Keep up with all the stories and opinions of students. Opinions published are not necessarily those of MVNU, the Church of the Nazarene or Viewer advertisers. The Viewer does not necessarily uphold or advocate opinions published.

MVNU Empowers Exception[al] Female Ministry Students
By: Cat Dugan
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The Church of the Nazarene has empowered and ordained women since 1908. Aligning with the Nazarene position on the matter, Mount Vernon Nazarene University prepares its female ministry students to minister to all age levels and genders. Yet, some do not believe that God calls and equips women to the same degree as he equips men. 


Conversations at a women’s leadership event led Jennifer Ballenger, assistant professor of youth and family ministries, to realize how many students across campus heard grumblings over a woman’s right to the pulpit. Ballenger recalled attendees asking, “How can I be more supportive of women in ministry?” Female ministry majors chimed in, discussing how some of their closest friends “loved them but didn’t support their call because they weren’t sure what to do with women in ministry.”


In 2021, Ballenger co-created Exception[al] with now-alumna Lauren Lain to meet the needs of female ministry students. In naming the group, Ballenger and Lain recognized that even complementarians must admit the Bible includes “exceptions” to the patriarchal rules of its time. Ballenger recalls Lain saying, “Not only are we exceptions, but we’re called to be exceptional.”


Ballenger seeks to remind her students that “the heart of the denomination believes, affirms, celebrates and welcomes women in ministry.” This year, Ballenger leads with her eldest daughter, Brooklynn Ballenger, and junior Elizabeth “Ziz” Heimbach. Both student leaders are passionate, encouraging and inclusive. Exception[al]’s leadership team encourages rising female ministers to excel in different leadership roles and to be active participants in the classroom while at MVNU.


Affirming his female colleagues and students, Dr. Doug Van Nest, dean of the school of Christian ministry, said he is “privileged to work with women who are incredibly gifted and tremendous blessings to the Church.” Van Nest concluded, “The Church is much richer because of women’s voices, and we should do all that we can to support them and create even more opportunities for them to serve.”

Commuter versus Residential Life
By Zach Baur 

Mount Vernon Nazarene University hosts many commuters who live off-campus. The experience of commuting is fairly different from that of students who live on campus. Brianna and Brycen Wood, a married couple who commute, not only visit campus for classes and to see friends, but also to do laundry, as they don’t have room for a laundry room in their apartment. Brycen says that “Waking up and not having to drive to campus sounds amazing. Those who have to get up early and drive over are bound to become tired in class sometimes.” 

When talking about the differences between commuter life and residential life, Brycen says that “campus residents may feel more involved just by living there.”  This is partly due to the many events on campus, several of which are geared toward specific residence halls. However, he makes it clear that he believes the idea of commuters having difficulty making friends be a misconception. “Most of the problems people assume are due to residential status are more based on personality. The most difficult aspect of being a commuter I would say is time management.” Brycen and Brianna both work jobs in addition to their lives as a married couple and students. Both of them work in the MVNU cafeteria’s dish room, as well as have off-campus jobs, so time management can be quite a task. While the experience of residential and commuting students may be different in many ways, they still manage to connect and bond with each other on and off campus. 

Baby Blue Becomes Big in MVNU Athletics
By Brandon Ehrenberg

Baby blue is becoming a big part of MVNU sports. From jerseys to warm-up uniforms, the color is all over the place. When a 100-student poll was taken, 63 percent of participants had the opinion that baby blue should become a school color. Donnie Kehl stated, “I like the baby blue uniforms; it looks a lot better than the navy.” When asked about baby blue potentially being added as a school color, MVNU athletic director Chip Wilson stated, “I am open to looking at any options that will update or refresh our look that will benefit the ability to market our brand.” 

Baby blue is a unique and fresh color. It adds a different and modern feel to the MVNU sports program compared to navy blue, which, according to Zach Bauer, “Navy blue is the most mid color that there is.”

Blue, green, and white have been MVNU’s colors since the university began, and it is good to stick with traditions, but it is also good to evolve with the times. In our poll, the majority of participants agreed that baby blue is a better color to have than navy blue because navy blue feels too generic. Baby blue is becoming more popular as the sports seasons change. And with basketball coming around, MVNU will see more and more baby blue on our jerseys as the year goes by.

New Women’s CoSMO Group Ministers in Local Nursing Home
By Cat Dugan

Alyssa Lepard and Aubrey Thrush launched a new Community and Service Ministry Opportunities Group called Daughters. The CoSMO group’s mission is to encourage and inspire other women in the purpose they have in Christ. Partnering with a local nursing home, the group volunteers their time to encourage female residents. Thrush said, “We chose to minister to women in nursing homes because women at any age have so much purpose, and through Christ, at any age, we are all his daughters.”


The two leaders encourage all female MVNU students to join Daughters. Lepard said, “We believe in females lifting up and encouraging others, and this is just one way we can accomplish that.” Lepard continued, “We decided to minister to women in nursing homes because we feel like they need to see the joy of the Lord. We want to lift them up and share God’s love with them. We also believe that they will be able to teach us some things as well.”


The Daughters CoSMO group meets every other Thursday during chapel hour in Central Complex. Once a month, they directly minister to the female senior citizens in The Laurels of Mount Vernon nursing care facility. Daughters is always accepting new members, and Lepard and Thrush would love to work alongside as many women as possible. If you feel called to join, follow the CoSMO group’s Instagram, @daughters.mvnu, or join a meeting.

Honoring The Singletary Legacy
By Cat Dugan

The Mount Vernon Nazarene University Office of Intercultural Engagement and Learning is pleased to honor their founding staff member, Jim Singletary, at Homecoming 2022.

For 16 years, Singletary pioneered diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at MVNU. Tavaris Taylor, Assistant Vice President for Intercultural Engagement and Learning at MVNU, carries on the Singletary legacy through his engagement with students and continued mentorship with Singletary. “Jim set a foundation for diversity, equity and inclusion that didn’t just impact our university. He initiated one of the earliest diversity and intercultural life offices in the Nazarene educational system,” Taylor remarked.

Looking back upon Singletary’s legacy, Taylor finds the three most significant contributions to DEI at MVNU to be the Office of Intercultural Life, the Diversity Leadership Scholarship Program, and Singletary’s contributions as a professor. Taylor attributes retention rates of minority students to Singletary’s unique role as a Black professor, reflecting that “some students saw, for the first time, a professor who looked like them.”
MVNU will celebrate the Singletary legacy on Nov. 11 in the President’s Dining Room in Hyson Campus Center. Refreshments will be served at 6 p.m., and the program will follow at 6:30 p.m. Prior registration is required to attend this event.

MVNU student's family suffers from the effects of Hurricane Ian 
By Morgan Mills

Hurricane Ian decimated Florida this September and has left entire cities in ruins. Emily Ryan is a senior at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, and she is currently wrapping up her nursing program. As with many other students, her sister has been affected by the desolation that Ian has caused. Allison, her husband, Bobby, and their unborn child, Audry, lived in Fort Myers Beach when it happened but evacuated to a nearby hotel when the conditions worsened.


 The news had predicted that Ian would make landfall north of their home in Tampa when the evacuation was called. No one had thought that the storm would change its course, so little was brought during the time of the desertion. Allison and her family, however, brought food, a water filter, a generator, candles, and minimal changes of clothes. Their hotel lost power, and they were unable to relocate because the hotel would not allow re-entry due to the conditions. 


Allison found out by Emily that her house was in ruins when Emily came across a TikTok video of a mom who happened to live across the street from her sister. Emily sent her the video and told her the unfortunate news that she and her family were homeless. Very little survived, and it was clear that they would have to move back home to their families to try and rebuild their life. 


One of the most heartbreaking details is that Allison had recently thrown a baby shower. Her friends and family all gifted her items to help in the nurturing of Audry. The only gifts that survived the havoc of Ian were the photo canvas, a handmade baby blanket made by Audry’s grandmother, and a few other miscellaneous items. Everything else, including all of their personal possessions and home, have been reduced to rubble due to the hurricane. 


The family is now residing with their in-laws back in Chicago. “It has been a rollercoaster of emotions,” Emily commented. “I think the most difficult part of all this is believing that it actually happened.” A new family is left in shambles, but they are hopeful for the future. “So many people, friends and strangers both, have donated gently used and new baby items to our family. It has been amazing to see people support her with the love and support she needs at this time.” Their hope and remaining items have been attributed to God, and they are so thankful to have a creator that provides in times of need. 


Unfortunately, many families have been displaced due to this disaster. The family, as well as Emily, request that your thoughts and prayers are with them as well as others’ lives who have been affected by Ian. They also have a GoFundMe in place to try and restore what they once had. If anyone is interested in giving back to Allison and her family, the link to the GoFundMe will be provided on our website. 


Now it is time for the community to come together and lend whatever we can to the families involved in this calamity. Please keep them in your prayers while they regather from this event. 



Sherman Shares About Sherlock
By Mallory Thomas

Catch your friends onstage in MVNU’s fall production of “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” as they bring the legendary character of Sherlock Holmes to life and explore the mysterious circumstances surrounding a quartet of crazy crimes.


Zac Sherman, Assistant Director of the Thorne Library and Coordinator of Theatre,described the show as “four of our favorite adventures by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.” He also noted that “In each of the four mysteries, the character of Sherlock Holmes will be played by a different actor because the character of Sherlock Holmes is so multi-faceted that it’s hard to capture it in just one iteration of that person.”


In early September, the audition process consisted of each individual giving a monologue. After those individual auditions, the directors held group auditions to learn how individuals emotionally connected with one another through physical and verbal instructions. Auditionees also participated in group readings to further examine the chemistry between the potential cast, which includes 12 MVNU students that range from new first-year students to

experienced fourth-year students.


As the show’s director, Sherman said he feels “very pleased with all the performers and how they are preparing for the show and how present they are at rehearsals,” and he really looks forward to sharing the show with the community.


Interested in solving mysteries alongside our four Sherlocks? Visit theatre.mvnu.edu to purchase tickets for shows on Nov. 10-12 at 7:30 p.m. at Thorne Performance Hall on MVNU’s main campus. General admission tickets cost $10, but MVNU students, children under age 18

and members of the military can buy discounted tickets for $8.


Learn more about MVNU’s new-and-improved theatre program by checking out mvnu_theatre on Instagram.