Group Banner Image:   Worship-banner-image

 

A return to offering the chalice (or 'common cup') at Holy Communion - 31 July 2022


What's the update?

In March 2022, in keeping with the Church of England’s national guidance, Bishop Christopher requested that all churches in Southwark Diocese began the process of returning to the usual Anglican practice of offering the chalice at Holy Communion. At St Alfege, following agreement by the PCC (Church Council), we will return to our pre-pandemic practice of offering communion in both kinds (consecrated wafers and wine) from the altar rail, from Sunday 31st July.  
 
Why are we doing this and why is it so important to Anglicans?

Shared worship practices help define who we are as a Church. By returning to our familiar way of offering communion, the worshipping community at St Alfege walks alongside the Church of England as a whole. We will also be returning to historical Anglican practice. Offering the chalice of consecrated wine to lay people, and not just priests, has been an important part of Anglican worship since the Reformation in the 16th century. Christ offered his disciples a common cup, and this common cup represents our shared life together: not only the life we share as a church family at St Alfege, but also our shared life as one universal church, across the world, and over two millennia of Christian worship. 
 
What does science say about sharing a common cup?
The studies on bacterial transmission via the communion cup, and associated literature reviews, suggest that the theoretical risk of transmitting infectious disease through the communion cup is so small as to be undetectable. Sharing the common cup can be made sufficiently safe for most people through the hygiene measures that were in place for presiding priests, servers and the congregation even before the pandemic: for example, the proper use of purificators (small linen cloths used to wipe the rim of the cup) and hand sanitiser. Similarly, as a common-sense precaution, anyone who thinks that they might be infectiously unwell themselves (for example, with a cold or cough) should refrain from drinking from the common cup.

We will not be permitting the practice of intinction (communicants dipping the wafer in the chalice) because our serving team cannot reliably ensure that no one’s fingers will inadvertently contaminate the wine. 

What if I decide to receive only the wafer at communion?

The chalice will be offered on an opt-in basis, and all communicants are welcome to decline it (by bowing their heads at the altar rail). Christ’s teaching at the Last Supper is that normal Christian practice should offer both bread and wine to those gathered for worship. However, the Church affirms the doctrine of 'concomitance'; this means that anyone can make a full communion by receiving in one kind only. This is because Christ’s nature is indivisible, and he is therefore both fully present in the bread and fully present in the wine.

We are all capable of making our own decision about whether or not to receive from the common cup. (For many of us, this could change from time to time, depending on personal circumstances.) Although, on an individual level, perhaps not everyone will share in the chalice, we nevertheless continue to be One Body, participating together in the shared ritual instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Please speak to Revd Simon, Revd Tati or a PCC member if you have any questions. 

Click here to write your article

Thank you for visiting our website.

Are you able to help us with a 2 minute survey about the website?

Yes, sure.No thank you.

Survey 

1. What motivated you to visit to the St Alfege Church website? (tick all that apply)

St Alfege Church email/newsletter
St Alfege Church Instagram
St Alfege Church Twitter
Other social media
St Alfege Church poster or signage
Newspaper/magazine
Google search on local history
Word of mouth   
Other, please specify 

2. Had you heard of the Heart of Greenwich Place and People project at St Alfege Church before looking on the website?

Yes
No

3. Was there specific information you were interested in exploring via the St Alfege Church website?
 
Community Engagement work
Planning a Visit
Events
Blogs
Films
Information about the history of the church
Google search on local history
No, none
No, wanted to find out about the project in general
Other, please specify 

4. How would you rate the following? (Please give one rating for each item)
 
  Very Good Good Neutral Poor Very Poor n/a
Level of information available
Satisfaction with the content available
Relevance of information
Perception of quality of information 
Interesting range of information available 

5. To what extent would you agree or disagree with the following statements? (Please give one rating for each item)
 
  Strongly agree Agree     Neutral Disagree Strongly disagree n/a
I want to see more things like this
I enjoyed it
I learned something new
I now have a greater understanding of the church
I felt inspired
 
6. Please share any additional thoughts you have about the website: