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I Have Not Taken Communion....


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....for about 3 years.

 

I apologise if it's a bit off-topic, but I didn't know where to put it. (Mods, please move if needed, with my apologies!)

 

I have celiac disease, and the bread offered at communion would put me in bed for two or three days - yes, even just a tiny bite. So ... no bread. Also, no wine, as the people handling the wine might have handled the bread, and the cross-contamination just from that would hit me, hard.

 

I've never been sure of the etiquette about this. Does anyone here have any suggestions, or any experience with this. I do miss communion, but I'm so unsure about how to tackle this.

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This is difficult. A member of our church was able to meet all these safety requirements for her wedding - it was a big deal!

 

I don't remember your church situation. Does your church pass the elements or does everyone come to the front. In either case I don't see why a small plate with your elements can't be prepared in advance. Separate plate rice cracker? with small cup wine/grape juice. People with mobility problems or playing the piano are served separately often; so could you be. If it is a Catholic insisting that Jesus is only in wheat call me and I will slap them upside their head. :)

 

Dutch

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I have seen some churches mention gluten-free bread so I am sure it is yours for the asking. Gluten-free is the new fad, but the gravity of having celiac disease reminds me how important it is to have gluten-free bread.

Kay

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Dutch,

 

Thanks for having my back! :D Actually my church does (or used to) pass the elements, pew by pew - bread and "wine" (juice) both. I (will) attend the United Church, so I don't think the Catholic-wheat-only thing applies...though I've heard of it causing problems for Catholic celiacs. I guess it's something I will have to bring up with the minister. Am I the only celiac here? That almost never happens these days!

 

Kaykuck,

Yes, gluten-free is more popular these days. It's good, because that means there are more things available in stores and restaurants, and people don't look at you like you're completely insane. "Glu....ten.....? :huh: " *HOWEVER* the faddishness of it has taken away from the severity. If someone is eating gluten-free food because they want to cut out wheat, rye, barely, and oats, and someone accidentally cross-contaminates their food, or forgets to hold the croutons, it's ok. However, if that happens to me ... well I'll spare you the details, but it ain't pretty. I have to be so clear now about "gluten-free because of severe celiac disease" instead of just "gluten-free," lest they think I'm some kind of hippy. ;)

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Yes, unfortunately, "gluten-free" has become a diet fad thing, see it being recccomendned all over the place for any and everybody, as if gluten is somehow 'bad for' all humans to eat....I think you should stress that your own need IS based on actual celiac disease rather than fad and fashion.

Jenell

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I know my Mum (who is a celiac) takes her own bread (cracker) to church. When the elements are passed around, she will take a glass of wine (non-al) but eat her own bread. It might not be like a Catholic church (wouldn't know - never been to one) because the wine and bread isn't 'blessed' per se, so that doesn't even enter into the equation.

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Jenell,

While it's true that cutting out wheat can have benefits for people's general health (wheat is a bloaty food), you are right in that it's not a miracle cure for everyone, and it takes the attention away from issues like cross-contamination for those of us who have a serious issue.

 

Paul,

Interesting - so she just hangs on to it herself. I'm not Catholic (United Church), so maybe the little things like that don't matter as much? I don't know, but from what I've read about this issue on some celiac forums, the Catholic church has been pretty unfriendly about the whole thing. I haven't found any non-Catholics talking about it, which is why I wasn't sure what I should do. In my mind, whether the bread was part of the "official church plate" or not, it would likely be "blessed/acceptable" by virtue of intent and prayer, no? Hm. I'm curious as to what the minister at the church will say. She is quite forward-thinking and hip, so I feel like she will be accommodating and kind. Here's hoping!

 

Thanks everyone for your ideas! :)

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Paul,

Interesting - so she just hangs on to it herself. I'm not Catholic (United Church), so maybe the little things like that don't matter as much? I don't know, but from what I've read about this issue on some celiac forums, the Catholic church has been pretty unfriendly about the whole thing. I haven't found any non-Catholics talking about it, which is why I wasn't sure what I should do. In my mind, whether the bread was part of the "official church plate" or not, it would likely be "blessed/acceptable" by virtue of intent and prayer, no?

 

That's essentially how my Mum and I'm pretty sure how others in her Church, would see it. The bread and the wine to them, is simply symbolic, but associated with a deep, personal meaning. So to them its not 'special' bread or wine as such, just plain old supermarket variety grapejuice and crackers, eaten/drunk as a respectful gesture in memory of Jesus. Yep, she just holds onto it herself and when the plate is passed around, discreetly takes her own bread/cracker from her purse whilst passing the plate on. I don't recall it ever being an item of interest other than normal curiosty at first.

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Paul,

I agree with the symbolic viewpoint regarding communion. I've never felt that the bread/juice is *literally* the body and blood of Jesus, though I understand that some folks do. I think, for those folks, this whole thing would be a larger issue. I have a hard time understanding being so sticky about things, but I guess it depends on your viewpoint. Like, in a church that used actual wine - would they force it on a recovering alcoholic? I would hope not! But on some celiac forums, I've seen posts by Catholics saying that their priests have told them that their gluten-free needs mean their communion would not be "real" communion - a idea that, of course, is very upsetting to them.

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I agree with the symbolic viewpoint regarding communion.

It is also a ritual done with other people and can be quite intimate. In the two Metropolitan Community Churches (not my current church) I have attended communion is every Sunday. Several servers are at the front of the sanctuary. We can partake individually or with a partner or as a family. The server will pray with/for us if desired. It is a powerful experience.

 

Dutch

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Dutch,

That sounds like a really neat experience! Is it a big church or a small church? What an involved, inclusive way to share communion. Sounds lovely!

 

Minsocal,

Amen! I find it hard to picture Jesus saying, "Oh, you have celiac? Sorry you have to have the bread that's going to turn your belly inside out for the next three days, or you have to sit on the floor." And yet, that's what some churches are telling celiacs. :angry:

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Both churches(San Diego and Denver) are 5o-100 at worship. It is the gay men church primarily. In the Denver church which my family attended for 6 mopnths the exuberant worship caused my daughter to refer to it as the party church. Sometimes it felt like an Exodus celebration. Preaching at both was excellent.

 

From what I learned about the Denver church they were evolving more than most so what I say reflects the Denver church in 2002. I would expect the same communion but a more diverse congregation.

 

Dutch

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