Student athletes who gather at Jacksonville State University’s stadium next week won’t be practicing football.
They’ll be sharing their Christian faith.
At least 300 students from Calhoun County and the surrounding region are expected to meet at JSU Stadium at 7 p.m. Wednesday to participate in the 14th annual Fields of Faith event. Organized by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a national nonprofit that ministers to coaches and athletes, the event provides a venue for students to pray together and share their beliefs with each other.
“We want it to be student-led,” said Lauren Haynes, women’s director for the Cheaha Valley chapter of FCA, which covers Calhoun, Cleburne, Clay and Randolph Counties. “It’ll be their peers getting up and calling to pray.”
Thousands of students are set to participate in the interdenominational outreach event, which will be held at more than 500 locations across the nation. Haynes noted that the event focuses on student athletes, but anyone is welcome to participate.
“The public is invited,” Haynes said. “It’s a community-wide event.”
Haynes said Wednesday will be the first time a Fields of Faith event will be held at JSU Stadium. In previous years, Gadsden was the closest site for a Fields of Faith event, Haynes said.
Haynes said her group has reached out to high school teams across the area asking them to participate, including those in Oxford, White Plains and Saks.
“We also got in touch with specific youth pastors in Lincoln and Talladega,” Haynes said.
Christian Kimbrough, interim youth pastor at Meadowbrook Baptist Church in Oxford, said she will be bringing about 20 members of her church’s youth group to the event.
“It’s different youth groups in the area being able to come together instead of being closed off,” Kimbrough said. “And I appreciate that they’re giving students the opportunity to stand up and lead.”
Haynes said the event would consist of more than just prayer.
“Two high school students will be giving testimonies on how they came to know Christ,” she said. “Then students will pray together and they’ll be challenging their peers to follow Jesus.”
For more information about the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, visit www.fca.org.
Staff Writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.