According to YMCA historian Howard Hopkins, evangelist Dwight L. Moody is “the greatest religious figure in the first century of the American YMCA.” Moody was affiliated with the Chicago (Ill.) YMCA and pressed it in the direction of evangelism. As president of the association, he secured funding to erect the Chicago YMCA’s first building. Moody was the leading religious figure of his day, a revivalist who reached millions. He said he owed more to the YMCA than to any other organization for equipping him to do religious work. At a YMCA secretaries meeting in 1879, he said, “I would recommend a gymnasium, classes, medical lectures, social receptions, music…we do not want simply evangelistic meetings.” Moody was instrumental in establishing the YMCA’s student volunteer movement and what is now known as World Service.
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