Skip to comments.Scouts' forest chapel torn down after 70 years because it might offend non-Christians[UK]
Posted on 06/05/2007 12:23:33 PM PDT by BGHater
For almost 70 years, Scouts and Guides have savoured their place of peaceful worship under the trees.
But no longer. The woodland chapel has been demolished - its wooden pews and rudimentary cross and altar removed. In its place is a campfire circle.
The change has been imposed by the Scout Association, which believes the chapel excludes non-Christian Scouts.
Locals are dismayed, but the association says it is simply "moving forward".
The basic open-air structure in woodland surrounding Belchamps Scout Centre in Hockley, Essex, was built between the wars by volunteers.
They used old telegraph poles for pews and built a basic altar and cross. Visiting groups of Brownies, Guides,
Cubs and Scouts, have used it for generations.
Weddings have been blessed there, ashes scattered and memorial trees planted.
But in April, as the Scouting movement celebrated its centenary, it was torn down.
Former Scout leaders are outraged. Keith Rooks-Cowell, 66, led Sunday services in the outdoor chapel for more than 30 years.
The retired civil servant said: "Part of the Scout promise is to do our duty to God. It's an important tradition.
"Scouting has got no objection to any religion or faith - you should have faith, but it's not important which one.
"Anyone from any faith or any religion could go and use the chapel, it's never been a problem. The chapel was already inclusive.
"It has been wrecked. All the posts and everything had been demolished and laid flat. I was amazed and felt disgusted that this had been done."
Wendy Wilson, a bank worker and Scout leader from South-end, held religious services in the chapel for seven years. Her son Joshua, now nine, was baptised there.
She said: "It's a really special place. We all make a promise to do our duty to God, whatever God that may be.
"The chapel has never been an issue. If people didn't want to attend services, it didn't matter and they could choose to have their own ceremonies there. Nobody was made to feel excluded."
However, centre manager Nigel Ruse, 42, said: "The updating of the chapel was done to turn it into a place of worship for all faiths and not to exclude any one from Scouting.
"This is a case of taking Scouting-forward."
He said religious ceremonies could be held at the campfire circle.
But Mr Rooks-Cowell said: "A campfire is a place for sitting round singing, telling jokes and stories. The chapel was used as a quiet place for any leaders to go and sit and think. The two don't sit comfortably together.
"The campfire is not the right place for worship. All religions involves meditation and relaxation."
Last year, it was revealed that the Scout Association banned helpers from putting suncream on children unless they already had sunburn. This was to done to prevent allegations of child abuse.
“Should have shown the backbone that they ask their young members to have.”
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
BTW I am offended by the mosque on Temple Mount. Think I’ll get any satisfaction?
That is a great comment!
“They mean Muslims don’t they.”
Possibly Sikhs and Hindus, too, of which they have quite a few in the U.K.
This is sad - I wasn’t really brought up in the church, and ended up as an atheist, but traditional beliefs should not be thrown away like this. I attended a few Scout camp outdoor chapels in my day, and was never offended (maybe bored) by it, despite my personal lack of faith. Of course, as a heathen some would argue I should never have been in scouting at all. That would only have deprived them of an active member, and me of a valuable experience.
I applied for a job some years ago at our regional level of the Girl Scouts. I was extremely uncomfortable with the woman interviewing me. She just wasn’t what I thought of at all when I remember Girl Scouts. She could have fit within your description of the national leaders, I don’t know.
Well, does the chapel exclude non-Christian Scouts or doesn't it? If non-Christian Scouts were not allowed to attend the services there, if they were truly excluded, then I could understand.
If I'm Polish and Italians come to my house for dinner, they shouldn't be surprised to be served galumpkis and pierogis.
I'm just suprised London only has 113 street corners. I remember more for some reason....
Devolution continues its spiral into hell.
In a way, this is a related story:
When I see statements like ‘whatever God that may be’ it tells me they’d already torn down the chapel in their hearts.
When I was a Girl Scout, I thought of it as a Native American thing.
EIN VOLK, EIN ISLAM, EIN ALLAH
More PC surrender crap.
We are slipping down the slope day by day now to a new age of martyrs. What will Christians do when God commands them to witness and Caesar commands them to be quiet and don’t be seen or heard?
Goodbye merrey old England. Hello . . . to what?
I was having a nice day, being a former Eagle Scout, and having had a good lunch, as we former Eagle Scouts tend to do, generally being employed, and suddenly I’m put in an apocalyptic mood. Or am I apoplectic? Regardless, this is dangerous, dangerous stuff when the Boy Scouts can't have a Christian chapel to pray in, because of offense.
And how many were there twenty years ago?
Half as many?
A third as many?
Fundamental atheists offend me.
Pray for W and Our Troops