Sharing the Caring of Our Spiritual Home:
Building Use FAQ
► Click here to download a PDF version of the Building Use FAQ
Lets’ get started: Opening and Closing First Parish
Q: What is the procedure to unlock and open the building?
A: The instructions to open the building are posted in the West Lobby (Office entrance) and provide explicit instructions to disarm the alarm to enter the building. You must have key access to open the building; the process is straightforward. We recommend you open the building with a partner.
Q: How do I get a key and the relevant alarm and safety codes?
A: You must request key access and obtain the alarm and safety codes by completing this simple form: http://www.firstparish.info/keys.
Q: What if I set off the alarm unintentionally?
A: Remain calm. Quickly call American Alarm at 800-792-5142. Tell them that you are at First Parish 630 Massachusetts Ave Arlington and that everything is OK and you do not need them to dispatch the police. Give them the "safe code".
Q: What do I do to close the building?
A: Again, we recommend you close the building with a partner. The instructions to secure the building are posted in the West Lobby, including diagrams which cover four simple steps: 1) turn off the automatic door using the remote, 2) lock the door panel with the key, 3) Secure the paring door using the dogging tool on the crash bar, 4) set the alarm.
Meeting Room Usage
Q: If I want to rent a room, what are the fees?
A: Please follow this link for a PDF version of our Facility Use Packet. This packet includes a room rental fee schedule, policies, and application.
Q: How far in advance can I book a room for a meeting, how many rooms are there and how do I book the room?
A: Book a room as soon as you know. If you hold regularly scheduled meetings you need to re-up in the spring, by mid-June, for your fall meetings. There about 5 meeting rooms and several other rooms we share with Mariposa. There are some restrictions – for example on Sundays RE and Worship takes priority, as well Memorial Services or emergency. The most important item for scheduling is the “when.” We will do our best to accommodate last minute requests. E-mail schedule @ firstparish.info to book a room.
Q: What’s a Room Captain?
A: Room Captains are volunteers who walk through our meeting rooms weekly checking and adjusting the furnishings, making sure all the tables and chairs are in the proper room and arranged to the floor plan posted on the wall room sign. Captains also check that “CLEAN” buckets are fully stocked with paper towels, surface cleaner, extra trash bin liners and a roll of blue painters’ tape. They also take left behind items to the Lost & Found bin, located in the rear of the Vestry.
Q: Can you supply whiteboard/flip chart easels and markers for my meeting?
A: Yes. There are 2 easels in the Mechanical room (between the Stanton parlor and the Vestry), 1 easel in Grady and 1 in the May room storage in the Parish House. There is also a wall-mounted whiteboard behind doors in Grady. Extra flipchart pads are in the Ovington work room. If you take the last chart, or the last of anything else, please indicate on the Supply Clipboard so that office manager knows to order more.
Q: Do you have a projector I can use with my laptop and a screen and who sets it up? Can I play a DVD?
A: Yes, and you can supply your own laptop and cords to connect to our projection unit or we can loan you our basic laptop. We also have a video projector, a 4-foot screen and a 6-foot screen. For the projector you may need an adaptor for your laptop, especially for Macs and older PCs; we have some for older PCs. We also have a DVD (regular only not Blu-ray) player that plays without a laptop connection. To reserve any of this equipment or consult about your needs please email technology @ firstparish.info.
Q: Do you have wireless microphones; is there one and who sets it up?
A: Yes, for the Sanctuary and the Vestry. It is self-service in the Vestry – instructions are posted inside the cabinet at back of the room. The Sanctuary has a new sound system with wireless microphones requires training prior to use. Please e-mail technology @ firstparish.info to request training.
Q: Can I have food or coffee in the meeting room?
A: Yes. You can have both food and coffee in all meeting rooms. Depending on the room you may need to pull a table from storage for serving. In the Parish House you may either set up in the room or at the blue hospitality counters in the hallway. The hospitality counters are near the elevator end of the hallway, in the basement, and on the 1st floor and 2nd floor. Please clear off the counters and return all tables to storage after your meetings.
Q: I need to a place to prepare food; can I use the kitchen?
A: Yes, as long as you book the kitchen. Please know that the kitchen is booked on a shared basis. If you are only making coffee no booking is needed. To book the kitchen e-mail schedule @ firstparish.info.
Q: Who sets up the tables and chairs in the room?
A: You do. Please select the people who will help you set up the room as well as break it down. Often the person setting up is different from the person breaking down the room. This is where the room signs come in handy, so you know what goes where. If you have a very large meeting or it’s a hardship to set-up or breakdown please discuss it with the office manager or e-mail officemanager @ firstparish.info.
Q: Where are the podiums?
A: There are three small podiums. One is in the Mechanical room (between the Stanton parlor and the Vestry). Two are in the Bailey storage room. Each podium has a label telling you where it goes when you are done using it. Please return it to that place when you are done with it.
Q: There is stuff from a prior meeting in the room, what should I do with it?
A: Clean it up if you can. Take the items back to where they belong. Take belongings to the Vestry Lost & Found bin. You are also welcome to e-mail the office manager at officemanager @ firstparish.info.
Q: There is something broken in the room, who should I tell to get it fixed?
A: E-mail the office manager at officemanager @ firstparish.info.
Q: How do I change the temperature?
A: Some rooms have air conditioners – either wall units and window units. In warmer months you are welcome to turn the AC on, but please do turn the AC off when you finish your meeting. Use the remotes in the holsters for wall units and the knobs on the window units. Heat is set with on automatic timers. If there a timer needs reprogramming, or there is a problem with the heat, please e-mail the office manager at officemanager @ firstparish.info.
Q: What if I need more seats in the room once my group arrives?
A: Extra metal chairs are stored on caddies in the Mechanical room (between the Stanton parlor and the Vestry). There are also extra blue plastic folding chairs in the Parish House on caddies. You will find 18 blue plastic folding chairs per caddy: in the May storage room - 1 caddy of 18 chairs on floor 1 and on the basement level - two caddies of 18 chairs each in the Bailey storage room. To safely load the folding chairs please follow the instructions – these are hanging on each caddy and also posted in the storage rooms.
Q: Can I display posters, etc. inside the meeting room?
A: Yes, but only use the blue painter’s tape on the walls, which can be found in the “CLEAN” buckets. Any other type of tape will damage the paint.
Q: How do I handle a small spill, either on the tables, chairs or floors?
A: Use the surface cleaner (a mix of vinegar and water) and the paper towels in the “CLEAN” bucket for tables or floors. There are also broom/dustpans kits for tile and carpet sweepers for rugs and carpeted rooms. If there is a major spill please e-mail the office manager officemanager @ firstparish.info.
Q: Cleaning supplies are missing or used up, where do I get more?
A: Paper towels, liners and blue painter’s tape are labeled shelves in the Sexton’s room. If you don’t find any please e-mail the office manager officemanager @ firstparish.info.
Q: I have a lot more trash or recycling than fits in the trash bin in my room, what do I do with it all?
A: Take it out. If it is small put it in one of the 2 big kitchen trash barrels. If large take it out to the barrel in the shed behind the Parish House. Reline the room trash bin using the extra liners, which you can find in the white “CLEAN” bucket.
Q: Who breaks down the room and puts it back “together” after my meeting is over?
A: You do. It’s simple - the steps on the room sign tell you what belongs in the room. The photo and floor plan shows you exactly where to leave the tables, chairs and cleaning tools. The room sign is especially helpful when person breaking down the room is not the same as the person who set up the room.
Q: Is there a place where my committee/working group can store the supplies we use every Sunday?
A: Yes, there are two shelf units in the Mechanical room (between Stanton parlor and Vestry) for storage of items used weekly or biweekly. Each container must be labeled with committee/group, contact person and phone number and shelf slot will also be labeled to make it easier to locate item and reduce clutter. Unlabeled items will be thrown out. To request shelf space, or storage elsewhere on the First Parish campus, e-mail officemanager @ firstparish.info.
Accessibility for all
Q: Wow! Does First Parish have an elevator??
A: YES!! The elevator is fully operational! People can go from Bailey in the basement all the way to the 2nd floor of the Parish House. The elevator is also large enough to move tables, chair carts, & other materials, making it easier to transport parishioners and our things.
Q: How do I find a specific room?
A: Interior signage and wayfinding are tools to let us know where we are. Rooms are labeled in two ways, both in writing and braille. Additionally, rooms are both named and numbered. A directory will soon be available in the reception area.
Q: Are there automatic door openers?
A: Yes! There is currently an automatic door opener for the East Entrance (Narthex), as well as one for the West Lobby (Office entrance). Additional automatic door openers are being planned. In the interim, use the doorstopper to hold the elevator vestibule door open while the building is open.
Q: What has been done to help people with visual impairments?
A: All of our offices, meeting rooms, and restroom signs have been made according to ADA code, with the room number and name in raised braille. The buttons in the elevator also contain braille. Flooring and carpet decisions were made to enhance accessibility by using contrast on risers (e.g., using a contrast between the tread color and the edge of the nosing to help people see better when going down stairs), installing low pile carpeting, and using visual indicators (e.g., contrasting colors to discern the edge of the floor). Greater use of natural light, as well as improved internal lighting, has enhanced our ability to see within our meetinghouse, making it a more attractive and functional space.
Q: What about helping people with hearing impairments?
A: Assistive listening devices are currently available. Our Capital Campaign accomplished improvements to the sound system in the Sanctuary; enhancing sound quality and benefiting all who come to services.
Q: How do I publicize meeting or event information?
A: There are FIVE standard ways to publicize events/activities for your group:
1) E-Bulletin - you can prepare a listing by including a description, location, time and date, key contact name, email, and phone number. Submit to weekly @ firstparish.info. Submissions are due the Wednesday prior to the e-bulletin distribution.
2) Order of Service (Sunday printed bulletin) - you can prepare a listing by including a BRIEF description, time and date, key contact name, email, and phone number. Submit to weekly @ firstparish.info. Submissions are due the Wednesday prior to the Sunday service.
3) Website -- Requests to add information to the First Parish Website are coordinated by the Communications Associate, Greg Friedman, at greg @ firstparish.info.
4) Spoken Announcements on Sunday morning – announcements from the pulpit are limited in number. You should first ensure your item is scheduled for inclusion in the Sunday Bulletin. To submit a request for a spoken announcement, send to announce @ firstparish.info . Submissions are due by noon Friday before the desired Sunday Service.
5) The Spire - monthly Spire articles are due the last Sunday of the month and are submitted by e-mail to spire @ firstparish.info. Diane Shriver is the Spire Editor and can answer additional questions regarding this publication.
Q: Can my group post a flyer in the building?
A: Yes, there are designated bulletin boards available for you to post your group’s information. Please refrain from posting flyers on any glass windows or doors.
Q: How do I arrange for a table at coffee hour?
A: To request a table, send an e-mail to table @ firstparish.info.
Safety Planning and building evacuation
Q: When do we evacuate?
A: It is First Parish policy to evacuate when the alarm sounds unless otherwise informed by firemen or First Parish leaders.
Q: What is a rally point and where is ours?
A: The rally point is where we meet to reorganize should we have to invoke building evacuation. The rally point is in front of the Arlington Town Hall, 730 Massachusetts Ave.
Q: Where is the AED?
Q: Where can I find the evacuation plan?
A: The evacuation plan is located on the First Parish website at www.firstparish.info/evacuation.
Key contact information
First Parish main number: 781-648-3799
Listen to the options available: To reach the Office Manager (Joan Dyer, #4), Minister (Reverend Marta Flanagan, #3), the Director of Religious Education (Tina Schultz #5), Youth Coordinator (Steve Carmody, #6), or the office voice mail box (option #0)