The Anglican Fellowship in Scouting and Guiding was formed in 1983, its purpose being to support Leaders in Scouting and Guiding and the Clergy. It produces resources, especially related to Acts of Worship and the relevance of the Law and Promises.
History of the Anglican Fellowship
(This was written by the late Mrs. June Davies, President and Founder Member)
I attended a meeting at BP House based on part of the Promise - "Duty to God" - organised by The Scout Association. After that meeting those interested were invited to help form an Anglican Fellowship. There was a large attendance including many Clergy members.
Under the guidance of Church Army Sister Catherine Wellingbrook a Committee was formed. I was given the job of following up the various suggestions made. Many meetings followed, often lengthy and difficult. Eventually permission was given to form a Fellowship to be named THE ANGLICAN FELLOWSHIP. Permission to wear a badge was refused and it took a considerable number of years to achieve the badge we now proudly wear. We were informed in on uncertain terms that the Fellowship had to be CHRISTIAN and above all ANGLICAN.
The inaugural Service took place at BP House lead by Bishop Warlock of the Catholic Faith, assisted by Catherine Wellingbrook. Following that Service we attended the THINKING DAY SERVICE at WESTMINSTER ABBEY sitting in the Choir stalls.
We are grateful to Catherine and the support received from the Church Army. When the Army stopped their Arrow scheme they gave us all their surplus badges. These became collectors' items at Gilwell Reunions in later years.
Meetings continued for many months trying to satisfy the requirements of the Guide and Scout Associations until eventually we were able to draw up a constitution to satisfy both sides. Meetings took place in various venues from the East End of London to the Midlands.
FIRST WEEKEND AWAY
To say it was interesting and we learnt a lot is an understatement. The venue was Blackwell Court, Staffordshire and was very memorable. The roof leaked and seeing clergy on their hands and knees mopping up floors was a shock. I was brought up at a time when clergymen were treated with great reverence and only spoken to if they spoke to me. This resulted in everyone being at ease with each other for the rest of the weekend. Eventually weekends away have become part of the pattern of the Fellowship. All Fellowships seem to take 'time out'.
Thank you Bishop Ian Harland for teaching me how to be at ease with 'men of the cloth'. I have lost track of how many weekends away we have shared There have been many different venues including London, Pembrokeshire, Carlisle, Birmingham, Dorking, Lowestoft, Kegworth, Bournemouth and numerous others.
10th Anniversary: a School in the East End of London
25th: an Airbase in Lincolnshire
30th: Green Pastures in Bournemouth
The one I and many others will, I am sure, remember is thec wonderful weekend spent in Ushaw College, Durham celebrating the Millennium.
The weekend was shared by all the Christian Fellowships from both Guiding and Scouting. There was a large number of laity and many clergy of various denominations. We celebrated part of our Communion Service, with Father John leading those of the Catholic tradition singing as they went to their Chapel for their celebration. This created a lovely atmosphere.
We visited Durham Cathedral, taking part in a Service. All in all it was a memorable weekend for everyone. I have shared many weekends with Scouts and Guides at various camps and events over the years from Yorkshire to West Sussex taking a part of some kind at all of them.
There has always been some kind of newsletter. In the beginning various clergy would write the front page. 'Back then' it was only A4 folded with old fashioned means of printing!
Sandra, our editor, produces a wonderful magazine of which we are very proud. We produce a large number to distribute at the Reunion; which is at least publicity. Copies are sent far and wide including Spain and Australia.
The first year we attended under the banner of the Anglican Fellowship in Scouting and Guiding was 1984 and we have attended every Reunion since.
The first year all we had was leaflets to distribute. A fair amount of interest was shown. However we were challenged by someone who said if we could produce a cut out model of a church he would join the following year. Keith Bowler (now deceased) offered to make one. He duly did and the fact that we had something constructive to offer sowed the seeds for the resource sheets . For man y years a large number of our resource sheets were the ideas of Captain Don Woodhouse (also deceased). Don was a most wonderful person to whom we owed so much. He had so many ideas and as a person his friendship is missed by us all, even today.
WHAT OF THE FUTURE?
Sadly now modern technology has overtaken us and now we have to rethink our route. We cannot compete with the huge number of free ideas available on 'the net'; but we will find a way forward with the knowledge that the other Christian Fellowships have a similar problem. I remain as optimistic as I did in the beginning.
In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. (St John 1:1)