From Across the Pond—A New YMCA Member
The University Y is honored to welcome Simon Gatenby, an Anglican priest from the Manchester YMCA Centre located in the northwest end of England. Simon, who also serves as Honorary Chaplain at the Manchester Y, is currently undertaking a sabbatical in the US, studying group theory and diversity with congregations and other self-selecting groups.
His visit to our Y has him exploring how such tensions and opportunities among these groups are worked out within the YMCA family. He has had a long standing association with the YMCA movement, including attending an international “imagineering” conference held in Chicago 15 years ago. He found the experience of YMCAs serving their varied contexts in the US highly encouraging.
When talking with Simon and his son, they were thrilled with the authenticity and intimacy of our branch. The Manchester Y had just celebrated their 170th year in existence, being the second oldest in the UK and one of the largest as they are connected to a 40-room hotel, upscale restaurant, spa, and shopping center so Simon was genuinely warmed when greeted by name each and every time he came through our door.
The best part was that his family was able to join him Christmas Eve, which made the visit here even more meaningful. There was shopping to be done, great food to be eaten and a skiing trip to Whistler, as his brother lives in Canada. He has been so overwhelmed with gratitude for his YMCA brethren here in the States and excited for the experience of an American Y. He is ready to end this trip strong, taking back all of his involvement and newfound knowledge, incorporate it into the composition, formation and symmetry of his Y, to make the Manchester experience even more empowering. Simon feels this expedition will enable people to develop their full potential in mind, body, and spirit. He also hopes it will create supportive, inclusive and energizing communities where young people can truly belong, contribute and thrive regardless of where you are in the world.