Church House Westminster is a wholly owned trading subsidiary of the Corporation of the Church House. The latter was founded as a charity in 1888 by Royal Charter.
Church House was designed to be a home for the General Synod of the Church of England. The General Synod meets up to two times a year in London and once in York.
The Royal Charter charity is managed by a board of nine trustees, known as the Council. The Council meets four times per year and holds its Annual General Meeting in July.
This policy describes the principles and procedures underpinning the letting of rooms of Church House Westminster.
The board of Directors delegate to the Management of Church House Westminster, the venue, the responsibility for implementing the lettings policy and for setting the Terms and Conditions and hire charges. Venue management is responsible for determining the discounts for the Church of England bookings.
- a. To provide good facilities which are beneficial to the Church of England and to other users.
- b. To earn income to maintain Church House and to make possible grants to the work of the Church of England.
- c. To charge market rates so there is no positive discrimination in favour of any person or group through preferential terms with the exception of the meetings of the General Synod of the Church of England.
The Corporation will let its premises within the framework of the law on the usual bases of letting agreements currently prevalent for flats, offices or rooms except when:
- d. The hirer is known to be engaged in or promoting illegal activity
- e. The hirer promotes views which are anathema to the teachings of the Church of England, as may be affirmed by its Synodical or Episcopal statement from time to time, such as groups which promote racial prejudice.
- f. For items (d) to (i) we will be guided by the definition and discussion of the relevant ethical issues by the Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) and/or the National Investing Bodies.
- g. The hirer is known to be involved in the production or distribution of pornography or achieves its material revenue from the production or distribution of pornography.
- h. The hirer produces indiscriminate weapons such as nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons or anti-personnel mines.
- i. The hirer derives more than 10% of its revenues from conventional weaponry, tobacco, E-cigarettes, recreational cannabis, gambling, non-military firearms, thermal coal mining, production of oil from oil sands or high-interest loans, or recreational drugs.
- j. The hirer is a company in which the Church of England has decided on ethical grounds not to invest, including with regard to alcohol production or retail.
- k. The hirer derives more than 25% of its revenues from alcohol.
- l. The hirer is indiscriminate and/or irresponsible in seeking sponsorship from any of the above categories. In order to ensure that this is not the case, the Corporation may ask the hirer to disclose to them the criteria upon which they seek or refuse sponsorship.
The Corporation will require written assurance from any hirer that it does not fall under any of the above categories and will offer help if there are matters where the hirer cannot be sure that they fall within these categories. [With the assistance of EIAG]
- The Corporation does not hold wedding licenses, nor will it seek to do so, since there are many Church of England churches where people may be married nearby.
- The Chapel of Church House is under the jurisdiction of the Archbishops. It may only be used for Christian worship.
- Any advertising material which a hirer may wish to set up should be within the confines of the space that they have hired.
The Corporation of Church House will accept bookings from the following groups or for the following purposes in order to promote social cohesion:
- Other faiths and marginal Christian groups for social or educational functions but not for ‘evangelism’ or propaganda purposes.
- To promote public debate by accepting bookings from campaigning groups except where they also promote illegal or immoral activity as defined by the Church of England through its Synodical or episcopal statements from time to time.
- Normally we will accept bookings from political parties who hold seats in the UK [including Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish] parliaments/assemblies.
- To provide a venue for cultural events except where such events glorify or promote illegal or immoral behaviours as defined by the Church of England unless it is an educational event where such material will be critiqued and debate will occur.
- To guard the reputational risk to the Church of England or the Corporation.
The Corporation reserves the right to refuse any bookings which would be contrary to the witness and mission of the Church of England.
Notwithstanding the prohibitions above, the Corporation will serve wine and alcoholic beverages in accordance with the alcohol investments policy of the EIAG. In brief, it elaborates a ‘combination of a positive view of alcohol as a gift of God with the negative condemnation of its abuse’.
Updated February 2020