YMCA England & Wales will return to its roots at St Paul’s Cathedral to attend and take part in Evensong on Wednesday 22 November.
The service will celebrate YMCA’s young people, our work around mental health and welcome the launch of our new ‘Changing Futures’ appeal for YMCA supporters.
A sermon will be led by The Archbishop of York and YMCA President, Dr John Sentamu, with YMCA Youth Ambassadors helping to lead intercessory prayers.
Choral Evensong is one of the most-loved services at St Paul’s, and will be sung by the Cathedral Choir. The service, open to the public, is part of the worship, which is offered to God by Christian people every hour of the day and night, in every part of the world. It is as if you were dropping in on a conversation already in progress.
St Paul’s Cathedral itself has played a continuing pivotal role in YMCA’s 173-year long history. Founded by Sir George Williams in its Church Yard in 1844, at just 22 years old, he would later be laid to rest in its crypt following his funeral there in 1905.
His headstone in the crypt reads: “My last legacy, and it is a precious one, is the Young Men’s Christian Association. I leave it to you, beloved young men of many countries to carry on and to extend.”
Prior to Evensong, a small group of young people, YMCA staff and descendants of Sir George Williams will lay a wreath to pay their respects to the man who started a movement that now spans 119 countries and reaches more than 58 million people each year.
In June 1944, YMCA’s 100th Anniversary Service was held at the Cathedral, later than planned due to the outbreak of war, and in 2005 we celebrated the 150th anniversary of the World Alliance of YMCAs.
Adjacent to the Cathedral, on Paternoster Row, is a plaque recognising YMCA’s founding place stating “Here in 1844 George Williams with eleven other young men employed in the city of London who shared his zeal and vision founded the Young Men’s Christian Association in drapery house on this site in which he worked and lived. From its beginning in this place inspired of god the association grew to encompass the world”.
The service will begin promptly at 5pm, with the doors of St Paul’s Cathedral opening at 4:30pm. It is free to attend and all are welcome.
If you would like to find out more about how YMCA’s work helps young people with mental health difficulties you can read stories that young people have shared with us. Read more about our founder, Sir George Williams, and our rich history.