St Bartholomew's Primary School Mission Statement:
"... as a Church of England (voluntary controlled) School, Christian values are built into its ethos and a high priority is attached to strong links between home, school and parish, with the active involvement of the Foundation Governors and local clergy. The school aims to develop in pupils a sympathetic understanding of the Christian faith..."
Katy Kent: Head Teacher "... our Distinctive Christian nature permeates all aspects of school life and we see the close link with St.Bartholomew's church as a core element of our school."
(Click here for School Website)
OFSTED 2014: "Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding, supported by the
nurturing ethos and high expectations in all situations in school."
Rev Preb Ben Whitmore - Vicar St Bart's:
"Dear parents and carers,
St. Bartholomew's primary school reception, Penn is a Church of England Voluntary controlled school with a very fine reputation. As you can imagine there is great competition for places in reception every year.
One of the common ways of gaining entry into Saint Bartholomew's Reception is by demonstrating a 'strong religious connection'. In order to get this you need to fill-in the Voluntary Controlled Supplementary Information Form. (Links at the bottom of the page)
One of the issues that arises every year is what is the definition of a 'strong religious connection'. The purpose of this letter is to give you some guidance as to what we might mean by this:
St Bart's Parochial Church Council consider the definition of a strong religious connection as:
The child/children and both Parents/Guardians having attended the Saturday or Sunday Worship service weekly to fortnightly for at least one year, and be able to show involvement with various church activities.
(Please note Little Acorns, Life Groups, Bart's Butterflies, and any other group are not considered to be weekly Service attendance.)
St Bartholomew's church is very well attended every week. As a result, with the best will in the world, the vicar cannot always get to know everybody by name. For this reason, if you are wishing to apply for a "demonstrated strong religious connection", it would help if you register your presence in church when you attend. This is done by going into the Oak room before the service where a register is taken each week for the children. That way we have a record and there can be no doubt. If you wish to keep your children in church for the service just register their name and then take them back into church for the service.
When you come to me for your form to be signed in December, January, it would be helpful if you could write a short letter stating how long you have attended Bart's and your connections with us.
Please understand that for us this is a difficult and contentious issue. A person's prime motivation for attending church should be to worship God.
Yours in Christ, Rev. Preb .B.Whitmore"
Guidance on Cover letter Demonstrating Strong Religious Connections:
St Bart's and St Anne's understand that each family unit is unique and for many reasons partners/husbands/wives maybe unable to attend the Services. If there are mitigating circumstances please write honestly and tell us what those circumstances are. If you have been worshipping at another church and have recently moved to Penn we ask you to provide documentary evidence from your previous church.
What sort of things should we write about in the cover letter?
Here are some points to ask yourself when "demonstrating a Strong religious connection" in your cover letter.
(How to be involved in church activities can be found HERE)
Your child's formative years are influenced by the attitudes and beliefs of the parents and carers. To achieve the high standards expected for your children at St Bart's school with its Christian ethos, it follows that you, as parents should lead by example with a steady commitment in worship to God, and active service to the church and its community.
Helping, contributing, and attending weekly worship with your family will "demonstrate your strong religious connection"
Having shown this, the Vicar will wholeheartedly endorse and sign your application form.
Let's be blunt: Answers to the Questions you really want to know
"I didn't know it was so hard to get a place at Bart's school!"
"I went there as a child, we live near and thought we would automatically get a place."
"I've been a christian all my life, and we've been to church at Christmas, Easter, and other occasions I thought that would be enough".
"We'll start going to church, get a signature from the Vicar and we'll get our child into Bart's School that way"
"That's great! We're glad you've found a reason to come here regularly. You might not fully understand about the whole religion, Christianity thing, you might believe in God or "something out there" and are willing to explore what that might be.
It's not hypocritical to use us if finding faith, friendship and community spirit is something you want more of.
Everyone needs to begin somewhere to explore their faith and St Bart's is the best place to do it. All we ask is that you build on your Christian values by helping us out a little with our day to day routines and learning about Jesus with the Start, Alpha or Living Faith course. Allow time to get to know God.
This is your Church and your family. We are here to help and support you, and as part of our family, you are here to do the same for us."
What does God say about commitment with attendance and helping each other?
Demonstrating your strong religious connection is not a measure of your faith, it cannot show how much of a Christian you are. The criteria we currently use on the form is simply a practical means to help parents help themselves.
However, as christians we are taught that church duties are important for our spiritual growth. Generally speaking, a person who shows their faith through their actions with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, "maybe" showing their belief in God. However, only God knows your heart and true motivation.
The teachings of Jesus Christ tells us that true belief in Him will cause a person to redirect their life, so God becomes their focus, and as a consequence that person will naturally exhibit "Good Works". To do the works (helping and weekly attendance at church) without the focus on God, is a nice thing to do, but dangerous ground when considering what constitutes God's "Salvation" and its alternative.
In the Bible, Luke Says this:
Luke 3:8 "Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don't just say to each other, 'We're safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.' That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones."
To simply translate the above verse- with belief in Jesus Christ, we are to prove our faith in what we do. We can't just say "I'm safe, I'm a Christian". It means nothing, as there are many that claim to be Christian but never know God.
How can we know if that statement is the truth? We must come to church weekly and learn about Jesus.
St Bart's is here to be used. Allow St Bart's to open up a path to God in your life.
Regular worship and doing practical deeds come hand in hand and is a lifetime commitment. To believe in Jesus and not show it practically is contrary to Christianity. Click here: "Why is faith without works dead?"
"I want to help with church life, I have a little time to spare, Show me a list of activities to be involved in"- Click Here
"I want to help keep the building standing! I would like to show my weekly commitment financially- Click Here