Resources

Building Use Request Form
Weddings at Westminster
Weddings at Westminster are a celebration between two special people in a special place. Church members should contact our pastor, Reverend Heather Kirk-Davidoff, to discuss their wedding plans. We also welcome non-members, interfaith, and same gender couples to celebrate the start of their union in a sacred space just steps from the New York State Capitol building in the heart of downtown Albany, NY. Westminster offers both a beautiful main sanctuary and a more intimate chapel.

Westminster is a welcoming community open and affirming of LGBTQ people and performs wedding ceremonies for same gender loving couples. If you are seeking a non-secular wedding venue that is open to the spiritual, but not religious, we may meet your needs. If you wish to bring in an outside minister to perform the service that may be possible. We also have a group of ordained clergy who may be able to perform your service. We welcome those of other faith traditions or no faith tradition.

We at Westminster see weddings as a way for two people to demonstrate their faithfulness and commitment to one another just as God is faithful to us. Helping couples begin their lives together before God and their friends and neighbors is one way we can use the blessing of this magnificent building in the service of our community.

If you would like a tour and an opportunity to discuss holding your special day in a beautiful sacred space just email us at Weddings@WPCAlbany.org.

Funerals and Memorial Services at WPC
The worship service in the Presbyterian Church upon the occasion of death is called A Witness to the Resurrection. It is a service that seeks to touch on all the thoughts and emotions that family and friends may experience at the time of death: sorrow, loss, and grief; but also gratitude and hope. We strongly urge that church members plan for their memorial service to take place in Westminster’s sanctuary.

While we seek to accommodate the grieving family’s wishes as much as possible, there are certain parameters in place. Our own tradition allows for either a memorial service (where the casket is not present) or a funeral (where the casket is present). In the case of a funeral, we require that the casket be closed.
The pastors will plan the service in consultation with the family, but will have the final say as to the order, content of, and the participants in the service. Family members may speak at the service, but should feel no obligation to do so.
Other pastors or religious leaders may participate with the approval of Westminster clergy. The Minister of Music and the Arts will play at the service or provide an alternate organist.

Please contact the church office for information about any related fees for memorial and funeral services at Westminster: office@wpcalbany.org / 518-436-8544

Guest Speaker Information Form
WPC Facilities Guidelines for Events

Welcome to Westminster Presbyterian Church! We are glad to be able to share with you two of our most valuable resources: our historic building and parking lot. Please read carefully the terms outlined below.

Donation: We do not charge for use of our facilities but welcome your donation to help cover the significant cost of heat, light, snow removal, maintenance, cleaning and insurance that our congregation incurs each year. You may make your donation online (wpcalbany.org/give) or mail it to the church (85 Chestnut Street, Albany, NY 12210). You may also leave an envelope with your donation in our church office–please put your name on the envelope so we know who to thank!

Sexton Fee: Our Sexton, Joy Tallmadge, will be your guide to our building during the time you are with us. Joy knows every inch of our building–and if you need something, it is likely she will be able to find it! We require all groups holding events in our building to pay our Sexton $20.00 per hour. Please note that Joy has a 2 hour minimum. Joy will arrive one hour before your event and stay a minimum of 30 minutes to close up. Please pay Joy Tallmadge directly by cash or check at the time of the event. 

Times: When we confirm your reservation to use our building, we will also confirm your start and end time. When setting these times, please take into account your need for set up and break down time. If your event runs more than 30 minutes past the time we have agreed on, we will begin charging you a rental fee of $100 per hour. The church building closes at midnight. Everyone must be out of the building and all clean up completed by that time.

Uses: We offer our building for your use specifically for the purposes you have described to us. You are not permitted to use our building for purposes or events that have not been previously approved by us. No alcohol is permitted in our building by outside groups. No illegal activities are allowed.

Rooms: We ask you not to use other rooms in the church that are not a part of our agreement with you (except, of course, the bathrooms!). Please do not make use of our kitchen unless we have explicitly given you permission to do so. If you find yourself in need of additional or different space, just ask Joy before relocating yourself.

Food and Drink: If you would like to offer food and drink at your event, please ask us for permission in advance. As an Earth Care Congregation, we are committed to reducing our use of plastic and minimizing waste. We would prefer you to use our plates and silverware and cup and saucers instead of bringing in disposable items. Joy will show you where everything is stored and she will even run the dishwasher for you!

COVID Safety Requirements: Everyone in our building is required to follow our COVID safety requirements (outlined separately and available on our website) at all times.

Responsible Person: Each group must designate a responsible person who will (1) assure that the group is informed of our COVID safety requirements and (2) abides by them. This person must collect the names and contact information for all participants and retain this information in case it is needed for contact tracing.

Safe Church Policy: We ask all groups to follow the procedures our church has adopted designed to assure the safety of children, youth and vulnerable adults in our building. These procedures will be attached separately and may be found on our website. We expect that children will be supervised by at least two responsible adults at all times while in our building.

Building Maintenance: We do our best to keep our building clean and maintained. If you see anything that is broken or needs attention, please let Joy know and we will do our best to remedy the situation.

Please respect our neighbors: Our church is located in a residential neighborhood. We do our best to be good neighbors and ask that you do the same. Please don’t make a lot of noise in our parking lot, especially in the evening. And please be aware of the sound level of any indoor events, especially if the windows are open. 

Emergency Contact: If something comes up on the day of your event please contact our church office at 518-436-8544.

While we seek to accommodate the grieving family’s wishes as much as possible, there are certain parameters in place. Our own tradition allows for either a memorial service (where the casket is not present) or a funeral (where the casket is present). In the case of a funeral, we require that the casket be closed.
The pastors will plan the service in consultation with the family, but will have the final say as to the order, content of, and the participants in the service. Family members may speak at the service, but should feel no obligation to do so.
Other pastors or religious leaders may participate with the approval of Westminster clergy. The Minister of Music and the Arts will play at the service or provide an alternate organist.

Please contact the church office for information about any related fees for memorial and funeral services at Westminster: office@wpcalbany.org / 518-436-8544

Westminster’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

In March, 2020, Westminster ceased holding in-person worship services as our state shut down in response to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. We quickly learned how to gather for worship online using Zoom, whether we gathered on computers with video or just called in to listen to the service on our phone.

During the summer of 2021 we began to step back into in-person worship, fully resuming worship in our main sanctuary in September 2021. We livestream the service onto Zoom and do our best to make sure that both our in-person and our on-line congregation can fully engage with worship and interact with each other. Every week we are learning how to do this a little bit better!

Westminster’s COVID-19 Precautions – Click here

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make decisions about your response to the pandemic?
In March 2020, the Session asked 8 members of our congregation to serve with our Minister on a Reopening Committee. Throughout the pandemic this team has recommended policies to the Session which then votes to approve them. The Reopening Committee has sought to apply guidelines and recommendations from the CDC and the New York State Department of Health to our specific setting and activities.
What precautions do you take inside the church?
    • Masking: As the infection rate in Albany County changes, the CDC’s guidance about masking changes. We will follow their recommendations as described on this site: CDC COVID-19 by County.When the level of infection is HIGH as indicated on this site, everyone is required to wear a mask while inside the building, including during the worship service. Our choir wears masks, our minister wears a mask, everyone wears a mask. If you arrive in worship without a mask, we will happily supply you with one.
    • Social Distancing: We maintain a social distance from each other. In general, we do not pass the offering plate or move about the sanctuary during worship.
    • Communion: We serve communion on the first Sunday of every month as well as during some special services. Currently, we are serving individual cups of juice and pre-cut pieces of bread which our Elders bring to each participant wherever they are sitting.
    • Coffee Hour: When the weather permits, we offer refreshments after worship on the sidewalk outside the church’s front entrance on State Street.  
What precautions do you take with children?
    • Our nursery is currently closed. Young children are welcome to come with their families to in-person worship, but they must remain in the sanctuary.
    • We have an activity bag for each child, whether a first-time visitor or a regular attender, with crayons, paper and other quiet activities. Just ask an usher for one if we don’t offer it to you first!
    • Our Sunday school for elementary school-aged children takes place starting at 11:15 am. Children can attend either in-person OR on Zoom. At this time, most of our children are attending online.
Do you allow singing?
Yes! Our choir is singing during worship and so is the rest of our congregation. When the COVID infection rate in our county is high (as indicated on the CDC COVID-19 by County website), all of us sing with our masks on.
I'm not comfortable coming into your sanctuary. What should I do?
Please join us on Zoom! Currently, about half of our congregation is coming in person and half are attending online. We still worship together, sing together, pray together, and share our concerns and our celebrations together!

Partners and Friends

Westminster Presbyterian Church is a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA). We connect with other churches in our denomination through the Synod of the Northeast and the Albany Presbytery.

We partner with other faith communities in our city through the Capital Area Council of Churches and in our state through the New York State Council of Churches.

Westminster has affiliated with a number of groups within our denomination who help us extend our mission and impact including:

We are proud to support the work of a number of local groups who meet in our building including:

Partners in mission include:

Annual Report