New Lighting Grid for Black Box Theatre

Over this Christmas season,  Joe Frost and the Theatre faculty, and our maintenance team, have been overseeing the installation of a new lighting grid – a significant investment in the safety and ease of work for our lighting crews and future productions.  Check out Inter-America Stage’s website and see a video on their SkyDeck system.

Crews continue to work to complete the installation – safety kickplates and handrails, two stair units (a spiral set near the theatre entrance, and a straight set backstage near our costume shop door), a ladder by our tech booth, and plenty of final adjustments to be made before completion.

This is a big deal!









Need Eye Glasses? . . . Surprised by Belhaven alum (fabulous prices plus BU discount)

I took the family to find some glasses today.  We were headed to  Lens Crafters in Northpark Mall.  But came in the door at the other end on the upper floor of the mall by Men’s Store of Dillards, and walked into EYE LINE OPTICAL instead.   (Lens Crafters is at the other end in the same position related to the Women’s store of Dillards, so easy to get them confused.)

We were overwhelmed  with a kindness of service from Bridget who took care of us.  It wasn’t long before we discovered she was a strong Christan and been praying that morning because their business was slow this time of year.

Then we met the owner, and discovered he is a 1994 graduate of Belhaven – Robert Giurintano.

He’s moved to Northpark in hopes of broadening their business – but he says everyone comes in looking for Lens Crafters (at the other end).   I think when people find out about Eye Line Optical it will be his end of the mall that will be busy.

Their prices are fabulous!!!!! (I did shop the other end of the mall too.)

Their service was genuine, caring, and made selecting glasses easy.

PLUS, if you go in and tell them you are connected to Belhaven as a student, alum, staff, or family member, they will give you a discount on top of their already exceptional prices.

There is a Christmas gift for all of us – thanks Robert . . . and thanks for praying Bridget!

P.S.  And when you go, be sure to congratulate Bridget on her oldest son who is graduating from Tougaloo with a 4.0, and has been accepted into medical school at the University of Mississippi)

Christmas in Connecticut


Christmas in Connecticut: A Pastoral Prayer on the Sunday After the Tragedy
Michael A. Milton, Ph.D., Chancellor/CEO,
Reformed Theological Seminary

Oh Lord God, whose Spirit moved across the face of the deep, over the chaotic void of the preexistent earth that we see today; O Christ Jesus, whose Word of divine authority flung the stars into their place, sent the planets into their orbit, and made the sun to be so perfectly aligned to this world that there are seasons — springtime and harvest, summer’s stilling sun and winter’s protective cover —that produce good, even out of our fallen condition; You are the God who brings order out of disorder. Oh God, this was true on the Lord’s Day on the Isle of Patmos, so many years ago, when St. John, your exiled servant, far from the comforts of his community, and perhaps, even taken from his Christ-mandated responsibility to Mary, the Mother of His Lord —surely, removed from the place of his vocation, and surrounded with void and emptiness and isolation and persecution which taunted his calling and assaulted his faith, so that he must have felt nothing like a saint much less a preacher — worshiped You because it was the Lord’s Day. We are perplexed as he and yet we too come to worship.

Father, you were not absent from the chaotic scene in Connecticut nor are you removed from the void that is in the hearts of dear parents, brothers, sisters, children, husbands, wives, grandparents, teachers, and the community of grief — that Patmos in Connecticut. In the mystery of Providence and of our living in the land of good and evil we do not presume to come before your throne on this Lord’s day to affirm the enigmatic and unsearchable ways of Your nature and Your rule, for you are a good God who does not willingly afflict the children of men and yet you are so great, or else You could not be God, that there is not a single sparrow that falls without Your sovereign awareness and even, enigmatically, Your unfathomable will. We come to You not to seek to attain unto ways that are higher than ours, but to grab hold of the cloak of Jesus who came from heaven to earth, to bring the sovereign God good to our lives and who demonstrated the unfathomable ways of the Almighty when mankind is saved by the death of God, through the hands of His own creation. We rest, then, at the Cross.

Oh Lord, this is a fallen world, and we are a fallen people living among those who are making their livings playing off of our sins. Our lives are filled with gaping holes through which every unimaginable evil is now worming its way to burrow in our minds and breed evil in our souls.

O Father, we come with soul-wrenching questions that defy human answers. And our questions compose our prayer. If you were not hesitant to receive the longing of David when he cried out “How long oh Lord?” or the piercing cry of your sinless son from the timeless cross, “My God, My God, why have You for shaken Me?” then we can rest in this Bible truth; that our laments and our wailing cannot distance us from You, but only draw us closer to You. For you too wept. You too wailed over the loss of life. You are God, oh Christ, and you are one of us. What love. What pity. What understanding You have for those who hurt, much more than we can ever express or experience. Our consolation for them, and for ourselves, is therefore in You, Oh Jesus Christ.

And so on this Lord’s Day we do not feel as though we are “in the Spirit” of Christmas. It is Christmas in Connecticut and the picturesque village is decorated, like so many of our homes, with festivities to announce Your birth. Yet the screams of children and the cries of empty arms mock the carols and the blur the colors of the street lamps covered with evergreen. No, Lord, it does not feel like “Christmas in Connecticut.”” It feels like Patmos in Connecticut. It is Patmos in the souls of many of us. We are hurting. We are longing for You. Where are we to turn but to You?

Come and move across the void and chaos of our souls. Come and speak to the grieving of those who have borne the mark of evil as the One who grieved over sin and death and whose sympathies reach into the core of our humanity in a way that no human words, not even the kindest human touch, can do for healing. Healing, healing, healing, deep healing in our void, chaotic pain will only come from You.

And so as John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and he saw things that were, that are, and that shall be, send Your Holy Spirit to us — first to the parents and the loved ones of those taken from us by this atrocity, this unalloyed display of pure evil, and into the numbed souls of the countless grieving in that community — then to each of us, and to all of us. For it is Christmas in Connecticut, and that may never sound the same again to us, Oh Lord. For Yuletide greetings and winter holidays are forever replaced with the stark reality of evil and pain and the need for a goodness that is out of this world. How very much like Bethlehem in the days when you were born, Oh Christ, when the slaughter of the Innocents—did we forget?—seemed to mar our Currier and Ives concept of Christmas. Now we know—again. We know why You came. We know why we cry out, “Come again Lord Jesus.” And we know why we long to be able to remember today, in our Patmos-like lives, “We were in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. And Jesus appeared to us.”

With every deep, longing prayer of our hearts, as lowly creatures to an all holy Creator, come and save us. Come and mend us. Come and make us safe. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Today’s Adult and Graduate Commencement

Today we held our fall term commencement for adult and graduate students.  Thalia Mara Hall was filled.

This is the 129th year Belhaven students have come together for commencement.

Our speaker this morning was Dr. Dolphus Weary, and he lifted the crowd with a wonderfully inspirational message.













Here is my introduction of Dolphus from this morning:

Christian leadership demands the ability to envision a God called future that most cannot see.

Such leadership requires steadfast determination, unshakable courage, gracious service, most importantly, the relentless call to gather a momentum of people who share the goal – so that eventually the leader’s voice does not stand out, but blends with the harmony of God’s people working together.

Dr. Dolphus Weary is that type of leader.

In my years of working with, cheering for, and admiring Dolphus, I have seen a leader who not only believes that genuine biblical reconciliation is possible, but created a wave of momentum of people who also have caught that vision and are multiplying it all across our state and around the nation.

His burden is never light taking on the tough challenge of creating a Godly understanding of racial reconciliation.  But, like Belhaven University, he is committed to the task because God calls us to it, not because it is easy.

Building racial harmony on our campus, across our state, in a church, or in a community is a continuous, conscious, every-day, every-activity, every-person, every-decision process that comes from our commitment to biblical unity.  And every day Dr. Dolphus Weary is teaching, preaching, and living out how to do just that.

He is a man with a marvelous educational background that capstoned with a Doctorate of Ministry from Reformed Theological Seminary.

After completing a remarkable run as Director of Mission Mississippi he took on the task of building the REAL Christian Foundation which is committed to Rural Education and Leadership connecting economic and technical assistance with rural ministries.

And for 20 years Dolphus lead Mendenhall Ministries, founded by our friend, Dr. John Perkins.

Dolphus serves on some of the most significant national boards in the evangelical world, including World Vision, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, and most importantly Belhaven University.

In 2005 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Belhaven University.

Join me in welcoming as our commencement speaker,

  • a leader who takes on the seemly impossible because he is convinced that God’s power transforms,
  • a nationally sought after speaker who inspires people to genuine reconciliation,
  • and a friend, who is a brother in Christ, Dr. Dolphus Weary.


Rev. Tom Patete

Thomas R. Patete, longtime Executive Director of Great Commission Publications (GCP), went to be with the Lord on December 14, 2012. Patete, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church of America, served Christ’s church through his position at GCP for 34 years.

Tom received our Church Service Award at Homecoming this fall.  He was a 1964 graduate of Belhaven.

A remembrance of Tom and his significant ministry is found on the Aquila Report

Tom was one of the Lord’s most gracious servants, and was a stellar representative of Belhaven University who set a high standard for us all to follow.

Alum Victoria Jelstrom Swilley’s Film Project

If there is one issue that can bring my blood to a boiling point it is the horrible tragedy of student bullying throughout all levels of the educational system of America.

What students face today is NOT the “harmless boys-will-be-boys” play of years gone past. It is ruining lives, crushing self-esteem, and too often ending in suicide.

We don’t tolerate it at all on on Belhaven’s campus.  Nor do we tolerate ANY level of hazing, initiations, etc.  I tell our coaching staff every year, the single fastest way to get fired is to tolerate any level of hazing – you’ll be gone if you do.

(Told you it get’s my blood pressure up in a hurry.)

So….here is the real purpose of this blog post.  Read this message below from one of our most recent alums. And if God calls you to join with me in making a small gift to help her project, I think it will be an important investment.

Hello Dr. Parrott (and Alumni Office),

I’m a 2010 graduate of Belhaven, the first person to graduate from the Musical Theater track, actually. I’ve moved to Florida and begun being involved in the film industry, first as an actor, and now as a filmmaker. Right now my big project is a short film called “The Lesson”, a message film about bullying. We are trying to stay as far afield as possible from the stereotypical “jocks beating up the nerds” angle taken by most media, and instead portray bullying the way it really is, showing the potential consequences, and encouraging people to step in when they observe someone being victimized.

Here is a short video of me explaining about the film and why it’s important to me. Please take a moment to watch it; I feel it describes why we are doing this better than text alone can.

The best way to get a short film noticed and watched is to submit to film festivals, which is what we are aiming to do when production finishes. To do well in festivals, we need enough money to produce it in the most excellent way possible. We are fundraising right now via Kickstarter at the link HERE If you would like to share either link on any media (blogs, alumni blasts, whatever), I’d really appreciate it.

I do want to let you know that because of the nature of bullying (and because we are wanting to present it in a truthful, non-stereotypical way), the film isn’t going to be an easy one to watch. The script is clean (no sex or profanity), but there is some self-harm, implied violence from a parent, eating disorders, smoking, gay slurs (no openly gay characters), and racial issues are addressed as well.  At one point in the script the audience will assume that some teens commit suicide, although once the ending is reached it becomes obvious that someone has intervened, and it goes out on a positive, uplifting note. We are trying as much as possible to be truthful and tasteful in handling these issues, without being gratuitous. My aim is that God be glorified, though our company is not officially faith-based or religiously affiliated.

Our goal is to encourage people to step in, “Stand Alone” if need be, on behalf of victims; far too often people just turn a blind eye to bullying, or even blame the victims. Personally, through this film, I am trying to show that everyone is worthy of respect and love, because Jesus loved everyone, regardless of their sin or anything that made them different from the rest of society.

I hope you will feel led to help me bring awareness of this important issue more to the forefront of our societal consciousness and stop the victimization of children because they are different or don’t “fit the mold”.

God bless, and thank you for reading.

Victoria Jelstrom Swilley
Director, StandAlone Pictures



Center for the Arts New Shuttle Finally Arrived

We ordered this new vehicle at the beginning of the semester to use as a shuttle to take students back and forth to the Center for the Arts in the evenings.

It finally arrived today, and will be fully in operation when students return after the break.

Here is in it’s “winterized” configuration.  It seats six (or eight if they are smaller people) with room in the back for book bags.  Normally the sides are removed and it is open.

It can be driven in the street, but we prefer to use it on our sidewalk between Bitsy Irby and the Theatre Door of the Center for the Arts.  It makes regular stops, or is only a phone call away, during evenings when activities are taking place in the CFA.

Two Notes from Students

The campus is becoming empty as finals are finishing up.  But the warmth of a couple of notes I saw help fill the void:


A card was left in the Cube addressed “to ‘all who serve in BU  Maintenance and Housekeeping”

To all these faithful servants,
I just wanted to write and say thank you to all of you for what you do for us residents students…a great service every day.  It would not be the wonderful, enjoyable home away from home without your hard work.  So, thank you so much and I just want you to know I am so very appreciative.  Your work does not go unnoticed.  There are many appreciative people and I know they are all very thankful as well.
Thanks for making Belhaven livable and more like home.
A thankful resident


I saw this wonderfully encouraging note yesterday on one of our student’s Facebook – a home schooled student

I have been reflecting the past two days on what a journey the last four months have been. I first time since THIRD grade in a class room setting, my first college production, my first college lead role(Thanks Mare!), my first work call, my first strike, my first time living on my own, my first time studying for a test, my first A, my first C(heh…). I have had an incredible first semester of college and I’m blessed beyond measure to be surrounded by such Godly men and women at Belhaven University. If I had a dollar for everything I’ve learned… I’d have some serious dough. Nonetheless, I have made new friendships that I will have for the rest of my life. God knew what He was doing when He sent me to Belhaven.

Enrollment options for January

You can come to the JACKSON CAMPUS for traditional age students. . .


You can attend class at our ADULT AND GRADUATE campuses in Orlando, Houston, Memphis, Chattanooga, Atlanta (and Jackson) . . .


Or you can enroll from where ever you are through BELHAVEN ONLINE for one of these degree programs:

  • Associate of Arts
  • Associate of Arts in Business
  • Bachelor of Science in Management
  • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Health Administration
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Education
  • Master of Education in Reading Literacy
  • Master of Health Administration
  • Master of Public Administration
  • Master of Science in Leadership
  • Master of Sports Administration
  • Mississippi Teacher Certification
  • Online High Scholars programs for high school students
  • Online High Scholars Dual Credit for high school students


Join Belhaven’s 3,500 students and get started toward your degree in January.





2013 Homecoming Date Set

Homecoming is set for Saturday, October 26, 2013.

  • The football team will be beating Lindsey Wilson that day.
  • The theatre department will be presenting a show that weekend.
  • Other athletic teams will be competing.
  • Special events for students and alumni

Lots more in the works . . . block the date.