Thinking Anglicans

Responses to 'Welcoming Transgender People'

Updated again Friday evening

See previous items for response from Tina Beardsley, and from OneBodyOneFaith.

At ViaMedia Giles Goddard has written: Shooting Ourselves in the Foot – Again!

…This is inadequate on so many levels. The Affirmation of Baptismal Faith is designed for use in a parish church after, say, a baptism as part of a confirmation service in a cathedral. It does not allow for the adoption of a new name or a newly gendered identity. To squeeze the liturgy to make it fit such a purpose would be hard – it would sound like a patched together piece of work, rather than a seamless and exciting whole, created specially for the occasion.

How hard would it have been to have listened to the request of Synod and asked the Liturgical Commission to come up with something? Not very – and I am sure that there are many on the Liturgical Commission who would be delighted to accept the challenge, and to consult widely with trans people about what they would like to see. Further, I have been told on good authority that the issue was not ‘considered prayerfully by the House of Bishops’ but was dealt with by a subcommittee which made a brief recommendation – to the dismay of many members of the House…

Harry Farley at Christian Today has reported on this and added new information:

…But questions were also raised over whether the Church of England had been misleading in how the decision was made. In a press statement it said ‘the House of Bishops has prayerfully considered’ the issue.

However Christian Today understands the issue was not debated by the House of Bishops in full and instead the verdict was reached by a sub committee of nine bishops. That committee, including the Bishop of Blackburn, Julian Henderson, the Bishop of Willesden, Pete Broadbent, and the Bishop at Lambeth, Tim Thornton, then briefed the remaining bishops who rubber-stamped the decision.

A spokesman for the Church of England said that, because the House of Bishops only meets twice a year, decisions that require more thought are made in a sub committee and brought to the others for approval.

‘The House of Bishops Delegation Committee considers issues relevant to mission, ministry and general public policy, so is an ideal forum to give this question detailed consideration,’ the spokesman said.

‘The full House of Bishops was briefed on the committee’s recommendation and accepted it at the December meeting.’

Church Times Special liturgy for transgender people not needed, Bishops say

…A statement issued by Church House on Monday said that the House of Bishops had “prayerfully considered whether a new nationally commended service might be prepared to mark a gender transition”. It emerged on Wednesday, however, that the Synod’s request had been considered by the Delegation Committee, made up of nine bishops. A spokesperson said that the committee “considers issues relevant to mission, ministry, and general public policy, so is an ideal forum to give this question detailed consideration”. The committee’s report was listed as “business for deemed approval” for the December meeting of the House and was accepted without debate…

Andrew Lightbown Bishops, rites and people; some thoughts.

Jeremy Pemberton Honouring the whole Body

Richard Peers Of bishops, trans people and liturgies

Ian Paul On welcoming transgender people

Martin Davie A failure to take sex seriously: A response to GS Misc 1178

Christian Concern Bishops display an appalling lack of leadership in affirming transgenderism

16
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
16 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
12 Comment authors
David LammingAndrew LightbownAnn ReddecliffeKateJames Byron Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Michael Mulhern
Guest
Michael Mulhern

Having read the sample liturgy from the DLT publication mentioned in an earlier thread (which, I suspect, may now become the default option in the absence of anything else), it makes Giles Goddard’s question of ‘How hard would it have been to… ask the liturgical commission to come up with something?’ all the more germane. A vacuum has been created, and it has been filled by something that is not entirely an expression of the Faith and Order of the Church of England. More broadly, did we expect anything different, given the current composition of the House of Bishops and… Read more »

Jeremy Fagan
Guest
Jeremy Fagan

There seems to be a frustrating reluctance for the liturgical commission to do anything useful at all. I had to prepare a Liturgy for the closure of a church building a couple of years ago, and found abundant resources online from the US, but nothing at all here. I asked someone who had been on the commission why they couldn’t do this, and he told me that they wouldn’t create these sorts of specific liturgies. I can’t remember the reasons given, but it does seem to create vacuums and the reinvention of many wheels. Having said that, given the bland… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Here’s the full list of members of the Delegation Committee

Bishop of Blackburn
Bishop at Lambeth
Bishop of Stockport
Bishop of Ely
Bishop of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich
Bishop of Portsmouth
Bishop of Lichfield
Bishop of Sherborne
Bishop of Willesden

David Keen
Guest
David Keen

The bishops were asked to consider the question. They did. They were asked about nationally recommended liturgical materials, and have pointed to some which already exist and can be adapted for the purpose. They weren’t asked to produce a new liturgy and refused, yet everyone seems to have taken their cue from the Daily Mail and retreated to the trenches. Rowan Williams once commented that the media only has 2 narratives for the church, split or decline. Anything that doesn’t fit into either category is either shoehorned in, or ignored. And time after time the church takes the bait, and… Read more »

Christina Beardsley
Guest

Martin Davie’s response to GS Misc 1178 is basically advocating conversion therapy for trans people, even though all the therapeutic bodies, including the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, condemn it as unethical and dangerous. My understanding of the Blackburn Motion, as passed, was that the majority of General Synod had set itself against such a view. One can’t stop someone from believing that people should not transition, or that they should de-transition, but one can and should point out that it is an extremely harmful and ill-informed line to take. Martin is a gracious and gentle man and I… Read more »

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

In response to Jeremy Fagan: I’m afraid you are confused over how liturgy is produced in the Church of England. The LitCom cannot produce any texts off its own initiative but can only produce what the HoB asks it to produce. (Sometimes what the Commisssion produces is not, though, what the bishops were expecting.) Secondly, not all C of E liturgy needs to come via that route and get approval in that clergy and Readers can create their own services where no authorised texts are provided. (This is why the H of B has advised people to create their own… Read more »

Revd Dr Charles Clapham
Guest

The usual scientific illiteracy from Martin Davie and Ian Paul that we have come to expect from ‘conservatives’ on trans issues. The blog from Martin Davie is a good example of this nonsense, and particularly worth exposing. Thus, Davie writes: “the claim that transitioning to live as a member of their desired sex is the best way forward for people with gender dysphoria is called into question by the available evidence, which fails to demonstrate that transition is successful in resolving the mental and physical health issues experienced by transgender people”. To back up this erroneous statement, Davie references a… Read more »

Revd Dr Charles Clapham
Guest

(continued from previous post) To assess the effectivenes of gender reassignment on reducing rates of psychiatric morbidity, you would need to compare post-operative trans people with pre-operative trans people, not with members of the general population. As Djehne et al. explain: “For the purpose of evaluating whether sex reassignment is an effective treatment for gender dysphoria, it is reasonable to compare reported gender dysphoria pre and post treatment. Such studies have been conducted either prospectively [here the authors reference 2 academic papers], or retrospectively [here the authors reference 8 academic papers] and suggest that sex reassignment of transsexual persons improves… Read more »

Revd Dr Charles Clapham
Guest

Ian Paul’s article is marginally more eirenic and less misleading that Martin Davie’s. But his understanding of the issues is still very far from adequate. When Tina Beardsley asks what the problem is with producing a short service for use with gender variant people, Ian Paul describes her as ‘ignorant of the complexities’, her question as ‘at best disingenuous’, and suggests that such responses by Beardsley and others to the bishops are ‘quite unreasonable and lapse into propaganda’. He is sceptical of her view because it would (in his view) affirm ‘a particular philosophical, psychological and theological view of an… Read more »

Christina Beardsley
Guest

Thanks for this Charles, and this selective use of scientific literature is typical of most anti-trans Christian theology, starting with Oliver O’Donovan’s Grove booklet of 1982, on which much subsequent argument is based. My collaborator Chris Dowd cites many examples in our forthcoming book and the dissertation on which it is based – see page page 47 of the latter: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/5936/1/Dowd15ThD.pdf

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

I’m sure Ian Paul understands this well enough: he simply disagrees with the underlying justifications.

If nothing else, this barely-veiled dissent from a member of the CoE’s own executive body shows that the supposedly settled position laid out last year is anything but. As so often, a rush to declare unity masks deep divisions, which end up rising to the surface.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Some of these articles don’t make pleasant reading. Should there really be space in the church for those views? How can we accommodate what is naked transphobia in our church? We would not tolerate racism or sexual harassment so how can Ian Paul and Martin Davie be tolerated? Don’t they realise how much hurt and harm they do? How can treating us like that in any way be Christian?

David Lamming
Guest
David Lamming

It should not be necessary for a journalist (Harry Farley of Christian Today) to inform readers of the composition of the Bishops Delegation Committee or that it was they who prepared a report for the House of Bishops (presumably what is now GS Misc 1178) in response to the resolution of General Synod in July 2017. Farley says that “The full House of Bishops was briefed on the committee’s recommendation and accepted it at the December meeting.” That should have been transparent from the GS Misc 1178 paper. Further, there is no reference at all to the matter in paper… Read more »

Ann Reddecliffe
Guest
Ann Reddecliffe

Is it me or has the Christian Concern article got orthodox theology backwards? Andrea Williams seems to be prioritising the body over the immortal soul. Most of Christian history has been about denying the body in order to focus on the soul.

At one point she refers to ‘many ex-transgender Christians’. Can someone explain that to me? Does she mean transgender ex-Christians? Judging by the negative view that some within the church have for trans people I would not be surprised by trans people leaving the church.

Andrew Lightbown
Guest

David Lamming is correct: the discrepancy between GS Misc 1178 and GS Misc 1179 is alarming to say the least. What is becoming clear to me is that we have an absolute crisis of governance in the H of B, which is descending into a crisis of episcopacy. It is extremely worrying that the bishops seem to fail to realise that they had “business for deemed approval” for the December meeting of the House and this was accepted without debate. It is extremely worrying that very few bishops understand that they separately as well as collectively have a responsibility to… Read more »

David Lamming
Guest
David Lamming

I understand that a question to the Chairman of the House of Bishops at General Synod next week will ask when the House of Bishops Delegation Committee (HBDC) was established, what its membership is, and what are its terms of reference.