General Synod July 2017: Welcoming Transgender People

The General Synod of the Church of England has passed a motion on welcoming transgender people. Members of Synod, meeting in York, supported a call for the House of Bishops to consider preparing nationally commended liturgical materials to mark a person’s gender transition.

The motion also recognises the “need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church”.

It was moved by the Revd Christopher Newlands on behalf of the Blackburn Diocesan Synod. Opening the debate, he said: “I hope that we can make a powerful statement to say that we believe that trans people are cherished and loved by God, who created them, and is present through all the twists and turns of their lives.”

Speaking during the debate the Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge said: “Our response needs to be loving and open and welcoming and the passing of this motion would be a very important factor in that.”

An amendment to the motion, moved by Dr Nick Land of the Diocese of York, calling instead for the House of Bishops to consider the theological, pastoral and other issues around gender transition, was rejected by all three houses of Synod.

The votes in the House of Bishops were 30 for and two against, with two abstentions.

In the House of Clergy 127 backed the motion with 28 against and 16 abstentions.

In the House of Laity 127 supported the motion with 48 opposing and eight abstentions.