Call for inclusive, affirming sermons
LONDON: The Church of England has taken the first step towards introducing services for people who are changing sex.
The move was ordered by the church’s parliament, the General Synod, which said there was a “need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church”.
Bishops voted 30 to two in favour, while 127 lay members voted for and 48 against, and clergy backed the motion 127 to 28.
They rejected a move to delay the development of transgender prayers after hearing from a vicar who spoke of a five-year-old in his congregation who is transitioning from Nathan to Natalie.
The Reverend Chris Newlands said the Church should offer Natalie’s parents
‘Transgender people need to be welcomed’
“not just a grudging acceptance, but the full support and affirmation they will need as they journey together with Natalie on a path leading to transition to her new gender identity”.
Newlands, who is the vicar of Lancaster, said nearly half of young transgender people say they have attempted suicide.
But other synod members said the church should consider the practical and religious concerns around the issue before rushing to devise new services.
Theologian Ian Paul said: “This is not just putting the cart before the horse. It is putting the cart 5 miles ahead of the horse.”
The pointed headgear first used 1 000 years ago were “daft symbols of power that shouldn’t be seen in the Anglican Church”, he added.
The synod is to vote on whether to ease dress rules for clergy taking services. – Daily Mail