Tuesday 21 June 2011


I work on a strictly need to know basis. I can only cope with so much reality at a time. Then I don't have to get myself worked up to either full fat grumpiness or cross shouty shreikyness on a daily basis. Because I have 3 children plus a Hot Boy so you know there are plenty things to get me up to 90 (that probably doesn't translate outside of Scotland/Ireland, it means in a tizzy)

Beautiful Baby Daughter has been going to Girls Brigade for the last 3 years, I have said before I have nothing but gratitude and admiration for people who volunteer in any activity for the benefit of other peoples children.

BBD has come home with a letter which has given me far too much information.

I have found out that 1 of the 19 year old young leaders is pregnant
That she has been in a relationship with the father for nearly a year
That she is not married
That the other leaders and chaplain feel she should stand down as a leader because she hasn't promoted Jesus's guidelines in her own life but she can still attend the group so they can offer her "support and friendship"
That they "do not condone her behaviour" and they accept that "we all make mistakes" and they will allow her to become a young leader again "when her personal life becomes more stable"

I don't like the tone of the letter at all, I can appreciate that it must have been a difficult situation for the Church, they have to promote Christian values but they also have to survive in a world where the majority of people don't abide by the 10 commandments. I just feel it has been very clumsily handled.

The letter wasn't in an envelope just a typed sheet given to the girls to hand on to parents. Does reading that letter make a young girl feel bad about herself because her parents weren't married in the first place? Does reading that letter make a girl feel bad because her parents are divorced? Does reading that letter make a girl feel bad because she might also be having sex (the group has girls aged up to 18 in)?

Now I wonder did I need to know all that? But now I do and it just doesn't sit well with me. My usual default setting is to let it go, it doesn't really affect me but I now have had to think on this, because they wrote to me and I have an opinion now, and as the Church has felt the need to give me all this information I now want to give the Church my take on this.

Dear Church

He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Yours sincerely



Lesley said...

My goodness, what a sad bunch. Why don't they just get the poor girl to sit on the repentance stool in church and humiliate her even more publicly?

auntiegwen said...

Lesley - it seems like a name and shame thing doesn't it? the young leader asked them not to write to parents but they still did it

Trish said...

I find this all very unsettling too, especially the comment you've made above about the fact that she asked them not to write the letter. Legally are they allowed to divulge such information??

auntiegwen said...

Trish - I don't know, she does attend church and is visibly pregnant so maybe they thought they were just putting parents in the picture? I will let you know what the Vicar says when I write to them.

C said...

"He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."


That's shocking. It always amazes me that often, the people who consider themselves the 'closest to God' or 'the most religous' 'the most rightous' are those who are the least Christian time and time again.
This makes my heart ache for that poor girl. For all we know, she's happy. And they treat her like that. Shocking.

Andy said...

That's a shame - I had my fantastic son out of wedlock. Does that make me a bad person?

I bought a jar of jam a while ago from a charity do for the Girl's Brigade - maybe I should have explained my situation to them first so that they could decide whether my money was morally acceptable :)

For reference, the jam was delicious.

Autumn Mist said...

Hmm, it's difficult, having been a born again Christian in a very similar situation 20 years ago, although nobody 'named and shamed' me (no need, is there, with my 'sin' staring everybody in the face!) That kind of attitude just makes you want to abort the baby, which would then be considered an even worse sin. I agree with you totally about the person without sin casting the first stone. It's easy to hide the fact that you've stolen stuff from work, because nobody knows about it (like God doesn't know)whilst pointing the finger at someone who's sin is so much more blatant. "God," I said, "If you have an ounce of love or respect left for me, please let it be a boy." And lo, the son I described in my last comment was born, and every time I look at him I know I did something right with my life. And I still love God, and he, very evidently, still loves me. And now I'm dryiing my eyes on the tea towel as I can't find a hankie!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Bravo, Auntie Gwennie -

Dear Church,

Welcome to the 21st Century!

People have lives, people have sex both within and outside of marriage - They always have - They always will - As long as there is love, there is a chance of life.

Get over it!

(or for Scots or Northern readers: Had away with yerselves...)

They should be ashamed of themselves for the way in which they delivered that letter... Or even chose to write it.

Take care, brave BAGgie... xxx

Sueann said...

I agree!!! The letter should not have been written at all! And then to give it to parents!!?? Terrible!!

Gigi said...

Just what purpose does sending a letter like that serve? If they wanted to ask her to step down they could have done so privately. This was not handled well at all. I hope you aren't the only one to complain - someone needs to shake some sense into these people.

Mrs Worthington said...

What a terrible approach - may they choke on their own morals. I hope you do write back

Nota Bene said...

I like your letter. Very much

Nikkii said...

That's one serious violation of a person's right to a private life - I do hope you send that letter... it's a bit short than I would write but them I'm a right ranty bitch ;)

Muddling Along said...

Definitely send that letter - surely showing Christian forgiveness and helping her would be a more appropriate way to deal with this?

Taz said...

Poor kid I think if it was me I'd be popping along to the next meeting and vocally offering her my support against an old fashioned bunch of folk.
But then I'm still in rant mood with my eldest's Explorer leader who thought it was clever to send what could be considered a bullying email to my child. Needless to say he soon got the rug pulled out from under his feet and he has since apologised...I await any come back cos I'm sooooo ready for him.

I'll stop now cos things like this set me off on my soap box - Taz wanders off blethering to herself x

Rarelesserspotted said...

I think it has been poorly handled no matter what people believe. This is the 21st century for goodness sake.

Elderberry-Rob said...

Makes me ashamed to call myself a Christian - this isn't a Christian attitude at all and I am confident it would not happen at our Baptist church... If I was at that church as a mum I would stand up on Sunday and say I would like this young lady to know she has our support and would want to welcome her to our 'young mums housegroup', she needs guidance and support, not judgment.

libby said...

Well said AG...and I wish her joy and happiness and a beautiful child and a life without moralising morons in it.

auntiegwen said...

C - some of my friends and family are deeply devoted Christians and are lovely, I know others that give it a bad name

Andy - what flavour?

AM - I sent you a message on my blackberry when your comment came through but I guess it went into the ether, I am so sorry, it stirs up a lot of emotions for people, it made me feel incredibly guilty for not making my marriage work, big hug to you xxx

Fhina - I love that "as long as there's love" xx

SueAnn - very misguided letter I feel xx

Gigi - I have written my letter, even if I'm the only one to complain at least they know someone disagrees

Mrs W - shocking isn't it?

NB - the long version isn't too bad either

Nikkii- oh my longer version didn't miss and hit the wall

Mam - you'd think so wouldn't you?

Taz - good for you girl

Steve- yep we've moved on from the 1900's haven't we?

Betty - I know, not the Christian approach at all xx

Penelope Grey said...

Unbloodybelievable that they could do such a thing. My daughter helps out at a Christian group as a young leader, and she regularly comes home to tell me that something has come up that she is really not happy with. Last one was that all gay people and people of other religions will burn in hell, being told to very impressionable 5-9 year olds. So I would also write to them if it were me to remind them just what century they are living in and to request that in future they deal with issues like this in a more sensitive manner and to request that they apologise publicly to the young girl in question. After all they damned her publicly, she deserves nothing less than a public apology. Grrrr!

Shirley said...

hmmm. Playing devil's advocate for a bit -- I wonder what the girl's attitude is about her situation. As a leader, if she were to make light of it, she could actually be encouraging the other girls to follow in her steps. If she shows no remorse, then I would have to agree that she wouldn't be the best person to teach my daughter about Christian values.

If, however, she realizes she made a mistake, she could be a powerful example to the younger ones.

As for the mentality that pre-marital sex has always been around and always will be, according to Christian values it's still wrong. Reminds me of the saying "Wrong is still wrong even if everybody does it. And right is still right even if nobody does it."

I try to practice Christ's teachings in every way, and love is the foundation of all of it. So I don't agree with publicly flogging the girl (in the form of a letter to the parents), but I also don't think that putting her in a position of leadership would be the right thing to do, either. In life, actions have consequences.

So in my mind, it all comes down to the girl's attitude but it doesn't sound like any of us know that.

AGuidingLife said...

Send her over to Guiding, we have all types and celebrate it :) We also believe in teaching all women how to recognise who we are, our strengths (and weaknesses). Single mums fully supported (creches available at trainings), lesbians welcome :) Reading your post made me feel uncomfortable, so yes the lette was definitely TMI and shouldn't the church embrace the 'fallen' to support them? Sad, very sad.

Laura said...

I'm sayin' nuthin' in case I offend people :O)

London City (mum) said...

Hmmm... the phrase "Holier than thou" keeps on running through my head.
I wonder, is the vicar a totally unblemished character as well or are there skeletons in his closet too that he is choosing to ignore?
Does he own a wetsuit? Of the non-swimming kind, perhaps?

Oh, don't get me started now.


Sandi said...

I'm with you Auntie and I will leave it at that because if I get started on the stupidity snd thoughlessness I won't stop.
I wonder what they (church and people)would think if you got up at church and went and gave the girl a hug, right in front of everyone.
x Sandi

Looking for Blue Sky said...

I was thinking about the poor girl and how she will feel now about becoming a mum and how it might affect her relationship with her child. The Church seems to have forgotten that there is a baby involved :(

Anonymous said...

Very Christian of them.........reminds me why I favoured atheism.

Anonymous said...

ps, I am with @Kellogsville, Scouting and Guiding is the place, they must have been pretty tolerant to put up with me!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you (and your commenters generally). I think it was wrong of them to write in that fashion and very unchristian to be so judgemental. She is 19, she appears to be in a stable relationship and she is not doing anything that a large number of girls her age do. The church does seem to attract sanctimonious prigs with little understanding of the actual meaning of the gospel and who are stuck in a Victorian time warp. One of the reasons I have not been since I left home at 19.

Alex. said...

Good on you for sending the letter Auntie.Nothing wrong at all with being in a relationship and having a baby if that`s what you want.

Maybe their time would be better spent rooting out all the priests/ministers that have been abusing under age children over the years....

Anonymous said...

Send it!

Nickie said...

Wasn't Mary, the mother of Jesus, an unmarried 14 year old?

family affairs said...

Well said. Bloody hypocrites. BTW I have been invited to a DJ'g session on Saturday with a teenage child but can't go because I'm of to the Cybermummy Conference - thought of you - if you want to go can you email me at lulucampbell11@gmail.com and I'll forward you the details xx

Curry Queen said...

That post reminds me why I dislike organised religion so much!

Anonymous said...

absolutely agree - dreadful attitude. Appalled that they did not see fit to get the girl's permission to tell everyone about her personal life. Not sure if I was her if I would want to accept their 'help and support'. Good for you for letting them know your opinion - too many of us just let things go for an easy life - go for it! You might just make them think twice if a similar situation occurs in future x

Sandi said...

Just had to add, that the people concerned will be lucky if she doesn't sue them for going against her wishes.
x Sandi

C said...

I think you misunderstood me. I wasn't saying that deeply devoted Christians aren't good people. I consider myself to be pretty devoted and believing. But I have found, that often, people who consider themselves 'better' than others, because of their beliefs, are those who practice very un-Christian values.

auntiegwen said...

Dearest all _ I have written to the reverend, I have a gut feeling that the Rev wasn't too involved in the letter writing and it was the GB leaders, we will se.

Thanks to Shirley, I do agree if you are setting yourself to teach God's work then you have to show that you abide by the teachings, I know the girl involved as she is an ex student of mine and her interest in the group was more of a helping young girls thing than a religious one and the GB group young leaders that I know aren't all members of the Church, they also see it as a helping in the community thing.

C - I did get what you said, what I meant was I know some great Christians and also some shockingly mean people who profess to be Christian but are anything but. I don't always seem to say what I mean ! I agree there are masses of people outside of organised religion that are more Christian than some Christians (if that makes any sense - I haven't had my second coffee yet, I don't function too well unless fully caffienated!!!!)

C said...

I hope that the letter to the Rev. at least hits a few people in the right place.. their conscience.
It obviously can't change whats been said or done... but if it gets those involved thinking, perhaps they'll at least regret the way they went about it.

Helena said...

What a ridiculous attitude! The last time I received a sheet of folded over paper from the church's youth club (that my son attended) was to let us parents know one of 'em had nits! That's the kind of thing you expect to be warned of willy-nilly.

Poor lass.

Helena said...

ps.....they didn't say who BTW!