The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to their 16,000 clergy asking them not to share the chalice at Holy Communion as a precaution against swine flu. The withdrawal of the cup from which Anglican communicants sip wine during the service is unprecedented. The measure was not taken even during the great plague in the 17th century. The Archbishops are advising ministers to wash their hands before presiding at Communion and dip Communion bread or wafers in the chalice rather than offer a shared cup. The guidance follows Department of Health advice warning against common vessels for food and drink.
Sources: The Times (24/7); Daily Telegraph (24/7)