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Bless you!

Though the number of new cases of swine flu has fallen from its summer high of 100,000 to 30,000 per week, nevertheless experts are predicting that there will be a second and much more widespread phase of the pandemic this coming autumn and winter.

With this in mind, the government has issued advice to churches through the different denominations and affiliations on how to be prepared for an increase in the spread of the influenza A H1N1 virus. It was reported in The Times and The Daily Telegraph on July 24 that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York had written to their 16,000 clergy asking them, for the first time ever, not to share the chalice (common cup) at Holy Communion but, rather, to dip communion bread in the cup. This advice was not even given during the great Plague in the 17th century, although, of course, our understanding of hygiene has advanced since those days.