C of E reaches compromise over Guides’ God pledge

The Church of England has backed a compromise agreement for Girl Guides who want to affirm their belief in God when making their Guide promise.

Yesterday the General Synod discussed the Guides’ new pledge to “be true to myself” which replaces a promise to “love my God”.

Critics of the new pledge include commentator Melanie Phillips, who has accused the national Guides association of “dumping timeless values”.


A private member’s motion was put forward by Synod member Alison Ruoff, who said girls should be given a choice between the longstanding pledge and the new promise.

During the debate a compromise was put forward which suggested Guides could preface the new promise with: “In the presence of God I make my Guide Promise”.

Following the change, Ruoff and other Synod members overwhelmingly supported the motion.

The compromise was also backed by Girlguiding UK, who commented that they “remain committed to one promise for all”.


The group said many members had “welcomed” the new promise, and that the organisation had “taken on board the view of a minority of our members who struggle with the new wording”.

They added that “members can provide the context of their own belief if they wish before making our promise.

“This suggestion ensures the wording of our promise is unaltered and, rather than having an alternative, ensures we maintain our one promise for all that celebrates shared values and embraces all beliefs.”


The National Secular Society – which claimed that the Guides had been ‘bullied’ over the issue – also gave its support to the compromise.

“It is a good way to solve the problem, a way that should calm the protestors”, the group said.

Earlier this week it emerged that a Guide group in Newcastle who wanted to use the longstanding promise were no longer under the threat of expulsion from the national Guides association.

Last year commentator Melanie Phillips said the new pledge appeared to be “just a crude and shallow attempt by the Guiding establishment to rebrand itself as modern, by dumping timeless values”.

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