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.
Reverse this for a minute in your mind. A group of Muslim scouts built a small mosque in nature 70 years ago and it has been used by Muslim scouts ever since. It is torn down because it “gives offense.”
The Boyscouts have gotten lots of support over the years while they ere under seige from ACLU and the like. I think we need to let them know how we feel about this.
My mistake; I assumed it was here in the US.
Yah, unfortunately it’s our cousins in England, and our fellow Christians, that are under siege. I don’t think we’ve fallen this far here in the U.S.A. . . . yet.
If you served galumpkis you may never see you Italian dinner guests again.....
“If” the Scouts refuse to admit atheists/non Christians then so be it, it’s their organization they should be able to decide who they would like to have in it and who they would like to exclude.
For example, if your Italian friends have a “men’s club” like the Knights of Saint Columbus,if they don’t wish to give access to non Italians, what of it?
The thing that I do not understand is this view that all doors should be open to everyone at all times no matter what,lestways, someone somewhere gets offended...
WE can only control ourselves, we really cannot control the emotions of others,.
Sounds like the Democrats at the Sojourners/CNN forum.
"Reverse this for a minute in your mind. A group of Muslim scouts built a small mosque in nature 70 years ago and it has been used by Muslim scouts ever since. It is torn down because it 'gives offense.'" --Greg F
Is Great Britain being overrun by woodland chapels?
Oh. So it was torn down, not because it DOES offend someone, but because it MIGHT offend someone.
Sheesh. 1984 has arrived.
Wierd, when the Christians became established in England they destroyed the druid groves.... I don’t see how you can call it anything else but religious warfare when you destroy the shrine of another’s religion.
And, no, no way, no how, would they think of doing this if it was a Muslim place of worship.
Thanks for the insight. It was very enlightening.
I was a scout but dropped out when I became an atheist. Hopefully by the time I have kids they’ll let them in.
But when I was in, not only was every kid Christian, everyone was Catholic also (Southern Louisiana) but the only time religion got involved is when meetings opened. It ain’t sunday school, it ain’t bible camp, its the Scouts and everyone who would respect them should be able to get in.
Boy Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan
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.
A Scout tells the truth. He keeps his promises. Honesty is part of his code of conduct. People can depend on him.
A Scout is true to his family, Scout leaders, friends, school, and nation.
A Scout is concerned about other people. He does things willingly for others without pay or reward.
A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He seeks to understand others. He respects those with ideas and customs other than his own.
A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows good manners make it easier for people to get along together.
A Scout understands there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. He does not hurt or kill harmless things without reason.
A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobey them.
A Scout looks for the bright side of things. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.
A Scout works to pay his way and to help others. He saves for unforeseen needs. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property.
A Scout can face danger even if he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at or threaten him.
A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He goes around with those who believe in living by these same ideals. He helps keep his home and community clean.
A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.
Scout Motto.......Be Prepared
Scout Slogan.........Do a Good Turn Daily
Such a strong declaratory statement. You came to make because......?
The only people probably offended are the PC knuckleheads.
Silly me, thinking the Scouts are an organization for people of any religion! Even if they can’t describe the particularities of their religious beliefs, all they have to do is acknowledge some belief in a Higher Power, as the saying goes.
Good job SandRat because Boy Scouts is not a “Christian” organization. I have heard it said that BSA does not care if you worship a rock in your back yard as long as you reverence something. As a scouter and a Christian I would be happy if scouts changed the DRP to something along the AA lines of acknowledging a power higher than myself. Some may chose to call their higher power God some may reverence the federal government or the ideals of scouting. Remember the LDS has the most units chartered of any organization, so if you are railing against a certain presidential candidate on the basis of his faith then scouts is not your bag either. Come one come all we stand ready to try to build some character in young men. There are even uber-liberals involved in scouting as well as conservatives.