1 March 2024

On the Road to Emmaus

“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them…

Luke 24:13-15

Wishing you a happy new year – again! As you know, the financial year starts afresh in April (the day after Easter Sunday this year) – the point at which we wrap up the last (organisational) year and launch the new one. We continue, of necessity, to run a tight ship but are pleased to have been able to get to a budget plan that enables us to give you a salary uplift that is as generous and fair as possible. There is fabulous activity going on across our YMCA and we want you to know how valued you are in this transformative work you do and the impact you have on beneficiaries.

The reflection this month – On the road to Emmaus – really resonates with me. Two friends walking along the road. Jesus has been killed, his body has gone missing – was it all for nothing? They are “downcast” (v17). What catches my eye here is the companionship. They were downcast, but they were downcast together. They were trying to make sense of things by talking it all through. Then Jesus (though they didn’t initially recognise him) came and walked alongside them. I love how he didn’t stand in front of them and pontificate to them, but chose to walk “along with them”. There is something about this alongside-ness that appeals to me. Maybe it captures something of how we all work with each other. No one of us is striding ahead with our own agenda; rather, we are all alongside each other “talking with each other about everything”, doing our best to make sense of challenges (especially when we feel “downcast”), to find the hope, to encourage, to find solutions, to chivvy along. A focus on what we CAN do, rather than what we can’t. It is this collaborative and respectful “alongside” approach that is a key part of our refreshed culture. The story of Holy Week and Easter is something of a massive rollercoaster – from despair to hope, from death to life. But within all of it is a sense of respect, resilience and alongside-ness.

Indeed, it is also reflected in how we stand alongside colleague YMCAs in advocating for the same outcomes.

If you haven’t already linked to the YMCA Manifesto, do make time to have a look and sign up: https://www.ymca.org.uk/generalelection

In the meantime, while we continue on our own road (to Redditch, Worcester, Kidderminster or wherever!), let’s keep that alongside-ness a key part of how we travel.

The blessings, joy and hope of Easter to you and your families, my colleagues!

Annette Daly, CEO