The Church of England is considering a proposal to rebaptize transgenders in ceremonies celebrating their new identities and to “introduce” them to God with their new names.
Rev. Chris Newlands, vicar of Lancaster Priory, has introduced a motion for the church’s General Synod to debate the issue. Newlands, who is in a civil union with another man, has stirred controversy before over the church’s stance on sexual issues, claiming in 2012 that there was a glass ceiling for openly gay clergy.
“That 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,” the proposal reads.
Newlands conceived of the notion when conversing with a transgender church member who was born female but now identifies as male. The church member told Newlands that she wanted to be rebaptized, despite the church’s teachings of one water baptism being sufficient for life, since, as the vicar recalls, she was baptized as a female, under her birth name.
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