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Articles

Posted on Mon 31 July 2017

2 of 6 - Letters to the Editor: Transgender liturgy

Transgender liturgy

SIR – I write in response to the assertion of Bishop Michael Nazir??'Ali and others (Letters, July 25) that decisions at the recent General Synod reflect “failures to uphold the teaching of the Bible”.

The threefold sources of authority in the Church of England are scripture, tradition and reason, with scripture as the foundation. Nothing agreed at the recent synod undermines that.

On human sexuality, the General Synod called for an exploration of inclusivity in the context of “the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it” within a teaching document yet to be written.

The synod voted against “conversion therapy”, which purports to make gay people straight. It did not seek to prevent prayer or accredited counselling for people uncomfortable with their sexuality.

The synod also asked the bishops to consider authorising liturgies to welcome transgender people. This was prompted by stories of those who have felt rejected by the Church, and out of a biblical compassion for those who are frequently marginalised.

Members of very different views and theological traditions were heard respectfully and applauded. When one intervention included personal remarks about a non-member, that speaker was rebuked from the chair and from the floor. Booing is discourteous and inappropriate within a Christian body, but, as an important point of clarification, it was not the speaker’s views that provoked it at the last synod.

Rt Rev Graham James

Bishop of Norwich

The letter was published in The Telegraph on 27 July 2017