A Girl Guide group has been forced out of its church base after 85 years because the vicar complained that they were not — RELIGIOUS enough.
The troop has been told it is no longer welcome to use the church hall for its weekly meetings after clergymen complained they did not regularly attend Sunday services.
The agreement, which was drawn up in 1928, has seen the group use the hall, in St Leonards Church, in Hove, East Sussex, free of charge.
But in return the 7th Hove Guides must attend a handful of services and help at church events.
Vicar Stephen Terry claims he had “no other option” but to kick the girl group out after they failed to fulfil their half of the deal.
Group leader Julie Winder said that she could not force the girls to go to services, adding that the church was “out of touch” with modern life.
In a letter to parents, she said: “The church has informed us that we can only remain on our present terms if we drastically improve the attendance records.
“The only way we can do this is to only have practicing Christians as members which means we must exclude non-Christians.
“If we don’t comply with his wishes, we are being priced out. So much for a caring community church.”
Julie said many of her members were either Roman Catholic or of different religions.
She added that a number of others were from separated families and visited their other parent at the weekend.
Julie said: “We try to get them to go when we can. If not, then the leaders try to represent them.”
Reverend Terry said he had asked the group to attend at least four services a year, Remembrance Sunday, Christingle, Palm Sunday and Harvest Festival.
He said: “We also ask for them to help out at a few church events. We have no problem with the concept of Guides and the girls are no trouble at all.
“We have found it very difficult working with the leaders. It is not the case that we have thrown them out – they have walked away from this standing agreement.
“It’s sad that it has had to end like this.”
The Guide leaders have now arranged for the group to move to nearby Portslade Town Hall, which they have secured for a cheaper rate.