Presbyterian congregations, with affiliated Girl Guide groups, are to be advised by the church on what action may be appropriate over a new membership promise being introduced by Girl Guiding UK.
The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has joined with the Church of Ireland and Methodist Church in making strong representations to Girl Guiding Ulster expressing concern over the new promise.
The promise, in a move seen by many within the youth organisation as “political correctness gone too far”, replaces to “love my God” with the words “to be true to myself and develop my beliefs”.
Yesterday’s Presbyterian General Assembly approved a motion from the Revs Frank Sellar and Bill Addley, from Bloomfield Presbyterian church in east Belfast, calling on the church to provide direction to concerned congregations who feel the rewording of the Guiding promise is a diminution of Christianity and faith.
The Presbyterian general board has recorded its appreciation of the work of Girl Guide leaders over the year and it has recommended to ministers and kirk sessions that the promise should not be used by Guiding organisations operating within the church.
The Guiding promise has changed 11 times in the organisation’s 100-year history.
In Northern Ireland, 93 per cent of the 293 Guiding groups, with a 12,000 membership, are linked to mainstream Protestant churches – 47 per cent Church of Ireland, 35 per cent Presbyterian, seven per cent Methodist and five per cent by other church groups.