Welcome to FCA – the student athlete Bible study group at SAC



Ryan Raybuck, Father Basil Fancoise, O.S.B., Joanna Archambault are FCA leaders

Luke Sugar, Sports Editor

Every Sunday evening at 8:30 in the Campus Ministry office, friendly faces and like-minded people join together to read God’s word and be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) is truly one of the hidden treasures at Saint Anselm College. 

Senior defender on the field hockey team, Joanna Archambault, senior defensive back on the football team, Ryan Raybuck, and Father Basil, a monk on campus, are the founders of FCA on the Hilltop. The FCA Bible study chapter has been going strong at Saint A’s for over a year, beginning in September of last year. 

FCA is a nationally recognized organization, present in high schools and colleges across the country. Before FCA came to campus, there still was an informal Bible study group, which Joanna and Ryan were part of before Covid. 

Today, FCA has 14 members on campus, represented by a wide variety of student-athletes on various varsity and club sports teams –  football, field hockey, women’s soccer, softball, rugby, club soccer, cross country, volleyball and ultimate frisbee. FCA and God’s word are clearly touching the hearts of athletes all over campus – now that is truly a beautiful thing. 

“I came in second semester of freshman year eager to have a community – a Biblical one, that is. I talked to Father Matthias, and he put it on my heart to get something cultivated going into sophomore year. So, when the informal Bible study started, it wasn’t particularly for athletes, but after that, one of my friends referenced me to FCA. Then the representative of New Hampshire for FCA,  Mike Vining, reached out to me and told me the whole spiel, and I immediately thought that was a huge deal. Having a club that not only catered to my team, but all other sports was very much a Godsend,” said Raybuck. 

“Athletes in general are pretty well disposed to being spiritual people, even if they aren’t quite attuned to it with themselves. They know how to discipline their bodies for their sport. They know what it’s like to get up early and to sacrifice – the sort of things that are very much in the spiritual life. But they may not think of it that way. And so, we’re trying to open up that door so that they can see that what they do as athletes is not actually different at all, from what they might do as a spiritual person growing in faith. So I thought a Bible study would be a great way to give people that community of fellow athlete Christians,” said Father Basil. 

As all members of the Monastery must do, Father Basil also needed to fulfill his pastoral requirement for seminary. FCA was a match made in Heaven and something Father Basil helped found and grow to fulfill this requirement. It certainly took a team effort getting FCA onto campus, and the hard work of those involved in bringing the club to Saint Anselm does not go unnoticed.  

An FCA Bible study meeting has the whole package – prayer, reflection, discussion, and quality time spent with good friends and a loving God.  

“Typically we start every meeting with an opening prayer and segue into reading the actual passage itself. Then we ask everybody what their general thoughts, comments or questions are. Father Basil, Ryan and I come prepared with questions that we make up earlier in the week. We typically ask the group around four questions, and it’s just an open discussion format. We bounce off of each other and discuss openly, and then after the discussion has ended, we close with prayer intentions. So if people have something on their minds that they want us to pray for, we include those in a closing prayer. Afterwards, we typically end with a hang out and chit chat for whoever wants to stay,” said Archambault. 

A common word Archambault, Raybuck, and Father Basil all used to describe their Bible group was community. And what an amazing community FCA really is. FCA is a closely knit group with each member working to grow stronger in his or her faith. At FCA, there is no judgment, and everyone is welcomed with open arms – first-timers and regulars alike. FCA is an amazing way to spend time with God and grow an even more passionate and intense love for Him. 

“For me, having a community of like minded people is really comforting, especially because we all come from different sports teams. And as a result, you get together this group that wouldn’t necessarily organically form outside of Bible study, which is a really beautiful thing. Never in my whole college career here did I think that I would have so many friends on a bunch of different teams. And the fact that we’re all growing closer to God together is a really inspirational thing for me,” said Archambault.

“Not only was I looking for a biblical community but also something that brought vulnerability and depth. I just didn’t want a simple surface level style meeting. And I knew enforcing such vulnerability wasn’t really going to be inviting for a lot of people. So just having FCA cultivate by itself was the goal. And I think that’s what’s happened – we have people who are willing to be vulnerable and willing to be open, which makes the group special,” said Raybuck.

“With the prayer requests at the end, there are some serious things people have on their hearts, and it’s moving to think that they’re willing to share these things with the group. And to think that it’s really student-driven, that’s the best kind of program you could have – when the students are the ones that really want it to happen. I’m just very lucky to be part of it,” said Father Basil.

The Bible is the most important book. It is a gateway between the word of God and Jesus and us. There are incredible miracles and beautiful life lessons for every imaginable scenario of life that gives followers of Christ hope. Spending time with God is so very important, and the Bible really is the rock of our faith. 

“The Bible group has certainly helped me grow in my faith. Being able to hear other people’s journeys and stories is something that stirs my affections for Jesus because it again shows how he’s working in their lives and how the Holy Spirit is moving in their lives. To see other people’s progressions of where they used to be and where they are now, and how they can all tie that back to the Lord, is very encouraging,” said Raybuck.

Father Basil described the Bible beautifully, mentioning that it shows the trials and tribulations of various peoples throughout the Old and New Testament. 

“The Bible gives a good context of our humanity. You know that there is a sense that what we’re going through as people isn’t necessarily new. There is a book which gives a light of faith on what it’s like to be human and how that connects to our being and our relation to others and our relation to God.”

I highly recommend that any club or varsity athlete looking for a compassionate group of friends and a safe, welcoming place to grow in faith for Jesus Christ, attend an FCA meeting with an open mind and a full heart. I know FCA has a new member in me. God bless.