Keep Communion safe By Susan Delphine Delaney

By Susan Delphine Delaney

[Episcopal Life] About five percent of your church’s communicants have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that results in sensitivity to the gluten in wheat. Wheat is present in regular Communion wafers.

Those of us with celiac disease may suffer from the following symptoms if we ingest a regular Communion wafer: bone or joint pain; fatigue and weakness; gastric reflux; nausea and vomiting; diarrhea; or migraines. If I have regular wheat Communion wafers, I do not sleep for five nights.

Certainly, none of the above symptoms are the desired effect of “being fed with spiritual food” in the Eucharist.

Does your church have gluten-free Communion wafers? Do you make it easy for a person needing to be glutenfree to have one?

Recently, when traveling, I visited a large church. I had e-mailed the priest in charge of the Communion wafers five days before my visit. She assured me that gluten-free wafers were available. When I went into the sacristy before the service to remind her of my need, she began to explain to me just how difficult this was going to be for her.

I was taken aback, to be sure. It all worked out in the end. I got my gluten-free Communion wafer. I was fed with spiritual food with no harm to my body or my sleep.

Will you be ready for me when I visit your church? Will you be able to feed me with spiritual food that does not harm my body? Will you make it easy for me (and the five percent of your congregation who is celiac) to get a gluten-free Communion wafer? Ener-G Foods makes gluten-free Communion wafers. These wafers are a bit yellowish and do not lie flat.

Very-low-gluten wafers, which lie flat and are suitable for transport to the sick in a pyx, are available from [email protected]. These contain only 0.037mg of gluten per wafer. Some celiacs ingest just one quarter of these wafers.

 

— Susan Delphine Delaney, MD, a psychiatrist, is a parishioner of the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, Dallas. She has a private practice in Plano three days a week and works with homeless mentally ill persons in downtown Dallas two days a week. To respond to this column, email [email protected] We welcome your own first person column.

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Episcopal Life Daily, July 22, 2008

 

Episcopal Life Daily provides information and resources which we consider to be of interest to our readers.

However, statements and opinions expressed in the articles and communications herein, are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Episcopal Life or the Episcopal Church.

 

 

 

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