Should alcohol consumption be allowed at parish meetings?

My parish serves alcohol at social events, such as festivals or parties. I’ve never been comfortable with that, but their policy it is written that as long as the event is not in honor of the youth then alcohol is allowed.
A couple of weeks ago I was teaching a class in the Religious Education Building. Across the hall was another ministry having a meeting and alcohol was being served at their meeting. They were loud and kept interrupting our class. They were drinking in the hall and they had children present

What kind of example does this set?

In my class I have a lot of young people and the example that was set is that alcohol consumption is OK, that grown men & women cannot have a fun time & fellowship without alcohol.

I am trying to steer these youths always from alcohol & drugs but where do I send them to if the church is not a safe place anymore?

Furthermore, we may have members that are recovering alcoholics or family members that may have been damaged by alcohol abuse. They need a place to come & heal & come closer to God – not another opportunity for drinking or to encounter other people drinking

What kind of liability will the parish have if there was an accident after a ministry meeting due to alcohol?

It is my understanding that this is not an isolated event. That there are ministries that regularly serve alcohol after their meetings.

What do you all think, should alcohol consumption be allowed at a parish?

Does your parish allow alcohol at ministry meetings or social events?

I investigated this for my own parish and in order to legally serve alcohol on the office premises we have to have a liquor license. Only if the event were held in the rectory, which is considered a private residence, could you serve alcohol. I imagine that each state/province has its own laws which must be observed.

I have no problem with responsible drinking but it doesn’t sound as though that’s what was going on at the event you describe. Although I’ve been known to be plenty loud without so much as a drop. :blush:

I run into this a lot in the south with the Protestants here.

The concern that the example being set is that alcohol consumption is acceptable is not really a concern as long as the young people know that it is acceptable for Adults, of legal age to drink responsibly and that it is NOT acceptable for anyone under the legal age to do so. There needs to be a distinction between Ministry meetings and a social function. Alcohol should not be present at meetings, only at social functions. Those social functions should be scheduled and located in a place away from other parish meetings and classes where young people are present.

Local laws do vary. In many places a license is only needed if you sell alcohol. In others Beer and Wine provided is not a problem, however Spirits are, unless they are BYOB.

Does having a keg at a church repainting count as ministry or social? :wink:

And to the OP- as long as the youths understand that those of age can consume, lighten up.
If an adult, of age, wants to consume liquor, so be it. If the Church wants to offer it, so be it. If the adults want to bring their children to an event that has liquor, they can. However, if the adults are disrupting your youth meeting that is different. That needs to be addressed at the time of incident and then reported to Father. As for the recovering alcoholics, they are big boys and girls who can take care of themselves.

But if someone gets into an accident and hurts another person(s) coming from an event that condoned and served alcohol on its premises…that parish better understand what its general liability policy states…some policies have inclusions and others exclusions. If it has liability excluded, that means they would have to purchase additional coverage, if they wanted it to cover a potential lawsuit. If it is included, then they could use the one policy. In our sue happy society we live in, parishes would be better off not randomly having liquor at such events. Just my 2 cents. People can’t have a meeting without a drink? Come on. ha

My husband is part of the K of C. They had their Christmas party last year, and everyone brought their own bottle of wine/pack of beer, etc. I wonder what the policy is if someone brings their own alcohol. Hmmm. I wonder if the Knights and the parish could get sued if someone left and got into an accident. I will have to ask research this and return with my findings. You are on the edge of your seat, I know.:wink:

I cannot envision a place for alcohol at any business meeting, of any group, let alone a church group. If the meeting was actually their annual pre-Christmas party (not a great idea for Advent, but oh well) there would be nothing wrong with a reasonable amount of alcohol but not drinking to the point of rowdiness. At an event where children are present, and during RE classes, it seems imprudent to the point of recklessness. don’t know the law here because it has never arisen, but where I come from, for any event on school or parish property where alcohol will be served, you must purchase a limited liquor liability insurance policy. That applies whether the parish hall is rented out, say for a wedding, or whether it is a parish event. If the parish, pastor, any agent or delegate of the pastor–and that could be interpreted very broadly to include any parishioner or even any adult present–serves or permits a minor to drink on such an occasion, there could also be grounds for criminal prosecution.

Yes…typically the person renting the hall has to buy the policy for the wedding. But if the parish is having a bingo function, and is serving alcohol…it’s on them.

I think the OP is being overly sensitive toward alcohol. Kids should be able to grow in an environment where alcohol consumption is normal (not some forbidden fruit, as it is in many protestant churches) and the limits for that consumption are easy to see. The Psalms call alcohol a blessing from God, and there is no reason at all why that blessing needs to be done in secret - away from anyone who might have the slightest temptation to abuse it. I applaud your parish for having the right attitude! :thumbsup:

I agree with the previous poster. If we want to ban alcohol and something immoral we should just buck up and become mormons or baptists already. :rolleyes:

Our Archdiocese this year came out with a policy of no more serving alcohol at parish events. I welcomed it.

Our parish has an annual Appreciation Night party for all of the volunteers in the parish and the school. Several years I was one of the “bartenders.” While I was serving the standard 1 1/4 oz pour of spirits, the others behind the bar were just pouring in very stiff portions, and mocking how “weak” I was making people’s drinks. I just prayed that there would be no accidents that night.

Alcohol isn’t bad of itself, but it can be as dangerous as a gun, and our parishes run great liability risks with untrained people serving their neighbours.

I do not think alcohol consumption is imoral nor is something that I want to ban in you all’s homes.

However, we all know that it is something that is too easily abused and I do not feel that a parish is the place to have it or even run the risk of this abuse. Its just not worth it. Especially when minors are present, due to the potential for abuse of the minor.

What does it say about us that we cannot minister to others or fellowship for a couple of hours without an alcoholic drink?

It is BYOB here. That way no can be held responsible.

With that in mind…the protestant roots of our countrys history have a lingering affect that mixing religion and alcohol are Taboo.
Even so that some mainline denominations have revised religious history regarding the subject of wine not really being wine but unfermented grape juice.

With that in mind…Jesus kicked off his salvific ministry by doing a MAJOR BYOB miracle due to some poor party prep at a wedding. . :smiley:

I wouldn’t have been as concerned about whether alcohol was being served (at what I assume was a pre-Christmas party for that ministry) as I would have been at them interrupting my class.

I would have gone across the hall and reminded them that I was teaching and asked them to shut the dorr and stay in their room. Then I would have shut my door and stayed in my room.

As another poster said, one of the little things I like about the Church is that we aren’t all hung up about alcohol. My experience with it at church functions though is limited to the KofC picnics in the summer (where there is often a keg) and much smaller functions at the rectory or attached offices. I have never heard of a party going on at the same time and general area as CCD classes.

Hey, the guy was a drunkard, wasn’t he? At least I think that is what some of the locals in charge of morality used to say at the time! :smiley:

I live in the north…the farther south one travels the more taboo Alcohol is. According to THIS statistical information the south and North vary according to heavy alcohol consumption. In fact I live in the North and my state is second to lowest, following Utah in heavy alcohol consumption rates. My brother lives in Texas. Several years ago he went for some beer for a New Years party…he had no idea what a dry county was let alone that he lived in one. To the best of my knowledge there are no dry counties in the North and it seems to have no effect on drinking.

the alcohol Taboo is a lingering remnant of Southern protestantism.

Our parish does serve alcohol at a few events. I’d say its fine as long as they are responsible. Does not bother me, even though I don’t drink…yet… :wink:

Not to derail the subject but…

A nearby state…Wisconsin beer is interwoven into the cultural landscape…in many places in wisconsin not having beer at a church picnic or celebration would seem extremely odd.

The old saying is the Wisconsin state law that each town small or large MUST have at least 3 bars pers 100 residents.

I have found the above to be somewhat true…even the smallest villiages in Wisconsin have two bars, a Catholic Church and a post office…along with those dern Lutherans…who sometimes act more Catholic than the Catholics.

Hehehe. The little town I used to live in had 10 Catholic Churches
and 27 bars. :smiley:

Our town (7200 pop) = 1 Catholic Church + 12 bars.

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