Because of the widespread concerns about the Coronavirus and all the unknowns about its spreading transmission, the Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, The Rt. Rev. John Taylor has sent out a directive shown in part below:
“In keeping with our shared responsibility in Christ to care for one another. According to the experts we have consulted, in the event of an outbreak of the disease in our diocese, we cannot promise people that that the stubborn COVID-19 virus, if deposited on the lip of the chalice, will not be passed to another communicant. For this reason, in the Diocese of Olympia, which has been hard hit already, health officials have already asked churches to stop offering the common cup. I believe it would be prudent for us to follow suit. By my authority as your diocesan bishop, I hereby inform all our lay and ordained leaders that communion wine may not be offered in our churches, either for sipping or by intinction, until we can be confident that the danger of mass COVID-19 infections has abated.”
The Bishop’s full directive can be read here.
I have also informed all who touch the communion wafers to wash their hands directly before communion. It is also prudent at this time to consider replacing handshakes at the peace with “elbow bumps” or nods rather than hugs or handshakes. I believe our many friends in the pews will understand the reasoning behind these replacement gestures.
These are temporary measures, and as the Church it is up to us to make sure that St. Edmund’s is always a safe place for ourselves and others. In the words of the Bishop:
“Especially in times such as these, when we are worried about ourselves and those we love, we depend on our church families for solace and strength, for pardon and renewal. Notwithstanding these temporary measures, may this continue to be so in all our churches. As we face and overcome this crisis, may a deepening understanding of our obligation to watch over our closest neighbors in the name of Christ make us ever more devoted to God’s glory and the thriving of all God’s people”.