Holy Communion Practices

  • Limit communion servers to those who do NOT appear to have illness symptoms (i.e., cough, shortness of breath).
  • Be sure that Communion chalices, cups, trays, cup fillers and patens (plates) are washed as thoroughly as any other dishes you might use at home (hot water, dish soap or detergent) before and very soon after each use and stored in a dry, clean cabinet.
  • Prepare fresh elements with clean hands. People who have any communicable illness, including colds, should not prepare or serve communion.
  • Prior to the Eucharistic prayer, have Communion stewards exit the worship space to wash hands with soap and water at the nearest facility.
  • Include the “Sacrament of Purell” as a part of the preparation. Have all servers publicly use alcohol-based hand sanitizer prior to handling the elements. Consider inviting people coming forward for communion to sanitize their hands prior to receiving. Allow your hands to dry naturally prior to reaching for the elements.
  • Instruct servers not to touch their face after washing their hands and using the sanitizer.
  • If Holy Communion is received by intinction (dipping the bread in the cup), be sure to have only the servers touch the loaf.  The practice of individuals breaking off the bread for themselves greatly increases the risk for contamination.
  • Instruct servers of the bread to provide pieces of bread that are large enough to be dipped into the cup without the recipient's fingers needing to touch the juice.
  • Instruct servers of the cup to tilt the cup slightly toward the recipients to enable the juice to flow toward the bread, thus eliminating a perceived need to "plunge" the bread (and perhaps fingers!) into the cup. For this season, you might ask parents to help dip their children’s bread into the cup.

Click here for more best practices during the sacrament of Holy Communion. 

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