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Shared communion cup

(79 Posts)
Sloegin Mon 18-Apr-22 17:58:15

I went back to church yesterday for first time since before first lockdown. I am still being very careful with mask wearing, distancing etc as my husband is unwell and very vulnerable. This was the Anglican Church ( Church of Ireland) which I normally attend. I was very surprised that they have gone back to a shared cup. I think until now communicants were just receiving bread. The rector did make it clear that anyone not comfortable sharing the cup could just take the chalice and hand it back without sipping. This is what I did but think I was the only member of congregation who did. What do others think? Is it not too soon? Should the Anglican Church adopt the same practice as non conformist churches with individual cups? There is something very symbolic about a shared cup but covid is still with us.

Calendargirl Mon 18-Apr-22 18:05:00

Our (CofE) church is still doing just the wafer.

I have never liked the shared cup, and have ‘dipped’ for a long time, until it was banned.

I shall never go back to drinking from the shared chalice though.

Marydoll Mon 18-Apr-22 18:06:06

We don't share in my Catholic church.

Polly73 Mon 18-Apr-22 18:06:53

Is the cup / chalice wiped (cleaned) between each person?

OnwardandUpward Mon 18-Apr-22 18:09:18

I wouldn't be surprised if people start wanting to sit in the front pews all of a sudden (haha)

Calendargirl Mon 18-Apr-22 18:10:08


Is the cup / chalice wiped (cleaned) between each person?

Yes, it’s wiped, but there are varying degrees of wiping.

When I was younger, the then vicar gave the chalice a really vigorous clean between each person, but some clergy do a really feeble dab.

I know which method I prefer.

Riverwalk Mon 18-Apr-22 18:15:27

Just thinking out loud here as I'm not religious and have never taken communion.

From what I know the taking of wine and wafer are integral to the faith and for Catholics it really is the body and blood of Christ, and has been a ritual for two thousand years so why in the face of Covid would you give up something formerly deemed essential and sacred?

Has anyone ever knowingly caught a disease after communion?

Smileless2012 Mon 18-Apr-22 18:16:12

The minister in our church dips the wafer into the communion cup. We've only recently started kneeling at the alter which I have to say I have missed.

Yes, it is wiped Polly but that itself probably isn't sufficient.

Smileless2012 Mon 18-Apr-22 18:18:34

The changes that have been implemented because of Covid have been to adhere to Government guidelines Riverwalk, and aren't about an individuals faith or the meaning of the Communion service.

OnwardandUpward Mon 18-Apr-22 18:19:09

Dipping seems a very good compromise indeed Smileless and as Riverwalk says I think communion is an integral part of faith for many Christians. I am not Catholic, but did watch a Catholic service at Easter and saw no wine, but only a wafer. I could have blinked and missed it?

Riverwalk Mon 18-Apr-22 18:24:01


The changes that have been implemented because of Covid have been to adhere to Government guidelines Riverwalk, and aren't about an individuals faith or the meaning of the Communion service.

I know about the guidelines Smileless but I was thinking on a higher plane here!

Something once so sacred versus guidelines?

Smileless2012 Mon 18-Apr-22 18:27:33

We have no choice but to follow the guidelines Riverwalk. The service of Holy Communion remains as sacred as it's always been.

When there was clapping for the NHS, Mr. S. asked if he could ring our church bell at 8.00pm (he sometimes does during the service) but was told he wasn't allowed in even though he'd have been in there on his own.

OnwardandUpward Mon 18-Apr-22 18:29:13

I have found that Some people IRL (not on Gransnet) get very upset if you ask about Communion. Especially if you suggest that they use little individual cups to be more hygenic... I am not sure why this is forbidden , but apparently , it is.

OnwardandUpward Mon 18-Apr-22 18:37:21

(Obviously I didn't set out to upset someone, but asked a question innocently in the light of covid changing people's rituals)

I think it is and always has been an act of faith to drink from a shared cup. After all, AIDS, Hepatitis.... etc...

Smileless2012 Mon 18-Apr-22 18:38:11

That's interesting Onward, I've only ever seen that in the Methodist service of Communion.

Cabbie21 Mon 18-Apr-22 18:39:11

I understand that the chalice is now permitted again, though my church is not yet offering it, but my cathedral is. It is of course optional. I can’t see myself wanting to partake. I have always felt it was too risky, though I am assured that alcohol and silver will neutralise germs.
Non- Anglican churches often use individual cups, but the symbolism of sharing a common cup, as happened at the Last Supper, is thereby lost.

Septimia Mon 18-Apr-22 18:40:24

In our CofE church, we've been having communion 'in one kind' for months, ever since communion has been allowed again. It's perfectly valid to only have the bread.

We've just reached the stage of having the wafers intincted with wine. So far as I know, having the wine and, especially, the shared cup is not yet approved.

The use of individual cups isn't favoured because, following what happened at the Last Supper, the cup is supposed to be shared.

We rang our church bell a number of times during the pandemic, including for the NHS. When the buildig was allowed to be open for private prayer DH rang the bell when unlocking or locking the building.

Smileless2012 Mon 18-Apr-22 18:40:52

I'm not aware that drinking from a shared cup is an act of faith Onward, it's only a sip and the cup is wiped. Our C of E vicar doesn't think we'll be drinking from the same cup any time soon, if eversad.

Smileless2012 Mon 18-Apr-22 18:42:39

This was when the church was closed Septimia and not being opened at all accept for necessary maintenance. Maybe there were differences in the rules depending on the Diocese.

Riverwalk Mon 18-Apr-22 18:44:35

Exactly an act of faith, which can be so easily derailed by guidelines?

Guidelines are not law, and in the unlikely event there was a law, no one would be prosecuted for taking communion surely.

Ringing the church bells is neither here nor there, presumably this is cultural rather than sacred, but I'm back to my ponderings as to why the devout have so easily dropped such an important spiritual act to comply with 'guidelines'.

Does your faith not override such things and defend you from a bit of spittle?

Floriel Mon 18-Apr-22 18:46:07

Both silver and red wine have anti-bacterial properties, especially silver, but I can see why you think this may not be enough in current circumstances. In our church the vicar says he’s very happy if people just take the wafer, as nothing is lost in symbolic terms.

Floriel Mon 18-Apr-22 18:48:00

Sorry should have said, anti-viral as well as anti-bacterial.

Septimia Mon 18-Apr-22 18:48:43

Our church was closed due to structural problems as well as due to lockdown, Smileless, so there were times when we couldn't go in to ring the bell. There were also times when we could and, I think it was for the last of the clapping series, one of the local youngsters was driven round filming people clapping etc, and the church bell was ringing.

I don't think the rules were different for our diocese, we just took the opportunity when we were allowed to.

trisher Mon 18-Apr-22 18:51:52

That's really interesting question Riverwalk presumably the issue which has split the C of E and the RC churches for centuries would still apply. The C of Es wouldn't share because the wine is symbolic and no miracle occurs, so it's just wine with spit, but the RC says it becomes Christ's blood, which presumably is immaculate and incorruptible so should be safe to share.

OnwardandUpward Mon 18-Apr-22 18:52:40

When I said Aids, someone at home said "You can't get AIDS from a shared cup" and I said "what about bleeding gums or a mouth ulcer?".

I think it is an act of faith, that you're trusting nothing bad will happen to you as a result of sharing the cup. At least, that's been my (probably pedantic) view in the past, well before covid was known about.

I definitely think dipping is the way forward if people can't have separate cups- but also cannot see why it can't be blessed in one cup- and then decanted into separate cups to keep things hygenic? Technically then everyone drinking from the little cups would also have drunk from the chalice, if it had been poured there after being blessed?