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Dio Blackburn, Church of England, proposes liturgy for transgender folk

Dio Blackburn, Church of England, proposes liturgy for transgender folk

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.

It grew from a simple request. A young man had asked for re-baptism with his male name, surmising that God might not recognize him, as he was originally baptized as a girl. He wished to be reintroduced to God in his new identity.

The vicar of St Mary’s in Lancaster, the Revd Chris Newlands created a liturgy which drew from the baptismal service and allowed the young man to renew his baptismal vows.

Father Newlands feels that as more trans folk hear of this service, they may be inclined to make the same request. The above motion has been passed by the Dio Blackburn diocesan synod and has now been sent to the Church of England’s upcoming General Synod.

Originally reported here.

Posted by David Allen


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John Bennett

This is just so sweet, and I am proud to see my church doing this. Although I don’t share his view of God as a personified being who might not recognize him after a gender transition, this young man’s thinking is adorable. And it is also lovely that the religious folks around him want to help him mark this transition.

JC Fisher

While of course God “always recognizes” us, I think the idea of a special renewal of vows, suitable to gender transition (and possibly new name), is a lovely idea.

Geoff McLarney

There has been a great deal of misleading reporting drawing unfortunate parallels with baptism: this seems to go in hand with the English cultural understanding of baptism as being primarily “christening.” These services are fundamentally pastoral services, like any number of blessings and dedications that take place informally without encroaching on the priest’s promise to use only authorized liturgies.

Naming is of course liturgically significant. In addition to the baptismal name, religious profession often confers a new name, and I imagine I’m not alone here in having a taken a new name at confirmation. The East administers the sacraments in the passive voice, by name: “the servant of God/deacon/priest etc. [Name] is baptised/partaketh of the precious and holy body and blood … ”

It’s appropriate that baptised Christians who undergo gender confirmation are recognized publicly under the name under which they are known. While this may be an appropriate occasion for the renewal of baptismal vows, it can in no way be represented as a repetition of the sacrament of baptism. God recognizes us from before our conception, and that recognition is never in jeopardy.

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