By LOIS BUSS
Fellowship of Christian Athletes Co-sponsor, Tippecanoe Valley High School
AKRON — The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is a national organization of students, teachers and coaches who unite their two passions of sports and faith to impact the world for Christ. At Tippecanoe Valley High School, this group meets every Friday morning for an hour of sharing, teaching and prayer. It is a small but very faithful and powerful group of people who really have a heart for each other, for this school and community as well as the world.
According to student-athlete Noah Prater, “FCA is a place where it is OK to be a Christian in a world that sometimes has no time for Christianity.”
FCA helps students and teachers who attend in many ways. It is a safe place to share our lives- a place full of hope, support, encouragement and accountability. “I love the ‘spiritual recharge’ that FCA blesses me with every Friday. The fellowship and hospitality are awesome,” stated TVHS technology teacher Dan Franklin.
FCA is also a place where relationships and strong community are fostered. Senior Whitney Haneline observes FCA gives people a safe place and another family. For some, FCA is their first family. “FCA gives us a better high school experience, new friends we can rely on and a place to belong and make a difference,” she said.
Finally, FCA is place to grow. Athletes, coaches and teachers grow in faith, social skills, communication skills and leadership. Co-sponsor Aaron Engbrecht said, “FCA has given me a platform to lead teachers and students and provided a way for me to bring others closer to Christ.” Many students, as well, feel better equipped as leaders because of their FCA experience.
FCA not only supports and grows those who attend, but reaches out to our community through prayer and service. Through sponsoring events such as See You at the Pole, National Day of Prayer and local Community Prayer events, we cover the schools in prayer and acknowledge our need for God’s guidance, protection and wisdom there.
We have so appreciated the community and administrative support in opening our schools to student-initiated, student-led prayer. It has made an incredible impact on our student and faculty spiritual and emotional health. It changes circumstances around us; it changes our hearts and attitudes. It has provided a much-needed anchor and hope for some hard loss we have walked through together.
FCA has served our communities also in writing encouragement notes to TVHS students, faculty and teams, working at the homeless shelter, preparing boxes for Operation Christmas Child and, most recently, in our shoe collection drive for Haiti. At the current time, the TVSC community has donated 600 pairs of shoes for Haitians who otherwise might not attend school or work. This kind of service makes a difference in us, in our community and in our world.
“FCA has given the school more joy. After our Friday meetings, we walk out of Mrs. Buss’ room with a smile on our faces and joy in our hearts. For me, after FCA, I smile at everyone and anyone in the hall, and hopefully I spread the joy,” Olivia Ellenwood said.