Toronto Church Creates Liturgy for Gender Transformation

Diocese of Toronto newspaper reports on parish transgender blessing rites

The church has always gathered as a community to mark the most important life passages of its members, so when Beck Shaefer, a member of St. Stephen-in-the-Fields, Toronto, legally transitioned from female to male, changing his name and identity documents to reflect a truer sense of his identity, the parish witnessed and blessed the moment.

However, a liturgy for that purpose doesn’t exist in the Anglican Church, so the parish created one. “We understood that this wasn’t a re-baptism,” said the Rev. Maggie Helwig, incumbent. (pictured) “God always knew who Beck was in his fullness, and received him as himself from the beginning. But we also knew that this was a moment closely tied to the baptismal covenant, and Beck’s growth as a disciple.”

The liturgy was modeled on the Anglican Church’s reaffirmation of baptismal vows, but also included an acknowledgement of Beck’s new name and gender identity as a part of his baptismal vocation.

“God created me transgender, and calls me to live openly and authentically,” said Beck at the service. “This is not a solitary path but rather a call that I am to live out in relation to others and as a member of the body of Christ.”

Reprinted from the Toronto Anglican

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