Girl guides will no longer pledge their loyalty to God and country under radical changes revealed yesterday.
Now when joining the Guides and Brownies, they will promise ‘to be true to myself’ and ‘serve my community’
The change will see the end of more than a century of tradition and has caused an outcry from the Church of England and other religious groups.
Andrea Minichiello Williams of Christian Concern, herself a former Brownie, said: ‘This is a sad day. It runs against the tradition and history of the Guide movement, which was rooted in Christian values.
‘Now the promise sounds like a self-help manual.’
But Chief Guide Gill Slocombe insisted the previous oath had been ‘confusing’ about belief and ‘discouraged some girls and volunteers from joining us’.
The promise has been changed 11 times in the organisation’s history.
Although members have been required to make a pledge to God since it began in 1920, the phrase ‘and my country’ has been included only since 1994. The new changes follow just a fortnight after a uniformed Guide leader took part in the service making the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.
The Reverend Jenny Pathmarajah, from Taverham in Norfolk, helped carry the Coronation oil to the altar of Westminster Abbey and handed the flagon to Archbishop Justin Welby.
She said before the service: ‘Her Majesty wanted someone who was a Queen’s Guide because she was one herself. She also wanted someone of faith.’
Originally named after a frontier regiment in British India, Girlguiding, as it is know now has recently tried to steer a more modern course.
Last year, chief executive Julia Bentley was hired, former head of an abortion and contraception group.
Miss Bentley said when appointed that Guiding ‘is not about itchy brown uniforms and sewing and baking. It is a modern, contemporary, vibrant organisation.
‘Guides are more likely to be investigating a muddy ravine, going overseas to help on an Aids programme, or going to one of our pop concerts.’
Here is what the pledge was before:
“I promise that I will do my best to love God, to serve the Queen and my country, to help other people and to keep the Guide law.”
Here is what the pledge will say after:
“I promise that I will do my best to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, to serve the Queen and my community, to help other people to keep the Guide law.”
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