Friday, June 14, 2013

Anglo-fact: Intinction

By: The Very Rev. Dr. Valori Mulvey Sherer, Rector

INTINCTION (aka: dipping the communion bread in the chalice).

When I arrived at Redeemer nearly four years ago I used to offer an “Anglo-fact” each Sunday during the announcements. An Anglo-fact is a short teaching on aspects of our communal life as Anglican Christians. Anglo-facts can be about our theology, liturgy, polity, or practices.
As our community’s life became busier, I stopped doing the Anglo-facts to save time during the liturgy. With so many new people among us, most of whom come from non-Anglican experiences of church, I’ve had some requests to do the Anglo-facts again. Mindful of the time in our liturgy, I’ve decided that the newsletter might be a better format.

Intinction is the practice of dipping the communion bread into the chalice rather than drinking the wine from the chalice. Many people choose this method of receiving communion to avoid passing (thank you) or receiving germs. With so many communicable diseases about, this is a valid concern.
Thankfully, it is our practice to use a silver chalice which actually makes the common cup very safe. Silver doesn’t conduct most germs, which means they can’t live on the cup and pass from one person to the next. In addition, the chalice bearer is trained on how to wipe the cup and turn it one-quarter turn between each communicant. This ensures that any germs that survive being wiped wait through three people before there is opportunity to make contact with a person again. This amount of time further limits the likelihood that germs could be passed. Finally, the cup contains real wine and alcohol kills most germs. So between the silver chalice, the wiping with the cloth (called a purificator), the quarter-turn between each communicant, and the wine in the cup, the possibility for passing germs is practically non-existent… unless people are reaching their hands into the cup.

The chalice bearers are required to use hand sanitizer prior to serving the cup at communion. The fewer people reaching into the cup, the less likely germs can be introduced.

That’s why it is your rector’s policy that if a communicant chooses intinction, the chalice bearer will take the communion wafer, dip it into the cup, and give it to the communicant. I ask that everyone please refrain from trying to dip the wafer yourself for the sake of everyone’s health.
If you have any questions or information to add to this discussion, please feel free to share it with me. Also, if there is a topic or issue you’d like me to address in these Anglo-facts please let me know.



No comments: