Using gluten free bread at communion

breadI was touched to see this story discussed today.

It tells of an Episcopalian seminary which has moved towards using only gluten free bread at communion, as an expression of their inclusive hospitality. Having seen a number of articles over the years about the difficulties some people have over finding, or being permitted to use, gluten free wafers for communion, I thought this was a lovely solution to the problem. (Yes, I can see this might not work for all styles of communion).

The article does tell of the problems that they have experienced due to the crumbly nature of gluten free bread – which we can all confirm.

The answer is, of course, xanthum gum.

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Lucy is the mother of a coeliac, and has been managing a gluten free diet for her daughter for 20 years - though, to be fair, she does do most of it herself now...

7 thoughts on “Using gluten free bread at communion”

  1. I really appreciated reading this post. I am one of those people who has a difficult time taking the sacrament in our LDS church. I live in Arizona during the cooler six months and Utah the warmer six months of the year. Luckily in Ogden, there are three other people who share this problem and we have our own tray of bread blessed. I haven’t asked anyone to do this for me Arizona. But, I know they would be happy to do it. I’ll ask when we get there in October. Peggy

  2. Hi Peggy – what a wonderful lifestyle you lead, moving between two such beautiful places! Probably the best holiday I ever had with my husband was one exploring that area …

    I’m glad people are supportive in Ogden – there probably are people with the same issue in Arizona, as well, and there may even be people holding back from communion because they don’t like to ask, so I think you should definitely investigate when you get there. I hope it works out – please let us know how it goes.

  3. I have gotten different responses from both priests at my church, which has left me confused! I usually take the wine and not the bread,which always makes me stick out. I tried to take the bread last week. The priest lost my rice cracker and I was completely embarrassed for interrupting communion. I wish there was a good solution!

  4. Oh dear, Natalie – I can see that would be very embarrassing. How on earth did he manage to lose your rice cracker? I hope he was embarrassed too …

  5. My Catholic church in Midlothian VA, USA was the first one in the state of VA to have gluten free communion available. My daughter was getting her first communion and I went to them devastated because I would have to stand back and not participate.

    They had one other celiac in the congregation and offered to look into it. Now, the Catholic church has a policy, ALL wafers must contain gluten (don’t as, I don’t get it either, if it doesn’t have some wheat, apparently Jesus isn’t happy). So, for folks super duper sensitive this won’t work. However, what they do is make sure that it contains the absolute minimum amount to register at all on the gluten testing machines.

    The way they handle the wafers…. You get your package of 25 wafers and your own uh… wafer holding thing. (what they use to bring the Host to the ill at home) You bring the wafers home and store them in your fridge. At this point they are unblessed, and just gluten free bread chips.

    Sunday morning, you place a wafer into your little holder with your initials on it, and once you get to Mass you place it on a special plate at the back of the church. THat plate is brought to the altar and blessed. Your wafer is never removed from it’s container or touched by anyone else to avoid cross contaimination. One of the lines will have the plate of gluten free Hosts and you simply pick up your container, step to the side, take your host and move on to the wine if you choose. No one ever notices really. You get no one touching your Wafer but yourself.

    It’s a great system. When you get down to the last 5 or so wafers you let them know and they give you another 25.


  6. Wow, Laney, that does sound like a good system, and one that perhaps other churches could consider. I hope they got it in place in time for your daughter’s first communion.

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