Tuesday, February 7, 2012

From Mary to Asher...

Hat Tip to the blog Standing on my Head. A Lutheran-Episcopalian "Liturgical Naming Rite for a Transgender Church Member" (original post available here).

Here is the rite we used at Baptism of our Lord Sunday when a transgender member of House for All Sinners and Saints was undergoing a name change. This is largely taken from a rite shared with me by Episcopal priest, Michele Morgan.

One really lovely thing about this day was that Asher made a little shrine to his previously female self, Mary. It included the whole name lovingly written out, several photos and a candle.

(Prayers of the People)

Presider: Holy One of Blessing, in baptism you bring us to new life in Jesus Christ and you name us Beloved. We give you thanks for the renewal of that life and love in Mary Christine Callahan, who now takes on a new name. Strengthen and uphold him as he grows in power, and authority, and meaning of this name: we pray in the Name above names, Jesus, your Son, whom with you and the Holy Spirit, the Triune God, we adore. Amen

Lindsey: A reading from the letter of Paul to the Galatians.

There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all are one in Christ Jesus. This tendentious reading of the text of course has no basis in what Paul is stating.

The word of the Lord

Thanks be to God

(Laying on of hands)

Let us pray:

We pray for your servant Asher, with thanks for the journey and awakening that have brought him to this moment, for his place amongst your people, and for his gifts and calling to serve you.

O God, in renaming your servants Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Peter,and Paul, you gave them new lives and new tasks, new love and new hope. We now hold before you our companion. Bless him with a new measure of grace as he takes this new name. Write him again in your heart and on your palm. And grant that we all be worthy to call ourselves Christians, for the sake of your Christ whose name is Love, and in whom, with you and the Spirit, we pray. Amen

The Giving of the name

Pr. Nadia: By what name shall you be known?

Kate: The name shall be Asher

Asher: My name is Asher

The community may respond by repeating

Your name shall be Asher

Pr. Nadia: Bear this name in the Name of Christ. Share it in the name of Mercy. Offer it in the name of Justice. Note the use of the word "Justice" here. A pointed political statement.

Christ is among us making peace right here right now. The peace of Christ be with you all. And also with you.


  1. So, it's come to this. Kyrie eleison.

  2. Lord have mercy on them, for I wish they knew not what they say, but I have a feeling they really do. . . oi vey. . .