FACILITY USE / RENTAL POLICY – SUGGESTED COMPONENTS
When considering a facility use/rental policy, it is important to note that what The Manual states on the Use of Free Methodist Church Facilities:
¶6126.96.36.199 Use of Free Methodist Church Facilities
It is the policy of The Free Methodist Church in Canada that the facilities of Free Methodist churches are to be rented or used only by individuals or groups that are not incompatible with the goals, values, policies and statements of The Free Methodist Church in Canada and for purposes which are not incompatible with the goals, values, policies and statements of The Free Methodist Church in Canada.
The following list is from the Canadian Council of Christian Charities and is not exhaustive, but it provides general guidance on the components of a rental policy. Your legal counsel and insurance provider may make specific additions to address the unique nature of your charity or to effectively set how open- or closed-door you want your policy to be.
1) You must clearly set out your charity’s Christian nature. This may include:
a) A description of your charity’s Christian nature, drawn from your constating documents.
b) Your charity’s interpretation of the key biblical principles that guide your charity; your charity’s denominational history, theological creeds, and/or Lifestyle and Morality Code; your organization’s specific views on what constitutes marriage from your religious viewpoint (if conducting weddings or wedding receptions). Whichever you choose, they should be attached to the rental policy for the renter’s reference.
c) Specific reference that no activity carried out can be in violation of the elements that make up your Christian nature. Any activities that are contrary represent sufficient reason not to enter into a rental agreement or to void it if contrary actions come up subsequent to the agreement being signed.
Not being abundantly clear about your Christian nature will undermine any defense on religious grounds you may need to take in case of a legal challenge or complaint.
2) Your charity’s charitable purposes and objects, as set out in your constating documents, should be reproduced, to bolster point 1.
3) Note that priority for your charity’s activities takes precedent over any time available for rental to third parties.
4) Though it may appear self-evident, your policy must state that no unsafe or illegal activity will be allowed and, if engaged in contrary to policy, is cause for immediate revocation of the Rental Agreement.
5) If desired, you may want to include a priority listing of who you will rent to first (e.g., qualified donees with charitable purposes consistent with your own) and who you won’t rent to (e.g., commercial businesses).
6) Set out specific rules that might be consistent with your theological outlook (e.g., no smoking, drinking, or dancing).
7) Be clear that in any areas of disagreement, the final determination on any issue in dispute rests with a person, or persons, in authority with the charity (e.g., the pastor, the board).
8) Clearly state insurance and indemnity requirements.
9) Note that all other requirements and restrictions will be guided by the specifics set out in the Rental Agreement with the renter.
10) State that the assigned person of authority representing the charity at a rental event will have exclusive rights to determine if the charity’s Rental Policy and Rental Agreement are being adhered to and may take appropriate corrective action, up to and including the immediate cessation of the event.
11) Clearly set out the application process.
This sample document is provided as a general guideline to assist CCCC member charities of which The Free Methodist Church in Canada is an active member. We would encourage local churches to consider the benefits of a CCCC membership.
This information does not constitute legal or other professional advice.
Appropriate modifications are required to suit the facts applicable to each situation.
Where the intent is to use this sample, it should be provided to legal counsel along with appropriate instructions to meet the specific needs and circumstances of the charity.