Bengaluru: Established in 1900, the century-old Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) that has been a landmark heritage building in the heart of Bengaluru, inaugurated a well-equipped conference and resource centre, a hall, a chapel, a new restaurant and a residential centre for guests here on September 2.
YMCA Bangalore has the oldest cricket ground where well-known cricket players have trained over the decades. A billiards parlor, badminton and tennis court, regular personality development programmes, out-reach programmes for children, women and families, environment awareness programmes and a full-fledged physical training programme are some of the many activities the YMCA engages in.
Officials at YMCA Bangalore told Matters India that the association has seen a membership of almost 15,000 members over the years. A senior member said, “The YMCA seeks to unite people to build a just and equitable society, where individual freedom will be enhanced to develop a human community from all faiths under the parenthood of God. The YMCA celebrates and preserves, enhances and sustains creation in which people will be inspired to grow and work towards the reign of God.”
The association, with the assistance of members from various professions, partners with people and organizations that work against all kinds of social oppression.
Shortly after the General Secretary S V Rathna Kumar introduced and welcomed Archbishop Dr Bernard Moras, the Archbishop blessed the new buildings and told the gathering, consisting of Christians of various denominations and other religious groups, that “Any concerted effort to promote an ambiance of fellowship, justice, goodwill and harmony in society is always welcome and we do it in the name of God.”
Elisha Andrews (under-secretary to the Chief Minister) member of the Environment and Youth Committee, Advocate N Harish – trainer of Model Parliament Competitions, Melquis A – Principal YMCA college of Physical Education, Promidhini Narendranath – Chairperson of the Environment and Youth Committee, Secretaries in various capacities; Anthony Isaac, Arun Kumar Kanodi, Daniel Rathnakar, John Kennedy, Jonas Prabhakar and other office bearers were also present.
Senior members also told Matters India, “YMCA is unique as we open our doors to anyone for membership, so long as they share our vision. Our facilities are open to all for use. The reason for this, is to promote a society of mutual trust and common good.”
YMCA Bangalore is part of the International YMCA with 3 local branches bustling with various activities. The YMCA structures sit on an approximate land of 5 acres, located a few furlongs away from the State Government Secretariat (Vidhana Soudha). Former minister and member of the Karnataka State Legislature, J Alexander is the Association’s President.