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St Luke's Church, Eccleshill - The Link magazine
The Link is published monthly at 40p (Senior Citizens 35p), and we deliver free within the parish and post copies (at the reader's expense) to those who request it. Please contact us if you would like a free copy for a trial period.
August 2009, Page 1.
Chalices banned for swine flu
Because swine flu is now in our area and spreading rapidly, the Bishop of Bradford has asked the churches of our diocese to stop using the common cup for Holy Communion. The letter advises:
Of course we already do the fourth of these, and the first two are just good sense. But the third and the fifth will mean some changes for us.
THE PEACE, where we shake people by the hand and say “The peace of the Lord be with you”, and they reply “and also with you”, was introduced into church services about thirty years ago. It was slow to catch on: a lot of people resented it very much and felt personally invaded. But over the years it has gained a place in our hearts, and a service without the Peace nowadays feels empty. So much so that we always have it in Morning Prayer, even though it’s not in the book. And it’s important that we express our appreciation of each other, even if we’re not supposed to touch.
We’re thinking of teaching people how to say “The peace of the Lord be with you” in British Sign Language. It will give us something to do our hands while we share the Peace.
THE WINE takes a bit more thinking about. From a theological point of view it’s perfectly OK for us not to share the wine at all, and just to share the bread: we believe that we receive the full grace of Christ in the sacrament even if we receive the sacrament in one kind only. We do that in hospitals, and people with cold sores don’t take the wine. For a while we will all have to give it up.
The Church of England has always used a common cup, but could we perhaps use individual glasses for the distribution of the consecrated wine, as other churches do? At the time of writing I’m unsure of the implications of this suggestion.
Scientists think the virus is mild and the risk of passing it from one person to another via the chalice is small. Nevertheless we have to take it seriously.
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This web page was last updated on 16th October 2009.