The Rivendell Community is glad to supply Communion wafers for gluten-free diets on request. Suggested donations:
$3.00 (plus postage)
$7.00 (plus postage)
We have been experiementing with the recipe, and have come up with one that yields better tasting
wafers of a more consistent shape and size.
Our wafers are made with very low gluten wheat starch, which is hard to find in the United States, but has been used in Europe for decades in gluten-free cooking. (Wheat starch has virtually none of the gluten normally found in wheat.) Containing less than 10 parts per million of gluten, these wafers are considered safe for almost everyone, and may be preferred over commercial wafers made with rice flour by those wanting to use the traditionally-approved elements. While gluten-free wafers are quite a bit more expensive to make and to purchase, normally a much smaller number is needed.
It’s estimated that about one in 133 people in the United States have celiac disease - most of
them undiagnosed. Celiac disease is a genetically inherited autoimmune disorder in which gluten, a
protein found in wheat, barley and rye, and in many manufactured foods, causes inflammation in the small intestine, producing a broad range of symptoms, and leading to serious complications. It can be debilitating and, if untreated, even fatal. In addition, as many as 1 in 4 people may have some degree of “gluten sensitivity“ or “gluten intolerance.“ Gluten potentially aggravates any autoimmune disease.
Many are convinced that a gluten-free diet alleviates autism; research on this is in progress.
At present, the only acceptable treatment for celiac disease is a strict gluten-free diet. Even tiny
amounts of gluten can cause illness and further damage. Since liturgical churches traditionally use wheat
bread for the Eucharist, receiving Communion poses a problem for those on a gluten-free diet. The
Bread of Life shouldn’t endanger health—and no one should be excluded from the Lord’s Table because of a physical ailment! Making provision for parishioners and visitors with this special need is a matter of pastoral care and hospitality.
How? People with celiac disease can receive Communion in both kinds by taking a gluten-free wafer and a chalice which has not been used for intinction (preferably at the beginning of the communion). If no gluten-free wafer is available, they may receive only the consecrated wine. Liturgical ministers (Altar
Guild, deacons and presider) should place the gluten-free wafers on a separate paten (or on the
corporal), and avoid any particle of bread in the chalice which is to be offered to those needing to avoid gluten. Gluten-free wafers should be stored and reserved in separate containers. Churches may want to
include a standing announcement of the availability of gluten-free wafers, along with the invitation to Communion for visitors, in their service bulletins.