Our sole purpose is the wholeness of all who are affected by the disease of drug and alcohol dependency. We seek to be proactive in the diocese and responsive to the medical and pastoral needs of parishes and persons through education, intervention, advice and referral.
This statement adopted at our 68th General Convention explains the position of the Episcopal Church:
The Episcopal Church has never endorsed prohibiting the use of beverages containing alcohol among adult members… If an adult member elects to use alcohol, however, moderate usage is expected… The Church also supports and has a responsibility to those people who abstain from the use of alcoholic beverages for whatever reason.
In this spirit we are pleased to make available below the Diocesan Policy on Alcohol Use at Church Functions. In addition, you’ll find a list of resources for your referral, and a 90-page booklet for Clergy titled Addiction: The Misuse of Alcohol and Drugs. At the end of this page, you’ll find a roster of Recovery Ministries committee members.
Diocese of New Jersey Policy on Alcohol Use at Church Functions
- Alcohol should not be served prior to worship or business meetings.
- All beverages and food containing alcohol must be clearly and distinctly labeled. This guideline is most often forgotten where food is concerned. It must be remembered that the flavor of liquor (in food where the alcohol has been cooked out) is something that many persons in recovery wish to avoid.
- Food must be available at all functions where alcohol is served.
- Equally attractive, non-alcoholic alternatives must be offered as conspicuously as alcoholic beverages. Persons who wish to abstain from alcohol must be able to do so comfortably. It is critical that alternatives to alcoholic beverages be of equal quality as those containing alcohol. It is inappropriate to serve a good bottle of wine in a crystal glass when the only alternative is a can of pop in the back of the refrigerator or a pot of coffee on the stove.
- The promotion of church functions must not use alcohol as an enticement to participation. No announcements, advertisements or promotional material should imply that drinking alcohol is a social requirement.
- Alcoholic beverages should not be a part of the identification of church events; e.g., Bratwurst Festival, not Beer and Bratwurst; Reception with Hors d’oeuvres or Reception with Light Refreshments, not Wine and Cheese Reception.
- Alcohol should not be served in such a way as to teach children that growing up necessarily implies alcohol consumption.
- All federal, state and local laws and ordinances must be observed. This includes regulations requiring licenses for the sale of alcohol, prohibiting the distribution of alcohol to minors, and serving alcohol to intoxicated persons. Serving alcoholic beverages entails incurring moral as well as potential legal and financial liability for those who become intoxicated. It is expected that responsibility will be taken for the safety of persons who become intoxicated at church functions (up to and including transportation for those whose driving might be impaired).
You can download a copy of this policy as a PDF for printing. Click here
A printable pamphlet on Recovery Ministries is also available.
1600 Corp. Landing Pkwy.
Virginia Beach, VA 23454
National Center on Addiction/Substance Abuse
633 Third Avenue, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10017
You can find information about local meetings on the websites of the organizations listed above.
The Reverend Cathy Brunson, Dcn., Chair
Judy Krom, PhD
Harriet S. Stuart
The Rev. Nancy Hite-Speck