Church of Ireland's plea as Girl Guides drop God from promise
The Church of Ireland has called for all Girlguiding organisations to give Christian members the option of putting God back in their 'promise' in a growing row which has stunned the organisation.
Following an "in-depth consultation process" earlier this year, the wording of the promise has been updated to make guiding "truly open to all girls and women," according to the Girlguiding movement.
In the new promise, which has been in place since the beginning of September, the words "to be true to myself and develop my beliefs" replaced "to love my God", and the words "to serve the Queen and my community" have replaced "to serve the Queen and my country".
The Church of Ireland has now publicly expressed its concern and says it cannot support the new promise being used.
The issue was raised at the most recent meeting of the Standing Committee of the General Synod.
In a statement the church said: "We request that Girlguiding Ulster and Girlguiding UK, as soon as possible, provide its many children and leaders from a Christian background the option to make a promise to serve God.
"In addition, we request that no Church of Ireland-based Guiding unit compel its new members to make this new promise."
It is also believed that a Co Antrim troop was forced to relocate after adopting the new promise.
Executive manager of Girlguiding Ulster Claire Flowers said she wanted to wait until after talks with the churches to comment.
"We've a good relationship with ministers and churches and we want to maintain that," she said.
The Girl Guides are hoping to meet with the major churches within the next month to discuss "issues and concerns".
An urgent meeting is scheduled to take place this evening among Girl Guide leaders ahead of the talks with churches.
The new promise reads:
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
And to keep the (Brownie) Guide Law.