While we are not requiring masks or proof of vaccination for indoor gatherings, we encourage all those eligible to get their vaccinations and boosters and respect each individuals choice to wear a mask. Sacramental wine at communion is once again offered from the common cup. Please, no intinction. You can read Rev Lori’s email of May 2nd 2023 below. We offer livestreamed services for those who are unable to attend church in person and you can join our online congregation by going to our website homepage.
Awareness of COVID protocols and risks has been the responsibility of all our church community and is overseen by our Regathering Team. We thank everyone for their vigilance since we regathered in 2021. If we are made aware of a positive COVID case after a church event or service (by a phone call or email to the office or a member of staff) it remains our policy to inform anyone who sat close to the individual that they may have been exposed. We do not share the name of the person who had a positive test. This policy will continue until Palm Sunday, March 24th 2024.
Covid Protocols & The Common Cup
Dear Community of St. James’,
We have traveled a long road from March 2020 to today. The road has taken many turns and iterations. We have gone from a complete lock-down with video-taped services, to going “live” in an empty sanctuary with all of you worshiping at home, to registration-based in-person services, to proof of vaccination, to today, praising God together as One Body. We rejoice in the ability to be together as well as the unexpected blessing of virtual worship realized as a result of the pandemic.
At my request, the Regathering Team met late in April to discuss changing a few of our COVID protocols.
Effective May 28, on the Feast of Pentecost, we will be returning to sharing wine from a common cup at both the 8:00 and 10:30 services. This follows the example of Grace Cathedral and other parishes in our diocese. Additionally, we will move from using hosts to using bread for Holy Communion at the 10:30 service. At both services, we will discontinue the act of intinction (dipping the bread/host) completely. The only way to consume the wine will be to drink from the cup.
I would like to address the likely concerns about the common cup.
Studies show there is minimal risk of virus transmission through drinking from the same vessel (see resources below), and there have been no documented cases of Covid-19 being passed from one person to another through a shared cup. This concern was widely studied in the 1980s during the AIDS pandemic and it was determined then, and reaffirmed today, that virus transmission is unlikely. In fact, it is well known that intinction, the dipping of the bread or host into the chalice, is less sanitary than drinking from the cup. There are more bacteria on our fingers than on our lips, and while each person is careful, it is not uncommon for fingers to hit the wine in the act of dipping, thus contaminating the wine for those following. From a theological point of view, drinking from the cup is preferable to intinction, as we are called to receive communion, not to take communion. It is for these reasons we will no longer be intincting.
I want to stress that consuming just the host or bread, communion in one kind, is to receive full and complete communion. I trust you will make decisions as to the best practice for you and your family. If you opt to not take the wine, you are invited to move to the chalice, cross your arms over your chest, and the Eucharistic Minister will offer you the words, “the Blood of Christ, the Cup of Salvation” as a symbolic gesture of communion in both kinds.
Thank you for your ongoing support as we continue to navigate the changing landscapes of this time.
In Christ, Lori+
May 2nd 2023
(1) COVID-19 and the Common Cup, July 30, 2021. This source summarizes data outlined more thoroughly in resource 3 below.
(2) COVID-19 and Holy Communion, August 20, 2020, National Library of Medicine.
(3) The Common Cup and SARS-CoV-2 Infection Risk, March 29, 2022
The Reverend Michael Garner MSc MDiv, Public Health Advisor to the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa