Community event on a mission
By Grace Gaddy
Brothers Under Christ Fraternity is bringing a wave of highly acclaimed Christian artists to Fountain Mall for this year’s Island Party, a community-wide free concert event featuring Rush of Fools, Jimmy Needham, The Advice and The Reliques. Activities will start at 5:30. to 10:30 p.m on Friday.
The Reliques, a two-woman band from Austin, will kick off the event, with The Advice set to take over at 6:30 p.m., Jimmy Needham at 7 p.m. and Rush of Fools at 8 p.m., although the schedule is tentative. I Am Second, a movement meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others, will also be at the event.
Keller senior David Depuma, vice president of BYX, has been planning the event since November. He said the goal for the night has always been the same — “to bring the message of Jesus Christ to thousands in the Waco and Baylor community,” and for people to enjoy themselves and just have fun.
In addition to music, free popcorn, Dr Pepper and cotton candy, Chick-fil-A will also be available for purchase, along with something new.
“We are selling TOMS shoes. That’s a first this year. So we’re very excited about that,” Depuma said.
The decision to sell TOMS ties in with the party’s underlying theme to support missions, he said. BYX is partnering with Baylor’s Be the Change conference this year — also for the first time — which will wrap up a week of missions-focused campus initiatives with the party. Proceeds from Island Party T-shirt sales will also go to benefit missions via Mallory’s Heart Foundation. T-shirts will be available for purchase in the Bill Daniel Student Center Friday and during the event.
Mallory’s Heart was founded in memory of Mallory Norrell, a Baylor student set to graduate before being killed in a tragic car accident in December 2010. Depuma, who knew Norrell personally, described her as a “huge advocate for missions work.”
“Every year she would go to El Salvador,” Depuma said. She worked with her church through various outreaches to build wells, educate children and help provide for basic needs such as toiletries, clean water and medicine, he said.
Mallory’s Heart will continue that operation, assisting those needs and providing support for various programs, orphanages and church planting.
A booth will be set up where people can donate money or drop off school supplies and toiletries to benefit Mallory’s Heart. Five percent of all TOMS and Chick-fil-A profits will go to support the foundation as well, he said.
Highland Village junior Drew Johnson, BYX president, said he hopes people will see the various channels of outreach and be moved to support them or get involved in their own way.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to be the hands and feet of Christ,” he said.
Besides providing students a chance to kick back and have a great time, he said he hopes BYX will “represent Christ through the messages that are taught, through the music and through the organizations and the charities that are there.”
The event will also be family-friendly, with inflatables for kids.
Depuma said the entire community is invited, and Baylor faculty and staff are encouraged to come enjoy the party as well. Anyone can also stay afterwards for autographs from the artists, he said.
Johnson outlined the fraternity’s main goal for the evening.
“Most of all, what comes out of it, I hope that people see past just like a concert and people see past just a religious affiliation, and the Lord really stirs hearts,” he said.
Brothers Under Christ members say the planning and efforts worthwhile.
“I feel like the Lord is going to show up and just do something really cool that nobody ever expected to happen in the first place,” Johnson said.
Brothers Under Christ is the largest Christian fraternity in the United States and exists “for the purpose of establishing brotherhood and unity among college men based on the common bond of Jesus Christ.”