A policy regarding the use of alcohol at ALL SOULS EPISCOPAL PARISH, Berkeley, Ca.

Our sacred texts speak of the presence of alcohol in many ways – to responsible use, as well as destructive use. Festive drink, specifically wine, has been a central element of the Christian faith since its foundation two thousand years ago. Orders of Christians over the centuries have made all sorts of alcoholic beverages as part of their communal life. And, it is clear that the abuse of alcohol can be corrosive and destructive to individuals, families, and entire communities.

We at All Souls Parish are seeking to live well as a body whose members practice in different ways. To that end, this policy is intended to act within the laws of the land, provide guidelines for responsible consumption, and ensure that a welcoming and hospitable environment is found by all. While these guidelines may not be able to envision every possible situation, they are written with the well-being of all in mind.

  1. All Souls shall provide a safe and welcoming environment for all people, including people in recovery.
  2. In recognition of the effects of alcohol as a mood-altering drug, alcoholic beverages shall not be served when the business of the church is being conducted, specifically during vestry meetings or any other meetings in which policy is being discussed or decided or financial decisions being made – except by express consent of the rector.
  3. At church events during which alcohol is served, all applicable federal, state and local laws shall be obeyed. Alcoholic beverages must never be given to minors or to anyone showing signs of intoxication, and no inebriated person should be allowed to drive after a church event. In addition, alcohol shall not be sold at any church event unless a temporary liquor license has been obtained.
  4. Toward that end, the rector, vicar, priest-in-charge or designee shall appoint an adult to oversee the serving of alcohol at any event where it is offered. That adult must not drink any alcoholic beverages other than wine or beer in moderation (a glass or two) during the time of his or her execution of his or her responsibilities.
  5. Whenever alcohol is being served at a church event, equally attractive non-alcoholic beverages must also be offered with the same prominence and accessibility. Food, including snacks, must also be served when alcohol is present.
  6. Alcohol should not be available or served at events specifically for minors. Whether or not alcohol is served at any event should be considered carefully, and a healthy relationship with alcohol should be modeled. If minors are present, alcohol must be served at a separate station that is monitored at all times to prevent underage drinking.
  7. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages must be clearly labeled as such. Food prepared with alcohol must also be labeled.
  8. The serving of alcoholic beverages at a church event should only be publicized on a very limited basis, if at all.
  9. Given our proximity to Northern California wineries, breweries, and distilleries, we may at times feel drawn to hold alcoholic-beverage tastings. If so, care should be given that those in recovery are welcomed and provided for and that minors are never served. Alternative events not revolving around alcohol are preferred.
  10. Ministries of the church should make certain that alcohol consumption is never the focus of what they do. The purpose of every ministry – even if it involves brewing beer or meeting in a pub – should always be the deepening of Koinonia, or Christian community.
  11. The ultimate responsibility for what happens at a church event lies with the vestry. At the start of each year and at necessary intervals, the vestry shall compile a list of the events at which the responsible use of alcohol is allowed, including Spaghetti Again, Ale Souls, the Stewardship Dinner, and the Parish Retreat. The leaders of those ministries shall then be given copies of this policy and made to understand their responsibilities with regard to the serving of alcohol. In particular, they must understand that our responsibility to one another extends to not allowing anyone to drive under the influence.
  12. No outside group or organization that uses church facilities may serve alcohol at its event unless it has permission — in writing — from the clergy or the vestry. All such groups or organizations must assume responsibility for any participant who becomes intoxicated and provide him or her with alternative transportation.
  13. Any alcohol on church property, except for private living quarters, must be stored in a locked cabinet or closet used solely for that purpose. It must be secured with a dedicated lock, and key access shall be limited and restricted to the rector, associate rector, church wardens, and the leaders of the ministries holding meetings or events where alcohol will be served. As with all congregational keys, every key holder must be current with safe church certification.
  14. Clergy shall consecrate an appropriate amount of wine when celebrating the Eucharist and perform ablutions in a way that does not foster or model misuse.