Subject: Intinction notice from Bishop Linda
Friends in Christ,
We are a church in which the celebration of the eucharist is at the heart of our worship life. Our tradition has always included the offer of both bread and wine at Holy Communion. In recent years the practice of intinction (dipping the wafer into the wine) has emerged. This is a practice that must be discouraged.
We are entering the season of more frequent common colds and influenza. Common sense and basic hygiene is our best defense. The practice of intinction is not a safe practice. I know that I have frequently seen people - especially children - dip the wafer and get their fingers in the wine which is unhygienic.
There has been no shown link between the use of the common cup and illness. If there were – we would have many more sick clergy! A pamphlet is available on the diocesan website at http://diohuron.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/5-03-Risk-of-Infection.pdf which offers some further comment on this concern.
The best practices are as follows:
i) Ensure that the wine used for Holy Communion is 18% alcohol (port or sherry style).
ii) Use silver chalices – not pottery – for hygiene and ease of cleaning.
iii) Offer communion in both kinds – and remind parishioners that receiving in one kind or the other is receiving the fullness of the eucharist. They may receive bread and wine; bread only; or wine only.
iv) A common practice for acknowledging the cup without receiving – is to touch the base of the cup when it is presented. This has often been offered to those not receiving alcohol for personal reasons (addiction or other). An alternative is to simply cross arms on the chest when offered the chalice.
Please work with your congregation to offer an explanation for the banning of intinction; give them alternatives; and help us move to the safest practices for Holy Communion that honour our sacramental tradition.
The Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls
Bishop of Huron