General Synod July 17 - welcoming trans people and condemning conversion therapy
The General Synod of the Church of England will meet in York from Friday 7 to Monday 10 July, and will be debating two important motions, of interest to OneBody's members and supporters. We need you to take up your pens and fire up your keyboards again to ensure that the voices of inclusion and justice are heard loud and clear in the debates. You can make a real difference over the next two weeks by making contact with Synod members in your own dioceses, to convey your views.
Synod will debate a Motion from Blackburn diocese, relating to the welcome the church extends to transgender people, in particular the need for liturgies as significants points in trans people's journey of life and faith. You can read the motion, along with Chris Newlands' briefing for Synod members here, and Tina Beardsley has written a very helpful and informative blog post, with links to lots of further reading and resources, here.
Synod will also debate a Private Members Motion presented by Jayne Ozanne (Oxford) which asks Synod to align the Church of England with other professional and therapeutic bodies in condemning conversion therapy, a discredited and damaging 'therapy' which seeks to 'change' people's sexual orientation. Jayne has written us a very comprehensive and compelling blog post, with useful background information for anyone who might still think that trying to 'change' a core aspect of a person's God-given identity is either consistent with the Good News of Jesus, or likely to be anything but abusive and damaging. You might also like to revisit the research by the Oasis Trust, published in February, about the issues and challenges facing young LGBT Christians, which provides an interesting perspective on Jayne's Motion.
At OneBody, we think both of these Motions lie at the heart of the things we care about. We have spent a great deal of time reflecting on what matters to us, about the movement of people we are and about the kind of churches we want to be part of. Back in February we declared that:
- OneBodyOneFaith asserts the need for doctrine to be theology that takes seriously that life is embodied: the incarnation of the Son of God as Christ shows us that the salvation and redemption are achieved through positively embracing human sexuality and gender; it follows that the range of created sexual attraction and gender in creation are God’s gift and purpose.
- Members of OneBodyOneFaith seek to participate fully in a church that is purposeful in its mission to the world; we believe that the Creator’s purpose is fullness of life for all: this requires that Christians embrace the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity present within the body of Christ to enrich that mission to be agents of transformation for all."
Now we need your help to make those values a reality - we need you to write to your General Synod representatives and urge them to support these two important Motions. Just like you did in February, we need your support to make a difference. Addresses of all Synod Members are here. If you would like to write but need help in identifying who are the right people to write to please contact us and we will do our best to help.
There's no 'right' letter! What we discovered in February was that members appreciated us taking time to write and found your personal perspectives and experiences thought-provoking. But remember - you don't need to identify as LGBT or to be particularly personally invested in the substance of these Motions to be able to make a difference. If you long for the church to reflect the Body of Christ in all its diversity, if you long for justice and fairness and welcome, if you want people to know that they are loved by God just as they are and have no need for any kind of 'healing' which forces them to change parts of themselves which aren't broken - then we need you to speak out, and encourage others to do so too.