Thinking Anglicans

Further advice from the Archbishops on Holy Communion and its distribution

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York in a joint letter to all clergy have responded to the pressure for Communion to be administered in both kinds, sharing further guidelines from the Recovery Group of the House of Bishops. These guidelines effectively suggest that Communion may be administered using a form of intinction, though the document does not use that word, instead using the phrase simultaneous administration. This document is not yet available on the Church of England website.

In their covering letter the two archbishops write

The Bishops are involved in working to find an appropriate way to ensure Communion in both kinds is possible. We attach with this letter guidance from a working group who have been commissioned by the House of Bishops. We commend this to you. We hope that what they outline will be helpful for many as we plan what our practice will be over the coming weeks. The House of Bishops is committed to working further on this matter. However, the outcome of their discussions will take some time. The guidance attached is therefore interim and further information will be sent once the work has been done in the new year.

The text of the letter and the guidelines is copied below the fold.

Updated 2 December: A revised version of the covering letter and document has also been circulated. A copy can be found here: Holy-Communion-letter-and-guidance-011220. The original covering letter was undated, and the revised version is dated 1 December. We have updated the copy below with the changes leaving the earlier text in place as well but crossed out like this, and additions or alterations are highlighted like this.


 

1 December 2020

 

To all the Clergy of the Church of England

Dear Friends in Christ

We are writing to give some advice relating to Holy Communion and its distribution as we move towards the Christmas season.

We want to stress the priority to keep safe in all that we do and to realise that given the current situation some of our normal practices cannot be maintained and we need to be careful and pragmatic. We encourage all of us to use our common sense and always to ensure we are caring for each other.

A key difficulty this year is the deprivation of the sacrament of Holy Communion. We are aware that for many Christians this is a significant and painful absence.

It is our hope and expectation that at the end of the current lockdown it will be possible for public worship in church buildings to continue. It will of course need to be in a COVID secure environment and we want to stress that we are aware that many clergy and laity will not feel able to re-start public worship and they should not feel under any pressure so to do.

In the Church of England (and indeed across the Anglican Communion) it is expected in normal times that Holy Communion will be received in both kinds.

Within the Church of England, we know that we seek to be one Church, loving and caring for one another with pastoral sympathy and accommodation. Even in normal times the practice of distribution of communion varies from place to place.

The Bishops are involved in working to find an appropriate way to ensure Communion in both kinds is possible. We attach with this letter guidance from a working group who have been commissioned by the Houseof Bishops. We commend this to you. We hope that what they outline will be helpful for many as we plan what our practice will be over the coming weeks.

The House of Bishops is committed to working further on this matter. However, the outcome of their discussions will take some time. The guidance attached is therefore interim and further information will be sent once the work has been done in the new year.

These matters do touch on deeper principles for us as a Church and we do need both to be sensitive to each other and to work hard to ensure the issues we are debating, and their consequences are understood by all involved.

We are clear on three essential points:

  • The president at every service of Holy Communion must bean episcopally ordained priest with the appropriate authority from their bishop.
  • The elements are to be made with bread and wine and no other substance (non-alcoholic wine is permissible).
  • With regard to the consecrated elements used for Holy Communion the rules that have been in existence since the Book of Common Prayer are clear: As it now says in Common Worship, ‘any consecrated bread and wine which is not required for purposes of communion is consumed at the end of the distribution or after the service.’

Different understandings of the Eucharist are beautifully and carefully observed and respected in the Church of England. It is a key part of our history and life together. We don’t want this to change.

Therefore, in the period between now and any further decisions on these matters, we encourage you to act, using the advice and direction given by your Diocesan Bishop, after discussion with the PCC, in accordance with their consciences, provided that the three principles set out above are strictly and invariably observed.

In so doing we observe our Anglican traditions and we ensure that in our actions we do not cause others to stumble.

With every blessing,

The Most Revd & Rt Hon Justin Welby
Archbishop of Canterbury

        

The Most Revd & Rt Hon Stephen Cottrell
Archbishop of York

 

COVID-19 Receiving Holy Communion in both kinds by simultaneous administration

Issue Date Version Issued by
18th November 2020
1 December 2020
1.0
1.1
The House of Bishops Recovery Group

The Recovery Group has been set up to support the Church of England as government guidance changes through the COVID-19 pandemic. This document has been prepared with information available by the issue date. It will be kept under review and updated as the situation develops, with each update issued as a new version. The current version will always be available to download from the Church of England website via the Coronavirus FAQs page.

Context for this Guidance

Since churches have re-opened, congregations have received Holy Communion under the form of the consecrated bread alone. This practice continues to be recommended for use in most contexts.

Recognising the ongoing nature of the pandemic, and a longing in some churches to receive Holy Communion in both kinds, this document offers a procedure for simultaneous administration of the consecrated bread and wine in a manner that seeks to minimise the possible health risks. This procedure could be used in churches at the diocesan bishop’s invitation and by mutual agreement of the incumbent and PCC. Bishops may wish to invite the clergy in their diocese to use this procedure. Before doing so, it is recommended that clergy discuss it with the PCC.

This procedure seeks to minimise the COVID risk of from receiving Communion in both kinds under current Church regulations, but not to although it will not remove it entirely. Nevertheless, we are satisfied that this is the best way of doing so, and that the straightforward principles in the Key Points below help to keep the risk as low as possible.

Practice

The simultaneous administration of consecrated bread and wine is effected by the president taking a piece of bread carefully from the paten or ciborium with the fingers and touching it briefly but carefully to the surface of the wine, allowing a small amount of the wine to suffuse into the bread.

Key points

  • The president communicates last and must not drink from the chalice until this point.
  • The president must sanitize hands in advance of the distribution; each communicant must sanitize their hands beforereceiving.
  • Communicant and president must both be wearing face coverings, and the communicant must move away from the communion station before removing their mask to consume the consecrated bread and wine.
  • Communicants who wish to continue receiving under one kind should continue to be able to do so.

Before the Service

  • If loaves or large pieces of leavened or unleavened bread are used, these should be divided into individual pieces in a hygienic way before the start of the service. Hand hygiene and physical distancing precautions should apply.
  • The bread and wine to be received by communicants should be covered at all times before the distribution.

Before the Eucharistic Prayer

  • Offertory processions where the bread and wine are brought to the table are not recommended at this time.
  • When the president takes the bread and wine before the Eucharistic Prayer, it is recommended that this takes place in silence. If words are said when the bread and wine are taken into the hand, only the bread that the president will receive and a covered cup are taken (the other elements being covered).
  • The president should consider how much wine will be necessary in the chalice, probably much less than usual.

During the Eucharistic Prayer

  • The bread and wine to be received by communicants other than the president should be covered at all times, including during the account of the Lord’s Supper.

At the Breaking of the Bread

  • At the breaking of the bread (the ‘fraction’) — whether this takes place during the Eucharistic Prayer or afterwards as a separate action — only the consecrated bread that the president will consume at the end of the distribution is broken. The remainder of the bread remains covered. If other consecrated bread needs to be broken before it is administered, this must be done after the president has sanitized their hands, in silence or while the Agnus Dei is said by the congregation.

At the Giving of Communion

  • Unless there are very large numbers, it is advised that the president be the only person to handle the bread during the distribution. If there are large numbers of communicants, the procedures for the president at the distribution, below, should be followed carefully by all who are assisting to distribute Holy Communion. In any case, care should be taken so that communicants who are moving from their places preserve physical distancing.
  • At the invitation to communion, it is recommended that only the bread that the president will receive be shown to the people. The words of distribution (‘The body and blood of Christ’ or ‘The body and blood of Christ keep you in eternal life’ or another suitably adapted authorized form) are spoken to the whole congregation immediately after the invitation to communion, and all who intend to receive say, ‘Amen’.
  • The president puts on a face covering and sanitizes their hands.
  • Leaving the uncovered consecrated bread for the president’s later consumption on the holy table, the president carries the consecrated bread and wine in their covered containers (a covered chalice and either a ciborium or a covered paten) to a table or other surface from which Holy Communion will be distributed. It should be arranged so that the president can have access to each element, but should not allow the president or other communicants to stand directly over them or face them.
  • The president uncovers the bread and wine and takes the ciborium/paten in their hands.
  • Each communicant then receives Communion in both kinds simultaneously in this way:
    1. The communicant must sanitize hands prior to arriving at the place of communion.
    2. The communicant stands at the place of communion and holds out hand(s).
    3. The president takes a piece of bread with their free hand and briefly but carefully touches it to the surface of the wine, allowing some of the wine to suffuse into the bread.
    4. The president places the bread in the communicant’s hand in silence without touching the hand. In cases where receiving in the hands is not possible, such as illness or disability, hands must be sanitized before and after.
    5. The president should take care to avoid the possibility of surplus wine dripping from the bread at the time of administration.
    6. The communicant moves away from the place of communion, removes face covering with free hand, consumes the bread, and replaces the face covering.
    7. If the president accidentally touches the hand of the communicant or any other surface, both president’s and communicant’s hands must be sanitized again.
  • If a communicant must receive in their place, they should still sanitize their hands. The president brings the requisite amount of bread and the wine to them, and performs step 3 above immediately before administering.
  • Once all others have communicated, the president returns the remaining consecrated bread and wine to the table, and receives Communion according to the same method, using the portion of bread that remained at the table (i.e. the president’s wafer/bread).
  • Any consecrated bread and wine which is not required for purposes of communion is consumed at the end of the distribution or after the service.

Note: The procedure given above could be adapted for use in churches where it is the norm for someone other than the president, or several such people, to administer distribute Communion, where all involved take care to observe the precautions noted above.

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Simon Sarmiento
Admin
1 month ago

Here is the official opinion of the Legal Advisory Commission on
1.
THE USE OF NON-ALCOHOLIC WINE AND GLUTEN FREE BREAD

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-12/non-alcoholic%20wine%20and%20gluten%20free%20bread.pdf

I understand that several diocesan bishops have sent covering letters including a link to this document.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
1 month ago

Dunking individual hosts. Good try, but I suspect that churches which hold to the doctrine of concomitance will find this over fussy and prone to many a slip before even leaving the cup. Crypto-Baptists meanwhile will no doubt still want their individual cups.

Michael
Michael
1 month ago
Reply to  Allan Sheath

Good try indeed. Here is an alternative version of all the new long winded list of rules: Article XXX THE Cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the Lay-people: for both the parts of the Lord’s Sacrament, by Christ’s ordinance and commandment, ought to be ministered to all Christian men alike. I fear that concomitance is here to stay, introduced by stealth. Communicants in one church will receive bread only, whereas in the next parish it will be in both kinds. As if there were not enough division already. I am also dismayed to read that there is… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael

Michael, Article XXX was not written in the teeth of a pandemic that has already cost 70,000 lives in the UK. Once this crisis is over, there can be no justification whatsoever for withholding the common cup from the holy people of God.

Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago
Reply to  Allan Sheath

Well, in truth it was written in a century when plague was never far away. But understanding of the means of transmission was rather less, presumably.

Revd Dr Thomas Renz
Revd Dr Thomas Renz
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew

The link between infectiousness and sharing vessels was well understood at the time. It would nevertheless be hard to find anyone who argued for the suspension of Article XXX during the great plague(s) in the 17th century or any Anglican divine speaking about the doctrine of concomitance in positive terms prior to the 20th century.

Michael
Michael
1 month ago

The suspension of Article XXX will remain in place either because of objection to intinction or because the latest wheeze from the Recovery Group is unworkable. A correspondent in the Church Times today has written that  “everything online is that there are always some people who will miss out, particularly elderly people who have little or no chance of doing things online and who are yet often the stalwart members of churches…let us remember that the Church is a eucharistic community. It was rightly made clear to me in my days at theological college that celebrating and sharing the eucharist… Read more »

Revd Dr Thomas Renz
Revd Dr Thomas Renz
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael

This is sad to hear. Our main service has been on Zoom since March (with access details available from our website, the parish magazine and physical noticeboards), not least due to restriction on numbers for safely meeting in church. But we have also had physical gatherings pretty much as soon as it was legally permissible.

Revd Dr Thomas Renz
Revd Dr Thomas Renz
1 month ago
Reply to  Simon Kershaw

Yes, it was and the plague was worst in the summer, if I remember right, i.e. distanced from the major festivals.

Mark Hart
Mark Hart
1 month ago

Some of us have received a different version of the letter, with “(non-alcoholic wine is permissible)” omitted: https://mcusercontent.com/a475c964a2c87a79c6d37cb56/files/35b0c983-7eff-4a5f-8cd5-9e1185f370ef/Holy_Communion_letter_and_guidance_011220.pdf

Simon Sarmiento
Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Hart

This version carries a later date (1 December) than the original that we have published. The earliest file date I have seen on a copy is 28 November.
Does this mean that the authors have recognised their mistake?

Michael
Michael
1 month ago
Reply to  Simon Kershaw

I am wondering how it is possible to become an archbishop in the Church of England and fail to know that non alcoholic wine is not permitted, or that the new procedure of intinction does not need the diocesan bishop’s invitation? Didn’t they read the text before signing it? How many others read the original text and failed to notice the errors of spelling, grammar and theology? I am wondering also how the intinction will be implemented. Normally it is the communicant who intincts. According to this guidance, the celebrant holds the ciborium in one hand, sugar tongs in another… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael

A relatively small point. I think the word intinction is best reserved for the practice of the celebrant dipping the host in the chalice and placing it on the tongue of the communicant. Right or wrong this has a long history and in a slightly different form is Eastern Orthodox Practice. I have encountered intinction in the Anglican Church of Brasil where it is the norm and in various RC churches in South America, especially the Andean countries. The practice of the communicant dipping the host in the chalice I prefer to call dipping or dunking. I am pretty sure… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
1 month ago
Reply to  Perry Butler

We have been told many times in Canada that what you call ‘dunking’ is unsafe because of the risk of the communicant’s fingers touching the wine and spreading disease. It has been officially forbidden in our diocese for some years.

It’s also worth noting that if you are using ordinary bread, while making gluten-free wafers available for those who need them (as many parishes do), dunking or intinction contaminates the wine with gluten and may be very dangerous to those who have a severe gluten intolerance, but who drink from the cup because they believe it to be safe.

Dominic Barrington
Dominic Barrington
1 month ago

Astonishing. I’m not a medical expert, but intinction seems to me to be a bizarre suggestion during a pandemic. Over here we are having only the presider/ent drink from the chalice, and everyone else simply receives the host.

Charles Read
1 month ago

That’s what we have been doing in the C of E but it fails to reckon with the Reformation principle of communion in both kinds, as cited by Michael above. Using individual cups would which is why some of us are asking for permission to use them. We are not Baptists, crypto or blatant – just Anglicans wanting to be faithful to our Reformation roots.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
1 month ago

And if a further reason for resisting this during a pandemic is needed, it is that it will weaponise the dippers once Communion in both kinds is restored.

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
1 month ago

A further difference between practices in the UK and the US. In every parish where I have received communion in the US (pre-COVID), intinction was the most common practice. While the cup is offered for drinking, most parishioners prefer to dip the host into the wine.

During COVID, when in-person worship has been available, it is ordered to be bread only in my diocese (Pennsylvania). I suspect this will be the case throughout 2021 until and unless infection rates tumble.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  Pat O'Neill

Your experience is unique, I believe. I have never been in a parish where intinction is the norm. I have worked as a church organist for most of my life and have received communion in many churches with a variety of churchmanship. If a communicant has a cold or sore throat, intinction is used. But I don’t think it can be called a “common practice.”

ACI
ACI
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

Exactly.

Jim Pratt
Jim Pratt
1 month ago
Reply to  Pat O'Neill

My experience in the US has been varied; more dippers in the mid-Atlantic and Southern States (one church in Washington DC where I was about the only person who sipped), more sippers in New England and the Biretta Belt.

In Canada, many dioceses banned, or at least strongly discouraged, intinction during the SARS outbreak around 2007. In my current parish, I effected a compromise (borrowing an idea from the parish in Virginia where I was confirmed) of having a separate intinction chalice.

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Pratt

My experience is, indeed, in the mid-Atlantic region. Oddly enough, in my area, during SARS and the seasonal flu, intinction is strongly encouraged, as being less likely to spread infection than drinking from a shared cup.

Tim Chesterton
1 month ago
Reply to  Pat O'Neill

It does, however, contaminate the chalice with gluten.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim Chesterton

I’m reluctant to kick the Archbishops’ poor idea when it is down, but as someone with a coeliac in my family I can vouch for the unpleasant effect of only a tiny amount of gluten.

Tim Chesterton
1 month ago
Reply to  Allan Sheath

Allan, I have been well taught by one of my parishioners (who is coeliac) on this matter. If my fingers have touched regular bread, I’m not allowed to touch the gluten free wafers. In non-covid times my server follows behind me with a pyx containing the gluten free wafers, and the people who need them help themselves from the pyx. And she won’t drink from the common cup, because of the risk that even one person might disobey instructions and dip their bread into it.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim Chesterton

Thank you, Tim. Having a coeliac in the family caused me to cease the habit of breaking the priest’s host over the chalice.

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
1 month ago

I’m not sure I follow your concern about about intinction. As I read the instructions, the priest drinks wine from the chalice only after everyone has take communion. In our parish (TEC), the wafers are distributed by using “liturgical tongs” so that the priest’s hands (which are gloved) do not touch the wafers. The wafers are dropped from the tongs onto the communicant’s hands so that the tongs do not touch the communicant’s hands. I could certainly see the priest using the tongs to “touching” the wine with the wafer before communicating someone. There arguably is an additional awkwardness to… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
1 month ago
Reply to  dr.primrose

In my diocese of Pennsylvania, communion in one kind is not merely permitted, it is mandated. And in my parish, the juggling of several vessels would not be an issue, as the priest usually does not handle the chalice, but is assisted by a lay acolyte/chalice bearer.

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
1 month ago
Reply to  Pat O'Neill

I misspoke. Communion in one kind is also mandated by my diocese. As for intintinction. Judging from my experience in my parish, other parishes I have attended and diocesan services, the overwhelming number of people in this TEC diocese (Los Angeles) sip from the common cup. The long-standing diocesan mandate for those who want to intinct is for the chalice bearer to take the bread out of the communicant’s hand, dip it in the wine and place the intincted bread on the communicant’s outstretched tongue. This is to minimize the number of fingers potentially going into the wine. Despite that… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
1 month ago
Reply to  dr.primrose

Again, in my area, the communicant has always done the “dipping”.

Kate
Kate
1 month ago
Reply to  dr.primrose

I think anything which requires gloves and/or tongs is probably not an authentic sacrament.

David Allen
David Allen
1 month ago

I’m equally astonished. My long experience as a priest suggests that too many of those who intinct are careless of how deep they “dip”, sometimes dipping their fingers into the consecrated element or “wiping” the host against the side of the chalice. The antiseptic properties of alcohol and precious metals aside, it seems strange to suggest this as a more hygienic alternative to reception in the usual manner during a pandemic when manual transmission seems an important element of cross-contamination. As for distribution of the host, I’ve found Fortnum and Mason silver sugar tongs to be invaluable over the past… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago
Reply to  David Allen

Fortnum and Mason would certainly be better than the rather common Knightsbridge emporium. For those of us north of the Trent, Asda might be encouraged to branch out. The trouble is that, as my wife rightly points out, people like me don’t use tongs any more. Not even cutlery. For my victuals I snort around the floor like a pig. All sorts of added value. Isn’t this all such wonderful entertainment? What sport!

Shamus
Shamus
1 month ago
Reply to  David Allen

I’ve only been able to find silver plated sugar tongs from Fortnums (wonderful emporium, by the way). Oh, dear, I feel they should be English sterling silver, shouldn’t they?

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
1 month ago

People with a wider interest in the subject of eucharistic elements might be interested in an IALC report on the subject https://www.anglicancommunion.org/media/42392/ialc_report_on_elements_used_in_communion.pdf (the practices outlined in appendix 5, for example, show that there are wider challenges and considerations throughout the communion).

Shamus
Shamus
1 month ago

On a purely practical note, most communion wafers even touched with wine on the extreme edge rapidly disintegrate. Experience tells me this may mean the communicant licking the palm of the hand to finish eating the wafer. Frankly, ugh! I could not recommend this.

Mary Hancock
Mary Hancock
1 month ago
Reply to  Shamus

Also, following Shamus’ point (and in my experience he is correct) the hand that receives the intincted and probably disintegrating wafer will very recently have been ‘cleaned’ with what was probably a generous dollop of hand sanitiser (given the tendency of most large or automatic dispensers). Probably not a very practical suggestion on two counts. But maybe some like the added flavour…

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
1 month ago
Reply to  Shamus

As someone who dunks his rich tea biscuit, and with mixed results, I have to say that Shamus is absolutely right.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
1 month ago

Does anyone know how old the practice of the Roman Catholic Church of giving the laity communion only in one kind is? I know that during the Reformation/Counter-Reformation religious wars, seemingly every practice of the Roman Catholic Church was condemned as diabolical by Protestant critics, but couldn’t the Roman Catholic practice have started precisely because of the numerous epidemics that plagued Europe in the Middle Ages? I’m struck by how many CofE or TEC parishes are resorting to communion of one kind (temporarily, but of course!) in response to COVID. Not to mention, the Eastern Orthodox churches mix bread and… Read more »

Charles Read
Charles Read
1 month ago

The Orthodox ‘flick’ the bread / wine into the communicant’s mouth so the spoon does not come into contact with the communicant.

William
William
1 month ago

Communion in one kind began around the 12th century. I think it was more to do with avoiding sacrilege than anything else.

Revd Dr Thomas Renz
Revd Dr Thomas Renz
1 month ago

I have briefly written on this at https://hadleyrectory.blogspot.com/2020/09/a-history-of-withholding-cup.html

It seems that England may have been one of the places where the moves in the 12th century found greater resistance.

Kate
Kate
1 month ago

The Gospels are clear that Jesus was an attentive and generous host. An awful wafer with the edge dipped in wine might meet the letter of doctrine but it entirely misses the spirit of the Eucharist.

David Emmott
David Emmott
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

Quite. Jesus said ‘drink this’, not ‘dunk this’. I can’t see how Christ can be divided and hence how there can be an objection to the doctrine of concomitance. The whole Christ is received in either or both elements. To receive both is obviously ideal, but intinction (especially as the bishops suggest doing it) is not only messy and irreverent but legalistic, and as Kate says misses the spirit.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
1 month ago

One wonders how the Lambeth operation works. Are there no theological advisors? Who signs things off? The Chief of Staff is a Northern Irish Baptist, which frankly I find odd. Where does the bishop at Lambeth fit in?. He, at least, should have realised there are a lot of sensitivities around this issue. What are the Communications Office doing? What liason is there with other bishops? The Board of Mission and Unity? The Liturgical Commission? It does seem shambolic and inevitably lowers morale.

Simon Sarmiento
Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Perry Butler

The erstwhile chaplain to the archbishop at Lambeth has just been appointed to a post at Church House which includes, among other duties, being theological consultant to the House of Bishops.

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
1 month ago

Does it not say something when the Archbishop’s chaplain can become theological adviser to the HoB? Whilst not casting any aspersions on the depth of Dr Hamley’s theological expertise, one might hope that the Archbishop, or at least someone in the HoB, might have equal or greater theological knowledge.

Simon Sarmiento
Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Perry Butler

It may not be fair to blame this debacle entirely on the Lambeth Palace staff, it may well be partly due to the Recovery Group (chaired by the Bishop of London), and yet we learn from Twitter that the Diocese of London sent this letter out with the caveat:

“We share this paper with you because it has been made available, but would not necessarily endorse all the theological thinking behind it.”

How is that possible?

Dominic Barrington
Dominic Barrington
1 month ago

How can it have come to this???

Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
1 month ago

As a priest in London diocese, I have to say the accompanying letter from the bishops – with the wording quoted by Simon Sarmiento about ‘not necessarily endorsing all the theological thinking behind it’ – was quite intriguing. I thought we were in for some kind of new heresy! Instead, all it seems to amount to is: you can intinct if you really must, but just do it very carefully. It was almost disappointing! Isn’t this just standard Anglican practice when there are concerns about passing a cold or a flu around? I can absolutely see a question of medical… Read more »

Kate
Kate
1 month ago

“But I don’t understand the theological issue going on here that requires episcopal reflection or permission.”

My guess is that several of the bishops felt “something” should be said about Communion in two kinds but a note about intinction was then the only common ground they could find.

John Wallace
John Wallace
1 month ago

I just ask: are these instructions for administering the sacrament or for preparation for a medical procedure?!

Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
1 month ago
Reply to  John Wallace

I don’t think my parish will especially want to take advantage of these procedures. But I don’t particularly disagree or object to most of the guidelines, most of which we follow at present for the distribution of the host. They seem quite lengthy, but they are just establishing some good practice for minimising transmission risk during the distribution. (It’s no different from the fact that when I go into the parish office nowadays, I have to wipe down door-handles, light switches, and the keyboard and mouse of the computer before using it, etc., just in case the virger or administrator… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Charles Clapham
Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
1 month ago
Reply to  Perry Butler

I’m less likely to point the spotlight at Dr Hamley & more at the Bishop at Lambeth, Perry. His office is where (I’m reliably informed) you’re likely to find the people head-hunted and seconded from the management consultants and corporate reputational management outfits. I gather there’s the odd redundant television executive lurking in the corner, too. When there was a debate in the General Synod, a few years back, about the latest ministry training strategy document (even I can’t recall the unmemorable name it was given, but somewhere around 2014), a member of CR in Mirfield asked the Bishop of… Read more »

Anne Farthing
Anne Farthing
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill Broadhead

I might not put it quite so bluntly as Bill Broadhead, but the Bishop of Lambeth does seem excessively enamoured by the business world (strange, because he has absolutely no experience of the commercial sector). As for the smirk, I simply thought that he must be the person on whom Priti Patel modelled herself whenever she’s dropped a clanger and knows she’ll be as safe as houses so long as there’s no change at the top!

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
1 month ago

My imperfect recollection from just a few years back- was it SARS, or swine flu or bird flu or …- was that intinction was specifically not allowed. I forget the medical/ theological/ political? rationale presented then- perhaps it’s ‘on file’ somewhere. My recollection is also of our congregations accepting whatever they were offered or given- but that was pre-Dominic. It seems that on this as with so much else there is a more or less equal divide between those who want ‘smack of firm government’ instructions and those for whom that’s the last thing they want. Tiers before bedtime- is… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
1 month ago

If a member of the congregation dips their wafer in the wine, they are touching the wine with a wafer they have also touched with the possibility of contaminating the wine for others.

David Keen
David Keen
1 month ago

Isn’t the most important thing at Communion that we do it in remembrance of Jesus, not that we do it in a particular way? Jesus did not use wafers, intinction, robes, the BCP, purificators, a flat circular host wafer, a silver plated chalice etc. There are no doubt some TA contributors who think that we know nothing at all of what Jesus actually did and said, which makes it even more odd that we are so hung up on the details. Does God care as much about the logistics as the church does?

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
1 month ago
Reply to  David Keen

Logistics or public health?

Michael
Michael
1 month ago
Reply to  David Keen

Yes you are correct. There are four essential elements to Communion – bread (body of Jesus) wine (blood of Jesus) sharing and obedience (Jesus’ command to do this in remembrance of Him, reiterated by St Paul). Two of those have been disregarded for most of this year, with no end in sight. No lay person has received the wine and at all the major Feasts there has been no sharing (Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, Advent, and for many, Christmas). It is all very well for the House of Bishops near the end of the year to acknowledge that pain has been… Read more »

Dave
Dave
1 month ago

“The president communicates last and must not drink from the chalice until this point.” I don’t recall the source – I think it may be Dix – but isn’t there a school of thought that for the sacrament to be valid the priest must receive and then distribute to the people? Perhaps the priest receiving in one kind allows this to be met. I’m not fussy about this but would simply be interested to know if this view is out there! While legal opinion may say that about gluten free bread and non alcoholic wine shouldn’t conscience and common sense prevail? More… Read more »

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