The Church of England has voted in favor of creating a religious service to “mark a person’s gender transition” in a bid to “welcome transgender people” to its ranks.
The move was reached during the General Synod of the Church of England with a four-to-one vote among the clergy and two-to-one vote by the Laity, a non-clergy group in the Church.
The approved motion reads: “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.”
The suggestion for the Church of England to conduct religious ceremonies to mark one’s gender transition was proposed by Lancaster Priory Church Vicar Chris Newlands, who claimed he spoke for transgender people because the Church currently has no facility for this.
“We need to be aware of the impact that our actions – be them welcome or rejection – have on the members of the trans community,” he said.
“I hope that we can make a powerful statement that we believe trans people are cherished and loved by God, who created them.”
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, seconded this view, saying vicars need to “welcome and affirm, in their parish, transgender people”. He added that the “theology has to be done” by the House of Bishops, but it “can be done very quickly”.
According to the BBC, religious services catering to transgender people “would not be a second baptism, however, as the Church’s teaching is that humans are made in the image of God – transcending gender – and baptism takes place only once.”