The Church of England may host “baptismal style” services to honor when a transgender congregant transitions to the opposite gender.
Church officials plan to vote on the proposal at the upcoming General Synod meeting in July, The Gospel Herald reported Monday.
A transgender priest praised the services, which would serve as a renaming ritual for transgender Christians.
“Trans people feel powerfully called to be recognized in their ‘chosen’ name.’ An opportunity to be publicly introduced to God is therefore significant,” transgender priest Rev. Rachel Mann said to Christian Today. “I think this is what the proposed liturgy aims to do. It will be symbolically powerful. The extent to which it is [a form of] baptism will be debated by General Synod of course, but this liturgy is a welcome move to affirm Trans people.”
Other members of the synod spoke out against the services, questioning whether they were actually helpful for transgender church members.
“People who have gender dysphoria must be treated with the utmost love and pastoral sensitivity, and of course warmly welcomed in our churches,” Clive Scowen, a member on the Synod, told Christian Today. “I am far from convinced that surgical or medical intervention to try to reassign gender is a loving response.”
The General Synod will also hammer out an official position on gay marriage and decide whether it should condemn gay conversion therapy. Some activists want the General Synod to criticize conversion therapy as “harmful.”
“The Bible teaches that we are each fearfully and wonderfully made, and we should therefore look to celebrate God’s gift of diversity in creation not treat those of us who are non-heterosexual as having mental disorders that need to be ‘cured,'” gay rights activist Jayne Ozanne said.
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