Many questions sought to clarify the bishops’ intentions in issuing the guidance, the process by which it was developed, and the permanence or provisionality of its suggestions.
Some confusion in the bishops’ answers arose about the intention behind the service and whether it was making any theological claims.
Prudence Dailey (Oxford) asked, “for the sake of absolute clarity,” whether the House of Bishops “intended … that the service of affirmation of baptismal vows should be used to mark gender transition.” The Bishop of Hereford, Richard Frith, said that it was “not intended at all.”
Some lack of clarity on this point continued, however, with the Bishop of Willesden later saying that the service was primarily developed to meet the needs of people who had “already in this situation” before joining the church, rather than those transitioning within a congregation. “We’re not at the moment making any more theological assumptions about where we go after that. That’s something that the [Living in Love and Faith] project is seeking to address.”
Dailey asked a supplementary question on whether “in addition to the pastoral concerns which they quite rightly considered,” the bishops had considered the significant “philosophical considerations” raised by these pastoral situations.
Cocksworth said the pastoral, philosophical, and theological questions raised by the guidance would be addressed by the Living in Love and Faith Project: “That is giving exactly the sort of theological and philosophical attention to the matters you raise now.”