Why I Volunteer for FāVS
By Debbie Selzer
Like most people, I’m pretty selective on how I spend my time and energy. As National Volunteer Months comes to an end, I can’t help but think about my time with SpokaneFāVS.
Next month, I complete seven years on the FāVS Board of Trustees, with the role of president for the last four. I have great appreciation for the work of editor Tracy Simmons and the multitudes of other FāVS volunteers who have a passion for the cause.
As I end my time on the board, I can’t help but think about my life prior to making the leap to support this amazing non profit organization. I was not a stranger to volunteering with my church and with other non profit organizations I felt were making a difference in the community. FāVS felt different to me, however. I started to follow the website content and attending the monthly Coffee Talks. FāVS was feeding my need to learn more about other faith groups in my community, but its broader importance became clear to me.
The Value of Dialogue
From the beginning, FāVS showed me the importance of dialog. When people who worship differently and have different — perhaps even conflicting — beliefs and values come together with a goal of gaining a better understanding of each other, good things come of it. I learned from FāVS that this kind of dialog increases understanding while decreasing fear. It does away with the pressure of coming to agreement and opens the path to honoring the other. FāVS shows we can honor others’ values without giving up our own.
I recently heard an interview with the activist Frances Kissling where she encourages us to consider, “What is it in your own position that gives you trouble? What is it in the other’s position that you are attracted to? Where is it you have doubts?” Kissling uses the phrase “enthusiasm for difference” when explaining what is key for open dialogue that breaks down fears and promotes understanding. The goal is not agreement, but understanding.
FāVS “enthusiasm for difference” is why I volunteer. It’s why I was proud to serve on the Board of Trustees and will continue to volunteer in whatever way may be most helpful to this important organization. I know how FāVS has expanded my view of my local and global community. When I choose to spend my time and energy as a volunteer, I make it possible for more and more people to do the same.