Christian Emphasis & Our Y
YMCA Mission: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.
George Williams founded the Young Men’s Christian Association in 1844 to improve the “spiritual condition of young men” in a London, England that was rife with temptations and negative influences. The Y’s earliest programs were Bible study, establishment of reading rooms and providing a reference list of reputable boarding houses where someone could find a comfortable bed and a good meal.
While founded with a Christian worldview, YMCA doors are open to people of all faiths or none. We feel that we are called to inclusion by our faith-based roots. Our values are held in our hearts, not worn on our shirtsleeves. People of all faiths are welcome to work, play and volunteer at the Akron Y.
Each Y branch expresses our Christian heritage in unique ways. One branch might host a non-denominational Bible study while another sponsors a prayer breakfast on Good Friday. Many Y child care programs partner with churches.
YMCA Camp Y-Noah has an elective program for children and teens called Rags & Leathers, a scripture based program where a child can choose to set personal growth goals for the coming year with their counselor. Many branches have a Spiritual Emphasis Committee composed of Y volunteers who establish a menu of activities that members can choose to participate in.
YMCA’s are about bringing together people of faith with people of good will in order to develop strong children, encourage healthy living and give back to the community.
"Every religion serves two functions: First, it is a message of telling us how to get right with God; and second, it is a lens for interpreting the world."
The great historian of religion, Martin Marty, once said that every religion serves two functions: First, it is a message of telling us how to get right with God; and second, it is a lens for interpreting the world. At the Y, we attempt to remain true to our Christian roots and allow our members to interpret the world around them.
To ignore our heritage is to forsake what has gotten us to this point in our journey. The Y runs the chance of becoming indistinguishable from other community recreation centers and social service agencies unless we remain true to our mission.
Our mandate is compelling. Love God and love our neighbors as ourselves with thereby strengthening the community through a set of common values - intentionally involving ourselves in acts of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility, in our homes, in our places of worship, in our organizations and in the world.