As we move once again toward communion of two kinds (consecrated bread and wine), there are many questions about using a common cup. For many the common cup is a central part of Anglican theology and unity. Bishop John Baycroft, in his little book The Eucharistic Way writes, “We are reminded by the one cup that we cannot drink it alone. We drink from a common cup as a strong symbol of unity and our willingness to accept each other...”
For more theological reflections on the common cup here is an article by The Very Rev. Ansley Tucker, diocesan administrator and dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria. Link to article.
In addition, the Diocese of New Westminster received consultation from Rev. Michael Garner - the associate incumbent of St. Thomas the Apostle church in Ottawa. Before joining the priesthood, Rev. Garner worked in public health and epidemiology for more than 20 years, including 13 years as an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The full-length paper (below on the News Feed) was written for the national House of Bishops (Here is the link for online version).
His executive summary states:
Despite concerns about infection transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the common cup there are no documented cases, nor a mechanism of transmission that suggests any risk.
The route of SARS-CoV-2 infection is respiratory; the common cup exposes the Gastro-intestinal system to the substances in/on the cup.
While the surface of the cup does become contaminated with saliva, the ability to transmit an infectious dose of COVID through this surface exposure is extremely low.
The Cup Administrator does experience a small increase in risk because of mask removal by recipients of the cup; this risk can be mitigated by the Administrator wearing a high-quality well-fitting mask.
The greatest barrier to the successful reintroduction of the common cup is the perception of risk by the clergy/congregation.
Reintroduction should be accompanied by teaching and the continual option of receiving in one kind only.