Here We Go: Church of England Issues Pastoral Guidance Instituting a ‘Gender Transition Service’

The Church of England issued pastoral guidance last month instituting a new “gender transition service,” a move conservative Anglicans decried as contrary to the Bible.

The guidance, published Dec. 11 and approved by the House of Bishops, the upper house of the tricameral Church of England General Synod, laid out a model for a “celebratory” service to mark the church’s official recognition of a person as a sex different from that of his or her birth.

The statement, which asserted “unconditional affirmation of trans people,” recommended the rite of publicly affirming one’s baptism as a way for people who identify as the opposite sex to “rededicate their life and identity to God.” It also instructed ministers to lay hands on and pray for the individual using his or her chosen name. The document warned that some transgender individuals will not want their former name or gender mentioned and defended the practice of taking on a new name as a historic Biblical tradition.

About 18 months ago, the General Synod reportedly passed a motion urging the church to welcome and affirm transgender individuals and calling on the House of Bishops to create liturgical materials for sex-change recognition. The newly released guidance will be incorporated into the Church of England’s official library of services, called Common Worship.

But leaders in the broader Anglican Communion say the new service is an adulteration of baptism and an affront to a Biblical understanding of sex as God-ordained and permanent.

“The sacrament of baptism is designed to signify the new identity that is given to us in union with Jesus Christ through his death and resurrection,” said Andy Lines, the missionary bishop to Europe with the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), a movement of conservative Anglicans with more than 50 million members. Lines said the use of a baptism service to recognize sex change dismayed GAFCON members.

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Source: Baptist Press