For the third consecutive year the Ramada Inn of Holiday City welcomed the annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquet on October 27th. The Buckeye Border Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) began holding their annual banquet in the fall of 2004. Since that first banquet, the number of area schools involved has grown from a mere three to almost 60 schools. The area in which FCA “Huddles” exist has grown as well. Not only are there FCA groups in five counties in Northwest Ohio, but also Southeastern Michigan and hopefully soon in Northeastern Indiana. For the ninth annual gathering over 300 attended to celebrate how students are spreading God’s word in the schools that make up the Buckeye Border FCA.
In the nine years of existence well over 10,000 students have been FCA members in the schools that make up the Buckeye Border FCA. This amazing number indicates that many of the area’s student-athletes are dedicated to demonstrating a commitment to Jesus Christ and His Word through exhibiting FCA’s four core values, Integrity, Serving, Teamwork, and Excellence.
According to Rex Stump, The Buckeye Border Fellowship of Christian Athletes Area Director, the purpose of the FCA Banquet has always been to recognize what God is doing in NW Ohio and Southern Michigan. Although FCA Banquets are designed to be fund-raising events, the main purpose has always been to make tickets available at a reasonable price so that students can be part of the celebration. Local businesses also assist in this purpose by donating tickets or hold fund-raisers of their own to defray the cost of attending the banquet. Some businesses that made contributions for the 21012 dinner includes Kidston Family Companies, Delta Eagles, Merle and Violet Gerig, Guardian Engineering and Manufacturing Company, C.E. Electronics and Dave’s Running Shop. Bree Wood of Candy Gifts and Crafts also donated candy centerpieces for the event.
Once again this year a silent auction was conducted. This auction is another fund raiser that the FCA holds to assist in supporting its vision which is to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of athletes and coaches. The funds generated by the auction are able to provide several thousand dollars to aid in the ongoing mission of FCA.
The event is always provides inspiration and entertainment to those in attendance. Over the years the FCA has been able to secure a wide variety of speakers. The list has included both college and professional athletes who are very open with their witness to God. Comedian Kenn Kington has also graced the FCA banquet twice with his hilarious, but family friendly comic act. Two years ago attendees were amazed by the inspired by the tragic yet incredible story shared by Brock Mealer.
For the second consecutive year Tanya Crevier, “World Famous Basketball Handler” was the featured guest. Ms. Crevier, who was a four sport letter winner at South Dakota State University and played three years in the Women’s Professional Basketball League, put on an entertaining and amazing display of her basketball handling and juggling skills. This year the audience was provided with an added bonus as Tanya was joined by her nephew Caleb Crevier. Caleb, who is a student at South Dakota State, is also a tremendous ball handler and juggler. However, Caleb also is an adept unicyclist and amazed the crowd with his performance on a ten foot high cycle.
Although Tanya and Caleb put on quite a show, including assistance from several of the students in the crowd, the skills they displayed were only a portion just part the performance. Crevier also shared a powerful message, that of being committed to living the Word and sharing it with others. She reminded the attendees that it is one thing to be a Christian, but it is another to go out and share your beliefs with others. Tanya challenged the crowd to not only “Talk, but also walk what you believe in”. She thanked all the coaches and parents in attendance for the examples they are setting for the student athletes which resulted in a resounded round of applause. Tanya reminded everyone to look at the Bible as their playbook. Caleb also took the microphone and reminded all to work hard in all that they do, in their athletic endeavors, in school and work, and in their Christian lives. Ms. Crevier closed her performance with a challenge to everyone, “Let’s take our game, let’s take our walk to the next level”.
Prior to Tanya and Caleb’s performance several other events took place. Following a welcome by Daniel Vandock, Pastor Mike Martinelli provided the invocation. After dinner, Inspiring moments were shared by Rick Straley, Savanna Fettig, and Alexa Monroe who provided information on the “Fields of Faith” events.
Rex Stump also passed out awards and accolades to several adult and student leaders including Mike Tippin, Alex Staup, and Dominic Mejia of Bryan HS, Sara Brown of Wauseon HS, Kristen Fandrey of Evergreen HS, along with Clinton MS and Pettisville HS.
Student testimonies were also provided. Alex Roth of Pettisville HS shared his stories regarding what FCA has meant to him. He emphasized how strong FCA was at Pettisville noting that the group has over 60 members, or 33 percent of their enrollment in FCA with 30 of those acting as student leaders. Alex also spoke of the development of a pray box that was initiated at Pettisville. This box, taken from the idea of the lunch account box, allows student to drop in prayer requests which are shared through FCA. Kyle Timmis from Sienna Heights University provided his story of how he ended up at Sienna Heights and how he and others began the FCA chapter at the university. Laroy Martinez, assistant cross country coach at Archbold HS closed the testimonies by stating that once people know you have accepted Jesus Christ and when others know you are a Christian that they began to check you out and watch what you do closely. He shared a story of how his team came together this week at the conclusion of practice to pray. He said there were some people walking on the track as the team prayed. After the prayer one of the ladies who were walking approached Laroy and cautioned him that they needed to be careful praying on the school property. Laroy informed the lady that the team does that every day. The ladies response was a simple but emphatic, “Don’t stop”.
The evening concluded with Mr. Stump thanking the staff of FCA, its leadership team and Board members. He also thanked all of the FCA “Home Team” members who provide financial support on a monthly basis. Rex reminded attendees that FCA is 100% missionary organization dependent upon the support of others. Without that support FCA would have to close their doors. He thanked current Home Team members and hoped others would join the Home Team to allow FCA to continue the great things that are happening in area schools and for FCA to grow even more. Rex shared that four years ago FCA had a goal to be in every school in the five Ohio counties that the Buckeye Border FCA serves. According to Mr. Stump, as of December of this year that dream will become reality. Rex closed with a challenge. He made a goal for each school to have more than 10 percent of their student body involved in FCA.
Although the banquet and auction generated funds to assist with the mission of the Buckeye Border FCA, the organization is still short of the goal of the banquet and financial needs for the year. To find out more information about the Buckeye Border FCA or to make a pledge, one that could help make the vision of FCA possible, please visit the organization’s website at www.bbfca.org or contact Rex Stump directly at 419-583-7013 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.