YWCA changes its name – Christian ‘no longer stands for who we are’
There is a story in today’s Daily Mail which will doubtless pass without much attention from the left-PC media, other than perhaps to gloat. The Young Women's Christian Association in the UK is to drop all four words from its historic name to rebrand itself ‘Platform 51’.
Sounds a bit like where you might find Paddington Bear.
Or where Jack Worthing was abandoned in a handbag.
‘Platform 51’ is as vacuous and meaningless as the Royal Mail’s abortive rebrand to ‘Consignia’, though it will doubtless last longer.
But we are told: 'A good name is better than precious ointment’ (Eccl 7:1). So there may be sound reasons to change one.
Perhaps the YWCA no longer serves merely the young.
And in an age of zero tolerance of gender discrimination, unisex public conveniences and mixed hospital wards, any association exclusively for women is perhaps pushing the boundaries of tolerance.
And perhaps they seek to be associative without having to state their raison d’être explicitly.
But the founders of this charity were unashamedly Christian, and it was founded upon biblical principles with a great deal of sacrifice and prayer.
And it remains largely funded by legacies left by Christian supporters who believed in the Christian ethos of working with the most vulnerable young women from the poorest communities to help them overcome poverty, exclusion and disadvantage.
But it is now appears to be the time to shake off the old image and inject a bit of Body Shop pink hair-dye (Penny Newman, chief exec., pictured right) and Equality Opportunities social engineering (Helen Wollaston, chairman, pictured left) in order ‘to modernise’.
You can’t put new wine in old wineskins.
And neither can you cram today’s liberated women into the nutshell of outdated patriarchal misogyny.
What is interesting is that officials at the World YWCA headquarters in Geneva have told the Mail that none of the 124 branches in other countries are changing their names.
The YWCA remains Christian all over the world.
But not in its country of foundation.
Spokesman for the World YWCA Sylvie Jacquat said: “The name has been there for more than 150 years and we are not even discussing a change. We see our name as an opportunity for promoting Christian values and principles.”
One wonders why these principles have to be abandoned in the UK.
It appears to be in order to secure more government grants.
Or secure them more easily.
Other Christian charities have had to change their names or close down altogether due to difficulties in securing funding. His Grace has covered numerous times the appalling plight of Catholic adoption agencies (here, here and here).
The Lancaster Diocesan Catholic Children's Society became Caritas Care; the Catholic Children’s Society in Arundel & Brighton became the Cabrini Children’s Society; the Catholic Children's Society in Nottingham became Faith in Families; the Welsh Catholic Children Society became St. David’s Children’s Society (you can still get away with synctretised patron saints).
Apparently, Churches Action for the Homeless, based in Scotland, began searching for a new name in 2009 after its chairman admitted that having a religious identity made it very difficult to obtain grant aid.
Searching for two years?
What’s wrong with St Andrew’s Action for the Homeless?
It’s better that Platform Hobo.
The YWCA explains: ‘Our original name no longer stood for who we are or what we do and people often confused us with another charity.’
Yet the YWCA is quite distinct and known all over the world. It is not quite ‘Coca Cola’, but it is a very recognisable brand.
According to the Mail, the ‘other charity’ is understood to be the YMCA.
If Coca Cola can live with a parasitical Pepsi Cola, what’s an ‘M’ and a ‘W’ between like-minded organisations?
Or are they no longer like minded?
We are told that while the YMCA ‘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’.
So it’s acquired a political lobbying agenda.
Perhaps that is not surprising when its chairman is member of West Yorkshire Criminal Justice Board's Diversity Panel, and also a steering group member of Kirklees Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Network.
Tasked with caring for young, vulnerable women, doubtless both the Chairman and Chief Exec. of Platform 51 have had their CRB checks.
But it’s a pity there is no check upon their suitability to honour tradition, respect foundation or tolerate a faith witness.
The YWCA was founded by committed Christian Emma Robarts, who ran London’s Prayer Union, and Lady Mary Jane Kinnaird, who founded the General Female Training Institute. The organisation sought to be a social and spiritual support system for young English women.
And it remains listed in the Church of England’s year book as an organisation ‘of importance for the Church of England’.
Yet none of its trustees or senior managers is a church representative.
The YWCA received £1.3million in state grants from 2008-2009.
Doubtless it will now acquire more from secularists and the state, if a little less from the legacies and estates of Christians.
Mike Judge of the Christian Institute think tank said: “Many believe there is an anti-Christian bias among those who decide which charities get state funding. 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.”
A shame, indeed.
Excise Jesus from our culture, bowdlerise sermons of Christian orthodoxy and rebrand the Church as the spiritual branch of social services?
O, hang on…