Welcome to St. Andrews!
We sincerely hope you will enjoy your visit with us and will want to come again. We especially want you to feel comfortable during the service and we hope this information about Holy Communion will help.
A: If you have been baptized with water in Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Ghost), believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and receive Communion in your own denomination, you are welcome to receive at our Altar as well.
A: The same guidelines as stated in the last question apply to them as well. The Episcopal Church no longer requires persons to be confirmed before they receive Holy Communion.
Q: How do I receive communion?
A: When your turn comes, go up to the altar rail with everyone else and kneel (unless you have a physical disability which requires you to stand). The wafer of consecrated Bread (called a "host") is received and carried to the mouth with both hands (to insure it doesn't fall).
The consecrated Wine is received by lightly grasping the base of the Communion Cup (called a "chalice") with the thumb and forefinger of one hand and helping the Chalice Bearer to guide it to your lips.
Q: If I want to receive the Body and Blood together, should I "dunk" the wafer into the cup myself?
A: No. Please leave it in the palm of your hand and let the Chalice Bearer "intinct" it for you.
Q: What if I don't wish to receive the consecrated Wine?
A: After you receive the host, simply cross your arms over your chest when the Cup comes to you.
A: (1) Obedience. We are confident that when Jesus instituted Holy Communion at the Last Supper, the cup that he took and said, "Drink this all of you" contained genuine wine. Therefore, we obey Jesus' command.
(2) Precedent. Jesus made good wine for a feast [John 2:1-11]
(3) Suitability. Jesus is not bland like grape juice, he is powerful like wine.
Q: What if I'm not baptized or I do not wish to receive Communion for other reasons?
A: You have two options at the time Holy Communion is given. First, when the communicants go up to the altar rail you may go with them. At that time kneel alongside them and cross your arms over your chest. This will signal the priest that you do not wish to receive Communion and you will receive a blessing.
The other option, if you don't feel comfortable going up to the altar rail, it is all right for you to remain in your pew while the communicants (those who will be receiving Communion) go forward. Those who will be receiving the Sacrament would like for you to be praying for them at this time.
Q: Does the "Common Cup" (everyone drinking from the same chalice) spread disease?
A: No. Christians have been sharing the Common Cup for about 2,000 years; ever since the Last Supper of Jesus with His disciples. In that time we do not know of a single case of anyone getting a disease from it.
The American Medical Association did a study of the Common Cup decades ago and concluded that the alcoholic content of the
consecrated Wine and the practice of wiping the Cup after each communicant receives prevented the spread of germs.
We in the Church tend to think of this phenomenon in other terms, however. We would say that it is the result of the grace of God in the Sacrament. The Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ conveys grace (God's unmerited favor to us) not germs.
Whichever explanation you prefer, you need have no concern. Episcopal priests consume what is left in the Cup after everyone else drinks and they are the second longest-lived profession in the USA (after Post Office letter-carriers)!
Q: What do I do after I receive Communion?
A: This is at your own option. We recommend additional prayer. Time spent talking to and listening to God is never wasted.
Q: Why isn't the service in modern English?
A: The Episcopal Church does provide services in modern English, however at St. Andrew's we prefer to use what is known as traditional language (sometimes called "Old English").
We use the traditional language at St. Andrew's for several reasons.
First, because it is able to convey a sense of the special quality of our time spent with God in worship. For the very reason that we don't normally use "thee" and "thou" in conversation, speaking them reminds us that we are about something extraordinary. In this case, extraordinarily important, meaningful and wonderful.
Second, because it conveys a sense of the awesomeness of God. There is a certain majesty, beauty, and poetry to the traditional translation which many of us find inspiring.
Third, because it is the language of love. "Thee" and "thou" is a more intimate way of addressing God. These are terms which those family members and close friends once used for one another. For example, the French language still retains this distinction, "tu" is for intimates, "vous" is for most people. Through our baptism into Jesus Christ we have become members of the household of God (Ephesians 2:19) and have received the privilege to address the Lord with such words.