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YMCA and Christian values


fundiefun

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I recently joined my YMCA's program to be a coordinator for summer camp and although YMCA does stand for Young Mens Christian Association the one in my town has never made any references of religion and operated secularly. Apparently the YMCA decided to shill out Christians principles after the founder passed in 2011. Before we can be on staff we have to sign a statement of faith saying we will espouse Christian principles. I don't feel comfortable signing this even though I am a Christian because the YMCA in my area operated in an almost secular manner, and I never recall having to sign anything about Christian beliefs in the past. Maybe I'm getting too worked up over nothing, but what do they define as Christian and what version do they mean do they mean evangelical, catholic, pentecostal? What about those who aren't Christian and are atheist, muslim, agnostic? It's just baffling how this was never a practice until now and in the past they had zero reference to religion in their summer programs or in the building for that manner.

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According to Wikipedia, there's a degree of local autonomy with YMCA.

I was somewhat surprised when I first read your post, since our old YMCA in downtown Toronto was very multicultural, open to all faiths and gay-positive, and wasn't remotely evangelical, but apparently the Statement of Purpose in Canada just talks about "mind, body and spirit" while the American one specifically mentioned Christian principles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YMCA#Religious

The YMCA is Tennessee is explicitly Christian:

http://www.ymcamidtn.org/about/who-we-are

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Welcome to "religion is forcing me lie" world. We all live in it. Especially religious people. Ironic ehh? I think about that every time someone mentions taking an oath or pledge. Or hell, even signing a business contract. Most are meaningless.

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I would interpret "Christian principles" to mean "following the teachings of Christ", which did not include worshipping Christ. Probably not what the YMCA directors had in mind but that's the trouble with vague writing.

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My old YMCA had "God Loves You" painted on the wall of the room with the lap pool. But then again, it was a very old building that was falling apart, so maybe they didn't want to put any money into a building that was going to be torn down, as it eventually was. The new building doesn't have any religion.

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The YMCA where my brother was part of what was then the Indian Guides didn't push religion at all, and my brother preferred that over the Cub Scouts. The Cub Scout den, while it was technically secular as it was held at the public elementary school, still had elements of religion that he didn't like. He was allowed to quit Scouting, and stay with the Y club instead. This was back in the 80's as the club my brother was in has since been renamed the Y Guides. Only in Utah does Y mean something other than the YMCA.

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I can see the local Y from my living room (I have no excuse not to belong, I am dead serious, it's a block away across a parking lot) and a dear friend works there in their childcare. I will be seeing her this afternoon and if I get a chance will ask her if they did that here. But unless it's something handed down from On High I seriously doubt they would try that here, they'd lose most of their staff I think!

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It's a bait and switch since they now want to go Christian after having no mention of it anywhere for almost 20 years in our area and nobody was made to sign anything about Christian principles. Why not just put down modeling good character or good values why specifically Christian? I just feel this alienates people who aren't Christian or practice a different faith almost as if Christians principles are the only way.

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Our local Y has always seemed very secular, but when my son went to preschool there, he told me one day that they had to say "thank you cheeses" before they ate lunch. I don't even remember if I corrected him.

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my old ymca's website says this “To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.†and they had a few bible verses on the wall, etc. But, I was involved in many Y programs as a kid and never ever had to pray, talk about God, etc. There were lots of words on the walls of "values" such as respect, responsibility, courage, etc. which I saw as pretty neutral. I knew Jewish kids who went to the Y and thought nothing of it.

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my old ymca's website says this “To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.†and they had a few bible verses on the wall, etc. But, I was involved in many Y programs as a kid and never ever had to pray, talk about God, etc. There were lots of words on the walls of "values" such as respect, responsibility, courage, etc. which I saw as pretty neutral. I knew Jewish kids who went to the Y and thought nothing of it.

In my area it just had been secular for 20 something years and they want to change it now? At my one friends Y they mad the kids get into a prayer circle everyday and give thanks to Jesus.

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Wow, I have belonged to 3 different YW/YMCAs in my life, and none of them pushed any overt Christian pratices. Trust me, if they had, we would have definitely been pulled out as kids. Dad hated Christian missionary activity and anything that reeked of religious practice in things open to the genral public. I would forgo access to a winter pool than put up with it as an adult.

Makes me sad to hear about your experience, and I sincerely hope it is not some trend coming this way. That would be a huge loss of a great resource for kids and adults of all ages and backgrounds.

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Wow, I have belonged to 3 different YW/YMCAs in my life, and none of them pushed any overt Christian pratices. Trust me, if they had, we would have definitely been pulled out as kids. Dad hated Christian missionary activity and anything that reeked of religious practice in things open to the genral public. I would forgo access to a winter pool than put up with it as an adult.

Makes me sad to hear about your experience, and I sincerely hope it is not some trend coming this way. That would be a huge loss of a great resource for kids and adults of all ages and backgrounds.

When the founder died in 2011 they decided it was time to bring back Christianity to the YMCA which is sucky if you ask me wait till the founder is dead then put their own agenda in place he is probably rolling over in his grave. How nice they even have websites on how to bring your Y back to Christ and win people over. A lot of Ys have ties to churches do a search on YMCA church and tons pop up a lot of Church of Christ churches.

http://enidnews.com/faith2011/x56424403 ... -its-faith

http://www.faithandfitness.net/Y-Gets-B ... n-Emphasis

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Church of Christ is a liberal denomination I think (like actually liberal).

It is probably different in the UK but I used to live at a YMCA residential centre/hostel when I was homeless and the manager was a Christian along with some of the staff, and Christian posters up in the laundry room and staff office. It wouldn't surprise me if the staff had to 'uphold a Christian ethos', that's the phrase that's often used when non-Christians apply to work in Christian schools for example. We did have to say grace before our Christmas meal but seeing as it was a Christmas meal that's not too unreasonable.

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I applied for a job at a YWCA that did sexual abuse counseling and had crisis rape services. I had to fill out an application about my views on abortion and that I would not try to change a woman's mind about wanting or not wanting one. I don't know if they are different than the YMCA in terms of values, but it seemed like a pretty liberal place.

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I'm an evil heathen but I could honestly say I espouse Christian principles: Love thy neighbor as thyself. Suffer the little children to come unto me. .....

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I taught swim lessons at the local YMCA, and it was very secular - nary a Bible quote nor a faith agreement. This was a couple of years ago, I guess maybe it's changed. What a shame - the Y here has a great gym and does a lot of good work in connection with the Girls and Boys club. The Y paid me for my time and comped my lifeguarding certification, but the pool safety and basic swim skills classes I taught were free to the public. Working class kids may not have anywhere else to learn basic water safety, and there are pools all over the place around here!

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Church of Christ is a liberal denomination I think (like actually liberal).

It is probably different in the UK but I used to live at a YMCA residential centre/hostel when I was homeless and the manager was a Christian along with some of the staff, and Christian posters up in the laundry room and staff office. It wouldn't surprise me if the staff had to 'uphold a Christian ethos', that's the phrase that's often used when non-Christians apply to work in Christian schools for example. We did have to say grace before our Christmas meal but seeing as it was a Christmas meal that's not too unreasonable.

At least in the United States, the United Church of Christ is liberal. The Church of Christ is decidedly not. (They do share a congregational approach to church governance, but that's about it.) My parents are retired UCC ministers; about once a year, a first-time visitor to the congregation where they worked would be very confused about that and leave in a hurry.

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Church of Christ is a liberal denomination I think (like actually liberal).

No, no, and no. You're probably thinking of the United Church of Christ, which is super liberal. Church of Christ can be downright fundie.

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My husband teaches creative writing to adults at a Y here in NYC, and he's never had to sign anything like that.

He did complain about having to sit through a child sex abuse presentation and sign off on it, as he doesn't work with children.

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I'm a bit confused - the original founder of the YMCA died in 1905. Is it maybe the founder of your local YMCA who died recently, and as a result the branch is swinging more towards an expression of Christianity?

I grew up as a YMCA member, as did my husband. I worked for that Y for several years as a swim instructor and lifeguard and never had to make any sort of statement about beliefs or agree to anything about Christian values during my employment there. Additionally, I've never seen or heard any reference to religion or Christianity in the Y that our family belongs to now. The membership is quite diverse and there's no religion-based programming. I looked it up and their only reference to anything along those lines is in their mission statement: "The YMCA of XYZ is an association, open to all and committed to helping people develop their God-given potential in spirit, mind and body. Our commitment is based on the belief that the purpose of this three-fold development is to live out the values of our Judeo-Christian heritage, including caring, honesty, respect and responsibility."

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Our local YMCA is now called strictly the Y, and is secular. My older child went to preschool there and the closest they got to a prayer was a little rhyme of thanks that left the interpretation up to the child by using a very general "Thank YOU".

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Church of Christ is a liberal denomination I think (like actually liberal).

Depends on the CHurch of Christ.

cconline.faithsite.com/content.asp?CID=51223 ---- This is the Church of Christ I knew of when I was a kid. They didn't allow dancing or singing religious songs with instruments.

http://www.ucc.org/about-us/what-we-believe.html is the "liberal" Church of Christ, that does not descriminate based on sexual orientation.

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