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YWCA abandons its Christian name

In a controversial move, the YWCA in England and Wales has adopted a  new name which has dropped all reference to the organisation's Christian origins.

Platform 51One of the UK’s oldest charities has dropped the word Christian from its name to become Platform 51. The controversial move by the Young Women’s Christian Association sees the 155-year-old organisation become more associated with departure boards at railway stations.

According the organisation in England and Wales which caters for the welfare of young girls the new name was chosen to reflect the fact that 51 per cent of the population are female. In an apocryphal-sounding comment the YWCA/Platform 51 have stated that the original name “no longer stands for what we are or what we do.” And that would indeed seem to be the case.

Mike Judge, Head of Communications at The Christian Institute (CI), said: “It was the Christian character of the YWCA that made it great. It is a shame that it’s turning its back on those values.”
The rebranding also appears to put the England and Wales branches of the charity at odds with the other branches across the globe. In India The president of Mumbai YWCA Gulobi Fernandes said: “Our name in India remains intact. Not just India, the world YWCA has not changed its name. It is only the UK group [in England and Wales – Ed.] that has been renamed.”
The decision to change the name will be a subject of debate at the organisation’s next world council meet scheduled in July 2011.

In March 2003 the YWCA in Scotland became an independent organisation. The Scottish YWCA’s web site states: "Founded by Christian women, our roots lie equally in feminism and in faith. We respect our heritage and embrace the multicultural society in which we live. This is reflected in the cultural, racial, spiritual and ethnic diversity of our staff, trustees, supporters and the young women with whom we work. The values which underpin our work are shared by people of different faiths, cultural backgrounds and philosophies."

In a climate which is becoming increasingly hostile to the Christian faith Charities which hold to a Christian ethos and ethic are finding it increasingly difficult to access public funding. Commenting on this development the CI’s Mike Judge has stated: “Many believe there is an anti-Christian bias among those who decide which charities get state funding.”

In 2009 it was revealed that a charity in Scotland was planning to drop the word church from its title, saying that it created “unnecessary barriers” to accessing public funding. The chairman of Perth-based Churches Action for the Homeless (CATH) said he had been told “off the record” that their perceived religious identity has made it more difficult for them to receive grants.

It would seem that this latest development is yet another example of an organisation which was founded on Christian values departing from its roots to become just another secular social welfare agency. Over the years Barnardos Homes, National Childrens Homes (renamed Action for Children in 2008) and the Samaritans have all become secular, with some becoming anti-Christian. In a similar manner there are younger Christian organisations who are extremely vulnerable if signficant funding comes from public sources.

The dependence on public funding and the politically-correct pressures of our age could place any such agency in a dilemma i.e. compromise with the PC agenda and subvert the Christian message or lose charitable status and essential funding .

See article 'He who pays the piper....'

The YWCA began in 1855 through the vision of two women, Mary Jane Kinnaird and Emma Robarts. Mary Jane Kinnaird opened the first hostel, a ‘Home for Girls’ in London. The hostel was particularly intended for Florence Nightingale’s nurses returning home from serving in the Crimea. She later opened the first ‘women’s club’ in England a room in Pall Mall where seamstresses and mill girls gathered for Bible classes.
Emma Robarts formed prayer circles for girls who were working in service. These groups had to meet at 9.00pm when the girls’ working day was finally over. The young women also learned reading and writing.

In 1859 ladies’ meetings began in Edinburgh and Kelso that later formed the first branches of the YWCA in Scotland. A Glasgow YWCA followed in 1874.
In 1877 the two parts of the movement (hostels and prayer circles) joined and in 1878 the Earl of Shaftesbury became the first President of the united YWCA. At this time there were already 21 YWCA branches in Scotland.

Christians Together, 09/01/2011

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Penny Lee 10/01/2011 23:41
I can vouch for the validity and honesty of Peter's testimony, having known him since we began in Primary 1 together in 1965. In my late teens and early 20's I was the butt of many a joke from Peter and was regularly subjected to light-hearted ridicule from him for my faith in God. He would use the very phrases which RS above has done and loved to argue the finer points to try to 'catch me out'.

I can also testify to the sudden and amazing transformation which took place in Peter's life overnight, at a time when our lives had gone in different directions and we were not in contact, except from what I heard from his sister. Peter, at that time, was much to clever to need God and had all the arguments as to why he didn't need to defer to any 'spirit in the sky'. I'm glad to say that, even although Peter had no interest in God other than to make fun of the whole idea, that God had too much interest in Peter to leave him in this state.

RS, you say we have no evidence of God - and indeed none that you would consider evidence - but we know within our own lives how much impact God has on our lives and, like Peter, I would never, never, never go back to that time when I lived what I thought was a perfectly happy live without Him. It's not until you know Him in your life that you realise what you had been missing all these years.

I hope that you one day you too have that encounter with God that Peter had because it is only then that you will truly know what it means to live and die fully reconciled to the only One who loves us in the perfect and fullest sense of the word.
Martin Lisemore 11/01/2011 15:10
RS ... scriptures that have been found wanting and full of contradictions.

Have they?

That's a line that's been used so many times; I wonder if that's your personal experience through years of Bible reading, because it's not mine. The Bible explains itself.

I too hope you have an encounter with the Living God, through His Son Jesus. When that happens, you will see for certain, all the arguments of men are but a vapour, and do not stand the test of time or experience.
Peter Carr 14/01/2011 12:38
RS said, "Mr Carr may well come back with scripture quotes as if that is a satisfactory answer to what has been have laid out in preceding paragraphs."

Having waited for a further response to my latest post above (10/1/11), I can only assume that the reason for the silence is that altough it is easy to malign God's Word, it is not so easy to malign an individual's real experience of an encounter with the same God of the same Word!

RS (Guest) 14/01/2011 13:08
Important and challenging questions, as well as observations, do not amount to mocking of religion.My questions within the post of 10/01/11 have not been addressed they have been brushed aside. They have not been taken up in a meaningful way.In a situation such as that some might contemplate mocking people that make big claims but I have not really done that.

In effect your posting of the same day asserts that something significant happened to you in your time of trouble, however it does not give a description of precisely what happened; seemingly you accepted religion and it made you feel much better and wanted by a higher being. But what happened exactly? Unless a specific account of what happened is laid forth I imagine all the intellectual might of the Enlightenment is likely to remain unmoved.
Penny Lee 14/01/2011 13:32

Do you not think that we have been asked these very questions many, many times and there is no answer or description of what happens within a person's life when they accept God which will satisfy the questioner?

Indeed, we cannot accurately describe what happens as it is outside the realm of normal human experience and defies description. Suppose it was normal for everyone to be born blind and eyesight was not one of the abilities human's had. Then, someone told you one day that the day before they had been given the gift of eyesight and tried to explain what it was like and the difference it had made to their life. Nothing they could say would prepare you for the reality of vision and you may well disbelieve what they were telling you because you had no understanding of being able to see. This is the nearest I can get to trying to describe what it is like to have God in your life. Like having vision, you wouldn't even think of going back to being blind because others ridiculed you for having something they couldn't understand. The benefits of being able to see more than outweigh any flak from others.

As we have said before, no-one will find God by analytical effort, clever argument or superior intelligence - no, the only way you, or anyone else, will find God is by genuinely looking for Him and exercising faith to believe before you see Him and it is this need for faith which is the stumbling block for so many. Their logical minds cannot allow them to first believe God is real and then call out to Him but that is the only way.
RS (Guest) 14/01/2011 14:24
AM although your latest post is well written it actually says nothing other than the matter is beyond understanding. Well good for you and I anticipated such a response.I no longer have time for a religion that cries 'mystical' when brought to account.

In further anticipation of what you might say I will say this: I do not care for an assertion that I will be brought to account by your mystery god. If your mystery god crumbles on examination then he is not worth any further consideration. None. All I ask is that you do not offer the match to the old time churchman so that he can burn me on the bonfire. What a nice man. Fortunately any such man is dead; at least in this country. I hope.
Cheerio, give my regards to Peter, and have a good life.

Penny Lee 14/01/2011 15:14
RS, With all due respect, I would guess that you have never had time for religion but religion is not God. Religion is man made and deeply flawed and, in many cases, draws people away from God rather than bring them to Him. So, in that respect, we share the same opinion.

I actually did anticipate such a response from you too and it confirms my comments that I have no ability to convince others of the existence and relevance of God because only God himself can do this. Don't you think I would have been able to persuade Peter years before if it was possible?

I respect your decision to reject the idea of God and so will He when you eventually stand before Him. I. too wish you a happy life.
Peter Carr 14/01/2011 16:47
RS said, "...seemingly you accepted religion and it made you feel much better and wanted by a higher being."

No, I accepted relationship which is on offer to anyone providing they accept God's terms, what are they? Well, it is back to God's Word, which reveals His ways and His will;

Jn 3: 16 - 18 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son."

Peter Carr 14/01/2011 16:50
RS said, "Cheerio, give my regards to Peter, and have a good life."

How many is that now in the last 12 months who have been unable to sustain debate on this website?

Martin Lisemore 14/01/2011 17:30
Peter, having looked through all the posts a few weeks ago, it's just loads.

Most people can't bear to be proven wrong, but as Andrea so rightly said earlier, 'no-one will find God by analytical effort, clever argument or superior intelligence - no, the only way you, or anyone else, will find God is by genuinely looking for Him and exercising faith to believe before you see Him and it is this need for faith which is the stumbling block for so many.'

People must look for Him, and be found, or be in such a life crisis there's nowhere else to go. Behold I stand at the door ...

Fact, most people don't want the answer, they need it, but want to go there.

Must say, Roland is a stayer!
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