San Antonio Leads the Way


March, 2018

Partner Ministries

When you think of San Antonio, Texas, you probably think of people walking around in cowboy hats, the famous River Walk, the San Antonio Spurs basketball team, fantastic Tex-Mex food and, our course, the Alamo.

It’s a vibrant, growing city that relishes its historic culture and diverse population.

The YMCA of Greater San Antonio, led by CEO Sandy Morander, is matching the vibrancy of the city they serve with their outstanding programs. Nowhere is that more evident than in their commitment to their Christian emphasis team. Working under the direction of Chaplain Nancy Abbott, the association has launched a Christian emphasis team at each of their branch locations and established 12 branch standards for those teams. In addition, they recently hosted the International Fellowship of Chaplains training, attracting participants from all over the nation.

We thought you might like to see those 12 branch standards and read a few comments from Nancy Abbott about their experience with the IFOC training.

12 Branch Standards for a Quality Christian Emphasis Team

Definition of Branch Standards: All branches will work to have the following aspects of Christian emphasis. Below is an updated list of recommended branch standards for Christian emphasis:

  1. Christian emphasis website presence at all branches
  2. Prayer elevated through prayer board, box and/or other ways that work for your branch staff and members
  3. Bible present in your Y
  4. Y Triangle present in your Y
  5. Active Christian emphasis team in your branch
  6. First Monday Prayer for staff
  7. Preserve the YMCA’s rich heritage by telling our story often and well
  8. Celebrate the National Day of Prayer each year
  9. Spiritual vitamins available for members, staff and children
  10. Active staff involvement in the annual CL@Y conference
  11. Quality Christian emphasis programs in each branch
  12. Group X classes start with a higher thought

International Fellowship of Chaplains Training

After hosting and attending the recent IFOC training at her Y, Chaplain Nancy Abbott shared these comments with us:

For YMCA staff/pastors—I think this would be an excellent training for all staff. It has increased my awareness and understanding for those that are hurting and how to respond to various issues that arise.

Why the Y?—I think becoming a licensed chaplain can allow us to be available to respond to crises in our community (or wherever) but also build volunteer chaplains into our branches.

The training—The training itself is fantastic! It’s truly one of the best trainings (if not the best) that I’ve taken.

The Y offering this training—This demonstrates a way to give to our community and partner together with other local organizations. Many attendees have also become more aware of the Y’s Christian roots through this as well.

Future connections with IFOC—There are more trainings offered through IFOC as well as area meetings of chaplains. No one is alone in serving as a chaplain. That seems like a fine model for all of us that serve in the Y. Who are we sharing our stuff with? Are we taking care of ourselves? Do we allow people to ask us the tough questions? I like how IFOC has set up a way to take care of their own.

We want to thank the San Antonio YMCA for leading the way and demonstrating how a Y can truly lift up the C in their community!