As an incumbent and a governor of an aided school, I am
closely involved with school admissions. Does attendance at our
weekly Messy Church on Tuesdays count for more than twice-monthly
attendance at the Family Service on Sundays? and how much does the
Pram Service count for? Is a Fresh Expression as valid as a
traditional expression when it comes to fulfilling the criteria for
school admissions? Are those who give references and schools who
ask for them able to apply fine judgements of the value of
We cannot grade expressions of church. Messy church is
church for those who come. So is the pram service, family service,
café church, or whatever we have. We must stop seeing these things
as a means of getting people into church, and start regarding them
as church. Surely we wouldn't look at school admissions by saying
attendance at the sung eucharist counts for more than attendance at
the eight-o'clock or evensong?
(Canon) Bob Hopper
Lobley Hill, Gateshead
The wording of the question makes plain the answer: it is
clearly impossible to assign meaningful rankings to these different
patterns of church involvement. To create a system where these
differences matter is to provide yet further opportunities for
savvy, pushy parents to play the system, and introduces de
facto selection. It is, fortunately, not intrinsic to being a
church school, and an incumbent and governor is ideally placed to
initiate a change.
Many churches built in the 19th century and dedicated to
the Holy Trinity are Evangelical. Why is this? Did any other new
parishes of a different tradition ever use this
dedication? J. M. F.
Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question,
Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden
Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.