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Finding acceptance

HAD I not been otherwise detained in the United States, I would have gone to a very special service in St Anne’s, Soho, London.

Organised by Mark Rees, it was a service of thanksgiving for the Gender Recognition Bill, and the fact that those who have gone through the long and painful process of changing to the gender they felt they really were can now have their birth certificates adjusted.

Mr Rees, who himself was once designated female, says the service started as an act of faith, but was more than justified in the way the transgender men and women in the congregation felt loved and accepted.

Much was summed up in the opening lines of the first reading, taken from Dorothy McCrae-McMahon: “It’s not easy being who we are, O God, We often wonder what you are doing, Not because we have problems about being who we are But because others do.”

The congregation of about 50 was welcomed by the Rector, the Revd Clare Herbert; and Canon Robert Whyte preached. The blessing was to have been given by Bishop Hugh Montefiore, who, sadly, died the week before. His place was taken by the Revd Ruth Howe from Newcastle, who tells me it was a very happy service, and meant a great deal to those who were there.

But the service had also included prayers for those who had been so hurt by the non-acceptance by some Christians that they were quite unable to go near a church.

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