Under the provocative headline “Should church introduce transgender baptism?” the BBC reports that the Revd Chris Newlands, vicar of Lancaster, has
asked the Church of England to debate introducing a ceremony akin to a baptism to mark the new identities of Christians who undergo gender transition.
The idea came after a young transgender person approached him, seeking to be “re-baptised” in his new identity. Similar ceremonies are already happening in some other Anglican churches.
This weekend, Nick Benn and his friends gathered at his church for a service to mark one of the most significant events in his life so far: the transition from his previous identity as a young woman, to a new life as a man.
At Lancaster Priory, Chris Newlands is keen for the Church to have an official liturgy to guide the clergy on such occasions. He wants the Church to be able to demonstrate its acceptance and love, and to help mark a milestone for someone transitioning from one gender to another.
Susie Leafe, director of Reform, is quoted, commenting on the question of ‘baptism’.
“The Bible gives us the notion that there is one baptism, so the idea of ‘re-baptising’ people is certainly something that would go against a lot of the deep theology of the Church and would be confusing.”