Intinction: Changes to Communion at Northminster

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Following last Sunday’s service, where Communion was by intinction, there were several comments heard
following the service concerning the Communion servers handing a piece of bread to communicants rather
than letting the communicants tear off a piece of bread, as has often been done in the past. Times are
changing and the trend now among more and more churches is to have the Communion server present a
piece of bread to the communicant and the reasons are both theological and hygienic. From a theological
perspective, communicants should receive the elements rather than take them. You are invited to research
the theology of Communion in greater detail, but a brief quote from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
sums it up: “The minister performs the visible word by breaking bread and pouring wine. The people receive
the Lord’s Supper.” From a hygienic perspective, it is a matter of one server (with clean hands) touching the
bread rather 50 or 60 communicants (perhaps with not-so-clean hands) each touching the bread and greatly
increasing the potential for contamination. For some, receiving the bread may seem to be an insensitive
change to the ritual they are used to, but with some reflection, it should be seen as a positive thing,
especially to those who are concerned about germs.