Friday, 24 July 2009

Chalice withdrawn as swine flu precaution

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)
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6724764.ece
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/swine-flu/5895452/Swine-flu-Communion-chalice-should-not-be-shared-say-Archbishops.html

6 comments:

old karl said...

This is tough for all of us, I feel. But it seems to be necessary if we are to avoid doing evil to our friends. But the church must understand its own impact on the community in every way. Impact on the economy, on the health, on education, etc., as folks try to live decent lives. Such is the burden of those who try to follow Christ. The folks around us deserve Jubilee. http://www.karlevans.org

Olive Morgan said...

I wonder how the Revd Martin Turber will offer Holy Communion in Trafalgar Square on Tuesday?

mollygolver said...

At our communion service today, the chalice was withdrawn for the above reasons. I know it makes sense but couldn't help feeling a bit empty and bereft. If any of us are coming down with 'the symptoms' surely the sensible Christian course of action is to stay at home until the dreaded lurgy passes over

Olive Morgan said...

Yes, I can understand your feeling that you were bereft. Fortunately, we used our Methodist small individual glasses at our Communion Service tonight.

seethroughfaith said...

I'd hope that the priests did wash their hands before and after the service as general practice!

I have to say I hate this. I feel it's a huge overreaction and wonder how much of this is health and safety gone mad.

Here in Finland the Anglican priest decided not to offer communion by intinction ... on the advice of the bishop of europe ...and so only he (the priest) got to drink of the cup. i.e. everyone else was served bread (wafers) only.

He also encouraged us not to share the peace by having bodily contact (hand shaking, hug, holy kiss whatever) with others

as I said I hate it.

Olive Morgan said...

Oh dear, that did sound very bleak and not at all communal! I hate wafers at the best of times, having been used to 'we all share from the one bread'. No wine at all was rather drastic - and not even hand shaking!
I hope we don't all go down with swine flu because there was a great deal of huging yesterday as we said our final 'Goodbyes' to our Minister and his wife.