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This page last updated 15 August 2007  

Letters to AO

EVERY WEEK WE PUBLISH a selection of letters we receive in response to something you've read at Anglicans Online. Stop by and have a look at what other AO readers are thinking.

Alas, we cannot publish every letter we receive. And we won't publish letters that are anonymous, hateful, illiterate, or otherwise in our judgment do not benefit the readers of Anglicans Online. We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters. We edit letters to conform with standard AO house style for punctuation, but we do not change, for example, American spelling to conform to Canadian orthography. On occasion we'll gently edit letters that are too verbose in their original form. Email addresses are included when the authors give permission to do so.

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Letters from 6 to 12 August 2007

Like all letters to the editor everywhere, these letters are the opinions of the writers and not Anglicans Online. We publish letters that we think will be of interest to our readers, whether we agree with them or not. If you'd like to write a letter of your own, click here.

Eucharist and the art of motorcycle maintenance

After reading the article on the home page, it did set me to thinking. I would hope that both the priest and eucharistic ministers gave their hands a thorough cleansing prior to the beginning of the service. Whether they do this with triclosan-impregnated hand soap or with some form of ethanol-based hand sanitizer, it doesn't matter. Plain soap and water will do nicely, if they wash long enough, according to the Wikipedia link you supplied.

Using hand sanitizer should not be a necessary part of the lavabo. I suppose if someone wishes to do so, well, OK. But I think good hygiene would be implied in someone handing out the Most Precious Body and Blood. There are times I've felt just a bit embarrassed coming to the rail on Sunday morning after having spent part of Saturday doing motorcycle chain and sprocket maintenance. Grime of that nature often is not completely removable, except by time. Thankfully, I can't recall a priest I've known who was either a motorcyclist or sidelined as an auto mechanic. Of course now such professionals wear latex or nitrile gloves. Hopefully, we won't come to require those administering the sacraments to do likewise.

Robert Frederick
St. Andrews Episcopal
Panama City, Florida, USA
6 August 2007

Deadly serious

Although I can sympathize with the editorial writer with regard to excessive use of Purell and I entirely agree about the spiritual nature of the lavabo, there are larger issues in play here. Anyone who lived in Toronto through two SARS outbreaks will be aware of the atmosphere of fear which ran through our churches. Post-SARS, everyone is still aware of the dangers of infectious diseases passed largely by hand. Parish practices vary widely and many include the availability of Purell for congregants as well as clergy and communion distributors. Many also retain the traditional lavabo followed more discretely by Purell. Somehow the deaths, fear and near panic of the SARS days make it difficult to be frivolous about this issue.

Ann Tottenham
Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
7 August 2007

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Earlier letters

We launched our 'Letters to AO' section on 11 May 2003. All published letters are in our archives.


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