Episcopal Diocese of Washington

Engaging a changing world with
an enduring faith in Jesus Christ

Substance Abuse and Alcohol Policy

The Diocese of Washington believes it is important that any clergy person or diocesan lay employee having problems with the use of alcohol or drugs be treated with pastoral love and concern. We also understand that active substance misuse among those who minister to whole communities can have drastic and far-reaching consequences.

Thus when a clergy person or employee’s alcohol or drug use interferes with the performance of his or her duties, the diocese expects the clergy person or employee to get help and will support them in whatever way possible.

Likewise, the diocese recognizes that recovery is an ongoing process and seeks to be supportive of an employee or clergy person’s need for continued clinical and spiritual support.

In 2016, Diocesan Council passed the following policy regarding alcohol at church functions that brings the diocese into compliance with the churchwide policy adopted by General Convention at its meeting last summer. The council requests that every parish adopt a similar policy.

The policy prohibits serving alcohol to individuals “showing signs of intoxication,” bans hard liquor at diocesan events, and requires “appealing non-alcoholic alternatives” to be offered “with equal prominence and accessibility” at events at which alcohol is served.

Diocesan Council requests that every parish vestry adopt the proposed policy below to establish an alcohol/substance misuse policy for their own congregation.

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