London, England, Dec 12, 2018 / 16:50 pm
The Church of England has published pastoral guidelines for liturgical services that would celebrate the completion of "gender transitioning" by those Anglicans who identify as transgendered.
The guidelines, titled Pastoral Guidance for use in conjunction with the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith in the context of gender transition, were approved by the Church of England's House of Bishops Dec. 10, and published Tuesday.
The guidance applies only to the Church of England, and not to other branches of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The guidelines state that baptism is the "natural liturgical context for recognizing and celebrating [a transgendered person's] identity in Christ and God's love for them" and encourages ministers to accept and use "the preference of a transgender person in respect of their name and gendered (or other) pronouns" in the baptism of transgendered persons.
Baptized members of the Church of England are to be offered specially adapted rituals "to recognize liturgically a person's gender transition," the guidelines say.
Such liturgies would allow an individual to affirm a new gender preference while renewing baptismal promises.
The guidelines note that the Church of England "welcomes and encourages the unconditional affirmations of trans people" and state that services to recognize their new identity should have a "celebratory character."