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Inventive vicar uses extra-long chopsticks to dish out bread to worshippers amid Covid pandemic

Communion by chopsticks! Inventive vicar comes up with clever way to dish out bread to worshippers amid Covid pandemic

  • Method used by Rev Eileen Harrop, vicar of St Mary’s, Gainford, County Durham
  • Vicar says using extra-long chopsticks allow her to pass bread at a safe distance 
  • Rev Harrop left Singapore for the UK in 1979 and was ordained in England in 2012

In a world changed by social distancing, everyone is looking for new ways to keep the old traditions alive. 

That has sparked one vicar to come up with an inventive to give bread during Holy Communion.

Tapping into her Southeast Asian heritage, the Rev Eileen Harrop, who is vicar of St Mary’s in Gainford and St Andrew’s in Winston, County Durham, is using extra-long chopsticks to pass the bread to parishioners while maintaining social distancing. 

Rev Harrop, who left Singapore for the UK in 1979 and was ordained in 2012, has since administered the bread at the Eucharist at both of the churches she serves.

Tapping into her Southeast Asian heritage, the Rev Eileen Harrop, who is vicar of St Mary’s in Gainford and St Andrew’s in Winston, County Durham, is using extra-long chopsticks to pass the bread to parishioners while maintaining social distancing

She said: ‘Many of my parishioners were quite anxious at the thought of taking communion, even though we are only permitted to do so under strict guidelines to ensure that there is no chance of transmission of the virus.

‘I thought ‘Why can’t I use a long pair of chopsticks, real bread rather than wafers, and drop it into the communicants’ hands?’

‘Administering the communion in this way ensures that there is no cross-contamination and my parishioners feel reassured and confident to take part.

‘It’s rather special that the long chopsticks I use are normally used for the festive occasion ‘Lo Hei’, meaning ‘stir the uplifted breath of life’.

‘They take on an even greater meaning used in this context.

‘This is a first for both churches, and perhaps a first in any parish church in the diocese.’

Rev Harrop came to Keele University in 1979 and met her husband of 35 years, Brian.

Rev Harrop, who left Singapore for the UK in 1979 and was ordained in 2012, has since administered the bread at the Eucharist at both of the churches she serves

Rev Harrop, who left Singapore for the UK in 1979 and was ordained in 2012, has since administered the bread at the Eucharist at both of the churches she serves

The couple moved to Singapore before relocating to the UK again in 1996, after which she was ordained in 2012.

The current Church of England Covid-19 advice for Holy Communion states that communicants should be offered only bread, not wine as there should be no ‘common cup’.

Mrs Harrop has been using chunkier bread rather than the traditional wafers for Communion as it is easier to grip.

The Eucharist is a key part of Christian worship and is celebrated around the world as a memorial of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The Church of England say the shared meal of bread and wine recalls Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples, where he associated the breaking of bread and sharing of wine with his own imminent death. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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