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Bishops urge parishes to help 'Keep the Promise'

Posted on: January 24, 2013 12:31 PM
Related Categories: England

Four Church of England Bishops have called on parishes to respond to public consultations being run by uniformed organisations about the ‘promises’ their new members make.

In an open letter, published in the Church Times today (24th January 2013), the Bishops of Jarrow, Southwell and Nottingham, Grantham and Truro encourage all to engage in the public dialogues being run independently by the Scout Association and Girlguiding UK.

The Scouts consultation, which closes on January 31st, asks some significant questions about how Scouting might look in the future as a value-based organisation. Specifically, it asks whether an alternative version of the Scout Promise should be developed for "atheists and those unable to make the existing commitment".

Girlguiding UK’s consultation, which runs until March 3rd, questions the relevance of promises to serve God and the Queen, to modern members. On its website the organisation states, “We know it’s crucial that girls and young women understand and believe in the words they say.”

In their letter, the Bishops recognise the “deep links” many parishes have with the uniformed organisations and pay tribute to “all that Scouting and Guiding do as value-based organisations for many thousands of young people throughout our country.”

However, they “urge guides, scouts, their leaders and parents to respond to this important consultation to demonstrate the support, collaboration and goodwill of the Church communities in our partnership with the Scouting and Guiding movements.”

A briefing paper entitled “Keeping the Promise” is available on the Church of England website.

Notes to editors
1. Keeping the Promise briefing paper is available at
http://www.churchofengland.org/mediacentre/news/2013/01/keeping-the-promise.aspx

2. The full text of the Bishops letter:

Dear Sir,

We write to encourage those in Churches to take the opportunity to respond to the public consultations being undertaken independently by the Scouting movement and Girl Guiding Movement within the UK.

The Church has deep links with uniformed organisations. Many have come to faith through scouting and many to scouting through faith and the link with churches. There is much for which to be grateful in all that Scouting and Guiding do as value-based organisations for many thousands of young people throughout our country. The commitment of many of the leaders is an example to many of us

The consultation from the Scouting movement - which closes on January 31st - asks some significant questions about how Scouting might look in the future as a value-based organisation. The public consultation from the Guiding movement closes on March 3rd

A briefing paper entitled “Keeping the Promise” is available on the Church of England website and provides further helpful detail on the consultations.

We urge guides, scouts, their leaders and parents to respond to this important consultation to demonstrate the support, collaboration and goodwill of the Church communities in our partnership with the Scouting and Guiding movements.  

Yours faithfully,

Mark Bryant + Jarrow  
Paul Butler + Southwell & Notts 
Tim Ellis   + Grantham    
Tim Thornton + Truro   

3. The URLs of the two consultations are:

The Scout Association
http://members.scouts.org.uk/fundamentals/?pageid=2944

Girlguiding UK
http://www.girlguiding.org.uk/news/promise_consultation_now_open.aspx

Further information from:

Nick Clarke                  tel 020 7898 1459