A village church in Yalding has become one of the first in the UK to perform “teetotal” Holy Communions.
The unusual step, taken to help recovering alcoholics, has been prompted by the church’s close association with the Kenward Trust which run a rehab centre in the village.
Residents at Kenward House are encouraged to get involved with the local community and attend the High Street church.
Rev Paul Filmer is now serving non-alcoholic Holy Communion wine to help recovering alcoholics
So rather than exclude them from taking Holy Communion – and sipping alcohol – their church has decided to go teetotal.
From this month all communion wine will be non-alcoholic so that addicts can fully participate in the Holy Sacrament, where wine represents the blood of Christ and the bread his body.
The Rev Paul Filmer, vicar of St Peter and St Paul Church, who is also chaplain to the Kenward Trust, said: “We have been deliberating over this issue for some time and we had two options:
“To have an ‘alternative’ non-alcoholic communion wine for those who preferred it, or to serve non-alcoholic wine to everyone.
“After much prayer and thought, we went for the latter as a more inclusive way forward and one which will not in any way stigmatise any members of the congregation.”