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Sharing the Peace (Coronavirus)

(23 Posts)
Calendargirl Sun 01-Mar-20 13:25:32

What is the general feeling about this? I attended Holy Communion at a village church today, not my usual one. When it came to sharing the peace, the vicar suggested a hand on the shoulder instead of the usual handshake. He was (in a polite way) shouted down. I did not offer my hand, just did the touching shoulder .
At my regular church last week, we didn’t bother sharing the peace at all which suits me fine. I think the guidelines are to avoid handshaking, but today I felt others were thinking I was a bit fussy!

Feelingmyage55 Sun 01-Mar-20 13:27:06

The touch on the shoulder seems perfect as it is also a gesture of comfort.

NotSpaghetti Sun 01-Mar-20 13:30:27

The "no handshake" suggestion came from senior clergy. I read it in my news feed earlier this week.

NotSpaghetti Sun 01-Mar-20 13:30:52

I think it was across denominations too.

EllanVannin Sun 01-Mar-20 14:12:23

Wear gloves. I don't go anywhere without them. Especially handling money ( loose change with their germ traps )

Auntieflo Sun 01-Mar-20 14:45:58

It was the same at our Church this morning, and it did feel strange.
Folk were offering their hand, then almost snatching it back.
(I must admit to kissing my lovely friend, on the cheek, as I normally do)
The touch on the shoulder seems a perfect solution.

Purpledaffodil Sun 01-Mar-20 14:51:12

And what about the chalice? This morning about half congregation only took the wafer which is perfectly acceptable according to London Diocese. I was bolder(more foolhardy?) but I think if I had underlying health problems I wouldn’t.

Purpledaffodil Sun 01-Mar-20 14:51:38

However peace carried on as usual.

Calendargirl Sun 01-Mar-20 15:38:30

I ‘dipped’ my wafer which is what I always do anyhow, but it barely touched the wine. Most did it the usual way. I’m never very keen on sharing the chalice, which sounds very unchristian I know.

Purpledaffodil Sun 01-Mar-20 15:43:57

Calendar girl that is totally forbidden. It’s proper name is intincting and it is said that a portion of germy finger touching the wine would be far worse than a sip. There is also the problem of gluten entering the chalice for those with allergies.
Hand gel for servers and clergy also obligatory. 😱

Calendargirl Sun 01-Mar-20 15:59:27


Yes, I know what ‘intinction’ is, I thought others might not. In the guidance from the Church of England re the corona virus, it says that intinction is ‘not recommended’. Nowhere does it say it is totally forbidden, at least in anything I’ve read. Cannot speak for others, but am always careful that my fingers do not touch the wine, just my own wafer. I still think there is less chance of picking anything up than lips on the chalice.

Calendargirl Sun 01-Mar-20 16:01:08

As for gluten, valid point, but never been brought up before to my knowledge.

TwiceAsNice Sun 01-Mar-20 18:00:53

At our service today we did no handshaking during the peace , just nodding and speaking to each other. For the first time also only the bread was taken no wine given. It’s never happened before in all the years I’ve taken communion, it felt very odd

Anniebach Sun 01-Mar-20 18:38:43

Brings back memories of the 80’s , the fear of AIDS, there were calls for Gays not to take the Sacrament.

Jessity Sun 01-Mar-20 19:29:03

We mostly have Prayer Book services, not Common Worship so the Peace doesn’t occur. There are worshippers who at a CW service do not ever shake hands, just nod their head.

I dipped my wafer this morning (just the very tip so my fingers were nowhere near the wine in the chalice). Normally I never do this and afterwards berated myself for doing this so soon. I recall doing so during the Swine Fever epidemic.

Several of our congregation are gluten intolerant, there are gluten-free wafers and a separate chalice for them.

Septimia Sun 01-Mar-20 20:20:04

We never share the Peace anyway. We never adopted it - the older members of the congregation at the time were horrified at the idea. We're just a small community who all greet each other and care for each other, so we see it as unnecessary. It wastes an awful lot of time with bigger congregations where people wander about shaking hands or - shock, horror!!! - hugging each other. There are better and more practical ways of showing Christian charity.

As for the chalice - the 'common cup' - we may have to stop that for a while and intinction isn't recommended. The reasons others have given are good ones for not doing that. I always understood that the chalice is normally made of silver because that does not harbour germs. I'm not sure that it would resist the coronavirus. However, the proximity to others, both in the pews and at the altar rail may be more dangerous!

Purpledaffodil Sun 01-Mar-20 20:58:10

From the Diocese of London

Do not intinct. Because hands can be as much a source of pathogens as lips, intinction is no safer than drinking and can introduce germs into the cup. Intinction (dipping the bread into the wine) can also threaten those with certain immune or allergic conditions. For instance, those with gluten intolerance for whom traces of gluten can be hazardous are at greater risk when other communicants have dipped their communion wafer into the wine.

You are right Calendargirl, it does not forbid intinction, but it is a stern admonition. Certainly in our church clergy announce that it must not be done!
Diocese does not have any advice about the Peace. 😀

Treebee Sun 01-Mar-20 21:13:33

At Quaker Meeting for Worship we shake hands at the end to signify the close of worship. The lady next to me busied herself with her drink of water and smiled at me. Unusual. I also noticed someone sneeze into her sleeve rather than her hand. This virus is changing our behaviour.

Calendargirl Sun 01-Mar-20 22:20:17

The Diocese of London info looks much stricter than anything I have read. Our clergy have certainly not announced that intinction should not be carried out. I started doing it when it was the last health crisis, not sure if that was swine flu, bird flu, whatever. If the concerns about coronavirus worsen, I shall probably just eat the wafer.

B9exchange Sun 01-Mar-20 22:48:37

We were given the same request to avoid intinction for the reasons listed above. There has never been a proven case of any disease passing through the communion cup, a study was done a while ago on this.

Church goers risk catching others bugs simply by gathering together, as in a cinema, theatre or supermarket. A sensible precaution would be to wash your hands well after the service, but at present there is no Covid-19 in the community, and unless and until it becomes widespread I will be happy to shake hands, hug friends, and behave as I normally would, just washing hands more often and more thoroughly than normal.

It is sad how much fear is being whipped up by the press. As of today there are 36 people infected out of a population of 70 million, and they are under observation and isolation.

If a friend of mine is having a tough time and in need of a hug they will get one!

Txquiltz Sun 01-Mar-20 23:00:15

Trust in God, but use common sense too. Corona is spread by droplets. If something could potentially be contaminated by droplets, don't touch it..I can share love, compassion and joy without touching corona virus.

grandtanteJE65 Mon 02-Mar-20 17:42:45

I would stick to receiving the host, and hope as a Catholic that anyone receiving the body of Christ had washed their hands well before coming to Mass.

Grannmarie Mon 02-Mar-20 18:31:47

At Mass this morning we still had people shaking hands at the Sign of Peace, and Holy Communion under both kinds, bread and wine.
However I see that our Diocese has today issued instructions against this, also for emptying the Holy Water fonts.
The annual pilgrimage to Lourdes at Easter has been cancelled.