Voluntary Disruption

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It was Monday night about 8:30 p.m., and I was leaving McDonald Hall, where my office is located, headed for Smith House for Ministry to welcome and host Paul Corts, who is serving as our presidential search consultant. The route to my car passes Ashley Auditorium where the lights were on, as usual, because that is where our instrumental music groups rehearse. But that night there was no music. For about 10 days the rehearsal schedule of all those music groups is being totally disrupted.

The floor was lined with long rows of tables, and the room was filled with boxes of books. A solitary dark-haired young man labored alone, emptying the boxes and organizing books for display on the tables. One student volunteer, disrupting his normal life that night, to prepare for a gigantic used book sale. He eagerly helped me move four boxes of books from the trunk of my car onto one of the tables, where he analyzed the titles and determined where he would locate the books, most of which had been donated by my brother-in-law and his wife.

The used book sale is one of the many traditional highlights the 49th Annual West Coast Mennonite Central Committee Sale and Auction that disrupts normal activity on the Fresno Pacific University main campus on an early April weekend each year. The sale raises hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, many millions over its long history, to help alleviate severe human need around the world. The sale depends on volunteers of all kinds who contribute all kinds of skills. As usual, Brian Davis in our Office of Spiritual Formation recruited and organized FPU student volunteers, 175 of them, to work alongside about 250 student-athletes changing their weekend activities to volunteer to support the sale. This is essentially all of the Fresno Pacific student-athletes, except for the men’s baseball team, which had to play out of the area this weekend. (They volunteer in other ways.) Other students also volunteer, including 50 from Immanuel High School. And these young volunteers will join hundreds of older volunteers, many of them also connected with FPU and with the MCC mission around the world.

Volunteering is essentially disruptive—in the life of the volunteers, in the life of the organizations involved and in the life of each needy person that volunteering changes. So come enjoy the MCC Sale on our campus from 4:00 p.m. Friday, April 1, through 4:00 p.m. Saturday, April 2. Enjoy the pleasures of great food and fun, and buy some cool stuff, including my brother-in-law’s books. Enjoy the voluntary disruption.

  • Marshall Johnston

    It is a Holy Disruption! Thanks, Rich.

  • Ron Herms

    This is great, Rich. A huge thanks also to FPU’s music department and Butler Church for their contributions to making this “holy disruption” possible!