New club connects faith and athletics
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TOWAMENCIN- North Penn is home to over 75 clubs and activities, and every year, new organizations get added to the ever growing list. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is one of those new clubs, and since it began its existence at the start of the 2016-2017 school year, its strong leadership and open door is driving its success.
“The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is a national organization, and every school gets to put their own flavor on it. Here at North Penn, it is a place where members can be a part of an organization that can connect them with something that is important to them, can help them grow in their faith, and most importantly can let them serve others,” said Samuel Feeney, club advisor and school guidance counselor.
Feeney noted that his favorite part about the club is that he doesn’t lead the sessions; the student leaders do.
“It’s their group; if they want to run with something or talk about something, they do it. This club is for [the kids],” said Feeney.
One student leader, senior Joey Cataldi, wanted to bring the Fellowship of Christian Athletes club to NPHS, because he had a first hand experience of its successes.
“I witnessed the impact it can have on other people’s lives through camps and through my church, and I felt like North Penn was missing out on it. I think this is a great opportunity for Christian athletes to come together,” said Cataldi.
Most North Penn clubs begin after school, which makes it difficult for athletes to participate due to their practices being held after school as well. To accommodate the schedules of athletes, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes beings at 7:00pm after most practices are over.
The meetings start out with an energizing icebreaker, led by senior Jeremy Prince, and then members gather in a circle and introduce themselves to begin the session. Knowing many members of the club may be coming straight from practices, the club provides some food as well.
After an opening prayer, members of the club open their Athlete’s Bible, the organization’s Bible, to the section that the club is discussing. The sessions begin with a student led activity that concludes with a group reflection. Then, students read few passages from the Bible that relate to the night’s topic and answer questions to open up more discussions.
“We talk about a message that athletes can connect with, and then we work together to deepen our faith,” said Cataldi.
The Athlete’s Bible helps members understand how lessons from the Bible can be applied to sports, while also allowing members the opportunity to share personal examples.
“The Athlete’s Bible creates metaphors to athletics that make the word easier to understand. Jesus spoke in parables to his people about farming because that is what they understood, so if we can speak in terms of sports, it makes it easier to connect with,” said senior leader Zach Lavalla.
Since the sessions are mostly student led, there is a comfortable atmosphere where a “no hand-raising rule” makes discussion easy. Meetings end with a closing prayer where students can request that the group to pray about something they are struggling with specifically.
“We have a really relaxed environment, and you do not have to know anything before you get here. You don’t even have to be an athlete,” said Feeney.
The club welcomes anyone who is interested, so knowledge of the religion or of a sport are not required to attend the sessions.
“We are not going to be judgemental; we are here to accept members as they are because Christ accepts us as we are. We just want to show love and that people are cared about,” said Lavalla.
“No matter where you are in your walk, what your are going through, or what you believe in, we still encourage you to come out and hear what we are all about,” said Cataldi.