Episcopal Church Considers Making God Gender Neutral
USA – August 13, 2018
For many Protestant Churches in the US and Europe, when it comes to the quest for gender equality, the presence of women in the clergy and even the highest church leadership is par for the course. But some church groups urge to move even further and call not mentioning God solely by male pronouns. At present, most churches are not ready for a radical revision of church texts in the name of gender equality. But Episcopal Church leaders have called for revisions to masculine language in the Book of Common Prayer.
The Episcopal Church formed a committee Wednesday to “provide a pathway” toward revising the Book of Common Prayer to include gender-neutral language.
Church leaders called for immediate revisions to correct the “overwhelming use of masculine language” throughout the book, arguing that the language is now a hindrance to spiritual inclusion, according to the Episcopal Church website.
The Episcopal News Service shared further concerns from church leaders that the current language has created a “barrier to evangelizing young people.”
At the previous General Convention, same-sex weddings and transgender christenings were approved. The Chamber of Deputies of the General Convention adopted a resolution that approves the beginning of the revision process of the "Book of Common Prayer" in favor of sexual minorities. The resolution decided that the revision should favor the "liturgical, cultural, racial, age, linguistic, cultural, gender, physical and ethnic diversity of the church." Of the clergy "for" 63 people voted, of the laity - 69, that is, the majority of both factions of the House. But the document must still be approved by the upper Chamber of Bishops. And the process of sexual revision of the prayer book will take many years - at best, the "transgender" prayer book will be released in 2030.
But the Episcopal Church is not the only religious organization in the US, which is thinking about using gender-neutral language in worship. The Washington Post wrote that the same thing is being discussed in the United Methodist Church of the United States and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the American Reform Jews in 2007 released a collection of gender-neutral prayers. In Europe, the idea of a "sexual revolution" in worship is also not new. But the implementation of this idea in common practice in major European churches has rarely, if ever, been approved. According to the Guardian, on May 20 of this year, at Pentecost, the General Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden approved the gender-neutral edition of the "Pandan of the Danish Trebner" - a church handbook taken from the Swedish Lutherans.