Healthcare concerns and liturgical practices

Common cup
Current practice is to continue sharing the common cup. Those who do not wish to share it are asked to receive in one kind (Eucharistic bread alone).
(Pastoral letter, 2009)

Flu season
During the flu season, in the absence of directives from public health authorities, clergy and parishioners are encouraged to consider looking one another in the eye and warmly greeting one another without handshaking. (Memo to Clergy re H1N1, November 2009)

(The dipping of the Eucharistic bread in the wine so that the communicant receives both together.) This practice is being eliminated in the diocese, in light of health and liturgical concerns.
(Pastoral letter, 2009)

Lay visitors
Those who administer Holy Communion from the reserved sacrament should also take a share in serving as lay Eucharistic ministers at Sunday liturgies. Formation of ministers to the sick should include: biblical witnesses to sickness and healing; theology of intercession, the human person, suffering and death; liturgy and sacraments; pastoral skills of empathetic listening; ethical standards including confidentiality.
(Pastoral letter, 2010)

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Ministry to the sick
The Church's ministry to the sick is neither a promise of a cure nor a hollow gesture. Whatever the outcome of an illness, it is always an occasion for repentance and renewal.

Sacramental care encompasses the whole person; its ministry celebrates and welcomes the array of methods found to combat illness. It assumes a prophetic dimension when it challenges stigmatization and exclusion, as, for example, with persons living with HIV/AIDS. A preoccupation with physical healing can oversimplify God's will to the point that God is always set on the side of good health; scripture attests as well to the reality of lament. Parish communities act as healing communities in ways beyond sacramental ministry and collaboration with modern medicine. Visiting the housebound or hospitalized; addressing policies and practices that degrade health; supporting through prayer and measures such as prayer blankets, quilts, crosses and crafted goods are all signs of the community's concern.

Care for the sick is enriched by the work of the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer, the Order of St. Luke and the Ottawa Pastoral Centre.

With respect to alternative or complementary health practices, Christians affirm positive good from any source, while opposing as appropriate any practice that assaults, corrupts or destroys the creatures of God.

The rites of ministry to the sick are offered to any who feel the need of specific healing of body, mind and spirit and are especially appropriate at the time of discovery, a turning point, or at a time of great distress. The oil used is traditionally pure olive oil, blessed by a priest or bishop. No fragrance is added to the oil.
(Pastoral letter, 2010)

Rites of ministry to the sick
The oil used is traditionally pure olive oil, blessed by a priest or bishop. No fragrance is added (some fragrances can be allergens). A privileged way of blessing the oil is found in The Book of Alternative Services, p. 617. In the Diocese of Ottawa, the Bishop will bless oils for Diocesan use at the annual Synod Eucharist. Ministry with the sick or dying may include actions by the minister and people, in a rite following the Sunday Eucharist: gathering, proclamation of the word, prayer for the church and world and especially for God's healing grace, the Peace, communion.

Ordinarily a priest or bishop presides at a public service of healing. The ministry may be extended, however, to others demonstrating empathy, active listening, prayerfulness and patience, and who have received a theological and liturgical formation for this purpose. The ministry is under the direction of the incumbent or other member of the clergy in charge. Oil for anointing must be blessed by the bishop, or a priest (using the rite of the Book of Common Prayer, p. 585).
(Pastoral letter, 2010)

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