Unify 2024 Conference

March 2024

‘Unify is a platform for YMCAs to share and reflect on the Christian Mission of the YMCA, as stated in the Paris Basis (1855), the founding document of the YMCA.’

The Unify 2024 Conference was hosted at the Hotel Globus, in Prague from 22nd to 25th February. This was my first Unify (and YMCA) conference and it did not disappoint! As a volunteer Chaplain for the YMCA, the conference objective to: inspire, worship and share through their theme of, ‘Growing in Christ’, greatly appealed to me and we did just that through the daily sessions! 

I found the entire experience amazing as I engaged with wonderful people from diverse backgrounds all over the world, from Columbia to Carrickfergus and England to Egypt, all serving the YMCA! The stories shared in public, group and at personal times deeply impacted me. One conversation to the next enriched my experience as we discovered so much from our stories and how we serve. Those who keep pressing on despite their personal or organisational challenges that they are currently facing, like the leaders impacted by government closure of the YMCA in Belarus. As well as those leaders who are encouraged by growth and their impact in Georgia and Germany. I learnt about and found inspiration from the collective work of YMCA, in the likes of Ukraine and how we are stronger and more effective together. Such dynamics do exist in the local context but are more extensive when explored in a global context. I found the workshops aimed to upskill public speaking and listening skills informative, learning helpful tips.

I would recommend the Unify Conference for those who want to broaden their life experience, and be part of a global learning community that clearly enables an environment for Christians to worship and flourish in Body, Mind and Spirit, to develop their skills to serve and lead in their home setting.  

Merle Patterson, Chaplain – Portadown YMCA