The Church of England is examining ways to mark gender transition with the prospect of special services being considered.
The CofE’s ruling General Synod will, for the first time, debate how to welcome transgender people at its meeting in July.
“It is a fundamental belief of the Church that baptism can only be received once,” Synod Secretary General William Nye said in a statement. “There is therefore no possibility of the Synod approving a form of service for the re-baptism of transgendered persons in their new gender who have already been baptised.”
However, Nye also added that there is “no legal or doctrinal difficulty about a baptised transgendered person re-affirming their baptismal vows” under a new name.
Nye said the Church already offers a service to those who had undergone a “significant personal transition of one kind or another” that could be adapted to celebrate one’s gender transition.
The General Synod, the Church’s parliament, is expected to endorse the matter next month, although there is much debate about it between the Church’s liberal and conservative wings.
Those in the conservative traditionalist wing of the Church oppose the measure due to the biblical teaching that says God created humans as “male and female.”
“It is unclear why we are even debating this issue. We are sensitive to people who feel uncomfortable with their sex, but Christian teaching is that God made us man and woman,” Synod member Andrea Williams of the group Christian Concern told the Blaze. “The Church should help people to see the beauty of their God-given sex instead of confusing them.”
The liberal wing, on the hand, argues that the Church must change with the times in accordance with what modern medicine says.
“The law recognises gender transition. It is a reality in the world today, and we need to accept that times have moved on since the book of Genesis,” Vicar Chris Newlands of the Blackburn Diocese told Christian Today. “We have got to frame our theology in the context of science and where we are.”