The time has come for us to reopen the altar rail as the primary place of reception for communion. We will begin this shift this Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, December 3, at both our 8:00 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. services. We’re excited that we have enough liturgical volunteers to manage this and to welcome you all back up to the high altar for your reception of the sacrament.

Procedures for the 10:15 a.m. service

At the 10:15 a.m. service, when you are released from your pews by the ushers, please make your way forward. There will be an usher at the base of the stairs to indicate when you should process up to the altar. Do not worry about walking past Kevin and the choir if they are singing—they know you will be coming through and are fully in favor of it.

When you get to the altar rail, fill in from the middle to the wall. Kneel as you are able (if you cannot kneel, simply remain standing). A priest will come by and give you the host.

If you plan to sip from the chalice, consume the host leaving your hands empty.

If you plan to intinct (dip) the host in the wine, keep the host in your hand.

The chalice bearers will come by offering you either the large chalice to sip from or a small intinction chalice for you to dip into.

If you would prefer not to receive the wine, simply cross your arms across your chest and let the chalice pass by. Of course, you are always allowed to simply receive a blessing instead of the bread or wine. Just cross your arms across your chest as the bread comes by and the priest will be glad to offer a prayer for you. Once the chalice has passed by you, please stand up and walk out the side and down the side aisles to return to your pew. Please do not go back down the middle aisle.

We will maintain one standing station on the floor beneath the pulpit for those for whom navigating the stairs will prove a safety hazard. We strongly encourage everyone else to come forward to the altar rail.

If you will be accessing the standing station, please join the line coming down the left side of the center aisle when you are released from your pew. That station will only have bread that has been dipped into the wine. 

Procedures for the 8:00 a.m. service

At the 8:00 a.m. service, come down the right aisle and fill in the altar rail from right to left. Follow the instructions above for the reception of the sacrament. When finished, make your way down the left aisle and return to your pew.

There will be a standing station on the floor, in front of the chapel lectern if navigating the chapel stairs will prove unsafe for you.

A word about intinction

The Diocese of Southern Virginia would like for everyone to know that, from an epidemiological standpoint, intinction is a far riskier activity than sipping from the common chalice. You may read more from St. Columba’s Episcopal Church here and from the NIH here.

The danger is that one’s fingers will touch the wine that others will also be sipping from. In order to reduce that risk, we ask everyone to please sanitize their hands before coming forward, and to be mindful of how you are dipping your bread into the wine. We will also be using a smaller intinction chalice thus lowering the chance of contamination and keeping the chalices from which we sip and into which we dip, separate.

I know this shift will be an adjustment given that we have spent the last few years in a modified form of reception during communion. But I would remind us that this is really more of a return to how communion has flowed at Christ & St. Luke’s for over 100 years than it is a new practice. And I feel there is a profound value, not only in our community coming forward fully to the altar area and thus feeling some ownership of that holy space, but also for all of us regardless of who we are or where we come from, to kneel, shoulder to shoulder, equal in our humanity and our need for God’s grace. That, to me, is a picture of the Kingdom of God which we are building in our worship and in our lives.

I’m sure it will take us a few weeks to get comfortable with this new flow, but I have every confidence we will manage it just fine. If you have questions, feel free to ask an usher, and don’t worry about “doing it wrong.” We’re all in this together. That’s really kind of the point.

With Love and Prayers,

Fr. Noah

Upcoming Events

Event Series Queer Theology Book Club

Queer Theology Book Club

Christ & St. Luke's 560 West Olney Road, Norfolk, VA, United States

It is a parishioner-led group reading literature to explore Queer Theology more deeply. We will explore how members of the LGBTQIA+ community are not just accepted in the Episcopal Church and are…

Women of Wisdom

Christ & St. Luke's 560 West Olney Road, Norfolk, VA, United States

Women of Wisdom is a group of women who meet monthly to read and discuss a good book, plus we enjoy being together! Join us. WOW will meet again on…

Event Series Pub Theology Club

Pub Theology Club

Pub Theology Club is a community of respect where young adults can explore questions about humanity and the divine without fear and without judgment. We meet every other week. Sometimes…

Recent Articles

Setting up your online pledge

When you click the button below, be sure to select "Pledge Income" from the Funds dropdown list. You can then choose whether to make a one-time pledge gift or a recurring pledge gift. Feel free to contact the church office with any questions.