First World YMCA Conference in Paris
Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) took birth in London in 1844 against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution had drawn thousands of young men to the new manufacturing centres in England. The squalid and unsafe living conditions both in the workplace and at home made their life miserable. George Williams, a 23 year old draper who was typical of these young men founded the first YMCA in London on 6 June 1844 with the purpose of “the improving of the spiritual conditions of young men engaged in the drapery, embroidery and other trades”. The new organization was dedicated to putting into practice Christian principles by developing a healthy spirit, mind and body. YMCA instilled a sense of direction and hope in the minds of the industrial workers through prayer and Bible study. The YMCA idea, although began among evangelicals, soon crossed the rigid religious and social barriers that existed in England in those days. This trait of openness attracted all men, women and children irrespective of race, religion and nationality to the new movement. YMCA now adopts a holistic approach to individual and social development encompassing spiritual, intellectual and physical methods.