Living Dangerously

Yesterday I explained the risks of shaking hands at the Peace.  Did they pay any attention?  No, instead I saw some of them kissing!

We like to live dangerously here at St Mark’s.


33 thoughts on “Living Dangerously

  1. I had exactly the same experience in a warm, engaged and mission-minded couple of Churches in Milton Keynes. I said the stuff I was supposed to, but people just didn’t feel it’s necessary. One member of one congregation who has mental health problems was very distressed at the thought of the isolation of having to be at home — indicating the damage of another kind that would happen if a committee of experts with clipboards simply decided to close churches down as a trvial inconvenience.

    Can anyone find me any hard evidence that any human being anywhere ever caught any virus from taking communion from a common cup? That would beef up my words, perhaps, next week.

  2. They do it on purpose, you know. But you can work it to your advantage. Next week tell your congregation that instructions have come in from above that the generous tipping of the presiding priest after every service has been banned.

  3. I blew all the safety regs for my old church by turning up (late!) and being greeted warmly by parishioners. Apparently they had all been really well behaved during the peace though! Youth workers for you!

    Did you get much flack about the wine? I heard lots of grumblings in various places

  4. +Alan, I heard a gasp of horror when I said what we’d been told about sharing the chalice. Then I could feel rebellion in the air. It was almost palpable. And my server did mention that it showed a distinct lack of faith!

  5. Servers and i used holy hygeine foam before administrating. But none were used in the passing of the peace. That’s how dangerous we are!

  6. Okay, maybe it’s ‘cos I’m a presby… but would you never, ever, on any account, entertain wee individual cuppies – or idoes that just not even enter your stream of liturgical consciousness? Just curious.
    Place where I’m locuming does common cup and cuppies – folks who want common cup sit on one side of the church and those wanting the wee cuppies sit on the other. Amusingly, all the health professionals sit on the wee cups side!! :p

  7. Well Nikki, tell me where it says in Scripture that we should all use wee cuppies?! Don’t you remember how passionate we Piskies are about the Common Cup? Folk have died for less.

  8. Oh true Ruthie and if my tone was in any way snarky it was not intended… was just genuinely wondering if you’d even consider using the small individual things until the flu thing’s passed?
    re presby communion – personally, it’s the click, click, click’ of the cups as they’re put into the pew holders after having been used that drives me slightly nuts… and of course,’ resisting the urge to go ‘cheers’ before drinking….!!!
    I like the symbolism of the common cup, but it’s not one of those things I’d battle for. Which makes me wonder just what my bottom line would be as a minister.

  9. I suppose the version in Luke “Take this and divide it among you” could be interpreted as telling the disciples to put the wine into “wee cuppies”?

  10. As I understand it we are only at risk from the under 15s so if we get rid of them from the church…. oh, we pretty much already did that.
    Should be ok then.

  11. No wee cuppies. No way.

    It would have to be . . . I dunno, plague? Or wait, even if it was plague, we’d probably scrap the wine before we went with little cups. 🙂

  12. There seems to be an awful lot of selfishness around the blogs on this issue. Lots of people with preferences and principles who would “rather starve than eat an intincted wafer” etc. etc.

    Personally, I’m not that worried about the swine flu for myself, but if, because a lack of care on my part or a lack of courtesy in my congregation, a youngster died or an older person ended up with pneumonia , I don’t think I would be able to live with myself from then on. I don’t think I would want to risk that even if it was only a 1% chance of it happening.

    Get real people! Being told not to shake hands for a while is not worth you having a cow over. We have bigger battles to fight and our petulance over swine flu recommendations is not helping our cause in those bigger battles.

  13. Two points MadPriest
    1. Its not 1% risk, its waaaay less than that.
    2. Adults can take responsibility for themselves, children and vulnerable adults have people who can take responsibility for them. If they assess the risk as high for them, they can decide not to take communion. If you don’t offer it, you are removing choice from those who can assess risk adequately for themselves. Do you hold hands with your parishoners when they cross the road after the service in case they get run over?

  14. Well, we have swine flu going through our church at the moment. We have a congregation of about 150. So, I think your maths is a “wee” bit out.

    But you’re probably right. We should go back to chucking our faeces straight out into the street. Refuse collection – who needs it? And where have all those lovely, smelly factories gone that I remember from my youth.

    I shall pass your comment on to my local hospital. I’m sure they will be pleased to get rid of those expensive soap dispensers which they installed because old people kept dying of MRSA. I mean, would those health officials hold the hands of their patients when they cross the road after leaving the hospital.

  15. MP, the thing is our bishops have said diddly squat on the subject. Our Communication Officer sent out a link to the ABofC’s guidelines and said ‘this seems prudent’. As I see it, until my Bishop tells me this is how we’re dealing with it in Scotland I shall continue to give the choice to my little flock. Of course I am always obedient to my bishop.

  16. Perhaps your bishop is as scared of bolshie priests like you getting uppity as you are scared of your bolshie congregation getting uppity and so he dare not tell you anything.

    If you won’t make a decision then I think, at the very least, your vestry should – one way or another (that would be democratic). If you had a visitor at your church one Sunday they wouldn’t know who to follow.

  17. A few years back when MRSA started killing off people in English hospitals I found out that 75% of carriers were living at home at any one time. Mostly elderly people they were bringing it out of the hospitals and passing it round their peer group and then others would take it into the hospitals when they became ill or needed an operation. I also found out that it was people like myself going between old people in my parish that were part of the problem.

    So, I got hold of some antibacterial gel, which I had to get from the NHS at the time, and made sure I cleaned my hands when going into and coming out of my parishioners’ homes. I had my findings and recommendations published on the Diocesan mailing. I was ridiculed. Everybody thought I was overreacting.

    Of course, now hospitals have gel dispensers outside every ward and the simple act of cleaning hands has cut MRSA infection down considerably.

    Perhaps, it’s only when most of your work is with the frail, the sick and the dying that you get to understand what poor hygiene by professionals can mean to people with poor immunity. As, it seems to me, most priests are scared stiff of illness and death and avoid the ill and the dying like the plague, I have a feeling that their flippant attitude towards the health directives from the archbishops is just another manifestation of their determination to avoid the thought of their own mortality at all costs.

  18. No, Madpriest. Not quite. What you see here is not a flippant attitude to our archbishops, it is a flippant attitude to your archbishops. And particularly, a flippancy towards the advice of your archbishops being circulated in a different province with difference health priorities by our own College of Bishops, several of whom have published very different views to their own dioceses.

    What clergy in Scotland are left with is making the best decisions they can make on the evidence that is available to them.

    For me, that is the use of hand-gel and a request not to intinct. Right now, right here, that seems a proportionate response. That is not to say it will not change in time.

  19. As the Scottish Church does not have archbishops I assumed I would be understood to be referring to my archbishops.

    I apologise for any ambiguity on this matter.

  20. Boys, boys, boys! I step away from my Blog for a day and look at you squabbling.

    MP, I think you’re not hearing what we’re saying. And to imply that I’m not in touch with my own mortality or that of my little flock is just not true. But I shall take it up with my Vestry tomorrow and ask them to guide me. (Of course, I did ask my associate retired Bishop and he agreed with me.)

  21. Dearest, Ruth.
    You are most certainly not “most priests,” and Kelvin is about as far from being “most priests” as you can possibly get.
    “Most priests” are those others, not us.
    I had assumed we all took that as read.

  22. Women don’t understand men fights. They never seem to know the difference between play fighting and the rutting season.

    With you being Scottish and all that, I hope you appreciate my choice of imagery here.

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