. The men in the front row were members of the Official Board of the church when Dr. Nichols assumed the pastorate in 1935.
Laying of the cornerstone of the Student Center by Dean Walters and Dr. G.S. Nichols
In the fall of 1912, the Iowa Methodist Interconference Commission met to consider a proposal by Rev. Elias Handy that a student pastor be placed in each of our state schools. The next year, Rev. William Hints was appointed as pastor to the students at Ames. His headquarters were at First Methodist Church -- two miles from the campus. Bible study classes and other fellowship groups were held on campus in Alumni Hall. Rev. Hints continued to remind the Commission of the great need for a church and student center more in the vacinity of the campus. One year following the organization of the Campus Methodist Church in 1916, the Wesley Foundation of Iowa was incorporated, providing financial support to the campus ministry from all the Methodist churches in Iowa. Iowa State University was the second campus in the country to have a Methodist student program supported in this way. To this day, the Wesley Foundation at ISU continues to be one of only two Wesley Foundations in the United States that shares building and staff with a local congregation.
In the beginning, only a temporary Wesley Hall was constructed. Although the current sanctuary was dedicated on June 6, 1926, a wood fram building affectionately known as The Shack provided educational and fellowship space until the south and west wings were completed in 1955-1956.