Tuesday, June 14

Gluten Free Communion/Sacrament

The topic of wheat-free sacramental or communion offerings has been an evolving topic since I was first diagnosed seven years ago. Below are links to solutions found by other practitioners of the gluten-free diet.

My religion, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has no stipulation that the sacramental offering be made of wheat, as it is in many other religions. So it should be no big deal right?

Big Deal! Having the courage to approach the pastor (for me, Bishop) with the details of a gluten-free need is a high hurdle. In our religion, the bread must be broken by those performing the ordinance in an act to symbolize Christ, so contamination issues arise.


"We'll break your bread before we break the other." That ended up being, "not always" and who would be responsible to train these people on the sensitivity and severity of this issue. In this case, bread in a baggie seemed to be the better answer.

For a while, I sat in the same row, front and center so it was passed to me first. That way, the offering didn't disappear before it reached me. That worked for a while. But there were days when I couldn't get there in time, (three children) and the seat was taken. Again, a hurdle. Every possible idea was entertained and finally I just brought a cracker in a ziplock.

In the end, as the need multiplied (more and more people in our church were diagnosed with celiac disease) the procedure changed. We now have between five and ten persons at one time in our building who need this service, so all of the offering is now gluten-free. It makes life easier for everyone.

I travel often and when I am visiting another church of our same faith, I revert back to using a g-f cracker in a ziplock and I speak to the person up front preparing the sacrament table (altar). I point out where I am sitting and ask that the bag not be opened, but to break it through the bag and then ask that one of the persons passing the sacrament bring it specifically to me.

This whole procedure - asking, needing, wondering, and particularly forethought and planning is out of my comfort zone, but knowledge and education is good for everyone. I figure I am doing a favor for the next celiac person who comes behind me.

That's what advocacy does.


mnmsalyer said...

Our ward (congregation) has a few people who need g-f sacrament, too, as did our last ward. The people who need it are the ones who bring it, usually either crackers or their bread in a baggie. I hadn't thought about being able to break the bread/cracker while it's still in the baggie. I'll suggest that to my son, who is usually one of the three young men doing that service. They do keep it in a whole separate tray which is then carried by a specific young man. He carries two trays and only give s the g-f things to the people who need it. I'm glad you've been advocating. It's a real condition and an important thing to address. Educating people about it in a positive way is never a problem, especially if you're prepared with a solution or suggestion.

Terina Dee said...

Amen. Thanks for taking the time to make that comment. I'm headed to summer away and I leave bags of bread mix for others to prepare.

Three people are taking on the seven weeks and they also have crackers in the office as back-up in case of emergency.

Indeed, it's a good thing to be able to serve in a positive way.