The Church of England is evaluating the use of gender neutral language in references to God in prayers, but officials emphasized that there are no intentions to eliminate current services. The debate over the use of gender-specific language has arisen as a result of growing global sensitivity towards the use of pronouns that may cause offense to those who do not identify with their assigned gender at birth.
“Christians have recognized since ancient times that God is neither male nor female,” stated a representative of the Church. “However, the variety of ways of addressing and describing God found in scripture has not always been reflected in our worship.” The spokesperson added that there are “absolutely no plans to abolish or substantially revise” authorized services and that any changes would require “extensive legislation.”
The Church’s Faith and Order Commission, which provides counsel on theology, will collaborate with the liturgical commission in exploring questions related to gender terms. The discussion comes after a priest raised the issue of inclusive language during a recent meeting of the General Synod, the Church’s governing body. The Church has been considering the use of gendered language in relation to God for several years, as it strives to keep pace with changing attitudes towards gender and sexuality.