Igniting ‘Hope’

Date: 07 July 2022

Igniting ‘Hope’

YMCA Vision 2030 Pillar 2, Meaningful Work

World Council Devotions, 06/07/022

This excerpt from the main presentation of the Devotions focuses on the meaning of work and a sense of purpose as presented by:

Medhat Mahdy, President and CEO of YMCA Greater Toronto

In Canada, Toronto is located within the territory of indigenous people. The Toronto YMCA is on the journey of truth and reconciliation along with YMCA colleagues across Canada. This is an example of what brings meaning to the work.

The one word that encapsulates the YMCA is Diversity – of people, geography and programmes. We are a YMCA committed to pluralism; in a world of growing polarisation and division, the YMCA is a bridge that brings communities together.

As agents of hope, we ignite three senses: The sense of purpose, a sense of belonging and the sense of community. Allah made the sun, and when the sun shines, it shines on everyone. My commitment to pluralism is based on this principle.  

The Strategic Vision of the YMCA Canada:  “Ignite the light”, the vision is vibrant in communities where everyone can shine. We aim to boost wellbeing and promote equity. We are committed to meaningful work, and the YMCA emphasizes five priorities in people’s lives: health/wellbeing, families, religion/spiritual beliefs, and education. As YMCA leaders, we have to ensure that and develop ways to support that.

In the pandemic, about 250 million jobs were lost worldwide. Now 1.6 billion people are working in an informal economy. They live without a safety net. A large number of youths are unemployed, not in school and not receiving training. At the same time, we face the global crises of climate change and war, racism, mental health crisis, affordable housing and food and security. 

What is the hope in the face of these kinds of crises? Hope is looking forward with desire with reasonable confidence. All other definitions suggest that hope is to place trust. Poet Emily Dickenson tells that ‘hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul’. Hope is the music of the future, with faith associated with it. We cannot detach faith from hope. All of us with the YMCA know how critical health and wellbeing are.  

Former US president John F. Kennedy said, “We choose to go to the moon and do other difficult things not because they are easy but because they are hard”. That speaks about the YMCA’s work. It is great work; however, it is hard work we are called to do. 

Let us plant dates. Those who plant them will never eat them; we must live with the love that we may never see. This love drives us in the YMCA. I have loved coming to the YMCA every day for the past 46 years, because I know we are making a difference. I love my colleagues and one has to love your community of colleagues to lead them. 


Over four days at the 20th World Council, we shared in daily Devotions. Each day looked through a Christian faith lens at a value linked to one of the four Vision 2030 Pillars of Impact. And each day we also heard the perspective of a different faith tradition, and our speakers explored the concepts of Wholeness, Hope, Responsibility and Dignity. Let their words offer focus and guidance as you embark on your prayer journey.  

WC article: https://www.ymca.int/devotions-its-all-about-faith/