At a certain time of year we are often asked for references for children wanting to enter church schools. These references usually ask us to verify that the parents as well as the children are connected with St. Giles or St. Matthews and regularly worship here.

We have a large number of church members and a lot of children attend. We are always pleased to welcome new members. However if people choose not to join in any of our activities and then suddenly appear to ask for a reference they are putting us in an unfair and embarrassing position.

There are several ways that you can consider yourself a member of St. Giles or St. Matthews. This is through joining the electoral roll, joining the giving scheme or (for under 16s) being on our children's register.

(Our Children's Register is part of our Child Protection policies and lists all the children who attend the choir, youth activities or Sunday School)

On top of these you have to actually attend (or ask us to put you on our list of sick persons we pray for). Then one of the clergy or church council members would come to recognise you. You can bring the reference form to a church service!

If you or your child have not been seen regularly for the twelve months prior to asking for the reference then you cannot expect us to verify your sincerity in claiming to be a regular church member. Even more - it would not be fair on our regular children who could be competing for the same school place!

The bottom line is that we will only tell the truth in a reference. Sorry!

The Vicar Fr. Nicholas deals with requests for school references.