C of E vicar protests against use of ‘Valuing All God’s Children” in schools

Mar 23, 2018 by

Anglican Mainstream report.

Extracts from correspondence show a parish vicar’s polite but firm engagement with Diocesan Education leaders, saying that Valuing All God’s Children (VAGC) “does not reflect an Anglican/ C of E position, doctrinally or pastorally.”

[The text of VAGC, and articles written after its publication in October 2017, can be found here]

The extracts from the correspondence conclude with a two page document that can be used to raise awareness by other clergy, parents or anyone concerned about how VAGC promotes ideologies contrary to Christian teaching. Names and places have been altered to protect anonymity.


Hello Michael,

Thank you for your email regarding the issues you would like raised at the forthcoming area briefing…

…Regarding the Valuing All God’s Children document, as you are aware, this is also produced by the central church and all dioceses are expected to encourage schools to attend to its contents. I would suggest that if some clergy or other members of our churches wish to debate the contents of the document then diocesan synod would be a more appropriate forum than our area headteacher briefings. Few of our headteachers would wish to engage in debating the theology behind the issues which Valuing All God’s Children seeks to address and the debate would only be likely to become heated, which would be counterproductive in terms of our witness through our schools and the relationships we take time to develop with our senior leaders.

Might I suggest that it would be better to address these matters to the chair of the Diocesan Board of Education, to seek a more appropriate way forward in the first instance?

With Kind regards

Philip Stevens

Diocesan Deputy Director of Education 


Dear Phil

Thank you so much for taking the time you have taken to reply which is much appreciated.

May I briefly respond…

With regard to VAGC, it would be good to meet with the Bishop, but I would still like it to be noted at the meeting that there are real and substantive problems with VAGC…

…these matters are not just a matter of theology (that Bishops and Clergy can resolve) but common sense (in science, psychology and practice) about how to treat children and families well.

In my opinion, this is also not just about ‘my opinion’, but rather a matter of observable fact that VAGC is a misrepresentation of a common sense position and the C of E’s position in its Canons and established pastoral practices – which a church school is meant to reflect and adhere to.

I feel that senior leaders should be made aware of the following to consider themselves:

  1. A matter of undue process: VAGC does not have behind it appropriate due theological/scientific processes in terms of study, discussion and decision that gives it any weight to be commended

…for such a radical change in belief and pastoral practice it would need to be based around a clear change of mind by a council of the church e.g., National Synod/wider Anglican Communion, not just around the personal opinions of a few.

2. A matter of sub-Christian/Anglican content: because of not having done any proper theology, to establish radically new beliefs and practice, the content of the document is misguided and not reflective of any new common mind to apply into our schools.

3. A matter of Safeguarding: based on its contents this is no less than a safeguarding matter in terms the potential mistreatment of a given child e.g., inappropriate care and treatment, and the potential mistreatment of other children, staff and governors which has no basis in law.

I do appreciate the need and want to avoid unhelpful heated debate, but fear of this should not be used to close down having a reasonable discussion. This is surely something we all need to engage in.

To conclude, I would be very grateful if I could please simply mention my concerns under Item 7 so they are noted in the minutes as I am sure there are many who are concerned about these matters in their schools.

My hope is that perhaps there can be more discussion as an agenda item and that in light of what emerges, that VAGC will be withdrawn as its implications are brought into the open.

Kind regards

Rev Michael Allen

Parish of Christ Church


Hello Michael

Thank you for your response to my email…

…In addition to the suggestions I made in my previous email, if you would like the issues you raise formally recorded, can I suggest you send a copy of your letter and papers to the Diocesan Board of Education (DBE) for debate? It is the DBE that issue guidance and policies to schools and this may well be a better way to ensure your concerns are heard. Would you like me to see if that would be possible to arrange? I do respect your wishes to express concerns about the issues you have raised and I think this would be a better vehicle for achieving your aims.

Kind regards



Dear Phil,

Thank you for the further note…

… However, with regard to VAGC2, with the greatest of respect, a plain reading of the document clearly demonstrates that it does not reflect an Anglican/ C of E position, doctrinally or pastorally.

I will send anything else that might be helpful in the next few days, but in the meantime, below is some further comment which I think summarises things well.

Kind regards



Why Valuing All God’s Children is causing concern for many clergy and parents involved in Church of England Schools

The church has always taught, following Scripture and Reason that there are two sexes, male and female, not a spectrum.

There have always been very small numbers of intersex people (1 in 10k?) and those who have suffered ‘gender dysphoria’, previously recognised as a psychological condition needing help, and in the church, compassionate pastoral care. In every society some have lived as the opposite sex, or androgynous, depending on cultural acceptance.

In the 1970’s radical philosophers started to promote the idea that while sex refers to biology, the real ‘gender’ of a person is fluid and depends on the person’s state of mind. In fact to restrict gender to physical sex is ‘oppressive’ and part of the patriarchal narrative that we should get rid of.

Later people began to popularise the idea that gender may not be a choice, but something inherent in a person. so a boy who wants to dress up as a girl and fantasises about being a girl, is in fact a ‘trans girl’, a new type of human being. So being ‘trans’ has come to be seen recently not as a decision individuals make about living their life, but a discovery of a person’s true self.

In order to fully affirm and welcome ‘trans’ people, all are expected simply to accept that a ‘trans person’ is not just identifying as a gender different from his/her biological sex, but that he/she is a variant kind of human being. A ‘trans’ person according to this account, does not just feel ‘trapped in the wrong body’; rather he/she different on a profound ontological level, and has come to discover this previously hidden truth about gender and personhood which we all need to discover.

This is certainly an ideology. It is in fact a religious claim, a manifestation of a faith.

There is no scientific evidence for this idea at all. It is entirely based on ideology. Medical researchers such as McHugh (New Atlantis) who have shown the lack of scientific basis have been vilified, even though their evidence has not been challenged.

There can be no doubt that the medical procedures involved in ‘transitioning’ are horrendous. Many regret it and attempt to transition back to their birth sex.

The government is being lobbied to bring in legislation to allow ‘transgender’ people to simply ‘self-identify’ without any medical certification. This has led to men dressed up as women, using women’s toilets and changing rooms, or male prisoners demanding to be in female prisons.

There is no theological basis for this ideology either. It goes directly against historic Christian anthropology; it involves severe physical abuse of the body; it threatens safety, and increasingly is causing political conflict (e.g., between feminists and transgender activists in the Labour Party).

One of the methods used to gain traction for the trans ideology is by focusing on the bullying that some trans people receive by the general public. If a child is ‘trans’, the argument goes, then he/she/zhe can only be fully affirmed by all other children, staff and parents taking on board and celebrating the ideology that the child believes.

Most Christians would agree that all bullying is wrong for whatever reason, and children should be taught and encouraged not to tease, belittle and bully others. It is about developing civility. Research shows that most bullying in schools is about issues such as appearance, clothing, class background, way of speaking etc not sexuality and gender.

But VAGC2 blurs the lines between teaching civility/discouraging bullying of children for unusual traits, and affirming the radical, potentially dangerous ideology behind the new transgender trend.

To use another example, a Church school should teach children in a majority Christian or secular culture not to bully the Muslim children, mocking their faith. Of course Christians should go further, actively showing respect and loving the neighbour who is different. But it would be wrong to decide that because a Muslim child and his/her parents believe Islam is the only true religion, this religion should be accepted by the whole school in order to make the child feel welcome.

The danger is that Church schools, in an effort to prevent bullying, avoid Government sanction and fury from a small group of lobbyists, will be promoting a non-Christian ideology, contributing to sex and gender confusion among all children, and potentially turning a blind eye to abuse of individual children.

In summary, the above must raise serious questions in the area of safeguarding of all children in our schools. In the future we will be called to account by those for whom we did not show due care.

See another critique of Valuing All God’s Children here (PDF) valuing all god’s children – some concerns 2018

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