The 'Shield' Activity
The 'Shield' is the section of the ASC scheme which works on the assumption that all human beings have values and beliefs, and no one is fully self-aware until they have thought about themselves, understood something about the society in which they live, and explored those shared values and beliefs which promote the uniqueness of all human beings.
The title for the 'Shield' section is taken from St. Paul's picture of "the shield of faith", and indicates that role that religious faith can play in every part of human life. On all sides, young people can see evidence of the influence which the Christian faith has exercised over Western history, culture and values; and the influence which other faiths have in their own communities and more widely in a multi-faith society. Whether drawing from the Christian tradition, from one of the other major faiths, or from another perspective, the 'Shield' activities should be seen as an integral element of ASC, and not as an isolated activity. For instance, the command to "love your neighbour" is expressed in the activities of the sections on Service, First Aid, Emergencies, and in the general building of relationships. The 'Shield' also provides leaders with the opportunity to present and promote social and personal moral values, and their source.
Leaders are given a large measure of freedom in dealing with this activity. It is recognised that some may find this a demanding section to undertake. Accordingly, groups sponsored by religious bodies may wish to follow their own courses, perhaps drawing on a nationally-devised or denominational scheme. Similarly in a national scheme, and in multi-faith areas, sponsors should feel free to substitute their own syllabus if they so desire, provided that it is in the spirit of the 'Shield' activities.
Currently, schools are statutorily required to have an Act of Collective Worship which can also be multi-faith. The Shield section can help as a generic resource for devising assemblies which are for all children and young people.