The Blessing of the Hands

The Belhaven University School of Nursing held its first Blessing of the Hands Ceremony on September 25, 2014 in the Prayer Room.


The ceremony is a nursing tradition that is usually done before students begin their first clinical experience. It allows students an opportunity to consider the importance of finding balance between their caring hearts and hands and the provision of nursing care that occurs within a healthcare delivery system, which is complex and often unpredictable. It is a symbolic representation of how the hands should be used to deliver care and compassion and be a blessing to all that nurses encounter.

Dr. Barbara Johnson, Dean of Nursing, offered the opening prayer and introduction of guests. Dr. Seth Starkey, Director of Campus Ministries, spoke to the nursing students about the healing ministry of Jesus and how it relates to the practice of nursing. He iterated how faith in a loving and caring God was essential in order to handle the multitude of circumstances that caring for patients may present. Following the message, each nursing student and faculty extended both hands, palms up and Rev. Starkey gave the blessing.


Following the ceremony, each nursing student was presented white Testament Bibles from the Gideon’s International. It was truly a blessing to all.

DOXA Elects Officers

“DOXA means glory.”

That’s what you will hear the dancers in Belhaven’s dance club say. Open to anyone, DOXA provides dance majors and non-dance majors alike an opportunity to glorify God through this student-led organization.

The organization, one of the most popular on campus, recently elected officers for the 2014-2015 school year are Edward DeShane (President), Arianna Marcell (Vice President), Hannah Janssen (Secretary), Taylor Ellen (Treasurer), Alayna Brenchley & Kaleb Reilly (Chaplains), Abigail Stauffer (Public Relations Officer), Marian Bayer (Production Manager). Cynthia Newland is the faculty advisor for the group.

DOXA is not just a club you “join”, instead you participate and go to the activities held by the organization. It is a great way for dance majors to get to know and bond their fellow dancers outside of the dance department and classes. DOXA coordinates dance student events such as Secret Encouragers and the Eagle of the Week. The Secret Encourager is where every dancer is given a name of another dancer to stealthily encourage them throughout the second semester of the school year.

The Eagle of the Week is given out during the Dance department’s weekly meeting. The Eagle of the Week is given to someone who has shown servanthood, leadership, encouraged others, and progressed that week. The eagle is given from the previous receiver to the person that has inspired them that week and who needs encouragement. DOXA is a ministry to the dancers from the dancers, there are times where DOXA holds events or worship nights.

“DOXA is great for our student body because it encourages us and reminds us to really just focus on the Lord,” said Stephanie Morales. “It reminds us that even though we are here to dance, we’re also here to worship and be His servants. It’s a really encouraging organization.”

DOXA holds a concert in November and is where dance majors, minors, or non-dance majors audition and are selected to perform a piece choreographed by students. For more information, check out DOXA’s web page.


RUF at Belhaven: Finding the Answers

It comes as a shock to many devout church goers when they are told that around 70 percent of teens leave the church after they begin their college careers. This is perceived as one of the biggest problems facing the modern evangelical church today – where are all of our young people going?

Church leaders of both churches and college campus ministries try to stem the exodus of young adults from the church, but too often their attempts don’t aid the cure, they feed the disease. Perhaps one exception, though, is the Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) ministry right here at Belhaven University.

RUF is the official campus ministry of the Presbyterian Church of America. It started in the latter part of the 1970’s with several young PCA ministers seeing the need to reach out to young college students and now has ministries on more than 100 college campuses throughout the United States. Each of these are different, but each adheres to the basic goals of RUF: proclaim God’s Word and foster strong Christian community. For those earnestly seeking the truth, in many ways this makes RUF a very approachable and user friendly ministry. As we will see though, this is not taken so far as to dilute their message or potency.

Reverend Seth Starkey, the campus minister for the RUF on Belhaven’s campus, has a passion for RUF and for the students under his care. His bluntness is the first thing I noticed about Seth; after growing up with wishy-washy, people pleasing youth pastors, I am not alone in appreciating his straightforward, no nonsense approach to witnessing to students.

He starts off every RUF function by making things personal and relational.  His preaching is directly to the point, and he is not afraid to speak candidly with students. “Don’t come to RUF if all you plan on doing is hiding out with other Christians whom you are comfortable hanging out with,” he said.  This might make people uneasy, but that is the point Starkey tries to get across – Christianity is not supposed to be a comfortable or safe topic, genre, or lifestyle.

There are many ways to get involved in Belhaven RUF. Every Tuesday night, RUF meets at 9:00 p.m. in Barber Auditorium. Reverend Starkey, along with Ryan Berkompas and Mary Hope Bray, RUF interns, lead this time of worship, Bible reading, and studying of the Christian faith. Seth also leads a weekly Freshman Bible study every Thursday at 4:00 p.m. in the Cooper Room at the back of the cafeteria.

One of the most important ways RUF reaches students on campus is through their small groups. These gender specific gatherings of five to six students meets once every one to two weeks and serves as a close and personal way to experience Christian community and fellowship. In addition to these group activities, Seth, Ryan, and Hope all try and make it easy to schedule a one on one conversation. All of these combined help make it very easy to be welcomed into the RUF community at Belhaven.

In the first meeting of the Freshman Bible study last week, Seth opened it up by stating “You should always have more questions than you have answers.” Belhaven University Reformed University Fellowship serves students as both a safe place to ask questions and a sincerely honest forum for finding the answers. For more information about RUF at Belhaven, visit or check out their Facebook Page.

Going Viral

In this technology-driven world, staying ahead of the curve is more important that ever. Universities across the nation, including Belhaven, have invested resources into building engaging social media communities.

Social media can be a great equalizer in today’s competitive marketing environment. Belhaven’s social media efforts were honored as the top in the state (besting all private universities and the larger state universities) by the College Public Relations Association of Mississippi. Our Facebook page is one of the nation’s most engaging. But what happened one recent afternoon took Belhaven viral.

Construction crews have started on the $9 million University Village, which will be a state-of-the art, high-end apartment complex located in the middle of campus. One of the challenges that we knew we would face is how to get the heavy equipment to the construction site. On the afternoon of August 19, it became a little less challenging.

Construction crews were unable to make the turn without hitting the guard house. As the video shows, the guard house was completely destroyed.  After reviewing the video, and being thankful that no one was injured, we decided to release the video on our YouTube channel and our Facebook page.

The video have been watched over 85,000 times, including almost 50,000 in the first 24 hours! All of the local Jackson news stations, as well as national cable outlet MSNBC and stations as far away as North Carolina and Rhode Island picked up the video. We saw traffic on our website and our other social media channels grow as well.

Social media is now a very integral part of a university community. Our students are as likely to find us on Facebook as they are our website. In addition to our YouTube and Facebook pages, the university maintains official Twitter and Instagram accounts, @belhavenu .  If you are a member of a social media community, give Belhaven a like or follow and keep up with all the news and events happening from campus.

You never know, another guard house could be knocked down.