The Church of England has published online copies of papers circulated to members of its General Synod. The papers detail discussions planned on subjects ranging from the Church’s work in areas where many people follow other faiths to concerns about the cost of applying for British citizenship and the possibility of renaming services for transgender Christians.
General Synod is scheduled to meet July 7-10 at the University of York. The first batch of papers is now available. A second circulation of papers will be published on June 23. There will also be a pre-Synod briefing at Church House Westminster on that day.
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 that help transgender Christians mark their transition publicly.
The liturgy for Affirmation of Baptismal Faith in Common Worship may be used with people who have already been baptized but who wish to “reaffirm their identity in Christ.”
It rules out the possibility of a rebaptism service, because Church of England teaching makes clear that baptism can only be received once.
But the paper also says 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 that calls for nationally commended liturgical materials.
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