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The Synod’s debate on the Guides’ promise

07 March 2014


From Mrs April Alexander
Sir, - I was heavily lobbied before the General Synod debate on the Guides' promise (Synod, 21 February), but not, of course, by young people. The letters were uniformly disparaging about the new promise, and, in particular, about the omission of God in it. This, I was told, had not been part of the consultation.

It was only during the debate that I learned that the initiative to remove the word "God" came, unprompted, from active Guides themselves in their tens of thousands. That was why it had not been part of the consultation. Annaliese Barrell, the mover of a helpful amendment, made it very clear to me (although she did not say as much) that we should not spend our time pointlessly debating the advice that we should give to a movement that is separate from, and does not come under the authority of, the Church. What should have worried us was why so many Guides had made this request.

Your excellent Church Health Check (31 January) gave us answers to this question, loud and clear. We find them in the work of both Professor Linda Woodhead ("'The Church is prejudiced - it discriminates against women and gay people'") and Dr Robert Warner ("[Young] People no longer consider themselves to be behaving 'immorally' let alone 'living in sin'. Instead they have embraced a new morality and it is the Church which is now considered 'immoral'").

Dr Warner finds the roots of this in the "1960s moral revolution". We cannot complain that we have not had time to catch up with it. We have been much too busy with our own internal affairs. It is time to work out how we can set about regaining trust and demonstrating what we have to offer our young.

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Surrey RH1 4PB

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