by Dennis Dalman
The Sartell Fellowship of Christian Athletes is gearing up for a season of varied activities, including a “Field of Faith” event Wednesday, Oct. 8 with guest speaker Olympian hockey player Anne Schleper, who was born and raised in St. Cloud.
In the meantime, before the Oct. 8 Field of Faith, the Sartell FCA has scheduled several other activities.
On Sept. 17 at the high school and Sept. 19 at the middle school, the FCA huddles will begin for the school year. The weekly huddles are a chance for Christians to get together in a football type of huddle to share faith, read from the Bible and say prayers. The huddles at the high school auditorium will take place from 8-9 a.m. every Wednesday before the school day starts at the high school; and from 7:15-8 a.m. every Friday at the middle school gymnasium. Non-athletes are always welcome; in fact, in many of the huddles throughout the nation it’s common that more non-athletes than athletes attend them.
See You at the Pole
On Wednesday, Sept. 24, in the hour before school starts, the Sartell FCA will host “See You at the Pole,” which is an annual gathering of Christians of all ages, athletes and non-athletes, by the Sartell High School flagpole. Those gathered will pray, read scripture and share faith stories.
An All-Sports Coaches and Captains Homecoming Breakfast will take place from 6:15-7:15 a.m. Friday, Sept. 26 in the Sartell Middle School Commons.
The guest speaker will be Pat Forte, former Sartell resident and St. John’s University hockey coach, who fought a valiant battle against a rare form of cancer.
Field of Faith
Field of Faith will take place from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8 at the Sartell High School football field. On that evening, FCA groups throughout the nation will gather on athletic fields to share stories of their faith, to read from the Bible and challenge one another to follow Jesus Christ.
In case of rain, the event will take place in the high-school auditorium.
Before the event, at 6 p.m., there will be time for autographs with Olympian Schleper. Everyone is invited, and people need not be a member of FCA. Other people involved in the local Field of Faith will be Nick Koubsky and Rob Notsch, both Sartell coaches and teachers, as well as Paul Schmidt, former University of Minnesota football player.
Born and raised in St. Cloud, Anne Schleper, Olympic silver medalist in Sochi, Russia last year, graduated from Cathedral High School in 2008.
She is the daughter of Jim and Deb Schleper, who still live in St. Cloud. She has one brother, Adam.
Schleper was a star hockey athlete all through high school and while she was studying business and marketing at the University of Minnesota, where she was an outstanding, multiple-award-winning defense player for the Minnesota Gophers Women’s Hockey Team.
She currently plays for the Boston Blades and for the U.S. Women’s National Ice Hockey Team.
In her years as a Gopher player, she earned the second-highest all-time record for top scorers in defense with 114 career points, an all-time second-place record for career assists with 82 and a third-place in career goals with 32. She has never missed a game in her school career, having played 158 games.
Thanks to help from Schleper, the Gophers nabbed the national title. She has also helped earn top medals in the World Women’s hockey championships in Switzerland, Canada and the United States. She was named to the final roster of those who participated in the 2011 Women’s World Hockey Championship.
Schleper is a Christian athlete who is a strong believer in the principles of the FCA.
“Any time you get in the athletic environment,” she said, “it’s challenging as a Christian. It’s easy to have an ‘it’s about me’ attitude. That’s why it’s important to be around other Christians who can lift you up and pray for you. It’s good to stay connected, and that’s where I’ve seen those Bible studies at camps be so huge. God is opening the eyes of teammates who I would never have thought would come. He’s building it into something bigger and better.”
The mission statement of the FCA is “to present to athletes and coaches and all whom they influence the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church.”
The group fosters four principles: integrity (demonstrating Christ-like wholeness privately and publicly); serving (modeled after Jesus’ example of serving); teamwork (expressing unity in Christ in all relationships); and excellence (honoring and glorifying God in all things).