In another progressive step, the General Synod of the Church of England has given its backing to affirming transgender people and their identity.
Meeting in York last week, members of the Synod voted to urge the House of Bishops to consider preparing nationally commended liturgical materials, including prayers, to mark a person’s gender transition.
The motion, which also recognises the “need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church”, was proposed by the Revd Christopher Newlands, on behalf of the Blackburn Diocesan Synod.
“I hope that we can make a powerful statement to say that we believe that trans people are cherished and loved by God, who created them, and is present through all the twists and turns of their lives,” said Newlands while introducing the motion.
Speaking during the debate, the Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge said: “Our response needs to be loving and open and welcoming and the passing of this motion would be a very important factor in that.”
An amendment to the motion, proposed by Dr Nick Land of the Diocese of York, calling instead for the House of Bishops to consider the theological, pastoral and other issues around gender transition, was rejected by all three houses of Synod.
The final approved motion reads: “That this Synod, recognising the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.”
Last week’s Synod meeting also saw the Church of England condemning conversion therapy and calling on the British government to ban the dangerous practice of trying to change LGBT people’s sexuality or gender identity.