Friday, 25 September 2009

CiW St Davids swine 'flu update

The Bishop of St Davids has advised Anglican clergy in the diocese to adopt a ‘common sense’ approach to the use of communion vessels during the current swine flu pandemic, following complaints from some parishioners that they are being denied the sacrament at Holy Communion.

Some churches have suspended use of the chalice (from which the communion wine is given) as a precaution against spreading the disease, claiming that they had been instructed to do so by the bishops.

But in an Ad Clerum (letter to clergy), Rt. Rev. J. Wyn Davies says it is up to individuals to decide whether or not to take what was only intended as “guidance”.

“Obviously the possibility of catching swine flu remains an issue to be taken seriously, as does our need as a church to protect the most vulnerable,” the Bishop writes. However, he urges ministers to be “pastorally sensitive” when deciding whether or not to continue offering wine as part of the communion service, by giving parishioners the choice of whether or not to receive the cup, whilst observing the highest possible standards of hygiene.

The letter also reassures priests and parishioners that by opting not to receive wine, the act of communion is not invalidated.


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