YMCA Spiritual Legacy

YMCA Spiritual Legacy

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The Original YMCA Logo 

Inside the circle are the first two letters of the word Christ. The Greek letters Chi and Rho (XP) form the ancient symbol that early Christians painted on the walls of the catacombs. It was used by the YMCA to remind all that Christ was at the center of the movement. Finally, an open Bible was added, “both because this divine book is the weapon of warfare which St. John gives to young men, and because it’s the distinguishing mark of the great Reformation. The Bible opens on the Savior’s High Priestly prayer, from which we have especially chosen the 21st verse: ‘That they all may be one…as We are one’ –John 17:21.” This remains the YMCA’s official emblem.

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Sir George Williams (1821–1905)

The Founder of the YMCA movement said, “I cannot describe to you the joy and peace that flowed into my soul when I first saw that the Lord Jesus had died for my sins, and that they were all forgiven.” George Williams’ motto became: It is not how little but how much we can do for others. And on that notion, he along with a group of men, created the Young Men’s Christian Association. Before the Englishman’s death in 1905, the Y had achieved a membership of 150,000 in Britain and half a million in America, with thousands of branches worldwide.

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Dwight L. Moody (1837–1899)

Active in the 1859 prayer revival in Chicago, D.L. Moody helped establish Chicago’s YMCA and became its first full-time employee. Moody was an American evangelist and publisher who founded the Moody Church, Northfield Schools in Massachusetts, the Moody Bible Institute and Moody Press. In 1861, he became a city missionary for the Y and rose to its presidency from 1866–1869. He took part in establishing the first YMCA building in America when he supervised the creation of Farwell Hall in 1867.

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John R. Mott (1865–1955)

From 1915–1928, John Mott was the general secretary of the International Committee of the YMCA, and from 1926–1937, he was president of the YMCA’s World Committee. During WWI, when the Y offered its services to President Wilson, Mott became general secretary of the National War Council. Mott believed “the young people’s movements of our day, like our own…YMCA, need nothing so much as some mighty objective to call out the best energies of mind and heart. We find precisely such an objective in the sublime enterprise of filling the earth with a knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the deep.” Mott was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946, and nine years later he passed away at his home in Orlando.

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Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)

Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, Oswald Chambers was a man of God. After attending the University of Edinburgh, his spirituality further developed and by 1906, he conducted travelling Bible-teaching ministries in the U.S., UK and Japan. In 1915, Chambers was commissioned by the YMCA to go to Zeitoun, Egypt, where he ministered to troops from Australia and New Zealand during WWI.