Christian Concern

Vicar who resigned as school governor over training around child's gender transition explains how he left C of E

Sat 01 Jun 2019
By Cara Bentley

Rev John Parker, who resigned as a school governor because of training the staff received after a child's gender transition, says he left the Church of England because of their 'unequivocal' support for a child's gender transition.

The minister, who looks after two parishes in the Diocese of Chelmsford, resigned from the Church of England and from his role a school governor. 

In a statement, he aimed to clarify the role the Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, had in his resignation. 

Rev John said: "For the last few years I have met with the Deanery and with the Bishops of the diocese to express my concerns over the Church of England embracing unbiblical approaches to matters of sexuality and gender.

 

 

"To that end I met with Bishops Stephen, Roger and Peter in March 2017 and a further meeting with Bishop Stephen in September 2018.

"Over recent years I, often together with others, have also entered into extensive and sometimes lengthy correspondence (most recently in December 2018), setting out my disquiet to Bishop Stephen.

"In a letter of September 2018, after a meeting with Bishop Stephen, I declared myself to be in broken communion with him; no response was forthcoming."

He explained that the diocese 'persisted' in their approval, saying: "In my parish this culminated in the Diocese supporting unequivocally the ‘gender transition’ of a child in a Church of England primary school. As a governor of the school the welfare of that child and all the other children in the school was my responsibility and priority and I was deeply concerned."

The former governor explained that his concerns surrounded safeguarding and the fact the Diocese were 'complicit' in preventing wider discussion about the morals and ethics of gender transition among children at a Christian school. 

He also expressed particular concern around the approval of the organisation Mermaids who, according to their website, 'work to raise awareness about gender nonconformity in children and young people amongst professionals and the general public. We campaign for the recognition of gender dysphoria in young people and lobby for improvements in professional services.'

In a transcript of the training Mermaids gave, the trainer describes gender like dimmer light switch, as opposed to an on-off switch. Due to the public attention to this case, a petition has launched on Citizengo called 'Keep trans lobby group Mermaids out of primary schools' that has around 9,000 signatories. 

Rev John added: "In order to act with integrity and discharge my responsibilities for the welfare of the child concerned and wider school community, I had no choice but to resign. I did so with great regret having prayed earnestly that the diocese would not persist in actions which I considered to be profoundly detrimental to the children in our care."

 

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