Policies and Procedures

St. Mary’s Policies April 24, 2013

St. Mary’s Policies Reference Document
The policies reference document provides guidelines for clergy, staff and parishioners. Its
intended use is to support decisions and actions that provide spiritual and pragmatic
solutions in and for our community.

I. Benevolence
II. Communication
III. Building Use
IV. Emergency Procedures
V. Safe Child Protocols

I. St. Mary’s Parish Benevolence Policy

Introduction: St. Mary’s strives to be an inclusive and inviting place to worship God. Christian belief calls us to radical hospitality and charity and we make every effort to live out this call as fully as possible. During times of crisis, people needing assistance often approach
St. Mary’s Church and/or it’s parishioners. This assistance generally falls into the categories of providing food, shelter, clothing, bus tickets or medicine. Sometimes an individual asks for cash. When considering assistance to people in need, we do so with everyone’s best interests as the priority. Our goal as Christians is to provide a bridge of resources to direct the individual to sustained support.

Definition: It is the policy of St. Mary’s to not give any individual cash assistance or assistance that can be turned into cash such as bus tickets. The types of assistance that we may provide include the following:

  •  Maintaining a list of social service agencies and organizations that provide services such as meals, food banks, emergency housing, utility support, medicines, etc. This list will be maintained in the church office, the narthex, and in the courtyard in a receptacle for anyone to access. A small amount of nonperishable food items will also be maintained and used at the discretion of the clergy and staff.
  • At the discretion of the clergy, St. Mary’s will provide direct assistance to a member of the parish up to twice every 12 months. This could include, but is not limited to, a one-time cash disbursement from the Rector’s discretionary fund, an offer to remit payment on a utility bill, or other assistance.
  • If someone approaches you, you may either apprise them of what we can offer or provide a list of services. You can offer to refer them to a member of the clergy, or during service hours, an usher. A box will be installed near the exit of the Union Street front entrance with flyers with a list of services available. A flyer can be provided to someone seeking assistance. St. Mary’s Policies April 24, 2013
  • Our church is open for worship to anyone; however those persons carrying prohibited substances such as alcohol, drugs, weapons, or exhibiting threatening behavior, such as shouting, acting belligerent or hostile, will be asked to leave by the users. If you are by yourself, stay out in the open court yard. Do not allow yourself to be alone with people who are unknown to the parish. Of paramount concern is that the clergy, staff and parishioners of St. Mary’s are safe.

II. St. Mary’s Parish Communication Policy

Introduction: Parishioners enjoy access to parish information via a growing mix of electronic and print media. However, these new communications channels are not without challenges. Technology has necessitated the development of a communications policy to guide our
anticipated growth in communication, as well as establish boundaries protecting the integrity of the information.

Definition includes the following:

  • Cow Hollow Church News
  • Weekly Service bulletins
  • Official emails from the church staff and clergy
  • Verbal or written service announcements during church services or issued by SMV
  • Website content

Purpose of Policy:

  • To ensure all communications reflect the character and values of our parish.
  • To protect the privacy of all St. Mary’s parishioners.
  • To ensure that all St. Mary’s ministries and programs have appropriate opportunities for communication of information to parishioners.

Prohibited Use of Communication:
Partisan Communication: St. Mary’s Church communication, in any form, may not be used for partisan political messages. Association, representation or endorsement of, or by, any political candidate, party, or campaign, whether actual, inferred or implied is prohibited.
Discussions within any St. Mary’s sanctioned group (e.g., youth group, adult formation, etc.) do not necessarily represent the views of St. Mary’s church: clergy, staff and parishioners.

Solicitation of Funds: St. Mary’s Church communications may not be used for solicitation of funds for any other purpose other than funds for the use of St. Mary’s Church and/or its programs and services.

Advertising: No aspect of church communications may be used to promote any activity resulting in financial gain of a staff member, parishioner, or business.

Unauthorized Communications Channels: Unauthorized websites, blogs, social network sites, direct mailings, and use of the parish name and/or logo are not permitted. Only members of St. Mary’s communications staff and clergy shall maintain external communications channels on behalf of the parish. Clergy and the vestry must approve exceptions to this.

Church Directory: The Church Directory contains personal information of congregants and, therefore, is intended to be used for Church business only. Distribution of the directory is at the discretion of the Rector. The directory and its contents may not be distributed or used
outside of St. Mary’s business, ministries and programs.

Photographs: Photographs of individuals – particularly children – or personal information about them should not be displayed in any external communications outside of St. Mary’s official communications without their consent and/or consent of their parents. Before a photo of a minor under 18 is published in any SMV document or placed on the web, the parent(s) or guardian(s) shall be contacted and consent obtained.

Media Relations: Only an authorized St. Mary’s staff spokesperson, such as the Rector, may communicate directly with members of the media on behalf of the parish.

  1. All media requests should be passed on to the Rector. Media requests include inquiries for interviews, commentary and information, and include all media – TV/Radio, newspapers, magazines, local/national media and internet sites.
  2. No one, other than the Rector, is authorized to speak on behalf of St. Mary’s without advance knowledge and coordination with the Rector. Should the Rector be unavailable or away, he may designate either the Associate Rector or Senior Warden to manage communications in his absence. Volunteers who are approached by the media are instructed to direct all media calls to the Rector.
  3. All media calls are to be reported to the Rector.

Crisis Communication: When a significant event or crisis occurs onsite at St. Mary’s, it is important to communicate the significant event to the Rector and Senior Warden immediately. These may include, but are not limited to: natural disasters, fires, and accidents with injury, law enforcement situations, deaths, and serious misconduct by a congregant, staff, or any person on church grounds.

III. St. Mary’s Parish Building Use Policy
General Use Guidelines: Church facilities may not be used for political purposes. However, facilities may be used for voter registration or polling where there is not a reasonable alternative available. Any other use of the facilities by external programs or groups, including but not limited to AA and The Village Well, will be at the discretion and oversight of the clergy and vestry.

Request to Use Facilities: The use of any part of the parish building or grounds is under the direction of the Rector, acting in cooperation with the vestry. Application for use must be made to the Rector or his/her authorized agent, and an agreement negotiated and signed
prior to the use of space.

Application for on-going use must be made to the Rector. Written agreement is to be negotiated by the Rector and approved and signed by the vestry prior to the use of the space.

For one-time usage fees, refer to ‘Rental Guidelines and One-Time Fees’ document stored in parish administrator’s office. The Rector has the right to waive one-time usage fees.

Emergency Maintenance: A request for any maintenance changes, alterations, or improvements must be submitted to the Junior Warden, Senior Warden, or the vestry before being acted upon.

Should an emergency arise that does not allow for vestry discussion, the Junior Warden or Senior Warden are authorized to approve expenditures of up to $3,000 without vestry approval. If an emergency requires an expense greater than this, the Junior or Senior Wardens will canvass a quorum of the vestry for approval. If a quorum is not available the Junior Warden or Senior Warden are authorized to deal with the emergency immediately.

Non-Emergency Maintenance: For non-emergency situations, any amount over $5,000 requires vestry discussion and approval. Best efforts will be made to obtain three bids on the purchase of all goods and services when the cost exceeds $5,000. Bids are to be awarded to the lowest bidder assuming the bidder is able to perform necessary services or supply goods. There must be a written description of the goods, services and work to be done.

IV. St. Mary’s Parish Emergency Procedures

Please see Emergency Evacuation Procedures in Appendix A.

  • Earthquake and Fire Drills will be conducted annually for all services and Sunday school. These drills will be conducted by the 2nd Sunday of October each year.
  • All first aid kits will be checked annually to insure they are up to date and complete.
  • Two emergency kits shall be maintained and updated annually. They will be located n Fowler Hall and the Administrative offices.
  • Any non SMV group using space at SMV should be familiar with the Emergency Evacuation procedures in Appendix A. This would include, for example, staff and volunteers at the Village Well and a designated representative(s) at Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • All section heads such as ushers, Sunday school teachers, music leaders and altar guild members (and other staff or volunteers who are in a lead role) shall be acquainted with emergency evacuation/ drill procedures. They will participate/ help organize annual emergency drills and review emergency procedures on an annual basis.

V. St. Mary’s Parish “Safe Child” Policy
St Mary the Virgin is committed to ensuring a safe environment for worship and learning for our entire parish, particularly for our children under 18. St. Mary’s will adopt “Called to Right Relationship,” the Diocese of California’s official policy on standards and behaviors to ensure that our congregations are safe places for all God’s people. Using the Diocese of California’s “Safe Church Self-Audit”, we have implemented the following:

  1. Training: We will use the Diocesan adopted program called “Shield the Vulnerable” to provide training for all paid staff, Vestry and parish volunteers who minister with children, youth and homebound elders.
  2. Background Checks: All paid staff and parish volunteers who minister with children, youth and homebound elders will be subjected to a background check. The background check will be initiated as a part of the “Shield the Vulnerable” training by the Diocese of California’s office of Discipleship.
  3. Individual records of completion of this training and background checks will reside in the office of the Parish Administrator.
  4. Safe Program Space:
    The following conditions are to be adhered to on SMV property.
  • There are always two or more unrelated adults present in ministry settings and events designed for children and youth.
  • All program space whose primary use is for children and youth is visually accessible.
  • Alcoholic beverages are not stored in publicly accessible areas of the church buildings.
  • Publicly accessible computers with internet access are password protected and children and youth use church computers only with supervision.
  • Keys to church spaces are limited to people who have met all the requirements for screening and training of volunteers who work with children, youth and homebound elders.

“Shield the Vulnerable (STV)”, is a service of LawRoom that provides a suite of innovative, interactive, online training courses for students and adults. The courses trains adults who interact with children, youths and elders how to recognize, report and prevent abuse. More information about “Called to Right Relationship”, Shield the Vulnerable, and the Diocese of California’s policies and standards for safe places can be found at: