Bishop Tim has joined three other C of E bishops calling 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 (24 January), the Bishops of Southwell and Nottingham, Grantham and Jarrow, together with Bishop Tim, have encouraged parishioners to engage in the public dialogues being run independently by the Scout Association and Girlguiding UK.

The Scout’s consultation, which closes on 31 January, 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 3 March, 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, and 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 Scouts and Girlguiding’.

To comment on the Scout Association consultation, click here 

To comment on the Girlguiding UK consultation, click here 

A briefing paper entitled ‘Keeping the Promise’ is available on the Church of England website.

Full text of the Bishops’ Open Letter