Karen Fratti
July 12, 2017 8:43 am
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The Church of England is making some progressive moves lately. Most notably, the Church of England is voting to “welcome transgender people during their transition. Alright, alright — as religious and moral people, it’d be a heck of a lot better if Church (or any church!) would just welcome any human being, but one thing at a time. The General Synod, which is just a group of senior church leaders like bishops and clergy members, plans on voting to require clergy to provide a liturgy to trans people if they want to mark the transition from another gender.

In the Anglican church, baptism can only be performed once, but they do want to prepare clergy to “seriously engage” with transgender individuals during and after their transition. They plan on preparing “some nationally commended liturgical materials which may be used in parish churches and chaplaincies to provide a pastoral response to the need of transgender people to be affirmed following their long, distressing, and often complex process of transition.”

In addition to that, they are advising any clergy who doesn’t agree or takes issue with a transgender person to recommend that individual visit a clergy member who will provide the liturgy, in good faith.

The Church of England is doing what the Catholic Church won’t do. Pope Francis, for example, is championed as a liberal and progressive thinker, but recently he made comments about “sexual morality” and remarked to bishops in a private meeting that she was shocked children were being taught that they could choose their own gender. He likened it to “ideological colonization,” which is so sad, since people coming out as transgender or non-binary need the support of their friends, family, and communities. Especially if those communities revolve around a church.

In addition to “welcoming” transgender people, the Church of England also recently denounced  conversion therapy. Church leaders and laity (just people who belong to the church) described their experience with conversion therapy, calling it “spiritual abuse.” John Sentamu, the archbishop of York, went as far as to say that conversion therapy wasn’t in line with the Church of England’s theology and that “the practice of [it] is banned, [he] can sleep at night.”

All of these moves would have been welcomed years and years ago, but it’s good to see a religious institution walking the walk and accepting individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

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