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
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
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