Bishop apologises over transgender liturgy confusion

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The Church of England issued advice in December for parishes who wish to mark someone’s gender change, advising that their new name should be used in a service where someone might affirm their baptismal faith, saying it would be a natural setting to recognise the person’s gender through liturgy and a baptism certificate.

The guidance was approved by the House of Bishops, following a motion passed in General Synod 2017 that read: “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.”

In a press release on this advice, the Bishop of Blackburn, Julian Henderson, Chair of the House of Bishops Delegation Committee, which oversaw work to produce the guidance said: “We are absolutely clear that everyone is made in the image of God and that all should find a welcome in their parish Church.”

However, a recent response to this guidance from the Church of England Evangelical Council, also signed by the bishop, stated that the advice was ambiguous and could cause problems for clergy who refuse to do such a service.

The response, also signed by Rev Hugh Palmer of All Souls Langham Place, read: “The Church of England would be declaring liturgically on behalf of God its…

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