As the COVID-19 virus continues to impact Latter-day Saints around the world, many wonder how to continue partaking of the sacred ordinance of the sacrament if Sunday meetings are canceled. For members of the Church, partaking of the sacrament weekly is an essential part of gospel living. Here is what the General Handbook states about administering the sacrament outside of weekly church meetings.
The bishop holds the priesthood keys for administering the sacrament in the ward. All who participate in preparing, blessing, and passing the sacrament must receive approval from him or someone under his direction.
If members of his ward are unable to partake of the sacrament because they are confined to a home, care center, or hospital, the bishop may authorize priesthood holders to administer the sacrament to them. He may authorize this even if they are temporarily outside his ward boundaries. However, he may not authorize the sacrament to be given to members outside his ward boundaries in other circumstances.
According to these guidelines for families in isolated areas, “The father or another priesthood holder may prepare and bless the sacrament if he is worthy, is a priest in the Aaronic Priesthood or holds the Melchizedek Priesthood.” Any priesthood holder may pass the sacrament. In all cases, authorization is needed from a bishop or presiding authority to administer the sacrament. Those involved in preparing the sacrament, blessing the sacrament, and passing the sacrament should strive to maintain the same level of reverence as if attending a Sunday meeting, including in dress and decorum.
Bishops and other Church leaders will work to help families understand the guidelines of partaking of the sacrament if Sunday meetings are canceled in your area. Help will also be provided to those without a priesthood leader in their home. If your meetings have not been canceled but you feel uncomfortable attending sacrament meeting, contact your bishop to receive authorization to hold the sacrament in your home or have the priesthood come to you.
Here are a couple of ideas to keep in mind as the coronavirus spreads in regards to the sacrament:
- The elderly and those with existing health conditions as especially susceptible to the COVID-19 virus. Anyone administering the sacrament to these persons should be tested for fevers and symptoms before administering the sacrament.
- Use gloves when preparing and administering the sacrament.
- Place pieces of bread in individual cups if administering to small groups to prevent contamination.
- Thoroughly sanitize all surfaces food or drink will come in contact with.