During the Coronavirus pandemic this parish will not be celebrating Holy Communion.
This will be difficult for many of us. Holy Communion is, for many, a vital part of worship – not just vital in the sense of ‘important’ but in the original sense of the word – ‘life-giving’ or ‘belonging to life’. We know that God is with us whether we share in Communion or not, but the sharing of the Bread and Wine helps us feel united with each other and with other Christians now, in the past and in the future, and it reflects our relationship with God.
Within the Christian Church, and within the Church of England, there are many different theologies of Holy Communion. It is not a question of which are right, and which are wrong, it is more a question of which matters are given greater priority.
Lesley and I believe that when we preside (note the choice of word, not celebrate) at Holy Communion we are presiding in an action undertaken by all the people of God who are present. When people are not present, for us it loses its significance. Consequently in this parish we have decided not to stream services of Holy Communion – which would be others watching us have Communion whilst not having it themselves. In fact, we will not be streaming any services (using streaming as a technical term to mean people joining a live broadcast), as our experiments to date have not been terribly successful. Instead we will continue to put pre-recorded material onto the web site.
This may not suit everyone and we understand that so we have a couple of suggestions to help until the current lockdown is lifted.
- There are streamed services on the web which include Communion and you can watch these.
- You can partake of Spiritual Communion
During this time of not receiving communion we can receive Spiritual Communion.
Bishop Jo has written a paper on Communion during a pandemic: https://www.cofeguildford.org.uk/docs/default-source/coronavirus/priestly-practice-in-a-pandemic.pdf?sfvrsn=bb330032_0 which includes the following:
The Book of Common Prayer instructs us that if we offer ourselves in penitence and faith, giving thanks for the redemption won by Christ crucified, we may truly ‘eat and drink the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ’, although we cannot receive the sacrament physically in ourselves. Making a Spiritual Communion is particularly fitting for those who cannot receive the sacrament at the great feasts of the Church, and it fulfils the duty of receiving Holy Communion ‘regularly, and especially at the festivals of Christmas, Easter and Whitsun or Pentecost’ (Canon B 15).
It also contains a link to the Church of England’s advice on this: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-03/Guidance%20on%20Spiritual%20Communion%20and%20Coronavirus.pdf
If you wish to discuss this with Lesley or myself, please give us a call.