In 2019, we had the wonderful privilege to celebrate Fresno Pacific University’s 75th Anniversary with a variety of events: Gather2019, Commencement, the 75th Gala, the President’s Circle Dinner, the President’s Christmas Open House and many more. We were even able to host a few events in 2020 as well: Making Spirits Bright: the FPU Christmas Drive-Through Experience, the Culture and Arts Center Groundbreaking and virtual celebrations of convocation in October and commencement in December. In 2021, we are already looking forward to celebrating our graduates through a virtual spring commencement!
At FPU, we often conclude events by acknowledging those who helped make everything possible. The list usually includes: the caterer who prepared the delicious food, the decorator who transformed the space; the event staff who handled every detail from room reservations to scheduling to parking; the music faculty who chose the music and helped our students prepare to perform; the janitorial staff who readied every space; the grounds staff who did everything from cutting the grass to planting new flowers; the set-up and tear-down crew who spent hours making sure the tables, chairs, stage and sound were all ready for use; the camera crew who makes virtual events possible; and the staff members who prepared the invitations, programs, slideshows and marketing materials.
These individuals begin working on an event up to six months ahead of time and spend many more hours preparing for the event then the time the actual event takes. Although we publicly thank each of these groups, most are usually not present to hear the guests erupt in applause as an expression of gratitude. The reality is, without all the hard work that takes place prior to and after the event, we could not successfully host any of our events. Without each of these individuals doing their part, we would not be successful in accomplishing the larger vision.
When I think about how many people it takes to successfully complete an event, I am often reminded of 1 Corinthians 12:15-20 (NIV):
“Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”
When we, the FPU community, act as one body, it takes all of us to be successful. Each of us must understanding the overall vision and do our part to contribute. One person might be in front on the stage welcoming the guests, and another behind the scenes cleaning the bathrooms, but without everyone we cannot be successful. We all need each other.
Each of us are members of the FPU community, doing our parts, the parts given to us by God, to help “engage the cultures and serve the cities.”