AU’s all-female ministry – Delight

Attendees+in+the+CommonGround+room.+

Photo submitted by Jae Weaver

Attendees in the CommonGround room.

Bella Pacinelli, FEATURES EDITOR

The formation of Ashland University’s first all-female ministry began with a Pinterest ad in the summer of 2019.

Sophomore intervention specialist major, Abigail Ellsworth, was scrolling through her feed when she saw a cute mug with a Bible verse on it.

Wanting to know how to get her hands on it, she was redirected to the website for Delight ministries.

Only after admiring the pink aesthetic did Ellsworth begin to notice that this ministry for college women was on many campuses across the country.

She met Delight with impending intrigue but still felt reluctant to put things in motion.

“I was thinking about it but I didn’t know because last year I didn’t really feel like I loved Ashland that much,” Ellsworth said. “So I didn’t know if I should really commit to this just in case something happens and I decide I do want to go somewhere else.”

Nonetheless, something pushed her to submit a form and Delight was born at AU.

Ellsworth knew the perfect person to help her begin this ministry — Michaela Godfrey, sophomore marketing and entrepreneurship major.

“Abbie just texted me and said I think this would be perfect for us,” Godfrey said. “Then I looked at the website and everything just kind of lined up.”

From there, the two attended a summer Delight leadership conference in Nashville where they met influential women from other campuses.

“We met really great leaders,” Godfrey said. “I still talk to a few leaders from Purdue University and they text us and help us out when we need it.”

Delight meets every Monday at 8 p.m. in the CommonGround room on the second floor of the Hawkins-Conard Student Center.

Ellsworth sees the significance in having an all-female group to discuss faith and religion.

“I feel like when it’s a bunch of people together a lot of times there’s girls afraid of judgment,” she said. “We all kind of go through the same struggles most of the time and you don’t really realize it until you sit and talk about it without being afraid.”

Godfrey also appreciates being able to talk openly about relationships.

“I think it’s nice because we can talk about relationships with boyfriends and that kind of stuff,” she said. “It’s just those kinds of topics that you can be more vulnerable about in just an all-girl space.”

Photo submitted by Jae Weaver
Some of the Delight leaders holding their flag with pride.

Ellsworth plays the role of team director in which she must contact their regional director once a month to give updates and receive feedback or advice. Godfrey is the book coordinator in charge of ensuring that all attendees have access to the Delight book, subject to change each semester.

With four other women in leadership positions, they alternate guiding the group discussion at each meeting.

Junior accounting and business management major, Breanna Clifford, was first nervous to take on the position of community service event leader.

“I didn’t know how much time I would have but with the confidence that my friends gave me, I knew we would work well together and hold our responsibilities,” she said. “Whenever one of us needs help, we all pitch in.”

Clifford is tasked with searching for community service that the women of Delight can participate in.

“I’m in the middle of trying to get in contact with AUGivs as well as some kind of collection for a homeless shelter, maybe Haven of Rest,” she said.

With an average of 10-15 girls in attendance for each meeting, Clifford is trying to make attainable service goals for the small group.

“I’ve been talking to girls and finding out people’s passions,” she said. “You get more people when they are passionate, for example working with the elderly or fighting hunger.”

This semester’s Delight book is a 10-week journey through the book of John in the Bible.

“Each week there’s a few chapters that we have to read and it walks us through it with some fill-in-the blanks and questions,” Clifford said. “Whoever is leading the meeting goes over the summary of what the book said and then we go into conversation starters.”

The meetings are based around discussing what each girl learned from the reading and how it may apply to their life. This coincides with Delight dates which take place every other week.

“We get paired with someone that we may or may not know and there’s little prompts in the book where you can go through and just meet for coffee or lunch and get to know them better,” Clifford said.
This is one of Clifford’s favorite aspects of Delight.

“You don’t know everyone’s story and that’s something I’ve really learned,” she said. “People can be so different than what you think and I just love getting to know them on a deeper level.”

Kyla Brayshaw, junior biology major, decided to attend Delight because she was looking for some place to discuss faith outside of her sorority’s Bible study and The Well.

“From day one I felt like I could always be very vulnerable and contribute to the group without feeling like I don’t know as much about the Bible,” she said.

Brayshaw describes herself as having “sort of grown up in the church,” explaining that her family was not very good with attending. After being baptized at the age of 17, she felt determined to keep God close.

“When I came to Ashland, I started going to The Well and I liked it but it wasn’t really what I was looking for,” she said. “It was a lot of worship music, which is great, but I didn’t feel that connected to it.”

Although she still enjoys her sorority Bible studies, she likes that Delight has brought some new people into her life.

“It’s nice to interact with people from all backgrounds of faith, different majors, where they’re from and different ages,” Brayshaw said.

Delight has given her a better understanding of what she looks for in a relationship with God. The book they go through has also given Brayshaw a better grasp on how to translate scripture into her everyday life.

Having struggled in the past with feeling like she is not advanced in her faith, Delight has taught Brayshaw that she is not failing.

“I can’t recite scripture from the Bible and I don’t know all the books,” she said. “But I’ve learned that it’s okay — there’s not a list of all the things you have to do to be a good Christian. Just being there is enough.”

Brayshaw looks forward to Delight being a part of her final year at AU.

Delight Ashland Instagram
The book that is being used by Delight chapters this semester.

“Although I’m not very outspoken about it, religion has played a big part in my life,” she said. “I think it’s important for people to at least go and try it. If they don’t vibe with it, they don’t vibe with it.”

As of right now, Delight is under a provisional charter. Ellsworth plans to apply for a full charter at the end of the upcoming fall semester.

“We’d like to get funding to pay for books so that girls don’t have to buy them,” she said.

Among other things, she hopes for the Delight leaders to gain more confidence in their skills and expand the ministry.

“There are so many girls on this campus and I’m sure a quarter of them need a place like this,” Ellsworth said.

Godfrey’s goal is to make heaven crowded.

“We’re not just focused on the numbers,” she said. “We just want to spread the word, it’s not about us it’s about God.”