When Communion is Poison

Having written about the inclusiveness of Communion.

I felt like admitting that often I can’t eat the elements.

I have a gluten allergy and a sulpher allergy, so the bread and wine, the metaphor and the representation of Christ’s blood and body can be a major problem.

Now many church’s in Australia will serve a seperate gluten free bread, and often grape juice is substituted for wine. But the sulpher from the fruit, will still send me into a stinging rash and feeling of weirdness that happens over my being.

If the elements are served individually, sometimes I might partly partake, but if the intinction method is employed a seperate cup or individual glasses need to be available to prevent gluten contamination in the communion wine. If you need to serve the elements but are unsure of allergic reactions please consult the people concerned or https://allergyfacts.org.au or https://www.coeliac.org.au.

Also to make matter’s worse I suffer from panic attacks and if this happens while standing in the midst of a congregation I feel like I will die both physically and metaphorically.

So sometimes I sit.

Sometimes  I stand with everyone and ask for a blessing instead.

Because being a part of God’s body is important to me I continue to struggle with this.

I tell my self that when I eat out with the women, that I am also participating in God’s Body there.

I tell myself that when I enjoy a coffee with a small group that I am participating in the sacrament then too.

My biggest concern is that I cause others to worry about me, either for my physical or my  spiritual wellbeing.

This ritual, this sacrament, as recorded in the Bible, as practiced by previous generations,   instead of making me feel included, can make me feel more isolated. I don’t believe that is the aim of it.

We are called to be inclusive, this practice is the physical statement of that. Personally I don’t feel excluded because this body I was born into fails me. God is so much bigger to me than that. Genesis tells me that all God made was Good. Me too.


Wendy L.





Communion as a place for Intergenerational learning and acceptance

My two favourite stories come from some of the youngest members in my care.

The first story is of a newly minted toddler, two weeks earlier she was a crawler, easily picked up by her parents when ever she moved out of range, and bought back to the fold.

Now she had disappeared. In any church a missing child is a concern but to an inner city church, a thousand awful  possibilites crossed my mind.

While some of us searched, and the concern was starting to swell forward from the rear of the church, communion was going on. Where did we find her, sitting at our Minister’s feet, waiting patiently for her “errant” parents (that seemed to be the look on her face) to join her so she could have communion.

The second was another slightly older child, who took to serving “communion” to his parents at the start of each meal.

These children regularly, every second week, participated, along with the other members of our congregation in Communion, which was an open table for “all who love Him, and those who want to love Him more”.

This truely intergenerational regular moment, was a true embodiment of remembrance of and for Christ.

Everyone who wanted to be was involved. Even Baby’s in arms were blessed,

Communion elements went to all, including the children.

It was a regular occurrence, meaning that even the most time pressured of parents, managed to participate regularly.

Children demonstrated, through their behaviour that they understood how important this event was, and that they wanted to be a part of it.

Adults allowed them to participate equally. Making space for families to be together, and not excluding the children.

Not every congregation has the capacity to frequently include communion, though some manage it every week.

Not every denomination, allows for an open table.

To me it seemed the most inclusive, intergenerational moment.

I am curious if others have had similar experiences. Or have other experiences of inclusivity.


Wendy L.