Ys Take the Lead on Good Friday


April, 2017

Community Impact

One of the more exciting public events each year is the annual Good Friday Prayer Breakfast. These well attended gatherings are often sponsored by the local YMCA. Earlier this month, Ys around the country took leadership in bringing this celebration of faith to their community.

The 49th Annual Good Friday Breakfast in Indianapolis saw over 800 civic and faith leaders come together to hear Indy car driver Davey Hamilton. Eric Ellsworth, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, said the event went off without a hitch. Josh Heaston, the Chaplain of the Indy Y, coordinated this year’s breakfast. Offered free to the community, this gathering is completely underwritten by donations from local residents.
As you can see, one of the challenges this year was getting the Indy car onto the stage! The highlight for Eric, Josh and their staff this year were the 11 people who professed their faith in Christ at the end of the event.

Photograph provided by Josh Heaston

The Portland Good Friday Breakfast attracted over 1200 to the Oregon Convention Center. The YMCA of Columbia-Willamette, in partnership with Open Arms International and other local area businesses and non-profits, sponsored this event. The program featured retired CEO and President of Papa Murphy’s Pizza, Ken Calwell. The former triathlete told his amazing story of survival after nearly being killed when hit by a car while riding his bicycle. The Gospel Choir from the University of Oregon shared their talents, and attendees were offered the opportunity to mingle with Y Chaplains before and after the breakfast.
The Fort Wayne Y produced a video for their Good Friday Breakfast that helps to promote the C in their YMCA. Matt Goebel, Chaplain of their Y, is working with Marty Pastura, CEO, to bring Christ to the front of their association. This year’s breakfast was an opportunity for them to raise the awareness of the Y as a part of the larger faith community. Keynote speaker Reggie McNeal asked the audience five questions based on his message, “Get Off Your Donkey and Help Someone” based on the parable of the Good Samaritan.
These Ys and many others are using events like these and the upcoming National Day of Prayer breakfasts next month to promote the Y as a faith-based organization and an active leader in the community. When the YMCA takes the lead, great things can happen! We commend Ys around the country who are creating opportunities for service and partnership for the cause of Christ.