The Young Men’s Christian Association is a standing testimony to the power of true Christian values that transcends the narrow confines of geography, politics, colour, faith and language. A movement that was started in London by a 23 year old Englishman who felt that it was ‘the duty of Christian young men to witness in practical ways to their faith in the sphere of their daily life, had surpassed the expectations of its pioneers even during their life time. When Sir. George Williams and his friends planted the seeds of the YMCA in 1844 in London, would they have ever imagined that a few decades later, in 1886 and thousands of kilometers away, a small town named Thrissur in the small princely state of Cochin (remember Kerala was not formed until 1956) would have a YMCA of its own! It is even more interesting to know that Sir. George Williams died only in 1905, and the National Council of YMCAs of India was formed only in 1891. Truly, the YMCA of Thrissur has a history that is unique in many ways.
YMCA Thrissur was established in 1886 and was later registered under the Travancore Cochin Literary, Scientific, Charitable Societies’ Act XII of 1955 (Registration No. 28 of 1968).
The noble souls that laid the foundation of the YMCA in Thrissur were the Rev. A.E. David, Mr.P.P. Joseph and the Rev.J.H. Bishop. And though the YMCA was founded by the missionaries of the CMS (now CSI) it grew in Ecumenical Spirit and Christian Fellowship. It continued in prayer meetings together with the social action work among all sections of the society.
As the Thrissur YMCA entered into the 21st century, its presence and influence in the socio-religious life of Thrissur had become tremendous. Even non-Christians had begun to take active interest in the social works of the YMCA and eventually they began to take membership in the YMCA and have contributed a lot to the ecumenical nature of the YMCA. The YMCA is now no more just a small hostel and place for games; it is a vibrant active social service organization. Through its student wing, the Uni-Y, it is actively engaged in training the youth in aspects of leadership, capacity building and personal development.