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Common Cup

From Sunday 9th June in all our churches
Offering Holy Communion in both kinds, including the Common Cup

This is a note to explain that, from Sunday 9th June, we will return to the traditional practice of offering the bread (host) and wine separately when we share Holy Communion, rather than “intincting” the host (dipping it in the wine).

In making this decision, it is vital to note that anyone who is not comfortable with drinking from the Common Cup may receive the host only, which is also a traditional and wholly accepted way of sharing in Holy Communion. Equally, it’s helpful to remember that the combination of the metal of the chalice and the alcohol of the wine minimises the risk of infection.

As you will remember, we introduced intinction as a precautionary measure when returning to church following the COVID pandemic, and allowed by the Church of England in these exceptional circumstances. Since then, in this Benefice, this practice has been reviewed informally on occasion, but set aside because people felt cautious.

As a Benefice, however, we have always assumed we would return to the Common Cup in due course. This reflects the established tradition of the Church from earliest times in remembering Jesus’ words and actions at the Last Supper. And the way we receive has deep theological significance for us in our personal and shared life together as a church community.

We have also now received a letter from Bishops Rachel and Robert. It sets out the clear expectation that all church communities should be offering communion in both kinds, including drinking from the common cup. The basis for this expectation is – I believe – absolutely appropriate. And it has been a useful prompt for me to review this practice with the Reader and Clergy team, and also with the Church Wardens. As the Bishops’ letter says: “That the congregation receives from the common cup is an important sign of our unity together as the Body of Christ and as such is not to be set aside lightly.”

There are some small adjustments which need to be made in the administration of Holy Communion, and these will be finalised with the Church Wardens.

There are also short Q&A section below which you may find helpful.

Please be assured of my prayers as we reflect on and prepare for this change. Coming together for Holy Communion lies at the heart of our life together, and I thank God for all that we share in this most sacred practice.

With love and prayers, as ever, Poppy

Q. Is self-intinction from the common up acceptable (ie. dipping the host into the wine myself)? A. People should not themselves instinct from the common cup. This practice is actively discouraged as it allows the spread of infection should fingers come into contact with the wine.

Q. Why return to the common cup now?
A. The letter from Bishops Rachel and Robert is a helpful prompt to us, to review our practice, and sets out a clear expectation that all church communities will now unite in sharing this tradition unless there is a very clear rationale for not doing so.

Q. What should I do if I am unwell myself?
A. We would suggest those with, for example a head cold, should, for the sake of others, refrain from receiving from the common cup until they are recovered.

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