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Archdiocese policy regarding private events

Effective October 11, 2007 ~ Revised August 2011 ~ May 2018

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati acknowledges each parish’s role in providing facilities to its parishioners and the surrounding community. The use of parish facilities for non-sponsored events has increased over the past few years. As this usage increases, and lawsuits are an ever-increasing reality, we need to address the liability associated with offering parish facilities for non-sponsored activities. To be considered for a parish sponsored group or activity, there are two basic tests:

1) The Pastor has the authority to start, direct, control, manage, expand or eliminate the activities of the organization. 2) The Pastor has the authority to sign checks on the organization’s checking account and receives the monthly banking statements.
When an organization requests to use a parish facility for an event that does not pass these basic tests, then the group is required to provide proof of insurance and sign a facility use agreement. Coverage for the liability must be at least $1,000,000.00. The group can provide proof of insurance by either:

1) Providing a certificate of insurance that includes the following three names as covered: The Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr, and St. Thomas More Parish.

2) Purchase coverage from the parish through the Arthur H. Gallagher Risk Management Services.

This insurance coverage helps to reduce our legal exposure and allows for continued availability of parish facilities for non-parish events.

Parishes that provide cake, coffee, and refreshments to participants as a normal course of operation after a Baptism, Funeral, or a special parish sponsored event are NOT required to have insurance. These events are considered Parish sponsored events. However, when a family member requests the use of the facility for a private luncheon, dinner, party, or reception, all special event requirements must be completed. Examples of some non-sponsored events (which are not all inclusive) include wedding receptions, anniversary receptions, birthday parties, class reunions not sponsored by the school, parties, and workshops by non-parish groups and social clubs.

If the parish is approached by civic groups, humanitarian organizations, or other such groups that the pastor feels promote the mission of the Church, these nonpaying groups may be permitted to utilize the facilities of the parish at the pastor’s discretion. While these groups represent a low risk to the assets of the parish, all members of the group must annually sign a “Hold Harmless Agreement” to use the parish facilities (a copy may be downloaded below).

Recurring meetings by all outside organizations must obtain insurance and sign the facility use agreement.  These include home school groups, community organizations, support groups not sponsored by the parish, and fraternal organizations.  All outside organizations use of parish facilities must be approved by the Pastor prior to booking.

The following type of non-parish events and other exclusions are prohibited: non-parish athletic events, any activity with firearms, fireworks, motorized vehicles of any size, carnivals, amusement rides, events of more than 250 in attendance, overnight events, and inflatable devices. 

Host liquor activities are automatically covered with the purchase of a policy.  This means that if liquor is served at an approved event in the parish hall no separate insurance is required.  There are three instances in which a special liquor insurance policy is required: (1) if liquor is being sold, (2) when there is an admission price to the event which includes liquor, or (3) if liquor is served as part of a fund raising event.  Each of these situations must be discussed by the parish with the Archdiocese for approval prior to the booking of these events.

Administration – Applying for a Special Event at St. Thomas More:

Parishioners who have been active members of the parish for at least one full year can rent parish facilities. Non-parishioners may not use the facilities. Outside organizations must have prior approval from the Pastor prior to applying for facility use. The renter needs to check availability and book the facility as soon as the event date is known. A $300 refundable security deposit is required at the time the facility is booked.

The deposit is refundable in full provided the facility is cleaned and left in the same condition as originally found. If the parish has to clean up after the event, the costs of the cleanup are deducted from the security deposit.  Many parishioners agree to use and pay for our contract cleaning service to clean-up.  If you intend to use this service, please notify us at the time of the event booking.

The parishioner-renter must also, sign, and agree to abide by the “Facility Use Agreement for Parishioners” at the time facility is booked. A copy of this document is in the link below and must be signed at the time the facility is booked.

There are rental fees for the use of parish facilities. These fees are in addition to the security deposit:

Dining Room Only $200.00
Kitchen $100.00
Cancellation Fee $50.00
Refundable Deposit—all rooms $300.00
Picnic Shelter Donation Requested


The renter must provide for insurance for their event. This may be done by one of two methods:

1) Agree to obtain/purchase a Certificate of Liability Insurance denoting the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr and St. Thomas More Parish as the certificate holder with a $1,000,000 limit of liability covering the date and time of the event including set-up and clean-up. This certificate must be turned in to the Parish Office at least three business days prior to the start of the event. A sample copy of the certificate is included in this document. The Certificate of Insurance can be purchased through the parishioner’s insurance agent as a rider on their Homeowner Insurance Policy but there may be a fee for the limit of liability coverage.


2) Apply for the Special Events Insurance Program online through the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The cost for the insurance is $125.00 for the one day event and will need to be paid with a credit card to process the application. The link to the Archdiocese website to apply for the private event coverage is:

The event is automatically cancelled if the Certificate of Liability Insurance is not obtained and on file at the Parish Office at least three business days prior to the event or if the rental fee and security deposit have not been paid in full.

If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact:

Dick Berish - Business Manager - St. Thomas More Phone: 513-753-2543 Fax: 513-753-2552

Licensee's use of the facility, including but not limited to those which may be asserted by third parties.

1 ~ Licensee shall carry or obtain comprehensive general liability insurance in the amount of not less than $1,000,000 and shall include the Church, the Pastor of the Church, the Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati as additional insureds thereunder.

2 ~ Licensee will not charge for (whether by admission fee or otherwise...see exceptions above) alcoholic beverages served at Licensee's event and will otherwise comply with all laws regarding the use and consumption of liquor.

3 ~ Church shall assume no liability for the loss, damage or return of any items of personal property brought onto the premises by Licensee, or any of its guests. Licensee shall assume all liability and risk of loss for any loss or damage to items of personal property brought onto premises by any member of said Licensee, or any of its guests. The Church shall assume no liability for the loss or damage of vehicles parked in the Church parking lot by Licensee, or any of its guests.

4 ~ Any change or modification to this contract will not be effective unless made in writing and signed by both parties to this contract.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati also requires a contract agreement between the school and any organization providing special enrichment programs to the school.  There is also a summer camp policy. Specifics for these programs may be downloaded below.