Is Brownies supposed to be religious?

(51 Posts)
Garfieldsarm Wed 18-Sep-19 17:38:42

DD7 has just started Brownies, having previously attended Rainbows.

I was aware that Brownies had amended their promise, to omit serving God, and with a focus on developing beliefs.

I was a bit surprised when picking DD up from Brownies at her first session this week that her pack are still doing the Brownie Prayer from 30 odd years ago, talking about Father in Heaven, which is not something our family does. I am happy for DD to show tolerance to all faiths, but less happy about her being asked to actively participate in prayer.

I spoke to Brown Owl afterwards and she was fine and said that it isn't purely Christian because "Father in Heaven" could be any God... but I don't think she quite got it, because as athiests, we don't believe in any type of supernatural "father". I reiterated that I didn't want DD to be made to feel awkward by not participating in prayer, and she said that would be fine. We teach DD to be tolerant to all religions, and I'm sure she will stand quietly and respectfully, even if she doesn't shut her eyes and recite the prayer each week.

This isn't a massive issue, and I'm certainly not looking to stir the pot (everyone is a volunteer, and I am grateful), but I was wondering if our Brownie leader, who is old enough to have been a Brownie when Baden-Powell himself was a child, has perhaps not received a memo about times moving on. Or if prayer is standard at all Brownie packs?

OP’s posts: |
smartcarnotsosmartdriver Wed 18-Sep-19 17:41:49

I've been a brownie, mums a leader and I do rainbows. I vaguely remember discussing it but it was in relation to brownie traditions and not something we did at the time. All new promises have changed the wording to "think about my beliefs" as far as I'm aware. We did brownie bells at the time but not sure if that has changed as it was religiously worded too.

EndoftheWorlds Wed 18-Sep-19 17:44:00

Brownie Bells

(sung at the end of the meeting)

Oh Lord our God
Thy children call.
Grant us Thy peace,
And bless us all.

Good night, good night.

(spoken) Good night Brownies everywhere.

managedmis Wed 18-Sep-19 17:47:39

Meh, not for me

Is scouts the same?

Garfieldsarm Wed 18-Sep-19 18:23:09

They still do Brownie Bells, and I'm fine with that. I'm fine with all of it really, it just felt incongruous with most modern thinking.

It felt a bit heavy-handed to me as an atheist.

The prayer was before Brownie Bells and was:

We know we are your children,
We want to serve you faithfully,
We want to keep our Brownie Promise.
Help us to listen to your voice:
Help us to be willing and quick to do your work:
Help us to be friendly and loving,
And help us to thank you every day
For all your gifts to us.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

OP’s posts: |
tommyshaircut Wed 18-Sep-19 18:25:14

Is the pack affiliated to a church ? Eg. St John's brownies ?

PullingMySocksUp Wed 18-Sep-19 18:25:40

AFAIK there is a non religious brownie promise, but it’s an alternative, not the default. The god one was still the default one three years ago in our group.


PullingMySocksUp Wed 18-Sep-19 18:27:05

Actually, googling looks like I’m wrong and the god but has been taken out.

PullingMySocksUp Wed 18-Sep-19 18:27:15


AllModra Wed 18-Sep-19 18:29:29

We never said that prayer and I was a Brownie and Girl Guide back in the days when there were those awful dresses and the newer uniform was first starting to be designed.

We did do Brownie bells.

And we did do the Lords Prayer.

Don't all the scouting community still do church parade and attend church on specific occasions?

Redwinestillfine Wed 18-Sep-19 18:29:42

Ours have the prayer at the end. Not affiliated to any church etc.

TrickyKid Wed 18-Sep-19 18:31:24

I found the one my daughter went to very religious. One of the reasons she stopped going.

HeadintheiClouds Wed 18-Sep-19 18:32:49

With respect; the majority of the children will not be atheists...
If it bothers you, the most you should do is tell your dd to be silent during the prayer. Everyone else appears to be fine with it as it is.

CottonSock Wed 18-Sep-19 18:35:02

My dd goes to rainbows and we had invite last night to parade and church service. I was considering telling brown owl my dd wouldn't attend as we are atheists. I'm not sure, don't want to offend her. Also worried that no-one will show up.

Crayfishparty Wed 18-Sep-19 18:35:17

There is only one Promise and it doesn’t mention God.

I have never heard of the Brownie prayer! It sounds like a very old fashioned unit. Is it the only one around?

If you look at the starting Brownies forms you should have been given it will have a number/email for the district commissioner, why not contact her for a chat.

octoberismytime Wed 18-Sep-19 18:37:21

I wouldn’t worry about it OP. Your DD might be asked to participate but that doesn’t mean she’ll necessarily take it in and turn religious

MsAwesomeDragon Wed 18-Sep-19 18:41:11

My brownie unit is not religious, although we do meet in a church and possibly once a term the vicar drops in on us and hands out leaflets for church activities.

We definitely don't say a prayer at the end. We do sing brownie bells at the end, although I would prefer a non religious version. The girls like the brownie bells song though so I was outvoted when I suggested changing it (which is fine, it's girl led after all).

I feel very strongly that Brownie's should be open and accessible to all girls, whatever their religious beliefs. (I am aware there is one controversial policy w which might affect this, but I will fight that if it ever becomes necessary)

Haggisfish Wed 18-Sep-19 18:43:15

Actually I think most brownies probably are atheists! Very few students I teach would actively identify as Christians.

Fraggling Wed 18-Sep-19 18:45:29

Lol at them saying father in heaven could be any religion (dubious claim)

When it has jesus christ at the end!

V funny.

GracefulHare Wed 18-Sep-19 18:47:04

My dds Brownies had a prayer & Brownie bells. Rainbows had a sing song prayer at the end too. It was VERY lighthearted, I doubt it's worth saying anything more as it's about as far from serious religion as you can get. I would imagine she is exposed to different faiths at school too, it doesn't mean she's going to be majorly influenced. Sounds like your daughter's enjoying it so focus on that. It's good that an activity like Brownies is still going, no need to fuss over this.

missyB1 Wed 18-Sep-19 18:47:32

Its not going to harm your dd in any way. I've no idea why this is an issue for you.

Seeline Wed 18-Sep-19 18:49:08

I recognise the prayer from when I was a Brownie 40 years ago! We had a little pack of prayer cards and someone was chosen each week to read one before we sang Brownie bells. That was one of them.

june2007 Wed 18-Sep-19 18:50:06

Officially theey stopped being religious some year ago, however many are still linked to churches so still do church perades ect.

Fraggling Wed 18-Sep-19 18:50:54

'With respect; the majority of the children will not be atheists...'

Depending on where you live, no religion or not Christian could really be majority.

Also. Who knows what the children at brownies are? They're a bit young to really decide if they want to follow a religion or not or anything like that. This refers to their parents/ indoctrination then.

I mean I don't really mind but there's a serious point in there.

MitziK Wed 18-Sep-19 18:56:43

As an atheist myself (and ex Snowy Owl) , I think that it's pretty unreasonable to expect the elimination of prayers from Brownies when the vast majority of packs are entirely dependent upon volunteers who largely have faith themselves and various churches for affordable premises hire.

Teaching your daughter to remain respectfully quiet/saying the words and accepting that when she is in the presence of people who do believe that she doesn't make a point of 'I don't believe' is a valuable lesson in showing sensitivity. After all, as an atheist, she's just saying words that don't mean anything to anybody other than the nice people around her, as nobody's going to hear them...

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