Many people are concerned about how the church should respond to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. We have received an update from Bishop Jake Owensby. You can read the full statement which has some other helpful links by clicking here.
I highlight these points with my comments bold and italicized:
- The common cup has been in use for a very long time. When using a silver chalice and fortified wine, the risk of sharing infection is very low. If you are using ceramic vessels for Lent, please resume the use of silver. We will do so now.
- Intinction by individual communicants presents a heightened risk of infection. A single chalice bearer may take the bread and intinct it for each communicant, placing the bread in the hand or on the tongue. However, be aware that this too presents a heightened infection risk if there is inadvertent contact with hands and tongue. So, if you wish to intinct, please leave your bread in your hand and the chalice bearer will dip in the wine and place it on your outstretched tongue.
- Remember, receiving in one kind is entirely permissible, especially during a time of contagion. The church has always taught that receiving only the bread or only the cup is receiving full communion. If you wish to receive only the bread - simply cross your arms as the chalice passes.
- At the passing of the peace, I urge you to wave or bow to one another for the duration of this outbreak. Alas, physical contact such as shaking hands and hugging may transfer the virus. Current research suggests that COVID-19 is more contagious than the seasonal flu. We will follow the Bishop's recommendation. Please help others do this with good humor and a smile.
These are commonsense practices that many people routinely implement each flu season. There is no need to panic or to isolate oneself. By taking such measures we all participate in preventing the spread of coronavirus in our communities. These are easy things to do that can have a significant impact on your neighbors.