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Last Updated (Thursday, 21 August 2014 17:40)

The Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs

The YMCA is a voluntary, international, Christian, youth movement which was founded in 1844. The Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs is a Federation of 24 YMCA movements in Asia and Pacific countries and territories. It is an integral part of the World Alliance of YMCAs and the representative body of the YMCAs in this region. Formation of the then Asia Alliance as a regional body began in 1949. Today the Alliance comprises of the following YMCA movements in this region: Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Main Functions

  1. To promote cooperation among Movements in Asia and Pacific, with other YMCA Movements and the World Alliance while preserving the integrity and identity of each Movement.
  2. To promote in collaboration with the World Alliance and the Movements concerned the extension of the YMCAs in the region to serve new constituencies and new geographic areas.
  3. To coordinate and be responsible within Asia and Pacific for intermovement cooperation, programmes, projects, funding, staffing and other plans including those with Movements from other areas, upon mutual agreement with the World Alliance and the Movements concerned.
  4. To search continuously for the meaning of the Christian message in the YMCA in the Asian context and encourage National Movements to fulfill their Christian Mission in the life and work of each YMCA.
  5. To review from time to time the needs, problems and opportunities in Asia and Pacific and determine the course of action that must be taken inclusive of the realm of social change such as justice and human rights.
  6. To promote the study, discussion and action on matters of common concern to the National Movements.
  7. To hold the Quadrennial General Assembly of the YMCAs in the region and to hold other Consultations and Conferences from time to time.
  8. To promote leadership development.

UNDERSTANDING THE YMCA

The YMCA, Young Men's Christian Association, is a Voluntary, International, Christian, ecumenical movement that strives to reflect the cultural identity of the Nation in which it exists and serves.

First started in London by a group of young men, the YMCA concept spread rapidly to every continent of the world. Today, there are YMCAs in 128 countries and they are united under the World Alliance of YMCAs that has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. YMCAs have been established in twenty-seven countries and territories in Asia and Pacific under the umbrella of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs, the office of which is located in Hong Kong.

The Beginnings

In 1844, George Williams, together with eleven of his friends formed the first YMCA in London, England. It is essential to understand the social situation that existed in England then. It was the period of the Industrial Revolution in Europe. Multitudes of young people were moving to the cities from villages. These young people faced inhuman social and moral conditions. They were exploited, overworked and brutally treated. The YMCA at that time, tried to respond to the situation, initially by starting Prayer Meetings among the men in business houses. They also studied the Bible and encouraged one another. Later, more was done, as we read:

"Without relinquishing its great passion for religious activity within b usiness houses, it had changed its centre of orientation from young men in particular business houses to a concern for the religious, social and intellectual needs of young men generally."

The YMCA spread very rapidly in different cities and in other countries as well. By the year 1851, it had spread to France, Switzerland Germany, North America and Australia. The strong missionary zeal of its leaders was remarkable.

The ecumenical character of the early YMCA is also essential to note. The first YMCA in London was made up of members belonging to different denominations. The same is true of every other association that has been formed thereafter.