The Church of England has issued the press release below about papers for next month’s meeting of General Synod.
See my previous article for my list of papers.
General Synod papers published
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 online.
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 here.
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 faiths.