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11 January 2011

Historic British charity drops the word "Christian" from its name

And is the new name dumb!
"One of the country’s best-known charities has changed its name, losing the clearest link to its Christian roots. The Young Women’s Christian Association has dropped its historic title after 156 years because ‘it no longer stands for who we are’.

Instead the organisation – which is mainly funded by legacies left by Christian supporters over 15 decades – will be known as ‘Platform 51’.

Bosses say the name was chosen to reflect the fact that 51 per cent of people are female and that they can use the charity as a platform ‘to have their say’ and ‘to move to the next stage of their lives’.

The decision to drop all mention of Christianity from the charity’s name and purposes drew criticism from religious groups yesterday. It also appeared to open a rift between the renamed grouping in England and Wales and the worldwide YWCA that grew after the charity was founded by two Englishwomen in 1855.

Officials at the World YWCA headquarters in Geneva said none of the 124 branches in other countries are changing their names. Spokesman 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.’

Although it remains listed in the Church of England’s year book as an organisation ‘of importance for the Church of England’, none of its trustees or senior managers are church representatives. Its chairman is gay rights activist and former equality quango manager Helen Wollaston.


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