Church of England to vote on services for transgender people

The Church of England's General Synod is to vote this afternoon on whether special services should be developed for transgender people.

The General Synod is to consider services for transgender people.

The Rev Chris Newlands, a priest in the Blackburn Diocese, is to introduce a motion calling on the House of Bishops to 'consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person's gender transition.

The CofE has stressed that this would not amount to a rebaptism, though a reaffirmation of baptismal vows is already possible.

Newlands refers in his background paper to a man who had transitioned from being female and felt the need to 'reintroduce himself to God, with his new name and gender identity'.

'The Church of England prides itself on its welcome to everyone who lives in the parish, but the presence of a transgender person in a congregation, or with a request for ministry, requires a particularly informed and sensitive response,' he said.

Traditionalists argue that gender is fixed at birth and cannot be changed, and are likely to object to what may be seen as approval of transgender therapy. However, while the Church has acknowledged opposing views can be conscientiously held on the question, it already allows priests to marry transgender people if they wish.

The Synod agreed yesterday to condemn gay 'conversion therapy' aimed at changing someone's sexual orientation.  

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