Thursday, July 23, 2009

Churches stop offering communion wine to halt spread of swine flu

From the London Guardian-

Communion wine is not being offered in some churches amid fears over swine flu.

Some church leaders have made the decision just to distribute bread rather than offering the chalice to the congregation during Holy Communion services.

The Archdiocese of Liverpool, which represents the Catholic church in Liverpool, said yesterday that some churches had taken the precaution but added that it was a decision made by individual churches, following its guidance, and they had not told churches what to do or banned wine-giving from services.

The Anglican church in Liverpool has taken similar steps. Stuart Haynes, media manager for the Diocese of Liverpool, said: "At this stage the bishop has not instructed churches in the diocese to withhold the communion cup but some parishes may consider that precaution to be prudent."

The moves follow the advice last week of the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Reverend John Gladwin, who advised churches not to use holy water in a bid to halt the spread of swine flu.

"The water contained in stoups can easily become a source of infection and a means of rapidly spreading the virus," he said. "This practice should be suspended."

Across the world, fears of the spread of swine flu are also affecting churchgoers. In New Zealand, the Roman Catholic Church banned priests from placing communion wafers on the tongues of worshippers, while Chilean authorities suspended a northern religious celebration, prompting protests from the faithful.

No comments: