The Return of the Common Cup

Dear Christ Church,

I’m excited to let you know that on August 13th we will return to the “common cup” for Holy Communion. Let me unpack three phrases from that sentence . . .

“Common Cup.” This phrase refers to the use of chalices during Communion to communicate the wine, which chalice bearers will offer as they walk down the line of parishioners. This will replace pouring from a pitcher (aka “cruet”) into the small disposable plastic cups you’ve been receiving as you come forward. Communicants may either drink from the cup or dip (aka “intinct”) their bread into the wine. To help explain some considerations and address some questions, we’ve put together this FAQ which we hope you find informative and helpful.

“We Will Return.” Use of the common cup is the way that most Christians around the world and throughout history have received the wine at Communion. This was our parish’s approach for over 60 years, suspended temporarily during the pandemic, to which we now return. If you’ve come to our church in the past few years, this might feel like a new thing we are doing, but we are actually resuming an old (even ancient) tradition of the church.

“Holy Communion.” The words “communion” and “common” are clearly from the same root. St. Paul reminds the church in Ephesus that “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord,one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” What a beautiful demonstration of this truth for the diverse body of Christ to consume bread from one batch of dough, and wine from a common cup. The FAQhas some further reflections on the theological significance of the common cup.

Christ Church, it is a joy to worship with you, commune with you, and serve as your Rector. This is also a good moment to communicate my gratitude for how you adapted and persevered through so many different ways that the pandemic interrupted and challenged our life together. I thank God for your resilience, courage, and love.



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