Bishop Susan Bell has authorized for use in the Diocese of Niagara an interim rite to enable clergy to better respond to the pastoral needs of transgender, non-binary, and gender expansive parishioners.
The rite is called ‘Affirming the Newly Named’ and celebrates and affirms those who are claiming a new name and set of pronouns as part of their journey to fullness of life in regard to their gender identity.
“I am so grateful to have this pastoral rite available for use in parishes as it names and sacralizes the experience of trans and non-binary people who are beloved of God,” says Bishop Bell about the new liturgy.
Canon Penny Anderson, who helped to craft this liturgy, says that “feeling free to live their authentic gender identity is central to the faith journey of a growing number of people in our diocese. This new liturgy allows our congregations to affirm these people and surround them with love. Coming out can be terrifying for many trans and non-binary people. Now our gender expansive siblings will know that our church welcomes them fully and celebrates the completeness of the person God has created them to be.”
The liturgy may be used within a main act of worship and is written to be led by those who have supported the candidate, with the congregation celebrating the image of God being revealed and the priest affirming the candidate’s baptismal journey and pronouncing the blessing. This liturgy is not a re-baptism and should not resemble a baptism. The rite is considered an interim one because it bridges a liturgical gap until such time as the Anglican Church of Canada as a whole is in a position to offer resources for this purpose.