Saturday, February 24, 2007

Lipstick On The Communion Chalice

A lovely and cosmetically-conscientious reader says,

"Hello Peacebang!

Big problem for a chalice bearer and future Episcopal deacon. Lipstick on the chalice at communion is a nasty thing, and shouldn't be put there by someone who has to wipe it off! What's a good lipstick that will adhere to the lips and not come off on the chalice? I've been doing without on Sunday but now that I'm fiftysomething and rather white-haired, I could use a little more color.
Thanks from a fan.

Dear M,

Oh, ewww! I hadn't thought about the problem of lipstick residue on the Communion chalice, but you're good to bring it to my attention.

PeaceBang is a huge fan of CoverGirl Outlast All Day Lip Color in Blush Pearl and wears it every Sunday to church. Any of the CoverGirl Outlast All Day colors are good, since the moisturizing topcoat is no very emollient but not gooey.

I often wear it with another lipcolor on top, but it works great on its own.

Let us know how it works!
Kiss of peace to you!



Anonymous madgebaby said...

I can attest to the fact that the covergirl outlast is great at the altar on both sides of the rail ;)

It doesn't stain linens, either, which means a much happier altar guild

5:01 PM  
Blogger Earthbound Spirit said...

Perhaps I'm stupid about this - but in seminary communion is done by intinction, with the bread being dipped into the wine or juice. Far more sanitary - and no lipstick on the chalice.

Must you actually drink from the chalice in your tradition?

7:23 PM  
Anonymous mrs. philocrites said...

This is difficult to do if you're up at the altar, but when I'm receiving communion I always try to blot my lipstick or lipgloss beforehand and just reapply it later.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Indie said...

I was going to ask the same question. I'm also a chalice bearer but was wondering about this when I first started going to a church that does communion this way.

Earthbound spirit, its not about being forced to drink directly from the chalice. A lot of people intinct and a few skip the cup altogether. But I find it more meaningful to share the cup. Its hard to explain. I used to think it was gross though.

I'm glad to know that this stuff doesn't stain since I'm both a chalice bearer and on the altar guild. I have found that it has a tendency to dry out my lips if I wear it everyday so I think I'll stick to the days that I'm receiving Eucharist.

7:49 PM  
Blogger Indie said...

Also, when I'm serving on the altar I have to drink whatever remains at the end so I have to get over the germ thing one way or another.

7:51 PM  
Anonymous carolinedivine said...

Um, doesn't anyone use purificators? They're those little white altar napkins (used in Catholic and Episcopal churches) which every chalice bearer gets handed (or picks up) along with the chalice. So if you are a communion minister, you wipe the edge of the cup after each person drinks and then turn the cup very slightly for the next person.

So the lipstick issue then becomes one only for the laundry, but a bit of bleach in the washer takes care of that.

As for drinking from the chalice, unless there is an epidemic illness going on (in which case --say when the bird flu comes -- we go back to intinction, I suppose), it's a much more powerful symbol than intinction (which by the way is not done in all seminaries, not at all -- it's up to the individual, at least at the Episcopal semninary with which I was most recently associated). At one of my congregations (a Catholic one, in my pre-Episcopal days) we used to refer ruefully to intinction as "chip 'n dip" and get affectionately literalist. You know, about how Jesus said "take and drink" and not "take and dip."

As for the little dixie cups (shot glasses?), don't get me started. Talk about messing up the symbolism of unity. But this isn't a liturgical theology discussion group, so back to lipstick. (And I apologize if I sound intemperate, I don't mean to offend, it's just I have a strong liturgical bias, as do most people; so we get all emotional about them.) I'm going with Clinique Colour Surge; stays on much better and longer than the other Clinique lipsticks, though I still have those too because I like the colors and I refuse to throw out good lipstick.

2:49 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Covergirl Outlast is amazing. Nary a smear on the chalice. If it weren't Lent I'd be saying the "A" word multiple times! And, dear Caroline Divine, the altar guild is not pleased when lipstick gets on the purificators, and not for all the world would I intentionally displease them.

3:02 PM  
Anonymous carolinedivine said...

Aieee! I would not want to displease the altar guild either. In recent years (except for a one year sojourn in a large church) I have been in either tiny congregations or campus ministries where there was no altar guild (we just took turns doing the laundry) so I haven't got a good altar guild reflex. Thanks for the reminder. Haven't had problems with stains on my white handkerchiefs with the various Clinique lipsticks I use, in any case, so maybe that's a good test.

Coincidentally I was a chalicer this a.m. I confess I am so absorbed in the moment that lipstick is far from my mind,I mostly think about Jesus and the community and doing what I am doing, but I did briefly have a lipstick thought when I picked up the purificator!

4:31 PM  
Anonymous madgebaby said...

I love the common cup, and I think so long as you use actual wine and use a purificator properly (wiping with a clean part of the cloth and turing the chalice with each communicant) the risk of common bacteria and viruses being transmitted is pretty miniscule.

Of course, if a person knows they are communicable or if they have a compromised immune system, they should intinct, and if you have a grape juice chalice that should be intinction only.

In the Russian Orthodox church, they mix the bread and wine together and use a little spoon to distribute. A priest I knew a long time ago said he had comsumed the remainder of that divine slush for two decades and had never gotten so much as a cold.

As far as the shot glasses go--I grew up with those. "let us drink wine together on our knees" has a much nicer ring than "let us drink hermetically sealed cups of grape juice sitting together in the pew"

I've found oxy-clean does a nice job with both lipstick stains and wine stains on linen, without yellowing or weakening the fabric, but traditionalists may balk.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Jeannie said...

covergirl outlast is fabulous! i also recommend the Maybelline version: superstay lipcolor. :)

12:03 PM  
Blogger Earthbound Spirit said...

Thanks for the information. Not being accustomed to eucharistic services at all, I only know what I see - and what I see is intinction at weekly chapel. I understand the symbolism better now - but it still feels wrong to drink from the same cup. That's probably my current CPE placement - washing my hands many, many, did I say many? time every day...

8:29 PM  

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