Policy For Holding A Public Event at West Village Meeting House

On occasion members and committees of All Souls Church may want to hold or sponsor an event at the West Village Meeting House, including the grounds, to which the general public is invited.  This policy is intended to be clear on two basic criteria that need to be met for such an event to be held. This policy is not addressed to 1. regularly occurring events of All Souls Church to which the public is invited such as services, nor 2. rentals for private events, such as weddings, nor 3. events that are not regularly occurring but are limited to ASC members and their invited guests.

For such a public event, the Board of Trustees, or its designees, first should be aware of the nature of the event and determine whether the event is consistent with the mission of All Souls Church. The reason for this determination is that the event, being held or sponsored by ASC members, is an expression to the community at large of what the ASC community stands for and supports. In case an event should be held to express information or opinions, or will occur in a way clearly contrary to our mission, the Board should deny the use of the WVMH for that event.

Also for such a public event, the Board of Trustees, or its designees second should be aware of the extent of the event, e.g. whether ASC is providing any funds; how much of the building will be used; what time will it be used; how will the premises be set up, used, and returned to needed condition; is the proposed use covered by ASC insurance. This is merely governance oversight designed to protect the premises from damage, ASC from liability, and other uses  from interruption or interference, among many other protections.

To effectuate these two purposes, the event planner or organizer must submit sufficient information , in writing, to the Board or its designees, that allows the Board or its designees to determine whether the event is consistent with the mission of ASC, and whether the WVMH and any other ASC resources can be adequately provided for the event.

A sample questionnaire is attached to this policy, and has been used by the Board in determining whether an event has met these two sets of criteria.

/s/ Ed Burke, President

By Board vote April 9, 2018

Ed. Note, July 1, 2019

This policy began in the wake of a couple incidents that clearly indicated we needed to bring some guidance when ASC holds or sponsors events open to the general public. Two basic principles are involved. ONE, because the event is sponsored or held by ASC or its committees, affiliated groups, etc., and is presented to the public, the event should be consistent with our UU principles. TWO, whether we have the capacity to adequately meet the various needs arising from or associated with the event needs to be ascertained. In both instances it is essential that the Board reviews the proposed event because it is, the governing body entrusted by the congregation with safeguarding our values and our physical premises. As such, The Board needs adequate information in a timely manner that will allow that assessment to occur before any representations are made to the public or the participants that the event is, in fact, occurring. This can be accomplished by completing the questionnaire that was created to accompany this policy.

With an adequately detailed description of the event by the organizers, set out in the questionnaire and follow up information as needed, it is likely that the request to hold the event can be addressed  promptly by the Board’s evote. There have been instances throughout this congregation’s history where the level of planning by the organizers, and review by the Board that this policy calls for, would have avoided unpleasant circumstances. This is a critical policy that benefits all involved: the organizers, the participants, the attendees and the congregation.