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see Young Men's Christian AssociationYoung Men's Christian Association,
(the Y or YMCA), organization having as its objective the development of values and behaviors that are consistent with Christian principles.
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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The Christian Church has a continuous history of urban outreach. From the time the apostle Paul took his message to the cities of the Roman Empire right up to presentday evangelists such as Billy Graham, there have been people dedicated to converting the teeming masses of the city.

One of these was Sir George Williams (1821-1905). In 1844, a meeting with twelve young men in his London apartment sparked the Young Men's Christian Association. From its first organizational meetings, Bible studies, and lectures at Exeter Hall, Williams, soon known as the driving force of the YMCA, was criticized because of his single-minded purposefulness and intolerance of smoking and games, along with his strict temperance code.

In 1855, with the adoption of a statement of faith they called the Paris Basis and strengthened by the Second Evangelical Awakening, the YMCA, now joined by the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), appeared ready to become another Protestant evangelical urban movement. By 1878 William Booth's Salvation Army seemed to fit the same mold with the same mission.

But something happened over the years. Gradually, recreational and relief work rose to replace evangelical concern. The familiar red triangle became well known to soldiers during war years. Hostels, gymnasiums, youth camps, and vocational training schools sprang up in American cities, the scene of its present strength. Today almost six million people avail themselves of YMCA/YWCA resources, most not even thinking about the organization's evangelical roots.

The Religion Book: Places, Prophets, Saints, and Seers © 2004 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
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