According to Rev Chris Newlands of the Blackburn Diocesan Synod the Church of England has “turned a corner” after its ruling body, The General Synod voted overwhelmingly to welcome Transgender people following the adoption of his motion which called for them to be “welcomed and affirmed in their parish church as part of the “ long and often complex process” of transition*
Rev Newlands also called for the Church to provide guidance to help clergy provide services for Transgender people to mark their transition.
Opening the debate he said
“I hope that we can make a powerful statement to say that trans people are cherished and loved by God, who created them, and is present through all of the twists and turns of their lives”
All three houses of the General Synod voted overwhelmingly to support the motion.
Speaking afterwards a delighted Rev Dr Christina Beardsley, a former hospital chaplain and tireless campaigner for transgender rights in the Church hailed the decision as “wonderful”. Continuing Dr Beardsley, who drew scorn from Church leaders during her transition into a woman in 2001, said
“It’s going to send the right signal. People have spoken very movingly about people’s stories – that’s what the Church is here to do, to show that love.
Let’s hope this is a sea change within the Church culture.”
FOCUS: The Identity Trust says “AMEN” to that.
It should be noted that at least one Christian denomination has played a leading role for a number of years! The Non Subscribing Presbyterian Church in Ireland has opened its doors to transgender individuals who are regularly welcomed by the congregation of All Souls Church in Elmwood Avenue, Belfast. The denomination has also hosted annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) Services in its churches in Dublin and Cork.
Indeed since 2011 the enlightened and welcoming All Souls Congregation has been hosting our annual TDOR Service which has often been graced by the presence of the denomination’s all- island Moderator. This year’s Service will be held as usual in All Souls on Sunday 19th November ,We would encourage as many people as possible to show support and join with us and the Congregation to mark the most solemn occasion of the Transgender Calendar.
*Transition is the medical term for the complex process of moving permanently from one gender to the other.