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General Operations

Alcohol Policies and Guidelines

I. Intent and Authority

The policies below are designed to ensure that use of alcohol at First Parish:

  • Is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations and covered by insurance
  • Maintains a comfortable and safe environment for our church community, consistent with our UU values

The Parish Committee reserves the right to change or waive these policies and guidelines and otherwise to prohibit, limit, condition, or restrict from time to time in its sole discretion the use of alcohol on the Church premises.

II. When Alcohol May Be Served

A. Church Events

Alcoholic beverages may be served at church events that meet all of the following conditions:

  1. The consumption of alcohol is incidental to the main purpose of the sponsored activity (as a condition of coverage by our insurance company).
  2. There is no charge for the drinks, admission fee to, or facility rental fee associated with the event (i.e., the beverages are not being sold, which would require a one-day town license).
  3. The event is primarily attended by church members or related to a religious service (e.g., a memorial service).
  4. The event is primarily attended by adults (of legal drinking age), or youth present are primarily in a different area.

In some cases that don’t meet the above conditions, permission to serve alcohol may granted by the Parish Committee.
If a committee or sponsor of a church event wants to sell alcoholic beverages or serve alcohol at an event where consumption is NOT incidental to the main purpose of the activity, the sponsor needs to obtain permission from the Parish Committee (or ParCom Executive Committee). In addition to demonstrating the reason for the event, the sponsor would need to present a plan for meeting town licensing requirements, complying with state ABC requirements, and obtaining insurance coverage through use of a certified bartender or special policy rider.

B. Non-Church Events

If the church is used for an event at which alcohol will be served, either by a church member or a third party, the user must:

  1. Request permission from the Church Office to serve alcohol to invited guests only;
  2. Identify the person who will be the Host in Section III; and
  3. Provide a certificate of insurance, including host liquor liability, naming First Parish Unitarian Universalist as an additional insured (e.g., through a certified bartender or caterer).

In no event may alcohol be sold to guests (or served after payment of an admission fee) without special approval by the Parish Committee (or ParCom Executive Committee). Any request would need to include a plan for meeting town licensing and state ABC requirements, as well as insurance coverage.

III. Policies for Serving Alcohol

At the time space is requested from the Church Office, all users (church members or others) must identify any event where alcohol will be served.

The chair of the group or a designated alternate (“Host”) is responsible for ensuring that the following policies are followed.

  1. Written notices and invitations, if any, issued in advance of an event at which alcohol will be served, should indicate that alcohol will be served.
  2. No alcoholic beverages may be left unattended on the premises.
  3. Non-alcoholic beverages must be available whenever alcoholic beverages are served.
  4. It is recommended for larger events that at least one server be a certified bartender1. The Church Office maintains a list of members who are certified and may be willing to fill the role. Servers must be at least 18 years old. 
  5. Under no circumstances may alcohol be served or sold to anyone under 21. Servers must card any young adult before serving, or have a system (e.g., wristbands) to ensure that alcohol is not served to anyone under 21.
  6. Host should ask attendees not to leave their drinks unattended and Host must remove and dispose of unattended drinks periodically through the event.
  7. Donations may be solicited to cover event expenses, but money may not be collected at the bar (i.e., in conjunction with the serving of alcohol). 

—Adopted by the Parish Committee May 8, 2012


1. A certified bartender has completed training, but does not necessarily provide insurance for events where he or she serves alcohol.

630 MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE   ♦   ARLINGTON, MASSACHUSETTS 02476   ♦   781-648-3799

Copyright 2017 First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington

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