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Communion by extension

12 June 2015

Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or would like to add to the answers below.


Your answers


When "Public Worship with Communion by Extension" was introduced in the 2000s, it was helpful to clergy with multi-church benefices. Officiants were licensed by the bishop for a limited period, but did not need to be Readers. A record was kept of the use, the reason, and the number of participants. Is there any monitoring now of the use of this service? Do many churches use it, and are the officiants licensed specifically, or is it included in the licence for Readers (LLMs)?


I am a Reader who has been given permission to lead the Communion by Extension service. First, you are not "licensed" to do so: you have "Bishop's Permission". The word "license" is used to describe the licence that clergy and Readers hold; everything else is "permission". And, no, it's not automatic with a Reader's licence, though there may be bishops who automatically issue the relevant permission at each licensing. Funerals are the same: Readers have to seek "Bishop's Permission".

All services are registered in the church records. I have never heard of any controls such as having to fill in a form to explain why it was done. Perhaps the clergy were supposed to do that.

The Bishop can give anyone permission to do anything. Sometimes that would include communion by extension. Since the service does include preaching, I would ask myself why people would bother with selection and training to be a Reader if their Bishop made a habit of this.

In my experience, although it is supposed to be only in the case of emergency, and not rota'd in, it often is. And, likewise, though the liturgy explains that the elements have been consecrated in a previous service, and that the congregation are in communion especially with the congregation at that service, this doesn't always happen either. I used to collect properly consecrated elements from another church, and carry them covered in white linen, as described in the rubrics.

Although there was training available where I used to serve, and there is a special service book available, in practice, many used the service for the sick (often ASB), and others just used the usual congregation service book. Certainly, I have had to clear a communion table that had been set up "normally", with a priest's wafer and a veil, and start again before the service.

The service itself is very well constructed, the rubrics are clear, and there are instructions for everything you need (except, as it turned out, when and how to fill the chalice. Charge it before the service.)

You will gather that I have reservations about how the service is used in practice. But that isn't the fault of the service itself.


Name and address supplied


Your questions


Should every incumbency begin with a probationary period, as happens in secular employment?
A. G.


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