Church of England: Baptism-Like Liturgy for Transgendered People

Greg Strand – June 15, 2015 1 Comment

Recently the Church of England approved an alternative to their baptismal liturgy that removed references to the Devil and changed the statement regarding how Christians respond to evil.

There is now another proposal/recommendation before the Church of England’s General Synod recommending that they develop a baptismal liturgy, or a baptism-like liturgy, for transgendered persons.

Rev Chris Newlands, vicar of Lancaster Priory, proposed the motion after he was asked by a young transgendered person to be rebaptized after the change. To this person, a new “identity” required a new baptism. Newlands recognizes how difficult it is to experience this transgendered change, so he was convinced “the church needs to take a lead and be much more proactive to make sure they are given a warm welcome.”

Newlands recalls the conversation that caused him to consider this motion.

Newlands was asked by a church member who had undergone gender reassignment if he could be re-baptised. Recalling the conversation, Newlands said: “I said: ‘Once you’ve been baptised, you’re baptised’. He said: ‘But I was baptised as a girl, under a different name.’

“I said: ‘Let me have a think about it’. So we did and then we created a service, which was an affirmation of baptismal vows where we could introduce him to God with his new name and his new identity.” 

This proposal for developing a liturgical, baptism-like service for officially recognizing transgender persons was proposed by a Diocesan Synod (April 2015) for the General Synod to consider.

WELCOMING TRANSGENDER PEOPLE

…to move on behalf of the Blackburn Diocesan Synod:

‘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.’


Because of our understanding of the Word of God and God’s good design for humanity created male and female, we would be “welcoming but not affirming.” This proposal would be both “welcoming and affirming.”

If you were asked this question, how would you respond? It is not a matter of if but when you will be asked. It is important for you to have thought this through so that you can respond in a manner that is both biblically faithful and pastorally sensitive, without compromising either.

 

Greg Strand

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Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

One response to Church of England: Baptism-Like Liturgy for Transgendered People

  1. this was a very good way to open the door to dialog without directly threatening change among parishioners. to the point, i’d be the one doing the asking and i do so fairly frequently. I too attended TEDS,but dropped out in 89. I could not change and at that time acceptance was not even mentioned. when i do ask about acceptance now i most often get the answer “my sin is no worse than any other.” I’m not sure if the intent is to make me feel welcomed as a fellow sinner or not. it does, however, make me feel like a line is being drawn at the front door of the church. if i cross it will be with the understanding that i accept that my reality as a woman is sinful and wrong in God’s eyes. I would wonder then would you accept me as you do a divorced person is now. would i be able to teach Sunday school or got to the women’s breakfast? I would surmise sure if i repented, but as a divorced person cannot become un divorced what would this mean in either case. I cannot stop being who/what i always was. Believe me i tried.

    I’m disappointed others did not reply, but not at all surprised. One last note the use of the word transgendered is normally considered inappropriate grammatical. think of as like referring to a gay person as gayed. well good luck.

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