Comment on the follow-up Statement from the Church of England re. liturgies to mark gender transition
Gafcon UK notes the clarification from the Secretary of the Archbishops’ Council regarding the Guidance from the House of Bishops, on how the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith liturgy can be used for adults who identify as transgender.
This document makes it clear that, contrary to the assurances of some Bishops, this Guidance specifically encourages the liturgy to be used to “mark a person’s gender transition.” As many have pointed out, this is a grave misuse of a sacrament which should refer only to a person’s conversion to Christ and not to celebrate their own identity.
The perception in many quarters, including large parts of the Anglican Communion, is that the Guidance does indeed represent a novel theological position on issues of sex and gender. As such it certainly preempts the Living in Love and Faith process, despite the Secretary’s assurances.
While we welcome the clarification that there is no obligation on clergy to use the Guidance, we believe that it represents a departure from faithfulness to biblical teaching on the nature of humanity. We join with others in calling for this guidance to be withdrawn, and will support those who require alternative episcopal oversight on this and related matters.
A selection of recent articles critiquing the Bishops’ Guidance follows here:
Statement in response House of Bishop’s Guidance on welcoming Transgender people by Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali
A response to the House of Bishops’ “Pastoral Guidance for use in conjunction with the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith in the context of gender transition”, from Church of England Evangelical Council
Wisdom and folly: the bishops’ guidance on transgender welcome by Ian Paul, Psephizo
Transitioning a liturgy, by Lee Gatiss, Church Society
New C of E guidance on gender transition services follows ‘devastating trajectory’, from Christian Concern