16 June 2017
Papers circulated to members of the Church of England’s General
Synod ahead of its July sessions in York have been published
They detail discussions planned on subjects ranging from the
Church’s work in areas where many people follow other faiths to
concerns over the cost of applying for British citizenship
and the possibility of services to help transgender Christians
mark their transition.
Synod is due to meet at the University of York from Friday July 7
to Monday July 10.
Papers are being published in two batches. The first circulation of papers is available
A second circulation of papers will be published on Friday, June
23. There will also be a pre-Synod briefing at Church House
Westminster next Friday.
One briefing paper in the first circulation sets out how an
existing Church of England service for reaffirming baptismal vows
may form the liturgical basis for services which help transgender
Christians mark their gender transition publicly.
The liturgy for Affirmation of Baptismal Faith, contained in the
Common Worship service book, may be used with people who have
already been baptised but who wish to “reaffirm their identity in
Christ” after a significant personal transition, including gender,
according to the paper.
It rules out the possibility of so-called “re-baptism” services,
because Church of England teaching makes clear that baptism can
only be received once.
However it makes clear that there is “no legal or doctrinal
difficulty” with transgender people reaffirming their baptism vows
with a new name.
The briefing was issued in response to a motion being brought to
Synod by the Diocese of Blackburn, calling for nationally commended
liturgical materials to mark a person’s gender transition.
The papers also include details of a motion raising concerns about
the cost of applying for British citizenship and its impact on
those on low incomes.
There is also a report on the Church of England’s Presence and
Engagement programme, which supports parishes fulfilling the Church
of England’s commitment to being a Christian presence in every
community, even in areas where many people follow other
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