Receiving Holy Communion
Given that the church is a place where people from different ages and health come together, within our congregation on a Sunday there will be those who are in contact with lots of people and those who may have immune deficiencies.
If you aren’t well, then it is worth considering those who may have a weaker immunity than yourself. There are facial tissues at the back of church, please use them and as the current advertising says, catch it, bin it, kill it. It is important to also wash hands. There are bottles of sanitiser in church to help reduce the spread of germs.
The Eucharist and Intinction
Intinction is the practice of dipping the bread wafers into the wine. The wafers, having already been in each person’s hands before they go into the wine can impart any of the germs on your hands into the wine. It is also not uncommon for fingers to go into the wine. Dipping the bread wafer into the wine also has implications for those who are gluten intolerant as traces of gluten are more likely to enter the wine. There is a useful article about the risk of infection from the common cup from the Church of Canada here.
We are therefore asking people not to dip their bread into the wine. The precious metal of the chalice and the nature of one’s mouth actually means there is a smaller risk of spreading a disease by drinking from the chalice. It is worth saying that it is standard practice in many other churches in London not to allow intinction.
Receiving in one Kind
There are then two options remaining: to receive the wine by sipping from the common cup, or to receive only the bread (i.e. receiving only in one Kind). It is definitely worth considering not receiving the wine from the chalice if you are aware that you could be in some way infectious or if you feel uncomfortable receiving the wine.
According to our beliefs as Christians you receive fully of the sacrament whether you participate in only the bread. The bread and wine are both considered to fully embody the real presence of Christ at the Eucharist. Receiving in one kind is therefore considered to be no less ‘effective’ than receiving in two kinds.
Similarly if one is uncomfortable with drinking alcohol, even if it is a part of the sacrament, they can be sure of the fact they are fully participating in the Lord’s supper by only receiving the bread.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to Revd Sarah about this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with her.