By CHERIE ILG HAAS
A group of Christian FMCA members is incorporating their love of travel with their spiritual journeys through life by participating in the Coaches For Christ chapter. Daily morning devotions seem to be the basis for the chapter’s nondenominational rallies, for they’re filled with lively music, inspiring testimonials, and of course, much prayer.
According to Ginger Painter, F23514, chapter president and former International Area vice president, the chapter’s morning devotions are the perfect setting for “getting the relief to people who are frustrated and upset, and [so they can] get to just sit for 45 minutes and forget the turmoil in their lives.” But it’s also about just having a place where people can worship God in a Christian atmosphere, she said. “We try not to get into any particular part of the Christian faith, just to keep it open to everybody.”
At many, if not all, FMCA chapter rallies, one can hear RVers sharing stories about their travels and general coach experiences. Coaches For Christ rally-goers not only discuss RVing, but also their religious views on life. “There’s a fellowship within a fellowship,” Ginger said. This ties into the chapter’s main purpose, which is to provide a place where everyone is welcome to “come and worship in their own way at a Christian seminar and have fellowship with people who are doing the same thing,” she added.
June Davis, F158928, FMCA national secretary, said, “Although we don’t take God’s blessings for granted, we are a fun-loving group with lots of music, potlucks, and normal FMCA fellowship.”
Prayer seems to be the tie that binds for this chapter; it’s an important aspect that is held highly in respect. “We’ve got a lot of people who are great, and we wonder how they survive, and it’s got to be through prayer,” Ginger said. She added, “We always try to find someone who can lead us in song and hope.”
The Coaches For Christ chapter formed at FMCA’s Pomona, California, convention in March 1997 and has been growing ever since. This International Area chapter currently has 162 members and has spawned the creation of other Coaches For Christ chapters in some of FMCA’s geographic areas: California Coaches For Christ, with 27 members; Pacific Northwest Coaches For Christ, with 40 members; and Rocky Mountain Coaches For Christ, with 24 members. Ginger noted that a Northeastern Coaches For Christ chapter is in the formation stages, and plans call for similar chapters to eventually be created in all of FMCA’s nine geographic areas. “We are spreading our wings,” she said.
June is a member of not just one, but all of the Coaches For Christ chapters. “I don’t want to miss anything!” she said. June summed up the chapter’s beginning philosophy well: “We would have a ‘happy hour’ first thing in the morning to honor God; thank Him; pray for each other’s needs; pray for our nation; for our FMCA leaders; and for traveling mercies for each member as they drive from place to place.”
Specifics vary from chapter to chapter, including rally schedules, but dues range from $5 to $10. Each Coaches For Christ chapter has a newsletter, and invites everyone, not just chapter members, to come to the devotions. “Join any of the chapters,” June said. “You will find a warm, loving welcome.”
Those who would like more information on the Coaches For Christ chapter can contact FMCA’s Chapter Services Department at (800) 543-3622.