Dear Beloved in Christ,
I write to you today to announce that beginning on September 18, the common cup will be served at the altar rails during the distribution of communion. At this point in the life of our community, the chalice will be offered for drinking only.
Current diocesan guidelines prohibit communicants from dipping their wafer into the wine. This guideline has been set in place due to studies which suggest unwashed fingers present a greater risk for germ transmission than mouths, given the possibility for accidental grazing of the cup or liquid.
As I make this announcement, I recognize it has been difficult for many of you to abstain from the common cup. You have mourned the absence of a familiar ritual, and now you rejoice in this news. Some may lament the continued hiatus on intinction (dipping the wafer into wine); and some may feel it is too soon to share the common cup at all. In keeping with our rich Anglican tradition, the love we share remains our point of connection and commonality as we journey forward together.
Although the cup will be available for drinking, it may be helpful for you to hear the reminder that communion in one kind is communion in full. In other words, we receive the fullness of God’s presence and grace at the welcome table, even when we receive bread, but not wine. If you are uncomfortable drinking from the chalice, know that you are not alone and you may continue to receive the bread only. Additionally, you may wish to linger at the altar rail until the cup has passed to the person on your left. Let the Eucharistic Minister (chalice bearer) know you are meditating on the joy of the eucharistic feast by crossing your arms over your shoulders. The Eucharistic Minister will then move to the next person drinking from the cup.
*Current guidelines prohibit communicants from dipping their wafer in wine.
*The chalice is offered for drinking only, beginning this Sunday.
*If you are receiving bread only, cross your arms as the chalice approaches to signify your prayerful observance. Then return to your pew.
Friends, when we gather at the table, we bring so much with us—our hurts and sorrows, our memories, our hopes and dreams for what may be—and God receives all of it, joining our lives in divine community. So, as we come together, with our varied practices, may we live to celebrate this truth: “We who are many are one body, because we all share the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:17).
Yours in Christ,