Title:
COMMUNION TRAY COVER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The Communion tray cover is a cover for removably covering one or more Communion trays during religious services. The tray cover includes a top panel and a side panel or wall depending therefrom. The height of the side panel may be configured to extend from the top of a single tray or a plurality of stacked trays to the underlying surface. The top includes a crucifix clearance passage therethrough, and lifting tabs extending from opposite edges of the top panel. Alternatively, radially opposed lifting straps may be provided upon the top panel. The top and side panels are formed of any suitable fabric material, and may have a plain finish or a decorative finish, e.g., brocade, if desired. A satin inner liner of silk or other finely woven fabric is provided within the top and side panels. The side panels may be partially or completely pleated.



Inventors:
Simms, Shirley R. (Petersburg, VA, US)
Application Number:
13/072447
Publication Date:
10/13/2011
Filing Date:
03/25/2011
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/19
International Classes:
A47G33/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090308875Device for opposing sloshing in a flexible tankDecember, 2009Olive
20090293593Slurry Transport And Storage SystemDecember, 2009Geyer
20060186117Discharge apparatus for a shipping containerAugust, 2006Podd
20090183531Washing Drum For A Laundry Treating MachineJuly, 2009Heubner et al.
20030089721Assembly and method for collecting and storing waste tobacco productsMay, 2003Becker
20090127264RESEALABLE GIFT PACKAGINGMay, 2009Yang
20090194542Threaded food container with presserAugust, 2009Hong
20070187411Cart for plumbing suppliesAugust, 2007Mysak
20020096527No-waste paint bucket with brush caddyJuly, 2002Arenas et al.
20030006155Toolbox with flippable upper lidJanuary, 2003Ching-hui
20050218013Container cover and holderOctober, 2005Tabeshnekoo



Primary Examiner:
HICKS, ROBERT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard C. Litman (Alexandria, VA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A Communion tray cover, comprising: a top panel having a crucifix passage disposed substantially centrally therethrough, the top panel having a circular periphery; and a side panel depending from the top panel, the side panel having an upper edge joined to the periphery of the top panel, the side panel having a lower edge opposite the upper edge, the top panel and the side panel defining a Communion tray enclosure, the Communion tray enclosure having an open bottom.

2. The Communion tray cover according to claim 1, wherein the top panel and the side panel are made from fabric, the tray cover further comprising a satin inner liner disposed within the top panel and the side panel.

3. The Communion tray cover according to claim 1, further including diametrically opposed first and second lifting tabs extending from the juncture of the top panel and side panel.

4. The Communion tray cover according to claim 3, wherein each of the lifting tabs has a permanently attached end and a distal end opposite the permanently attached end, the tray cover further comprising: a first fastener disposed upon the distal end of each of the lifting tabs; a second fastener disposed adjacent the permanently attached end of each of the lifting tabs; and a pair of third fasteners disposed upon the side panel, each of the third fasteners being spaced apart from the permanently attached end of a respective one of the lifting tabs, the first fastener of each of the lifting tabs being selectively and removably attachable to the corresponding second fastener or to the corresponding third fastener.

5. The Communion tray cover according to claim 1, further including radially opposed first and second lifting straps disposed upon the top panel.

6. The Communion tray cover according to claim 1, further including a pleated skirt extending to the lower edge of the side panel.

7. The Communion tray cover according to claim 1 wherein the side panel has a solid geometric shape selected from the group consisting of cylindrical and frustoconical.

8. A Communion tray cover, comprising: a top panel having a periphery; a side panel depending from the periphery of the top panel, the top and side panels being formed of fabric; and a satin inner liner disposed within the top panel and the side panel.

9. The Communion tray cover according to claim 8, wherein: the top panel has a circular periphery and a crucifix passage disposed substantially centrally therethrough; and the top panel and side panel define a Communion tray enclosure, the Communion tray enclosure having an open bottom.

10. The Communion tray cover according to claim 8, wherein the side panel has an upper edge, the upper edge of the side panel being joined to the periphery of the top, the tray cover further comprising diametrically opposed first and second lifting tabs extending from the juncture of the top panel and side panel.

11. The Communion tray cover according to claim 10, wherein each of the lifting tabs has a permanently attached end and a distal end opposite the permanently attached end, the tray cover further comprising: a first fastener disposed upon the distal end of each of the lifting tabs; a second fastener disposed adjacent the permanently attached end of each of the lifting tabs; and a pair of third fasteners disposed upon the side panel, each of the third fasteners being spaced apart from the permanently attached end of a respective one of the lifting tabs, the first fastener of each of the lifting tabs being selectively and removably attachable to the corresponding second fastener or to the corresponding third fastener.

12. The Communion tray cover according to claim 8, further including radially opposed first and second lifting straps disposed upon the top panel.

13. The Communion tray cover according to claim 8, further wherein the side panel has a lower edge, the tray cover further comprising a pleated skirt extending to the lower edge of the side panel.

14. The Communion tray cover according to claim 8 wherein the side panel has a solid geometric shape selected from the group consisting of cylindrical and frustoconical.

15. A Communion tray cover, comprising: a top panel having a periphery; a side panel having an upper edge, the upper edge of the side panel being joined to the periphery of the top panel; and diametrically opposed first and second lifting tabs extending from the juncture of the top panel and the side panel.

16. The Communion tray cover according to claim 15, wherein the top panel has a circular periphery and a crucifix passage disposed substantially centrally therethrough, the top panel and side panel defining a Communion tray enclosure, the Communion tray enclosure having an open bottom.

17. The Communion tray cover according to claim 15, wherein the top panel and the side panel are made of fabric, the tray cover further comprising a satin inner liner disposed within the top panel and the side panel.

18. The Communion tray cover according to claim 15, wherein each of the lifting tabs has a permanently attached end and a distal end opposite the permanently attached end, the tray cover further comprising: a first fastener disposed upon the distal end of each of the lifting tabs; a second fastener disposed adjacent the permanently attached end of each of the lifting tabs; and a pair of third fasteners disposed upon the side panel, each of the third fasteners being spaced apart from the permanently attached end of a respective one of the lifting tabs, the first fastener of each of the lifting tabs being selectively and removably attachable to the corresponding second fastener or to the corresponding third fastener.

19. The Communion tray cover according to claim 15, wherein the side panel has a lower edge, the tray cover further comprising a pleated skirt extending to the lower edge of the side panel.

20. The Communion tray cover according to claim 15, wherein: the side panel has a solid geometric shape selected from the group consisting of cylindrical and frustoconical; and the top panel and the side panel have patterned exterior surfaces.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/282,838, filed Apr. 7, 2010.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to articles used in religious services, and particularly to a communion tray cover used to cover bread and wine during Mass or other church services until needed for communion.

2. Description of the Related Art

A number of different religious denominations hold Communion or Eucharist services. Such services generally provide consecrated bread or wafers and wine or juice elements as representations of the transubstantiated body and blood of Jesus Christ. Such services are generally a very important rite in most religions that celebrate Communion or the Eucharist, and are considered sacraments or ordinances in various churches. Accordingly, the consecrated elements comprising the bread or wafers and wine or juice are placed in appropriate containers or trays, and are generally covered until the elements are needed during the service. At least two trays are provided, one (or more) holding the bread or wafers and the other(s) holding the wine or juice. Trays containing like elements are generally configured for stacking atop one another where a large service is to be held.

The trays are usually provided with a rigid lid or top of like material to that of the tray, e.g., a polished metal, etc., placed atop the topmost tray in a stack of trays. These lids or tops are often referred to as “covers,” although they more accurately have the form and function of a container lid or top. In addition, it is customary in many services to cover the plurality of trays with a tablecloth or other large cloth sheet before the elements are dispensed during the Communion or Eucharist service. Oftentimes, this cover sheet is essentially identical to the tablecloth used to cover the Communion table upon which the Communion trays are placed. This results in a shroud-like appearance, with the plain white appearance of the cover sheet or cloth concealing the elegance of the Communion or Eucharist element trays themselves. Moreover, such cloths use more fabric than is needed, and do not conform to the dimensions or shape of the implements being covered.

Thus, a Communion tray cover solving the aforementioned problems is desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The Communion tray cover may comprise any of several embodiments. Each of the embodiments includes a circular top panel having a continuous side panel or wall depending therefrom. The side panel or wall may be of any practicable height, but is generally configured to extend from the top panel to the underlying surface when placed atop one or more Communion trays. The side panel may have a cylindrical or frustoconical configuration, as desired. The top panel includes a crucifix clearance passage therethrough, and the side panel or wall may comprise or include a pleated skirt, if so desired. The device is made of fine fabrics, with the outer surface being either plain or patterned, as desired. A satin inner liner of silk or other very finely woven fabric is installed over the inner surfaces of the top and side panel or wall.

Two diametrically opposed lifting tabs are provided, the tabs extending from the juncture of the top panel and side panel or wall. Alternative attachment means (e.g., snaps, etc.) are provided to secure a removably attachable end of each tab to the body of the cover. An attachment is provided near the base of each tab, allowing the tab to be secured back to itself to form a closed loop. Another attachment is spaced apart from the permanently attached end of each tab, allowing the removably attachable end of the tab to be secured away from its permanently attached end in the manner of a belt loop or the like. Alternatively, the lifting means may comprise two radially opposed straps extending from the center opening of the top panel toward each edge thereof.

These and other features of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is an environmental, perspective view of a first embodiment of a Communion tray cover according to the present invention, showing its general features.

FIG. 1B is an environmental, perspective view of a second embodiment of a Communion tray cover according to the present invention, showing its general features.

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the Communion tray cover of FIG. 1A, shown being lifted from a series of stacked Communion element trays by means of the lifting tabs or loops provided.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the Communion tray cover of FIG. 1A, showing the underlying tray lid being lifted from the underlying trays by means of the crucifix extending through the cover from the tray lid.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a third embodiment of a Communion tray cover according to the present invention, showing its general configuration.

FIG. 5 is a detailed perspective view of a fourth embodiment of a Communion tray cover according to the present invention, broken away and showing alternative lifting tab or loop configurations and the satin interior liner material of the cover.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a fifth embodiment of a communion tray cover according to the present invention, with the fifth embodiment having radially opposed lifting straps on the top panel and a side panel having pleats extending from the upper edge to the lower edge thereof.

Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The Communion tray cover has several embodiments, each providing attractive and decorative concealment and protection of the underlying Communion trays prior to their use in a Communion service. The covers may be made of any suitable fabric material and may have any height desired to correspond with tray stacks containing different numbers of trays stacked to different heights.

FIG. 1A of the drawings provides an environmental perspective view of an exemplary first embodiment Communion tray cover resting over a stack of Communion element trays (not shown in FIG. 1A, but illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3). The trays and their cover, in turn, rest atop a Communion table C.

The Communion tray cover 10a includes a top panel 12a. The top panel 12a, includes a hole or passage 14a, formed centrally therethrough to provide clearance for the crucifix that is often found extending from the lid or top of a Communion tray or stack of trays. The top or top panel 12a preferably has a circular periphery 16a, in keeping with the conventional circular shape of the Communion element trays. Side panel 18a has an upper edge 20a joined to the periphery 16a of its respective top panel 12a, the side panel depending from the top panel to its side panel lower edge 22a. The Communion tray cover 10a may include a pleated skirt 24 or other embellishment depending from the lower edge of the side panel, e.g., the lower edge 22a of the side panel 18a of the taller tray cover 10a, as shown in FIG. 1A. The side panel 18a forms a substantially cylindrical shape as it extends downward from the circular periphery of its top 12a.

FIG. 1B of the drawings provides an environmental perspective view of an exemplary second embodiment Communion tray cover resting over a stack of Communion element trays (not shown in FIG. 1B, but illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3). The trays and their cover, in turn, rest atop a Communion table C. The primary difference between the two Communion tray covers 10a of FIG. 1A and 10b of FIG. 1B is their relative heights. The cover 10b is somewhat shorter than the cover 10a, the shorter cover 10b being configured to cover and protect a smaller number (lower stack) of Communion element trays, or perhaps a given number of trays that are shorter or lower than those contained by the taller or higher cover 10a of FIG. 1A.

The Communion tray cover 10b includes a top panel 12b. The top panel 12b, includes a hole or passage 14b, formed centrally therethrough to provide clearance for the crucifix that is often found extending from the lid or top of a Communion tray or stack of trays. The top or top panel 12b preferably has a circular periphery 16b, in keeping with the conventional circular shape of the Communion element trays. Side panel 18b has an upper edge 20b joined to the periphery 16b of its respective top panel 12b, the side panel depending from the top panel to its side panel lower edge 22b. The side panel 18b may be unpleated, as shown, or may alternatively comprise a pleated panel extending partially or completely from its upper edge 20b to its lower edge 22b. The side panel 18b forms a substantially cylindrical shape as it extends downward from the circular periphery of its top 12b.

The top and side panel of the cover 10b, as well as corresponding components of other embodiments of the cover, defines a Communion tray enclosure having an open bottom, as indicated by the reference numeral 26 of the alternative embodiment tray cover 10c, shown in FIG. 5. FIG. 5 also illustrates the satin (e.g., silk, or other very finely woven fabric) liner 28 that is used to line the inner surface of the fabric side panels and top panels of the Communion tray covers, e.g., the side panel 18c and top 12c of the tray cover 10c embodiment of FIG. 5. Such very finely woven satin material is preferably used as an inner liner for all of the Communion tray cover embodiments. It will be noted that the fabric material used to form the side panel 18c and top panel 12c of the tray cover 10c is plain, i.e., has no embellishment or other texturing or finish, unlike the brocade pattern of the Communion tray covers 10a and 10b respectively of FIGS. 1A and 1B. Any suitable fabric material may be used to form the top and side panels of the Communion tray covers, as desired.

Most of the embodiments of the Communion tray cover also include a pair of diametrically opposed lifting tabs 30 extending from the juncture of the top panel periphery and the upper edge of the side panel, as shown in FIGS. 1A, 1B, 2, 3, and 5. These tabs 30 may be configured in different ways, according to which attachments are used to secure their distal ends. The tabs 30 allow the person performing the Communion service, or his or her assistant, to lift the Communion tray cover from the underlying trays, generally as shown in FIG. 2, with the cover 10a being lifted from the trays T. FIG. 3 illustrates an alternative means of lifting the cover 10a from the underlying trays T by grasping the crucifix extending from the tray lid L through the crucifix passage of the top 12a to lift the Communion tray lid L from the underlying trays T along with the tray cover 10a.

FIG. 5 illustrates the alternative attachment configurations for the lifting tabs 30, along with the interior details discussed further above. The lift tab 30 comprises an elongate, flexible length of material, preferably of like material to that used to form the top and side panels, e.g., 12c and 18c in FIG. 5. The tab 30 has a permanently attached end 32 (e.g., sewn, etc.) secured to the juncture of the top and side panels, and an opposite distal end 34 having a first fastener 36 thereon. A second fastener 38 is installed adjacent the permanently attached end 32 of each tab 30, with a third fastener 40 being installed upon the side panel 18c, somewhat spaced from the attachment end 32 of the tab 30. This arrangement allows the free or distal end 34 of the tab 30 to be secured to its opposite attachment end 32 by means of the first and second fasteners 36 and 38, to form a relatively small closed loop, generally as shown in FIGS. 1A through 3. Alternatively, the first fastener 36 may be secured to the third fastener 40 to form a downwardly extending loop somewhat resembling a belt loop, as shown in broken lines in FIG. 5. The various fasteners may comprise mating snaps, mating hook and loop fabric material (e.g., Velcro®), or other fastening means.

The various embodiments of the Communion tray cover discussed to this point have all comprised at least generally cylindrical shapes. However, it will be seen that this is not a requirement. FIG. 4 of the drawings illustrates an alternative Communion tray cover 10d having a truncated or frustoconical shape. It will be seen in FIG. 4 that the upper edge 20d of the side panel 18d has a somewhat smaller diameter D1 than the opposite larger diameter D2 of the lower edge 22d. This frustoconical shape may be applied to any of the embodiments described herein, e.g., the brocaded or otherwise finished fabrics of the Communion tray covers 10a and 10b shown in FIGS. 1A, 1B, 2, and 3, or the tray cover 10c having a plain fabric finish as shown in FIG. 5. Also, while the Communion tray cover 10d of FIG. 4 does not include the lifting tabs of the other embodiments, it should be noted that these tabs may be included with the frustoconical shape embodiment of the tray cover 10d, if so desired. Moreover, while only a single relatively short tray cover embodiment 10b devoid of a depending skirt is shown in FIG. 1B of the drawings, it will be seen that any of the other features associated with any other embodiment described herein may be applied to such a relatively short Communion tray cover, if desired, and that various intermediate heights may be formed as well, if desired.

FIG. 6 of the drawings illustrates yet another embodiment of the communion tray cover, designated as cover 10e. The Communion tray cover 10e includes a top panel 12e. The top panel 12e includes a hole or passage 14e, formed centrally therethrough to provide clearance for the crucifix that is often found extending from the lid or top of a Communion tray or stack of trays. The crucifix clearance passage may be round, as shown in the embodiments of FIGS. 1A through 4, or non-circular, as shown by the passage 14e of the embodiment 10e of FIG. 6. The top or top panel 12e preferably has a circular periphery 16e, in keeping with the conventional circular shape of the Communion element trays. The side panel 18e has an upper edge 20e joined to the periphery 16e of its respective top panel 12e, the side panel depending from the top panel to its side panel lower edge 22e. In the communion tray cover embodiment 10e of FIG. 6, it will be seen that the side panel 18e is pleated from its upper edge 20e completely to its lower edge 22e. The side panels of any of the embodiments of the communion tray cover may be pleated in their entirety, if desired. Alternatively, the side panel 18e of the cover 10e of FIG. 6 may be unpleated or partially pleated. It will be further seen that the pleats may have any practicable width, i.e., the pleats may be wider or narrow than those depicted in the various drawings. The side panel 18e may form a substantially cylindrical shape as it extends downward from the circular periphery of its top panel 12e, or alternatively, the side panel and/or its pleats may expand outwardly toward the lower edge thereof to form a frustoconical shape, as in the embodiment of FIG. 4.

The communion tray cover 10e of FIG. 6 includes different lifting means than the loops or tabs 30 of the other embodiments. In the communion tray cover 10e of FIG. 6, two radially opposed straps 30e are secured to the top panel 12e. The inboard end of each strap 30e is attached to the top panel 12e at a point near the central crucifix passage 14e, and the opposite outboard end of each strap 30e is attached to the top panel 12e at a point near the outer periphery 16e thereof. The opposite ends of each of the two straps 30e are preferably permanently secured (stitched, etc.) to the top panel 12e, but either or both strap ends may be removably attached by any of various means, e.g., mating snaps, mating hook and loop fabric material (e.g., Velcro®), or other releasable fastener. It will be seen that the straps 30e of the embodiment 10e may be incorporated with any of the other embodiments in lieu of, or in addition to, their lifting loops or tabs 30. Alternatively, the lifting loops or tabs 30 of the other embodiments may be incorporated into the tray cover 10e in lieu of, or in addition to, the straps 30e.

It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.