Transgender rebaptism up for debate at General Synod

Synod to debate call for ban on conversion therapy and rebaptism of transgendered individuals

The July 7-11 2017 session of the General Synod of the Church of England in York will debate two controversial motions on human sexuality.

On 8 July 2017 a private member’s motion offered by Jayne Ozanne of the Diocese of Oxford will ask synod to approve a motion stating: “That this Synod: (a) endorse the statement of 16 January 2017 signed by The UK Council for Psychotherapy, The Royal College of General Practitioners and others that the practice of conversion therapy has no place in the modern world, is unethical, harmful and not supported by evidence; and (b) call upon the Archbishops’ Council to become a co-signatory to the statement on behalf of the Church of England.”

On 9 July 2017 the Synod will consider a motion put forward by the Diocese of Blackburn entitled “Welcoming Transgender People”. It asks ““‘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.”

In 2015 the Rev. Chris Newlands, vicar of St Mary’s Church in Lancaster brought a motion to the Blackburn synod asking the diocese to approve a liturgy to “mark a person’s gender transition”. He explained that in 2014 he had been approached by an individual who wish to be “rebaptised” as a man, after having been baptised as a girl when an infant. The individual now identified themselves as a man and sought the church’s affirmation. The motion was approved by the diocesan synod and sent to the 2015 meeting of General Synod, but was not acted upon due to the press of other business.

The full agenda will be published with the first release of papers on Friday June 16.

Photo (The late Rev. Carol Stone, the Church of England’s first transgendered priest)

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