The Church of England is considering referring to God in ‘non-gendered’ terms during services, the Telegraph reported.
Breaking with centuries of tradition, the bishops have announced that they will launch a major “gender language project” this spring.
It may suggest that priests stop using the masculine pronouns “He” and “He” when referring to God in some prayers, or even that they may drop the famous phrase “Our Father” from the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer.
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The Rev Joanna Stobart, vicar of the diocese of Guildford in Surrey, said some priests want to refer to God without saying Him or Him, particularly in prayers for forgiveness for sins, according to the report.
Stobart wrote, “Please could the Liturgical Commission provide an update on the steps it has taken to develop more inclusive language in our Authorized Liturgy and to provide more options for those who wish to use Authorized Liturgy and speak about God in a non-gender way.” , particularly in authorized absolutions where many of the prayers offered for use refer to God using masculine pronouns?”
In response, the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Rev Michael Ipgrave, said: “We have been exploring the use of gendered language in relation to God for several years, in partnership with the Faith and Order Commission”.
The proposal has been welcomed by a group campaigning for “gender justice” in the Church of England.
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Women and the Church (WATCH), a group advocating for ‘gender justice’ in the Council of Europe, said: ‘WATCH welcomes the launch of another project in the Church of England to examine the development of a more inclusive language in our authorized liturgy”.
However some traditionalists argue that this goes too far and will fear that the proposed introduction of gender-neutral language is another example of the church’s attempt to increase dwindling congregations as young people increasingly stay away.
This announcement precedes the synod’s critical vote later this week on the introduction of blessing services for gay couples.
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