The General Synod of Church of England has voted for special services to be offered to transgender people during the time when they transition from one gender to another. The General Synod is the ruling body of the Church of England. This vote is a result of a number of bishops overwhelmingly supporting a motion which asks for a ban on any “unethical” conversion therapy targeted towards gay Christians.
The motion resulted in the now official stance of welcoming transgender individuals to the church and affirming their presence.
Reverend Christopher Newlands moved the motion on behalf of the Blackburn Diocesan Synod. The Reverend started the debate by saying, “I hope that we can make a powerful statement to say that we believe that trans people are cherished and loved by God, who created them, and is present through all the twists and turns of their lives.” Reverend Newlands’ words are echoed by Dr. John Inge, Bishop of Worcester.
He said, “Our response needs to be loving and open and welcoming and the passing of this motion would be a very important factor in that.” Dr. Nick Land from Diocese of York, called for the motion to be amended. He asked House of Bishops to analyze a number of issues, both theological and pastoral among others around gender transition. All three houses of Synod rejected the motion.
The voting went overwhelmingly for the progressives, with 127 votes in House of Clergy for the motion and 28 against and 16 abstentions. In House of Bishops, 30 for, two against and two abstentions. In House of Laity, 127 votes went towards the motion while 48 votes were cast against it and eight abstentions.
It is to be noted that a liturgical service for transgenders would not be considered as second baptism. This is as per the teaching of the church, God has made humans in his image and the image transcends gender and baptism can be done only once. Reverend John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, said the House of Bishops must complete the theology and it should be done extremely quickly.
The Right Reverend of Liverpool, Paul Bayes, during a debate conducted earlier said, “As the world listens to us today, the world needs to hear us say that LGBTI orientation and identity is not a crime, not a sickness and not a sin.”