18 East 34th Street
Savannah, Georgia 31401
Revised guidance effective July 1, 2021.
Please note that communion in both kinds is authorized in the Diocese of Georgia including the common cup. See below for more information.
A letter from Bishop Frank Logue:
Dear Clergy and Lay Leaders of the Diocese of Georgia,
A year ago, I announced our first plans for returning to in-person worship in pandemic. I have so appreciated your patience with me and with one another during this difficult year and all the challenges it has meant for you and your congregation. I am writing to move all of our COVID-19 guidance from requirements to encouraged practices.
Within the Anglican Communion, the principle of subsidiarity, rather than a strict hierarchy, is an organizing principle. This emphasizes that many decisions should be handled at a diocesan or congregational level rather than as a church-wide matter. The Episcopal Church as a whole did not close all together as this is not the way our church functions. This announcement shifts the decision-making more fully on individual congregations, who through their canonical leadership will make the decisions appropriate for their context.
What changes will occur?
This depends entirely on the priests (whether rector or priest in charge) and the vestries. If everything is working for you, no changes are needed. If you would like to loosen restrictions, your decisions can be guided by your own knowledge of the conditions in your area. If changes are made, please keep within the broad recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, especially as they pertain to masking and social distancing for those who are unvaccinated. Please note that some communities in the diocese may still have mask mandates in effect and congregations in those areas must follow the law in those instances. As the context changes, any changes can be made as soon as is best for your congregation.
pax et bonum,
To assist parish leaders in setting their guidance, previous phases of our COVID guidance are archived here:
May 14, 2021 Guidance
May 19, 2021 Guidance for Phase 2
CoVID-19 and the Common Cup
The COVID-19 Pandemic has led to questions about the wisdom of receiving the Holy Eucharist from the common cup. While this is an understandable question, previous scientific consensus finds no basis for this particular concern.
According to the American Journal of Infection Control (Vol. 26, No. 5, 1998), “no documented transmission of any infectious disease has ever been traced to the use of the common communion cup.” This fits with a report in The Journal of Infection (Vol. 16, No. 1, 1988) which stated, “Currently available data do not provide any support for suggesting that the practice of sharing a common communion cup should be abandoned because it might spread infection.” A 2020 bulletin from National Institutes for Health indicated that the risk is very small and “available data do not provide any support for the suggestion that the practice of sharing a common communion cup can contribute to the spread of COVID-19”. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7439816/
Gathering in a contained space and sharing the air with an infected person does come with additional risk that is far greater than the common cup. Appropriate safeguards are already in place including wiping the interior and exterior rim and rotating the cup between communicants. Studies with various methodologies over the years have reached the same result: while there is a theoretical risk, the actual added risk is so small as to be undetectable. These findings are also before we consider from a faith perspective that every Eucharist is a healing service and there are benefits to receiving the body and blood of Christ in the bread and wine of communion.
Prudent Steps for All – Wearing N95 or KN95 masks for in person worship mitigates the risk of spread. As always, stay home of you are sick and don’t shake hands at the peace if you are recovering from an illness. A fist bump is perfectly fine as is standing in place as is looking those around you in the eye and giving a wave or placing your hand over your heart and saying “peace.”
A Pastoral Response – Offering communion at home for the very elderly and immune suppressed is a helpful pastoral response in communities where Coronavirus, the common flu, and other highly contagious diseases are known to be present.
Other COVID-19 Information