The Church of England has appointed its first transgender archdeacon.
Rev Canon Rachel Mann has been made Archdeacon of Bolton and Salford, after having ministered in the Diocese of Manchester for the last 18 years.
Dr Mann is the most senior trans member of the clergy within the Church.
The appointment of Dr Mann, a novelist, poet and vicar has been described by LGBT+ campaigners as a ‘beacon of hope’.
Dr Mann, 53, grew up as a boy in a working-class household in Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire. In an interview with The Telegraph in 2020, the Archdeacon said she had “become very relaxed about my identity” as Christian traditionalists questioned whether or not she could be regarded as a priest at all.
She said she was “humbled and excited” to take on the role.
“I am passionate about helping individuals and communities meet Jesus and follow him and I look forward to serving alongside the people in the Archdeaconries of Bolton and Salford as we respond to God’s joyous call on our lives”, Dr Mann said.
“Please do pray for me as I step forward into this demanding and hope-filled role and be assured of my prayers in the weeks, months and years to come.”
The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Prof David Walker, said he was “delighted” at the new appointment in his diocese, adding: “Her personal gifts, including as a writer, poet, liturgist and broadcaster, will combine with her new responsibilities, to help the people of this generation know and love Jesus Christ.”
(Picture Courtesy: The Diocese of Manchester)