UUCSS Policy – Building Use and Rentals

BUILDING USE and RENTALS  [Adopted January 26, 2022]

A.  The Ministerial staff is responsible for establishing and updating procedures, consistent with this policy, for the use and rental of church property.  These procedures will address such matters as rental fees and services, rental contracts, waivers of fees, limits on the number of events that may be scheduled and their duration, and the distribution of keys.

B.  The Board will approve the execution and renewal of long-term rental contracts, that is, for leases involving the use of church facilities on a regular basis for a month or longer.

C.  Conflicts over the use of UUCSS buildings and grounds are rare and can usually be avoided.  If a conflict does arise, the Ministerial staff should resolve it by considering the benefit to the entire congregation.  The highest priority is for “all church” events such as worship services, RE classes, congregational meetings, the Auction, and the Fellowship Dinner.  The need for income-generating rentals should be recognized.  Requests by Members and friends[1] for a wedding, memorial service, or other rite of passage should be accommodated if possible. 

D.  Whether connected to UUCSS or not, any individual, group, or organization wishing to use church buildings or grounds for non-church events or meetings must complete a rental agreement and make a security deposit.  A staff member will place each event on the church calendar, to ensure no space is double-booked.

E.  Members and their immediate families may arrange to use the buildings and grounds for a wedding, memorial service, or other rite of passage without paying a rental fee.  Friends of the church must pay the standard rental fee for such events; if they have made a financial contribution of record at least six months preceding the event, the fee will be waived. Members, friends, and renters are all responsible for set-up and clean-up of the events they schedule.

F.  It is in UUCSS’s interest to support good works by other organizations in our wider community that are aligned with our values and mission.  One of the ways we can offer this support is by allowing the use of our space without requiring a rental fee, with the approval of the Minister or the Board.

G.  The Minister or the Board may choose to discontinue any rental agreement should the renter’s goals or conduct violate or undermine UUCSS values, principles, mission, or covenant.

H.  The Minister has first right of refusal as officiant for all rites of passage, including outside rentals.  To ensure that UUCSS’s values are upheld in our own pulpit, the Minister must approve any officiant (whether ordained or lay) for any service of worship on church property.

I.  Policies on smoking, illegal drugs, and alcoholic beverages are as follows:

1.  No smoking or vaping of any kind, nor use of illegal drugs, is allowed on church property.
2.  Beer and wine, but no other alcoholic beverages, may be consumed by adults on UUCSS property, under the conditions set out below.

3.  During congregational meetings, individuals should refrain from serving or consuming alcoholic beverages.  During other social affairs held for the congregation and meetings of UUCSS committees or organizations, serving beer and wine is discretionary with the individuals in attendance.  Attractive non-alcoholic beverages should always be served when alcohol is served at church events.  Serving beer and wine in connection with wedding festivities or other ceremonial occasions is acceptable.

4.  If beer or wine is offered for sale, included in an admission fee, or provided in exchange for a financial contribution, the sponsor of the event must obtain a special one-day Class C license from the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control.

5.  Alcoholic beverages stored in UUCSS buildings must be kept in a locked cabinet or closet.
6.  If minors are found using alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs on church property, they will be removed from the event and parents/guardians will be notified.  Adults will not use alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs during youth RE activities.

J.  No one is allowed to spend the night in Church buildings or on Church property without prior approval of the Minister, Director of Spiritual Growth, or President of the Board.  The YRUU and other Religious Education classes may secure advance approval from the Director of Spiritual Growth.  In accordance with UUA Youth Safety Guidelines and the UUCSS RE Safety Policy, overnight events require the attendance of one chaperone over the age of 25 for every 7 children or youth spending the night.[2]

[1]  See Board Policy 7.E for the procedure by which an individual can be considered a “friend” of the church.  Friends are identified as such in the church database.

[2]  See Board Policy 8.E for additional requirements for overnight events.