Why cannot the wine remaining in the chalice after the holy communion service be poured down the drain . . . ? [Answers, 6 November]
Celebrants in 1662 were not faced with the necessity of driving home after the service perhaps as many as 15 or more miles. Frequently, I have been faced with this dilemma when I have helped out in rural parishes and overestimated the number of communicants. I was once told that, at Canterbury Cathedral, there was a place where the consecrated wine could be “returned to earth”.
This is a practice I have adopted when in this particular situation. While pouring consecrated wine down the drain would be abhorrent, for the reasons mentioned by your other contributors, I have on occasion taken the remaining consecrated wine to a quiet corner of the churchyard and reverently and prayerfully have poured it into the earth from where it originated. I am sure God understands.
(The Revd) Margaret Cooling
St Briavels, Gloucestershire
Address: Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.