The Church of England has released new guidance which tells church leaders how to hold a special ceremony to celebrate the transition of transgender people.
The guidance says events to “recognise liturgically a person’s gender transition” should have “a celebratory character” and suggests a service renewing baptismal commitment as the most appropriate setting.
It adds that there could be an opportunity for the individual to share their testimony so the congregation can “affirm them in their identity”.
Clergy are advised to use the individual’s preferred name and pronouns.
“For a trans person to be addressed liturgically by the minster for the first time by their chosen name may be a powerful moment in the service,” the guidance adds.
The CofE consulted three transgender clergy members in putting together the guidance.
Lee Gatiss, the Director of Church Society, expressed concern about the guidance.
“Some may say that this guidance is not as radical as it could have been, for various reasons (e.g. it is not providing a new liturgy as such, which some demanded, or allowing re-baptism).
“We gladly acknowledge the role that some of the evangelical bishops, in particular, have played in that. However, that does not mean that it is not bad, and worryingly so.”
Image of God
Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute said: “Although this guidance rightly affirms that everyone is made in the image of God, and that Christians’ true identity is in Christ, it goes on to say people should be affirmed in their transgender identity.
“Whether we’re male or female doesn’t affect our standing before God. Men and women who trust Christ are equal before him. But the complementary differences between the sexes are God’s design.
“Rejecting that design is something to be repented of, not celebrated. Christians should show love to all people, but that doesn’t mean we love their sin.”