FCA’s advice through pandemic: Don’t give up hope


Local chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes had to make adjustments with communicating after schools and sports were shut down

The momentum was building for the Clark County chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. 

After more than a decade without a presence in the region, FCA returned to Clark County in 2018. The ministry worked with athletes and coaches for the 2018-19 school year and again this academic year.

Of course, so many things came to a sudden halt with the government’s shutdown of schools, a reaction to the pandemic.

It was a confusing time for many people. It could have slowed, or even ended, the progress of FCA.

Instead, local FCA leaders used the situation as a chance to regroup, refocus.

Paris Shewey, the area director for Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Clark County, said the organization has had to refocus and regroup amid the pandemic. And, he believes, the chapter will be stronger for it in the long run. Photo courtesy FCA.
Paris Shewey, the area director for Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Clark County, said the organization has had to refocus and regroup amid the pandemic. And, he believes, the chapter will be stronger for it in the long run. Photo courtesy FCA.

“God gives us permission to be hopeless about anything He is hopeless about,” said Paris Shewey, the area director for FCA. “The reality of that, He is the God of hope. If He’s hopeless about something, I can be hopeless. But He’s never hopeless, and He always has a plan.”

Which meant FCA had to come up with a plan to keep building.

“This whole quarantine has been a massive invitation for everyone to really ask what is important in life,” Shewey said. “We’ve had space to make a course correction. My prayer is everyone … has felt empowered enough to really make changes.”

God, he said, has been talking really loud.

Are we listening?

At FCA, that meant changing how the message would get out to student athletes and coaches. Just like so many other organizations, online get-togethers and social media became the driving vehicles for communication.

On Mondays, FCA released FCA-related content. On Tuesdays, there would be an interview with a coach. On Wednesdays, there would be online huddles with student leaders. And on Thursdays, another coach video, but with the message targeted specifically to athletes.

“Keep everyone connected,” Shewey said. “FCA is still alive. We can get through this. Keep the positivity and hope up.”

By doing that, FCA will be ready to keep moving toward its main goals when in-person meetings are allowed again, when school and sports start up again.

Shewey also notes that while FCA uses meetings, or “huddles,” as a vehicle to start the conversation, the ultimate goal is not to host huddles. The role of FCA, Shewey said, is to engage and equip student athletes and coaches and empower them to become leaders.

“Disciples who can make disciples,” Shewey said.

Shewey said that when school and sports return, his organization will help to restart these meetings, first by going to the coaches who have been part of the Zoom calls during the pandemic.

The goal is to ask those coaches if FCA can host a meeting at the end of a practice, for example. It would not be mandatory. Just an invitation for anyone who would like to participate.

FCA in Clark County was making an impact when schools shut down.

FCA in Clark County continued with that momentum.

And, when sports and school return, FCA promises to continue reaching out to spread the word.Note: For more information on the local chapter of the FCA, go to: https://pdxfca.org/clark-county

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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