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Prague 1991 - Miracles Needed

Reminiscences of former Secretary General of YMCA Europe

 

 

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Article on the history of the Czech YMCA
August 2010, Rev. Dr. theol. Dölf Weder

 

February 1991 - Miracles Needed

It was in the cold February of 1991, when I was sitting in a board room under the roof of a huge building at Na Porici 12 in Prague, seat of the national Czechoslovak Sports Alliance. With me were Dr. Lubor Drapal and some other persons in advanced age, plus Dieter Reitzner from the Austrian YMCA. They told me that they recently had re-founded their YMCA and that I should support its development – and help them to get back the building we were sitting in, plus quite a number of other camps and houses, as these used to be YMCA centers, expropriated under communist rule after World War II.

I felt helpless. Here I was, the new European Secretary General, representing YMCA Europe with a small office in St. Gallen, Switzerland, having one administrative secretary and hardly enough money to even finance our own operation. And Czechoslovakia was only one of the countries the European Alliance had totally unexpectedly become responsible for after November 1989. There were the Baltic States, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria – and later Armenia, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus…, all facing similar challenges. Central and Eastern Europe was changing fast and dramatically, and we, totally unprepared, were called to act. Miracles were needed.

 

December 1998, same building.

Together with the Czech National YMCA Secretary, I inaugurated the offices of the new seat of YMCA Europe at Na Porici 12, moved to here from St. Gallen, Switzerland. For one year, I now had my own office in this building, renovated and owned by the Czech YMCA. The movement had become a flourishing youth organization step by step. Can you imagine my feelings? It was nothing less than a miracle and God’s rich blessings that through the dedicated work of the Czech YMCA leaders, and with the support of so many friends in Europe, North America and the whole World, such development had become possible.

 

May 2009, Germany.

I meet the new Czech National General Secretary, Michael Erdinger. I recognize in him the once small and shy boy Miki whom I had encountered in the mid 90s playing keyboard in a small village in the Czech countryside. We helped them to establish a Ten Sing group and the YMCA.

I become aware once more: this miracle is not about the development of buildings and organizations only; it’s first and foremost about the development of people.

YMCA is about young people and their growth, both in body, mind and spirit. It is so exciting and such a reason for gratefulness to have been and to be part of God’s great plan with us human beings – and with the Czech YMCA!

 

Dölf Weder, Rev. Dr. theol.
Secretary General YMCA Europe 1990-1999
St. Gallen, 26th August 2010

 

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Inhalt

February 1991

December 1998

May 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is not about the development of buildings and organizations only; it’s first and foremost about the development of people.

 

 

 

 

 

YMCA is about young people and their growth, both in body, mind and spirit.