It was right before Christmas and all through the Windermere High auditorium, dozens of students were taking action for a purpose they knew was worth sharing.
The school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes team is part of the national FCA organization, an interdenominational Christian sports ministry that focuses on impacting students and athletes alike. FCA primarily focuses on serving local communities by engaging, equipping and empowering coaches and athletes to unite, inspire and change the world through the gospel.
However, not all students involved in FCA are athletes. Some are part of the organization for the aspects of faith and fellowship. David Baginski, the Orange County area representative/missionary for FCA, adds that FCA is in place to empower Christian students to be able to share their faith openly on their school campuses and build relationships with other like-minded students.
And after a year of planning, the FCA students at Windermere High School got to host their first night of worship in the school auditorium Friday, Dec. 13.
Peyton Recer, a Windermere High senior, has been part of FCA since sixth grade and serves as one of the group’s captains at Windermere this year. Although they tried to put on a night of worship last year, she said the timing just hadn’t been right.
“We really thought over it, prayed over it and came up with a new vision for this year,” Recer said. “We really wanted to do it just to touch people’s hearts and let them know that there’s an intimate relationship that you can have with God and how loved you are. We really just want to connect with people tonight.”
Recer and fellow FCA members reached out to other schools countywide, along with youth groups and other faith-based organizations, to invite them to participate. The night of worship included energetic worship music performed by the band at C/Life Orlando — a church that currently meets at Chain of Lakes Middle School — as well as an address from its youth pastor, Myles MacCloskey.
“We decided to hold a night of worship because we wanted to reach the community around us and we wanted to share our passion for Jesus and for worship and how much we cherish worship,” said Natalia Velez, a senior at WHS. “We wanted to share that with the community and with other FCAs around the county. …We all got together constantly every single week since October and (have been) planning this, and it looks amazing. I’m so proud.”
Baginski said that FCA’s weekly “huddles,” or meetings, serve as a time for students to dive into a Bible study, as well as to encourage and empower one another. The night of worship was an extension of that, and it gave other Orange County Public Schools students the opportunity to join together and do that in one location.
“To me, for Windermere High to do a night of worship, it’s really an opportunity for students in all of Orange County to get together and celebrate their faith in one location,” Baginski said. “I’m just so proud of this leadership team here at Windermere and how much work they put in just to put this night together. … It’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of effort, it’s a lot of diligence, and they had to be really flexible with some of the things they wanted to do.”
Recer added that she hoped the night of worship served an opportunity to let students know that there is a bigger purpose for their lives and that they’re loved, especially during a season that’s not necessarily merry for everyone.
“There’s a lot of statistics that say that people are the most lonely around Christmas, and also, this is the time of giving and love,” Recer said. “We really just kind of wanted to (do) it now so that not only would it be a good way to end the year but also to start off the new year and really start a revival in people’s hearts.”