The many and varied spaces in our church and foundation buildings are available to the public for rent for meetings, classes, and special events. We are especially delighted to host weddings for all manner of couples. If you are interested in having your ceremony here, contact our office (217-344-0297 x102) to learn if your desired date is available and ask any questions not addressed below. To finalize the arrangement, you must complete a rental contract and pay the damage deposit. (The schedule for paying all rental fees will also be outlined at this appointment.) All fees are due in full three months before the ceremony date. Answers to a variety of common questions follow.
Can we use the McKinley sanctuary for a ceremony?
If the sanctuary is available on your preferred date, the basic rental fee of $475 covers as much time as is desired on both the ceremony day and the rehearsal day, during McKinley’s normal hours of operation. A separate $100 damage deposit is also required. If all provisions of the rental contract are followed and the sanctuary is left in acceptable condition, your deposit is returned in full.
Can a McKinley pastor perform our ceremony?
Both Pastor Weatherford and Pastor Harris are happy, as their schedules permit, to perform weddings for all couples. McKinley is proud of its long-time commitment to the LGBT community, and our pastors performed same-sex commitment ceremonies long before gay marriage was legalized in Illinois. The pastors’ fee is $300 for ceremonies of people who are not church members, although in certain circumstances they work on a sliding scale. If neither pastor is available for your ceremony, they or church secretary Hank Woolsey can provide a list of other approved pastors.
May we invite our own officiant to perform the ceremony?
No, that is not permitted.
What about music and sound equipment?
McKinley’s sanctuary is a beautiful acoustical space for live music. We also have a magnificent pipe organ and a Steinway baby grand piano. You are welcome to contact McKinley’s organist, Yohei Endo, to see if he is available to play for your ceremony. If he is not available, he can provide recommendations for other organists or musicians on other instruments. You are also welcome to invite your own organist and other musicians to play. Most organists charge $150 to play for a wedding.
McKinley’s sanctuary is equipped with only a very basic sound system designed for public speaking. If you need sound equipment for playing recorded music, you will have to provide that equipment yourself.
Are rooms available for us to dress at McKinley?
Yes, up to two dressing rooms, equipped with air-conditioning in summer, may be provided in the McKinley Foundation building for each couple.
What parking is available for guests?
After 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday, two University of Illinois parking garages are available for open use (across Fifth St. from the McKinley Foundation and one block east of the church on John Street). Metered spaces on the street require payment every day and evening except Sundays. Click here for a map of McKinley and the surrounding streets and parking lots.
May we have our reception at McKinley?
Yes, if an appropriate room is available on the date that you want to use it. Westminster Hall, a large air-conditioned room in the foundation building, is a lovely space for up to 350 guests (fewer if you are planning a sit-down dinner). A number of other rooms might work well for smaller receptions. Renting a reception space requires a separate contract and separate fees. Reception fees for Westminster Hall start at $400. Talk with one of our staff (217-344-0297 x102) if you are interested in having your reception at McKinley.