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.
59 High Street
Surrey RH1 4PB