Chalice is returning to the people

by
16 September 2009

by Bill Bowder

JUPITER IMAGES

JUPITER IMAGES

THE COMMON CUP could soon be administered at the eucharist again, as speculation grew this week that the bishops would soften their advice, imposed in July amid fears about swine flu.

There has been growing evidence that parishes are ignoring the advice, given by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, to offer communion in one kind only (News, 28 August).

In the past week, a number of dioceses have issued the “all clear”, hedged about with warnings that the advice may change if the swine-flu pandemic worsens.

On Wednesday the Archbishops issued an update to their advice, from the College of Bishops' meeting in Oxford.

They note that advice from the Department of Health is unchanged, and say that they will review their own advice towards the end of October. They emphasise, however, that "advice given by the Archbishops is just that", as is any separate advice that Bishops may decide to give to parishes.    

While judgments about particular contexts may vary, the Archbishops say, "it remains important a) to encourage everyone to recognise that the Church has a responsibility to take public health considerations seriously, and b) to ensure that communication around the Church is good so that we don’t appear to be at sixes and sevens, and c) to remember that responsible practice in this area is not primarily about protecting ourselves, but about avoiding transmitting infection unwittingly to others".
 
If the position  has changed by October, fresh guidelines will be given, and the Archbishops urge "patience and vigilance until we have reached that point."

It emerged on Thursday that the number of new cases of swine flu has risen for the first time in weeks, after spread of the disease had slowed during the Summer holidays. There were 5000 new infections last week, up from the 3000 the previous week. To date, 75 deaths have been ascibed to the illness.
 
It is understood that at the College of Bishops' meeting in Oxford this week "the president gave each person the option of receiving the wine or not. All bar less than a handful drank from the chalice."

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In the past week, a number of dioceses have issued the “all clear”, hedged about with warnings that the advice may change if the swine-flu pandemic worsens.

On Wednesday the Archbishops issued an update to their advice, from the College of Bishops' meeting in Oxford.

They note that advice from the Department of Health is unchanged, and say that they will review their own advice towards the end of October. They emphasise, however, that "advice given by the Archbishops is just that", as is any separate advice that Bishops may decide to give to parishes.    

While judgments about particular contexts may vary, the Archbishops say, "it remains important a) to encourage everyone to recognise that the Church has a responsibility to take public health considerations seriously, and b) to ensure that communication around the Church is good so that we don’t appear to be at sixes and sevens, and c) to remember that responsible practice in this area is not primarily about protecting ourselves, but about avoiding transmitting infection unwittingly to others".
 
If the position  has changed by October, fresh guidelines will be given, and the Archbishops urge "patience and vigilance until we have reached that point."

It emerged on Thursday that the number of new cases of swine flu has risen for the first time in weeks, after spread of the disease had slowed during the Summer holidays. There were 5000 new infections last week, up from the 3000 the previous week. To date, 75 deaths have been ascibed to the illness.
 
It is understood that at the College of Bishops' meeting in Oxford this week "the president gave each person the option of receiving the wine or not. All bar less than a handful drank from the chalice."

Among the dioceses where advice favours the administering of the chalice to the congregation are Wake­field, Lincoln, Hereford, Gloucester, and St Edmundsbury & Ipswich.

In Wakefield, the Bishop’s Chap­lain, the Revd Dr Matthew Bullimore, said this week: “St Ed­munds­bury & Ipswich and Gloucester have made a move on it. The Bishop knew that Gloucester was going to go back to the chalice; and this morning [Canon] Deidre Parmenter, the Bishop’s Chaplain at Ipswich, was saying that they would resume the use of the chalice. I think the Bishop thinks that there will be a skittle effect now.”

The Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Revd Anthony Priddis, sent a letter last week to all clergy in the diocese withdrawing his request not to administer the chalice.

“Whilst I am pleased to be able to write in this way and lift the suspension of the administration of the chalice at holy communion, nevertheless, I need to point out that if the situation locally or nationally becomes significantly worse in the autumn or winter, then it may be necessary to reinstate the suspension of the chalice.”

The Dean and Chapter of Lincoln Cathedral reinstated the use of the chalice towards the end of August, but the Bishop of Lincoln, Dr John Saxbee, and his suffragan bishops expressed caution in an e-bulletin. The precautionary measures they had called for may have been effective, they said. “Now may not be the time to lower our guard.”

www.cofe.anglican.org/info/swineflu

The Dean and Chapter of Lincoln Cathedral reinstated the use of the chalice towards the end of August, but the Bishop of Lincoln, Dr John Saxbee, and his suffragan bishops expressed caution in an e-bulletin. The precautionary measures they had called for may have been effective, they said. “Now may not be the time to lower our guard.”

www.cofe.anglican.org/info/swineflu

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