The Supreme Court ruled in June 23rd that states must grant and recognize marriage between same-gender couples. That ruling carved out a safe-harbor for churches when it comes to advocating for doctrinal issues which are contrary to the court’s ruling. So as pastors, you are free to preach and speak to issues in conformity with the doctrines of the Free Methodist Church.

However, that freedom of religion does not necessarily extend to the use of your church facilities. In fact, a church could be held in violation of the law if it refuses to allow a same-sex couple to hold their wedding reception in its facilities.

We’ve now heard from enough lawyers to provide guidance that will, at least, lower the risk of legal problems in this area. CLICK HERE FOR THAT GUIDANCE. (Jay…link to next page… )

The cleanest way to be certain that your church is not forced to rent its facilities for events contrary to our doctrine is to only allow use by church members.

But if you want to rent your facilities to non-members, we suggest that your board adopt a formal “Facility Use Policy” as attached. CLICK HERE FOR THE POLICY AND ASSOCIATED FORMS.

The attached policy template states that the church will not rent its facilities for any purpose which is contrary to the doctrines of the Free Methodist Church as specified in chapter three of our Book of Discipline. So long as you uniformly apply this policy, you should have a relatively safe position from which to deny use to anyone who wants to use your fellowship hall for a bar, for gambling, for an event specifically tied to a same-gender wedding, or other matters opposed to our doctrine.

In addition to a template policy, you’ll find a form for potential renters to fill out, and a contract for them to sign.

If you have questions, you’re always welcome to call our Chief Operating Officer, Larry Roberts, at 317-244-3660.

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