Concerning Alcoholic Beverages in the Local Parish
The Episcopal Church has never endorsed prohibiting the use of beverages containing alcohol among adult members. Scripture offers Jesus’ example of the use and serving of wine in his first miracle at Cana and in the institution of the Holy Eucharist. This Church also supports and has a responsibility to those people who abstain from the use of alcoholic beverages for whatever reason. Many churches do not serve alcoholic beverages at social functions, but for those who do, the following guidelines are suggested:
- All applicable federal, state and local laws should be obeyed, including those governing the serving of alcoholic beverages to a person not of legal age to consume alcohol. Service of alcohol must be monitored and those showing signs of intoxication must appoint an adult to oversee its serving. That adult must not drink alcoholic beverages during the time of his or her execution of his or her responsibilities.
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at church events should not be publicized at the focus of the event, i.e. “cocktail party”, or “beer and wine”.
- Food must be served when alcohol is present and the serving of alcoholic beverages should conclude well before guests are scheduled to leave.
- The group or organization sponsoring the activity or event at which alcoholic beverages are served must have permission from the Vestry. Such groups or organizations must also assume responsibility for those persons who might become intoxicated and must provide alternative transportation for anyone whose capacity to drive may be impaired.
- Recognizing the effect of alcohol as a mood-altering drug, it would be advisable to consider the nature of the function at which alcoholic beverages are to be served. A caution: if participants at a church event are paying separately for alcoholic drinks, or if the event is publicized to the general public, or if alcohol is not accompanied by a meal, special liability insurance coverage beyond the usual policies of the church will most likely be required. Consult with your insurance carrier in advance of announcing the event.
- The illegal use of mood altering substances is forbidden at any function. Adopted by the Vestry, May 20th, 2015