Church of England Says It is Giving ‘Serious Consideration’ to Open Letter Signed by Over 2,000 Clergy Against Denomination’s Transgender Affirmation Guidance

A priest wears a rainbow ribbon during a vigil against Anglican Homophobia, outside the General Synod of the Church of England in London, Britain, February 15, 2017. | (Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

The Church of England is giving “serious consideration” to an open letter signed by over 2,000 clergy that criticizes the denomination’s recent transgender affirmation guidance.

The letter calls on the Church of England’s House of Bishops to “revise, postpone or withdraw” its controversial pastoral guidance issued last month that allows Anglican clergy to perform Affirmation of Baptismal Faith ceremonies during church services to symbolize a person’s gender transition.

The guidance also encourages clergy to refer to trans-identified people by their chosen name and preferred pronouns.

The letter, which was signed by 2,251 signatories as of Tuesday afternoon, explains that while gender dysphoria has been recognized for decades, “evidence from the medical and social sciences is often conflicting and poor quality.”

The letter stresses that “controversial new theories” regarding the relationship between biological sex and the meaning of gender have been linked to gender dysphoria.

“These ideas continue to be widely contested, with well-intentioned and thoughtful people on all sides of the debate,” the letter states.

“The many ordinary parents and teachers who now express concern about these new theories do not wish to cause harm to the tiny number of children afflicted by gender dysphoria; but neither do they want to harm the potentially larger numbers of children by prematurely imposing untried and untested ideas on young children.”

The letter asserts that the December guidance “raises some significant issues for the Church’s belief and practice.”

Although the proponents of the guidance claim that no new liturgy will be offered, those who oppose contend that it does create a new liturgy “since existing wording is now being put to a new purpose.” Traditionally, the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith is a ceremony for people who have already been baptized but want to re-affirm their commitment to Christ.

The letter also voices concern about what they say could be a “misuse of the liturgy” since the reaffirmation of baptismal vows should be focused on “celebrating new life in Christ” instead of a “new situation or circumstance.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith