It was the Christian character of the YWCA that made it great. It is a shame that it is turning its back on those values.
Those were the glum words of Mike Judge of the Christian Institute after he learned that The Young Women’s Christian Association has dropped its historic title after 156 years because “it no longer stands for who we are”.
Instead the organisation – which is mainly funded by legacies left by Christian supporters over 15 decades – will be known as Platform 51.
According to this report, the decision to drop all mention of Christianity from the charity’s name and purposes has drawn flak from religious groups.
Other charities have dropped all references to Christianity from their names to win favour from those in charge of grants. Churches Action for the Homeless, based in Scotland, began a search for a new name in 2009 after its chairman said having a religious identity made it hard to get grants.
YWCA England and Wales told supporters:
During the 156 years since we were founded, we’ve had to evolve to reflect changes in society and the needs and expectations of women. This is true not only of the work we do, but also of our name. Our original name no longer stood for who we are or what we do and people often confused us with another charity.
The “other charity” is understood to be the YMCA, which, unlike the YWCA, continues to pursue its original objective of providing accommodation for young people. Platform 51 aims to:
Lobby for changes in the law and policies to help all women.
Said Mike Judge:
Many believe there is an anti-Christian bias among those who decide which charities get state funding.