Thinking Anglicans

swine flu

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have today written to Bishops in the Church of England recommending the suspension of the sharing of the chalice at communion.

The Archbishops’ letter follows advice from the Department of Health not to share “common vessels” for food or drink.

For those who wish still to offer both bread and wine, the Archbishops have recommended use of “personal intinction by the presiding minister” allowing the priest to dip communion wafers in the chalice before handing them out to communicants.

The full text of the letter is here, or over here, and also here.

More detailed advice from the Church of England is here.

The text of the Sacrament Act 1547 can be found here.

80
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
80 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
38 Comment authors
Pat O'NeillVicki kellettStephen LinsteadFord ElmsBillyD Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

This seems to me be an over-reaction to something…can anyone tell me what? In my US parish, the rector generally advises intinction in flu season and many of us do it year-round anyway.

But we take the host from the priest and then dip it in the chalice ourselves. I cannot for the life of me figure out what is prevented by having the priest dip the host rather than the communicant.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

This seems to me be an over-reaction to something…can anyone tell me what? In my US parish, the rector generally advises intinction in flu season and many of us do it year-round anyway.

But we take the host from the priest and then dip it in the chalice ourselves. I cannot for the life of me figure out what is prevented by having the priest dip the host rather than the communicant.

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

This advice was issued to the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham three weeks ago. HC in one kind only into the hand not the mouth, with the president of the Eucharist only receiving the wine. Can’t think why it has been so long coming generally!

AGPH
Guest
AGPH

I’m not suprised about this and it would seem to be a sensible provision. We used the acoholic hand gel for all those administering last Sunday and I learnt you don’t need to use very much at all – I put too much on our hands and thus we all had alcoholic soaked bread! Thankfully our hands had dried by the time we came to adminster the bread to the congregation so no-one else had to deal with the distracting taste! With regard to the adminstering of the wine….I know this goes against the great image of the common cup… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

“But we take the host from the priest and then dip it in the chalice ourselves. I cannot for the life of me figure out what is prevented by having the priest dip the host rather than the communicant.”

According to my rector, it’s to prevent having 80 people accidently dabble their fingers in the Precious Blood.

JPM
Guest
JPM

Our bishop here in Florida did this months ago, when swine flu first hit the news.

Peter Edwards
Guest
Peter Edwards

The Archbishops’ letter states that the bread of the Eucharist (immediately after intinction) should be placed ‘in the hands’ of the communicant, IF it is decided to offer HC in both kinds. Intinction by either the communicant or the eucharistic minister is normally followed by the host being put straight into the mouth. Accepting that the fingers of the communicant should not touch the the chalice or its contents, and that those of the minister should not touch the tongue or mouth, damp or soggy sacrament in the hands leads me strongly to favour HC in one kind only!

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“According to my rector, it’s to prevent having 80 people accidently dabble their fingers in the Precious Blood.” Well – I’d think the chances of that would be slim to none, and I would think that if someone did get a finger wet [like a child] that the alcohol in the chalice would have the same beneficial properties as the pre-communion handwashing. Or maybe we should switch to something stronger – grappa? And I’d think the chances of accidental contact would be greater for the priest placing the dipped host on a succesion of tongues. That’s not a common way… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

Peter, I noticed that as well. It seemed a very odd instruction – besides the “ick” factor of having wet Hosts in your hands, there are problems with reverence, as well (people ending up with drops of consecrated Wine on their hands).

Old Father William
Guest
Old Father William

To those of us who take the post-communion ablutions seriously, the small, individual cups would offer quite a challenge!

Fiona Brownlee
Guest
Fiona Brownlee

Hi folks – just to let you know the ACoC has had a document on this issue since HIV/AIDS became an issue and when in the last 5 years SARS was an issue in the civil province of Ontario. Here is the link http://www.anglican.ca/faith/ministry/euc-practice-infection.htm – do take a look. We have had a serious issue with this flu in our isolated indigenous communities and none, and I repeat, none of our bishops is suggesting only receiving communion in one kind – they have however suggested that we not use personal intinction at all as there is a greater risk of… Read more »

Graham Smith
Guest
Graham Smith

As I understand it, the real problem with communicants undertaking intinction is that all the germs and bacteria on the person’s hand can so easily be transferred into the wine.

There is a similar issue should the Priest place a host (where or not intinction has taken place) directly onto the communicant’s tongue.

All in all, I’d rather continue sharing the cup…

tony cullingworth
Guest
tony cullingworth

How about i) dry wafer placed into hands;
ii) wafer held firmly over chalice;
iii) one drop of wine placed on wafer by (sterile) dropper;
iv)immediate transfer to mouth by worshipper?

The only likely problem seems to me that of wafers being dropped into the chalice, and these would be consumed during the ablutions.

David Keen
Guest

According to the Sacrament Act, I’ve been illegally giving people communion for the last 10 years without exhorting them at least 1 day before with the threat of divine judgement. So a few months without wine is comparatively minor.

The link to the said Act took a while to load, quicker one at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/RevisedStatutes/Acts/aep/1547/caep_15470001_en_1

William Benefield
Guest
William Benefield

If you want to prevent swine flu, ban the passing of the peace and sharing of hymnals. Sharing the common cup is not a risk per se- we’ve been doing it for centuries with alot more contagious diseases than Flu floating around.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

I’ve been doing intinction ever since I became an Episcopalian (some 25 years now). Never had a problem avoiding putting my fingers in the wine, never had a problem with “soggy sacrament”.

Again, I ask, what is the issue that has caused this instruction to be issued? Is there some horrible contagion spreading though Old Blighty than I’m unaware of?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

I’ve been doing intinction ever since I became an Episcopalian (some 25 years now). Never had a problem avoiding putting my fingers in the wine, never had a problem with “soggy sacrament”.

Again, I ask, what is the issue that has caused this instruction to be issued? Is there some horrible contagion spreading though Old Blighty than I’m unaware of?

David |dah•veed|
Guest
David |dah•veed|

If intinction is to be done effectively,

1. The server only should intinct
2. The personal hosts should be sufficiently large to ensure easy handling
3. The server should intinct the host to no more than halfway, making sure fingers do not touch the wine
4. The server should place the intincted portion on the receivers tongue, making sure the fingers do not touch the tongue

However, if personal hosts are allowable, why not personal cups and be done with all these dirty fingers and tongues and contaminated wine!

Cheryl Va.
Guest

This is surprise. I’ve been to several churches in Sydney Australia where there is the communal chalice, but also individual shot glasses on a tray. Those concerned about contagious diseases pick up a glass on the way to the communion rail. Take the piece of given bread, the wine is blessed at the pulpit and then reverentially swallowed.

If it is good enough for a Jensenite parish (the conservatives of conservatives), then it should be good enough for the whole communion.

It helps reduce the spread of several contagious diseases: flu, hepatitis and AIDS.

Cheryl Va.
Guest

Sorry, slight correction. The wine in the chalice and shot glasses and the bread are first blessed by the priest, then the shot glasses brought to the front so the communers can choose which container they prefer.

RosemaryHannah
Guest
RosemaryHannah

Shot glasses are horrible. Horrible. They don’t intend to imply that we all have a tiny individual share on God, but it is what they do, making the Eucharist into a very individual communion.

I really would rather not go to a Eucharist at all than go to one where they are used.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

From the CofE document:
http://www.cofe.anglican.org/info/swineflu/communion.doc

“The use of individual communion cups is not lawful in the Church of England and would, in any event, also involve hygiene risks in the context of pandemic flu.”

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

As others have noted…flu is more likely to be passed around at the peace than at communion.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

As others have noted…flu is more likely to be passed around at the peace than at communion.

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

Perhaps a few Sundays given over to Morning Prayer would be an acceptable solution?

I know that communion/ eucharist / mass is the ideal service for every Sunday. Nonetheless, instead of being forced into significant changes in the celebration there is a perfectly acceptable alternative for at least a few Sundays this autumn and winter.

Morning Prayer can be a glorious and wonderful Anglican service and it has a long tradition that we have ignored for too many years now. The needs of the moment provide us with the opportunity to rediscover Morning Prayer.

BillyD
Guest

“If it is good enough for a Jensenite parish (the conservatives of conservatives), then it should be good enough for the whole communion.”

There are many, many things going on in the Diocese of Sydney that I would fight tooth and nail to keep from my parish. Little shot glasses are one of them. What next – cellophane wrapped Hosts?

Brian Ralph
Guest
Brian Ralph

The use of individual glasses is quite common in evangelical churches here in Sydney but I have wondered, since moving to a more Anglo-catholic parish, that they are not used. We have been advised that communion in one kind is quite permissable and I have noticed some people leaving the rail before the cup arrives which can cause confusion to those lined up. However we have also been told that intinction is probably more risky than sharing the cup. As a result of it being winter down here, I read that the highest rate in the world of swine flu… Read more »

WilliamK
Guest
WilliamK

Cherly Va wrote: “If it is good enough for a Jensenite parish (the conservatives of conservatives), then it should be good enough for the whole communion.” This assumes that the Jensenites are “the conservatives of conservatives.” They aren’t. They’re quite happy to innovate and depart from classic Anglicanism in the direction of conservative Calvinism… or even further, as in their moves towards lay celebration of the Eucharist, something unheard of in any of the great churches of the Reformation. I’m not really surprised to hear that they are using non-conformist-style shot glasses. But, on the specific issue: Has the C… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

Good heavens: has someone misinformed the ABC and ABY that H1N1 is as easy to catch as Gay Cooties? ;-p

John-Julian, OJN
Guest
John-Julian, OJN

Good heavens, people!

For well over 600 years, all Christians in Europe received the consecrated Host only, and not the chalice.

It’s just no big deal!

And an opportunity for some liturgical teaching, as well. (“It is suitable to administer the Sacrament in one kind only.” BCP p.457)

BobinSWPA
Guest
BobinSWPA

As a special needs school teacher, I’m surrounded by flu’s, colds, this virus and that virus. The fact that the priest didn’t just wash his hands and hands you the host could mean you got something. Who put the host out in the first place (a LEM?). You pass the peace then without washing your hands, take a host in your hands and put it in your mouth. Think of all the coughs you heard in church and all the hands you’ve just shook. If your going to catch something there is plenty of opportunity. It’s nice to be proactive… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Can someone medically qualified tell me how washing hands in soap and water or with anti bacterial gel eliminates viruses?

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

A pointless gesture to make it look like you are doing something. 100,000 did not catch flu this week as a result of sharing a chalice!!! It will be picked up on the door handle into church, at coffee after the service….or on the bus on the way home.

Mind you one could use it to promote a few masses where only the priest recieves, in order to get people thinking about how flippant we have grown in our attitude to the sacrament

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

Cynthia –
if only the chances of “dabbling fingers” were slim to none! But alas – people being people – my colleague has been coming in with stories of people putting theirs fingers in the chalice for the last four weeks – she cannotget through to her vicar what a daft and unhygenic procedure this is, nor persuade him that a little education would go a long way. I am all for one kind – though I will so miss the common cup.

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

Why not just suspend Communion for a few weeks or months ?

I don’t think it would do us any harm at all.

Sometimes I long for the simple religion of yesteryear, with Mattins and the early service and Evensong (HA Williams also speaks well of it in his autobiography)

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

This whole “Oh my, the common cup will kill us all! Everybody panic!” mentality is a bit much on times. OK, now there’s swine flu, which, perhaps, as few as 98% to 99% will survive. We are more likely to spread it “passing the Peace” than we are drinking out of a cup. Yes, people DO get their fingers in the Chalice. Often. I have even heard what I hope to be apocryphal stories of false fingernails floating in it. The Real Orthodox have been receiving from a spoon for the last two millennia, give or take. They must have… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Can someone medically qualified tell me how washing hands in soap and water or with anti bacterial gel eliminates viruses?” Hand washing, ancient and simple though it may be, is the best thing to avoid spread by person to person contact. It does not necessarily killl bacteria, but it removes them from your hands. Hand sanitizers usually contain alcohol which neutralizes viruses as well as bacteria. Soap marketers trying to create a new niche market for something no-one actually needs, and is in fact dangerous, have taken the term ‘antibacterial’, and now push such soap with the assumption that “antibacterial”… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

As many have pointed out, there are far more chances of catching the flu at church than by the remote possibility of germ-drenched wine. Someone should enroll the two archbishops in a basic first year biology class. Hey! They might even learn something about human sexuality!

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

The debate about the Common Cup and the practice of Intinction was surely ‘done to death’ in the HIV-Aids scare. We were at the time assured by the N/Z. House of Bishops that the likelihood of catching HIV-Aids by sharing the Common Cup was negligible. Therefore, it was up to each parish to decide whether or not to change their accustomed tradition. No-one that I know of was ever struck by disease from the Common Cup. This time around, Bishops have advised that there may be more danger of infection from the practice of Intinction (dipping the wafer into the… Read more »

Ford elms
Guest
Ford elms

“Why not just suspend Communion for a few weeks or months ?”

What an absolutely astounding question from a member of the clergy! In the words of the martyrs taken in North Africa in the time of Diocletian “Because it’s what we do.” After reading posts from me and various others on this site, after having studied theology, and been ordained in the Anglican church (I presume) do you really need to ask that question?

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

What a nice, civilized Anglican conversation! People who don’t – or can’t – ingest alcoholic beverages will tell you there’s an easy way to decline the cup without disrupting the flow of the communion rail. Just look up at the server and you need only shake your head with a brief “no” gesture. – Erika, the hand-washing rules seem to follow the hygiene practices in patient care, where you want to rid hands of both bacteria AND viruses. Alcohol does make many viruses inert, and it’s best to use it on clean hands (better to use gloves). But you need… Read more »

Doxy
Guest
Doxy

There is no scientific evidence to support the contention that drinking from the chalice is dangerous. In fact, most researchers will tell you that shaking hands at the Peace is far more likely to make you sick. http://articles.latimes.com/2005/jan/01/local/me-beliefs1 Does Communion Cup Runneth Over With Germs? If the chalice is made of silver and the LEM is properly trained, you shouldn’t be worried about germs. The combination of metal, wiping, and alcohol will kill most germs. If you intinct because you think it makes you safer, you are wrong. You are taking bread that has been handled by the LEM (one… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

I remember reading that somewhere in Canada during the SARS crisis there were Anglican churches that were inserting vodka-soaked pads inside their purificators to disinfect the chalice after each communicant. Does anybody know if this is still going on?

Peter Kirk
Guest

Interesting that none of you “Thinking Anglicans” has thought about the theological implications of these instructions, beyond a bland acceptance “We have been advised that communion in one kind is quite permissable”, and “It’s just no big deal!” It is a big deal to deny the Communion cup to the laity, because this was a significant issue at the Reformation. It is in direct contradiction to Article 30 of the Thirty-Nine Articles, and to the words of Jesus and Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:25-29. If we can’t do Communion properly, according to the Lord’s institution and the Anglican formularies, let’s… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

There is no scientific evidence to support the contention that drinking from the chalice is dangerous. In fact, most researchers will tell you that shaking hands at the Peace is far more likely to make you sick.’

Maybe discontinue ‘the peace’ as well for a few decades ?

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

Why not just suspend Communion for a few weeks or months ?” What an absolutely astounding question from a member of the clergy! In the words of the martyrs taken in North Africa in the time of Diocletian “Because it’s what we do.” After reading posts from me and various others on this site, after having studied theology, and been ordained in the Anglican church (I presume) do you really need to ask that question? Posted by: Ford elms on Friday, 24 July 2009 at 3:45pm BST Yes Ford I have found your posts very enlightening. May be I shouldn’t… Read more »

David |dah•veed|
Guest
David |dah•veed|

It is funny Lynn, different churches use those pew back cup holders for different purposes. I have been in churches that passed trays in the pews with the individual cups. After everyone had a cup in their hand, the presider of the eucharist said a few significant words and everyone drank the cup together. The little holders were for used cups! Erika, the hand sanitizers they are selling here in Mexico are both anti-viral & anti-bacterial. Plus they have vitamin E for the chapped hand syndrome. As for soap & water, my doctor says that is more a mechanical form… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“May be I shouldn’t have suggested it, but sometimes, I think the parish communion movement has gone a bit far.” “a surfeit of Communion” In all honesty, I thought the comment was a playful attempt to wind up the purists like myself, a bit of ingroup ribbing that actually serves as a form of bonding, and did NOT take any offence at the idea. I am, however, gobsmacked at your last sentence. That’s like saying we have a surfeit of worship, at least to my ear. The Eucharist is the central, most important act of Christian worship, at least for… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“I remember reading that somewhere in Canada during the SARS crisis there were Anglican churches that were inserting vodka-soaked pads inside their purificators to disinfect the chalice after each communicant.”

I’d favor gin, myself.

How about wafers predipped in wine and sealed in plastic envelopes, and handed out to congregants with tongs?

Neil Barber
Guest
Neil Barber

Simon, thanks for the link which includes the quote: “The use of individual communion cups is not lawful in the Church of England and would, in any event, also involve hygiene risks in the context of pandemic flu.” I’d be really keen to know where this prohibition comes from. The Sacrament Act of 1547 certainly does not seem to make the prohibition, certainly not explicitly and I can’t even see it implicitly there. So where does the prohibition come from? Obviously it’s common Anglican practice, well established, to have a common cup. Yet I am confused as to why the… Read more »