• Allison Glass/News During an archery game on the lawn at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, BLAST participants Ryan Harris, kneeling center, and Josh Montgomery, both of West Virginia, take cover behind inflatables. BLAST is a worship and competition weekend held annually at MVNU with participants from Ohio, West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky.
  • Allison Glass/News Madison Kutchera, left, and Meg Sams perform during the praise band competition at the Mount Vernon Nazarene University’s BLAST weekend through today. The 15-year olds from Springdale performed an acoustic worship song that was judged in the competition.

MOUNT VERNON — A weekend of friendly competition and worship kicked off Thursday afternoon at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. The annual Building Leaders and Sharing Talents weekend brings young Nazarenes together from Ohio, West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky for worship and fun.

The faith-based initiative, according to event coordinator Rob Stanley, sees competition in all manners of activities, from performance arts, like music, mime and choreographed dance to athletic competitions like basketball and volleyball.

“The competition is important, but it’s not the main element,” Stanley said. “The main part is for them to use their gifts and abilities for God and see that they are not theirs, but they are his to be used.”
Students from seventh through 12th-grades are able to attend the weekend, Stanley noted, with an estimated 1,200-1,300 students attending this year’s event.


Allison Glass: 740-397-5333 or allison@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @




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