Home December 2011 George Fox president well understands impact of local Y’s Christian emphasis

George Fox president well understands impact of local Y’s Christian emphasis


PORTLAND — If anyone is in a position to know what a big and significant goal the YMCA of Columbia-Willamette has pursued the past several years, it’s George Fox University President Robin Baker.

As featured speaker at the Portland-based agency’s sixth annual Christian Principles Celebration and Fundraiser cheap brand viagra overnight Nov. 7 at the Multnomah Athletic Club, Baker candidly shared why he is so “deeply encouraged” by the local “Y’s” efforts to re-emphasize the “C” in YMCA.

It goes back to Baker’s young adult years, when he was hired to direct two of the larger YMCA camps in the Phoenix, Ariz., area that served hundreds of kids. Baker was pleased to run programs that addressed the youths’ spiritual and emotional needs as well as physical needs — that is, until his supervisor shared a concern.

“You’re just too Christian,” the supervisor told Baker, instructing him to de-emphasize spiritual content in programs. He was told the YMCA had changed over the years and the emphasis on Christ just didn’t fit.

“It was really disappointing to me,” recalled Baker. “I never expected to darken the doors of the Y after that.”

Baker eventually felt called to work in Christian higher education, earning master’s and doctoral degrees in history and working at Christian colleges in Illinois, Arkansas and Arizona before coming to George Fox in 1999 as provost and then becoming president in 2007.

Baker said that at George Fox he has been reminded of the high value a solid emphasis on the gospel of Christ can have even in the eyes of non-believers. For example, he said the university has enrolled about 100 students from China, most from families without a Christian background. But some of those students’ parents have told him personally how much they appreciate the university’s spiritual underpinnings.

“One parent said, ‘I think Christ has much to offer to a world that is increasingly without purpose,’ ’’ Baker said.

For that reason, Baker was excited two years ago to meet Bob Reichen, the Portland YMCA’s vice president of mission advancement and chaplain. Reichen outlined how, under CEO and President Robert Hall, the local Y is deliberately seeking to re-focus on the historic Christian foundation on which the global YMCA movement was built in the mid-19th century.

Through Reichen’s office, the local YMCA promotes Christian principles training for all new staff; provides teaching and modeling tools focusing on personal witness, leadership development and conferences; establishes partnerships with regional churches and other Christian institutions — including George Fox — and more. The agency’s chaplaincy recently expanded, adding Roger Button as chaplain in Vancouver, Wash.

Reichen and Portland businessman Ron Yost, chair of the YMCA’s Christian Principles Committee, said what is happening here is also increasing elsewhere for the Y. Whereas in 2004 there were only four YMCA chaplains nationally, today there are 61.

Baker said both George Fox and the local YMCA have the same purpose in mind.

“It’s our calling to present the Gospel in its clearest form,” Baker said.dutas australia lowest cost generic cialis buy dutasteride australiadutas in usa buy real brand viagra online uk dutasteride sale cialis for sale canada cialis online united states dutas canadabuy domperidone from canada buy brand viagra canadian pharmacy dutas australia