The swine flu scare has religions rethinking religious practices. Entrepreneurs see a market:
A company called Purity Communion Solutions was founded in 2007 to market “germ-free products that take the worry out of contracting germs while receiving communion, and ultimately increasing communion participation and church attendance.” Purity Communion Solutions already has 375,000 client churches, church supply houses and the like, and its Web site features all sorts of information about the H1N1 virus, as well as products that aim to keep you in church, and keep you healthy. They include an automated host dispenser in gold, silver, or white, as well as wafers infused with wine: “Improved taste and texture” and “eliminates germs, spills & waste.”
The ComPak Company of Fayetteville, Ga., has been at it even longer, since 2003, and their Celebration Cup is increasingly popular, according to company president Robert Johnson. “I can’t necessarily attribute the growth to concerns about it [the flu virus] but we are hearing more concerns about it,” Johnson said, adding: “People want the convenience; they want the sanitary scenario the cup provides, and there are more people going to church” because of the down economy, he said. It all adds up to a greater market at a time when customers — congregants — are concerned about actually going to church.
The Celebration Cup looks like an oversized version of the jelly packets you get at a diner, only in this case you peel back the first air-tight seal to reveal the wafer, then you peel back another seal to drink the grape juice. (Johnson says they are working on the permits to allow them to ship wine in the containers: “Wine is in our pipeline.”)
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