McNair Great Commission Fund Available to Students

This week at Belhaven’s weekly Chapel, the McNair Great Commission Fund was announced.

The fund exists to create energizing experiences for Belhaven students by first, challenging all Belhaven students to be cross-cultural missions-minded in all careers as well as considering and evaluate their call to full-time cross-cultural missions.

“Many years ago, a generous donor created a fund to encourage students to explore cross-cultural missions,” said Anna Maria Russo, who serves as the Student Ministries coordinator.

Recent students have used McNair funds to serve in Japan, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark, among others. Interested students can contact Anna Maria Russo at or the Office of Student Leadership at

Belhaven Students Celebrate Annual MLK Day of Service

The motto of Belhaven University is “To Serve, Not to Be Served,” and for over 10 years, students, staff and faculty at Belhaven have participated in the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Day.

This year, over 300 students volunteered at charitable organizations around Jackson. Athletic teams, student organizations, residence hall groups and groups of friends took their day off of class to serve the community.

“The campus-wide MLK Service Day is a great way for the Belhaven University community to come together to serve those around us, said, JoBeth Petty Murphree, Director of Student Leadership. “Serving others was at the core of all that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did in his lifetime and is a significant part of the legacy he left us.  This day is set aside to honor him and help others!”

One of the organizations that Belhaven students served on Monday was the Spencer Perkins Center, an outreach effort of the John M. Perkins Foundation. The center is committed to the development of inner city youth, community development, and teaching and training opportunities.

Minister and Civil rights pioneer John M. Perkins is pictured above with a group of Belhaven students. One of the organizations that Belhaven students served on Monday was the Spencer Perkins Center, an outreach effort of the John M. Perkins Foundation. The center is committed to the development of inner city youth, community development, and teaching and training opportunities.

John M. Perkins serves on the Belhaven University Board of Advisors, and has received an honorary doctorate from Belhaven to celebrate his civil rights work. Fellow CCCU member Seattle Pacific University recently opened the John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training and Community Development, and Christian band Switchfoot released the song “The Sound (John Perkins’ Blues).”

Other Jackson-area organizations such as Mission First, We Will Go, Habitat for Humanity, as well as area churches received volunteers from Belhaven this year.

Spring Chapel Schedule Set

As the spring semester is getting started, its time to take a look at the upcoming Chapel schedule, which begins Tuesday, January 20. Chapel takes place from 9:35-10:25 am and from 11:00 -11:50 am on Tuesdays, and is required of traditional undergraduate students.

Throughout the semester, Dr. Roger Parrott will teach a series entitled Unexpected Encounters with Jesus, which takes a look at the Gospel of Luke. The series begins with the semester’s first scheduled chapel this Tuesday.

On February 10, Ms. Tiffany Dawn, a songwriter, speak and author from New York will speak regarding her book, “The Insatiable Quest for Beauty” and its ministry. Dawn’s book is a series of twelve “coffee dates” in which she shares her journey into confidence.

Two prominent pastors will also join us for chapel this spring. On February 17, Dr. Lon Allison, Pastor of Teaching and Outreach at Wheaton Bible Church in Chicago will speak, and on March 17, Rev. David Strain, Senior Minister at First Presbyterian Church of Jackson will lead chapel.

On March 24, we will celebrate Missions Emphasis Week and hear from Mr. Jeff Shaw. Shaw is affiliated with the Out of Darkness Anti-trafficking Ministry in Atlanta. The mission of the ministry is to reach, rescue and restore all victims of commercial sex exploitation, so that the glory of God may be known.

On April 7, Mr. Sunny Park, CEO of Atlanta-based General Building Maintenance, Inc., will speak to students at chapel, and we will close the semester on April 14 with the Arts Festival of Worship, led by our talented student artists.

For a full schedule, visit the Belhaven University Chapel page. For parents, alumni and friends interested in Chapel, audio and video recordings of most chapel services  are available on the Chapel Blog. Follow Belhaven University on Facebook and Twitter to receive updates when each chapel service is posted.

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.

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.