Friday, March 07, 2008

First Chalice

The past Sunday was my first time to be in charge of the chalice.

Sunday morning, Father John, the associate Rector, pulled me aside and asked me to administer the chalice. The lead Rector couldn’t walk due to a sprained ankle and John wasn’t feeling 100% himself.

I tried to talk him out of it, pointing out that I’m clumsy and haven’t even practiced it. But I didn’t want to say no to him. So I was volunteered. He showed me what to do. And thankfully, my words were reduced to “The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.” I asked if that conformed with REC rubrics, and he assured me it did. The usual formula at my parish is much wordier (and more Zwinglian, too). So I’m thankful I was given a much shorter sentence.

I vested for the first time. I wore the Rector’s vestments as we are very close in size and shape, but I otherwise vested like an acolyte as I am laity. Also, I did not participate in any way in the consecration. No lay presidency here.

Before the service, when we were praying in the vestry, I asked if there was a prayer against spillages. Father John later instructed me to avoid overfilling the chalice . . . then during the service filled it a bit too close to the brim for my comfort.

Fortunately, everyone was easy to give the chalice to. One two year old who usually takes a drink intincted, by his merciful mom’s instructions I’m sure.

I did help John consume the remaining wine. That knocked me for a small loop. Not even in college did I gulp down that much wine.

But I think I kept liturgical abominations to a minimum. And there were no spillages. So it went as well as can be expected.

And, yes, I would do it again. It’s a service beyond words.


RECCHIP said...


Great. You were following the real spirit of the canons. The canons state essentially that lay persons (other than seminarians) may do the chalice in extraordinary circumstances. To do it on a regular basis one must be licenced by the Bishop.

Canon 24 Section 1 (f) A Lay Reader may, at the request of the Minister in Charge, who shall declare a need for such ministry in
writing, be licensed by the Bishop as a Lay Cup Bearer, and when so licensed, may assist in the distribution of the Cup, but only in the presence of and under the supervision of the supervising Minister.

Good job!!

Chip in Virginia

texanglican said...

Well done, Newbie. Perhaps you should persue such a license from your bishop?

texanglican said...

BTW, Newbie, if the normal words of administration at your parish are those in the REC's BCP, they are the same as in the 1662 Book. But they aren't "Zwinglian," so have no fear. Indeed, the entire phrase seems to capture the spirit of the legitimate "Via Media" quite well. In the first sentence, "the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ" is a strong statement of the Real Presence. The second sentence is evocative of the continental Reformed tradition's more receptionist stream (I believe Bullinger was an influence on Cranmer here, but I may be mistaken). Placed together they are a fine pair, IMHO!

RECCHIP said...


If the following (from the BCP) is the words to be used, they are certainly NOT Zwinglian.

THE Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life. Drink this in remembrance that Christ’s Blood was
shed for thee, and be thankful.

Other similar words which people use are "The Blood of Christ, the Cup of Salvation." or "just "The Blood of Christ."

I think you will do great!!

Chip in Virginia

RECCHIP said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark said...

Interesting. I'll have to look more into these things.


wyclif said...


I was a bit nervous my first time. I wanted to make sure I was doing everything correctly, and as a result was over-analyzing it. So I asked the Rector for some pointers.

The Rector said, "You know, Daniel, there's only really one rule."

"What's that?" I said, leaning forward to capture his oracular wisdom.

"Don't ever, ever let go."

Anonymous said...

Good for you, newbie! What a great priviledge, what an awesome responsibility.