News by email Donate

Suggestions

Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

bishop-of-Blackburn-Julian-Henderson-thumb_article_image.jpg
blackburn diocese
UK News

Bishop apologises over transgender liturgy confusion

by Cara Bentley

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 acceptance of the claim that someone who is biologically male is in fact female or that someone who is biologically female is in fact male."

They add that there is no mention of support for clergy who "conscientiously refuse to conduct such a service" and take issue with the 'unconditional affirmation' encouraged, saying "Affirmation of baptismal faith, like both the gospel and dying and rising with Christ in baptism, is never simply about 'unconditional affirmation' of anyone."

To clear up the matter, a statement has been released on the CEEC website, stating: "He clarified that the word 'we' in the press release refers to the Delegation Committee and that the CEEC response reflects his own position."

Bishop Julian said: "'I continue to be sorry for the confusion that my different roles and statements have created and am very grateful for the trust my re-election as President of CEEC expresses."

He added that the title of the press release ('Guidance for gender transition services published'), suggests the creation of a service solely to mark a gender transition, something he has never supported in General Synod votes.

The statement on his behalf says: "in his view the only transition marked in an Affirmation of Baptismal Faith is commitment to Christ, which all people, including those who identify as transgender, are invited to make". 

Stay up to date with the latest news stories from a Christian perspective. Sign up to our daily newsletter and receive more stories like this straight to your inbox every morning.

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of £5 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the UK is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of £5 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Set up a monthly gift

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

Connect

Donate

Donate