The Church in Wales has updated its Coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance: the latest version is dated 5 March. In brief:
- Public administration of the chalice should cease until further notice.
- Physical sharing of the Peace should be discontinued until further notice.
The full guidance is as follows:
While it is our faith that the sacraments are means of grace and not of sickness, they are physically ministered, and we should take physical care in their administration. As well as the specific concern about Coronavirus, this advice is generally applicable for all infectious disease.
- Wash Hands. Priests presiding at the Eucharist, communion administrators and servers are reminded to wash hands. We strongly advise the use of hand sanitizers immediately before the Preparation of the Table and Eucharistic prayer.
- Receive Holy Communion in one Kind. It is, and has long been, Anglican teaching that to receive the sacrament in one kind only (ie. just the bread) is to receive the sacrament in its entirety. With the recent increase of Covid-19 cases in the United Kingdom, we are now advising that public administration of the chalice should cease in the Church in Wales until further notice. The Chalice must continue to be prepared and consecrated in the usual way, but the celebrant alone should receive from the Chalice.
- If, contrary to the above guidance, a parish continues to offer the chalice to the congregation, intinction (dipping the bread into the wine) should be prohibited. Because hands can be as much a source of pathogens as lips, intinction is no safer than drinking and can introduce germs into the cup. Intinction can also threaten those with certain immune or allergic conditions. For instance, those with gluten intolerance for whom traces of gluten can be hazardous are at greater risk when other communicants have dipped their communion wafer into the wine.
- Sharing of the Peace. We are now strongly advising that physical sharing of the Peace be discontinued until further notice. When we exchange the Peace we express our desire to come to the holy table as a community which has been reconciled to God and one another through the work of Christ, and whose members are ‘in love and charity’ with our neighbours. Although customary in many churches, handshakes or other physical touching are not mandated in our liturgical rites and are not required at this point. Non-physical means of exchanging the Peace are encouraged – such as saying ‘peace be with you’, preferably whilst making eye contact. Similarly, non-physical alternatives to shaking hands when greeting people entering and leaving church should be used.”