one body

It sounded like such a good idea: for a couple of months in the year, on the third Sunday of the month, the Piskie and the C of S congregations would join together for a communion service. When I take it, is according to our practice. When the C of S minister, it is according to his.

My goal is to help our tiny little congregation feel more at ease in joining in with their neighbours, and to remind all those English folk who have retired to Tighnabruaich that we exist and they can come for communion occasionally even if they want to worship with the larger church more often.

For the C of S minister, I suspect the goal is both to offer hospitality and to restore an old practice of occasional evening communion which he is happy to support, but doesn’t really want to preside at all the time.

Easy, right? Proper and good for small rural congregations.

And it will be.

But first we have to sort out wine (for us: wine, fermented grape. for them: grape juice, must be non-alcoholic) then bread (for us: bread or wafers. for them: oatcakes) then the requirements of coeliacs (OK with wafers/rice wafers. OK with oatcakes. But since I suspect they won’t be happy with wafers and we won’t be happy with oatcakes…)

So what do you think? How do we resolve the wine/grape-juice/bread/wafer/oatcake situation?

I wonder what other unforseen challenges with arise.

19 thoughts on “one body

  1. Surely the answer is in the second sentence of the post? Am I right in thinking/remembering the wine is optional anyway. I am perfectly capable of getting it ‘right’ at other denominations, too much to assume others can too?

    Also perfectly capable of accepting guidance on this as well.

  2. You can get non-alcoholic Communion wine. But it tastes quite foul. I’d accept the grape juice (never ribena!) and ignore Lambeth 1888 – advisory never mandatory! But I’d do normal Piskie when you preside and normal CofS when it’s yer man!

  3. Ah but you see, ‘normal piskie’ would mean wine, and the claim that symbols are too important to mess around with.

    Whatever we do, it will be better than the time the school chaplain used a spiced, iced fruit bun.

  4. Could you serve both? Offer two chalices, and direct people so they’re in the right place at the right time.

  5. Once could — but I would not. That truly breaks the symbol.

    In my heart of hearts I don’t really understand the objection to wine in the chalice. One takes such a very small sip that I struggle to believe that there is enough alcohol consumed to do anyone damage.

    And as Graham has reminded us, if for some reason one cannot take the chalice (or the bread) — let us say due to a rare and severe allergy– then one can receive in one kind if necessary.

  6. one cup, one communion

    in piskie circles, the precedent for two chalices related to the opposition of women chalice bearers first (so, a ‘safe’ chalice and a woman’s chalice), and later to having a side altar with the reserved sacrament if a woman was presiding.

    once again, I can see the inconsistency in what I’m saying — in places that are large enough, we often have two chalices. But they are ‘the same’. Anything that leads to a moment of instruction that goes ‘sheep to the right, goats to the left’ makes me flinch.

    (Edye, it’s fun to have these debates again. It’s been too long.)

  7. That history would make me flinch as well, but it led to inclusion eventually, didn’t it?

    Aren’t the chalices ‘the same’ once they’re consecrated, and if it brings two communities together, then being bend-y is better than unyielding. I would hope that it would offer a “moment of instruction” that there is room for everyone and a space for dialogue.

    Wouldn’t it put a smile on your face if there was a trend toward one chalice?

    KB, if you would only lower yourself to presiding over a more southern flock/herd, these debates could happen more often. 😉 And, yes, it’s been too long.

  8. At my pre-ordination retreat before my deaconing, the ordinands asked for a Eucharist each day, though it had not, apparently, been planned. The only materials to hand were a bottle of port and some oatcakes, and nobody batted an eyelid. There is a debate to be had about the importance to the symbolism of consecrating what is a staple food in a particular culture: in Scotland, oatcakes qualify, I would have thought. The wine issue is perhaps more tricky for CofS, but red grape juice is a more appropriate colour symbolically than white wine, which would, ironically, fulfil the letter of the law for Piskies.

  9. Where was your pre-ordination retreat?? Surely by the second day someone could have found/ made bread?

    I accept that there may be times when oatcakes (or rice wafers) are permissible, but I stand by the idea the bread and wine are desirable.

  10. Experience has taught me, Kimberly, that there are very few grounds on which you could be expected to concede.

  11. Eamonn, I’ve deleted the bit of my comment that you thought was inappropriate, and part of yours (since it no longer will make sense to people). Sorry to cause offense. Since I was referring to something that happened quite publicly in worship I didn’t perceive it as private.

  12. Well, if the bread ought to be unleavened, use a matzo cracker (as Jesus might have). You may have to explain it to the congregation so that they get the symbolism and don’t think it’s a Jacob’s cream cracker. Fully agree on the iced bun and the one cup. Still don’t see the prob with grape juice rather than wine.

    The objection to wine does make sense to me who has had dealings with very devout types who are recovering alcoholics. For some, that tiny sip is all it would take to send tham on a serious bender. So it is grape juice or 1 kind which is absolutely alien to CofS mindset and which i think beaks the symbol just as much as the 2 chalices.

  13. There is excellent Episcopalian precedent for whisky and oatmeal, which the Viscount of Strathallan received as his Viaticum on the field of Culloden from the Reverend Mr John Maitland of Careston, Chaplain to Lord Ogilvy’s Regiment.

    Those who have problems with alcoholic drink can receive in one kind.

    Wine is poured and Bread is broken,
    But in either sacred token
    Christ is here by power divine.

    Whoso of this Food partaketh,
    Rendeth not the Lord nor breaketh:
    Christ is whole to all that taste . . .

    (S Thomas Aquinas)

  14. Kimberley – thanks for sharing some of the history of piskie women’s chalice bearing and presiding – I had no idea!

  15. Coming to this late, but I think there is an additional problem with the use of fruit juice/non-alcoholic wine in communion. One of the pragmatic reasons often given for the use of those horrible individual shot glasses at communion is that non-alcholic communion drinks lack the bactericidal qualities of alcoholic drinks. So, if you concede on the fruit juice you could find yourself facing a request for individual glasses on health and safety grounds.

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