The contentious issue of allowing communion in churches during the COVID-19 pandemic has been resolved with the island’s churches now able to administer it, once there is no physical contact between worshippers or between officiant and worshipper.
This change, which was among several announced on Friday night by Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan, during a press conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, came as a result of suggestions brought by church leaders during consultations with Government.
In registering his satisfaction with the offerings put forward, Minister Jordan said some of the examples included prepackaged communion sets; applying the host by dropping it into a palm without touching worshippers; and no use of the communion cup and the sharing of the bread using serving tongs.
He also noted the proposal for virtual communion services, which he said some places of worship had already started to do.
This process saw persons in their homes, under the online guidance of the officiant, who is in his/her own home, guiding persons, families or households to undertake communion in their own home.
Mr. Jordan added that church leaders had shared with him that worshippers in some places and in some denominations could be allowed to bring their own emblems with them so the communion service would not involve taking them from someone else.
“These are some examples that were given but the general statement is that the communion service can take place once there is no physical contact between worshippers or between the officiant and the worshippers,” he stressed.
While the Social Partnership Minister noted that church leaders were also committed to sharing how other church rituals could be conducted in a way that is both contactless and capable of reducing risk, he pointed out that the current directive would last for two weeks, and there would be opportunities to address some of these in a new directive.