The Affirmation of a Transgender Person

There’s yet more debate online about people calling for a special service to be approved by the Church of England in order to recognise and support someone following their transition from one gender to another.

I happen to think that it would be an interesting thing for the Church of England to consider. However, we’re lucky in Scotland that we’ve already agreed a form of service that could be used as an affirmation for transgender people.

Here are some of the prayers:

THE LAYING ON OF HANDS
The president says
God of mercy and love,
new birth by water and the Spirit is your gift,
a gift none can take away;
grant that your servants may grow
into the fullness of the stature of Christ.
Fill them with the joy of your presence.
Increase in them the fruit of your Spirit:
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of love, patience and gentleness,
the spirit of wonder and true holiness.
The president lays hands on the candidate in silence, and then says
Come, Creator Spirit,
rekindle in N. your gifts of grace,
to love and serve as a disciple of Christ.
Amen.

Renew her/his life in Christ
and bring to completion all that your calling has begun.
Amen.

Either continuing the laying on of hands, or anointing the candidate
with the Oil of Chrism, the president says:

Empower your disciple, N.,
to bring life to the world.
Amen.

At the conclusion of the laying on of hands
the president says
Living God, sustain all your people
to be hope and strength to the world;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit
be honour and glory, now and for ever.
Amen

The congregation share communion.

The president addresses the congregation:

The light of Christ is within you. Shine as a light in the world.
As the seed grows secretly in the earth,
As the yeast rises in the dough,
May the power of God be at work in us.
Like a city on a hill,
Like a lamp in the darkness,
May we witness to the glory of the kingdom.

It seems to me that as we’ve already agreed these prayers, there’s going to be no fuss about it at all in Scotland whereas there might be in Englandshire. I’d be very happy to conduct this service for anyone who has completed their gender transition and who wants to express their faith publicly in their new identity.

The great news is that the service is available to cis people at moments when they want to express publicly the renewal of their faith too. Indeed, some of these prayers were used at a particular point in my own life when I came into ministry in St Mary’s nine years ago. We don’t discriminate and so this service is available for all God’s children whether they are trans or not.

The service can be found online here:
http://www.scotland.anglican.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/affirmation-of-holy-baptism-2006.pdf

Joyful Songs of Praise

Was delighted to be on Songs of Praise yesterday along with two members of the congregation who were talking about the blessing of their civil partnership last year which was part of their journey into marriage.

I think I’ve had more feedback from this than any other piece of broadcasting I’ve ever done, overwhelmingly positive. A couple of grumpy people contacted me by email to express their concern but the rest, particularly from colleages and friends in England was hugely supportive.

Take a look here: