Evangelical Clergy Meet with Bishop of Coventry to Protest ‘Unconditional Affirmation’ of Transgender People in New Baptismal Rite
by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - A group of conservative, evangelical Church of England clergy met with the Bishop of Coventry, Dr. Christopher Cocksworth, recently, to protest updates made last December to the Anglican liturgy for baptism.
The delegation, which represented signatories of an open letter signed by over 3,000 clergy and laity, further contested the Church’s decision in 2018 to revise the baptismal rite to include “the unconditional affirmation of trans people,” a decision that included instructions for parishes to hold Affirmation of Baptismal Faith ceremonies for people who had undergone gender transitions after conversion.
Besides ignoring “implications for children who are confused about their gender [and] the situation of family members of people experiencing gender dysphoria,” as well as the appropriacy of the material for children under the age of 18, the 2018 memo by the House of Bishops, according to members of the evangelical delegation, had additionally stigmatized parish churches associated with the open letter published in response to the decision as places “trans people and parents of trans children might want to think twice about attending.”
“We remain concerned about the Church of England's systemic ability to resist the very strong cultural and ideological pressures in this area of thought,” the evangelical clergy told Cocksworth, who helms the Anglican Church’s Living in Love and Faith initiative, a broad scholarly effort to integrate Christian theology with modern notions of gender identity.
The Bishop of Coventry’s project follows closely on the heels of a motion passed with a significant majority by members of the General Synod of the Church of England in 2017 “recognising the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church” and prompting the Church to produce “some nationally commended liturgical materials...to mark a person's gender transition.”