From the Revd Roger Gibbard
Sir, - In their new promise, the Guides and Brownies (News, 21
June; Letters, 28
June, 5 July) are saying
something very important.
The laying aside of the traditional religious language of the
old promise (to do my duty to God) and adoption of the more
personal terms of the new one (to be true to myself) is a challenge
to us all to discern God's presence in our innermost being.
No matter that it is a response to the reality of our modern
pluralist society, where a girl wanting to join a Brownie pack or
Guide company is as likely to come from a totally non-religious
family, or one following a different faith, as from a Christian
one. (We also have to respect that a young person these days is
likely to have beliefs that comprise a rather inchoate amalgam of
ideas and influences borne in upon them by the internet.)
The commitment to seeking the truth of one's own being as well
as "to develop one's beliefs" is nothing less than the spiritual
quest, which most of your readers would describe as the search for
God. But God is not a word or a doctrine, but a reality to be
experienced and lived - whatever the language in which we try to
Surely, any youth group dedicated to "being true to themselves"
must find a welcome and support in the Church of Christ, whom we
trust to be Truth, and "the light which enlightens every
In this connection, I would commend to Brownie and Guide leaders
the important work being done by the World Community for Christian
Meditation (WCCM) in teaching meditation to hundreds of
schoolchildren in the UK. We are finding that even quite young
children take to meditation almost naturally (one minute for each
year of their age).
This helps them create precious inner space, counteracts the
tendency to over-stimulation in our hectic world, and links in to
their often quite natural sense of the divine presence.
Anglican priest and WCCM volunteer
97 Barnsley Street
Wigan WN6 7HB