(FiveNation.com)- Last week, the Church of England said it was considering replacing the traditional masculine pronouns used to describe God with gender-neutral alternatives, the Washington Post reported.
After its latest General Synod in London, the Church of England revealed plans to launch a commission this spring tasked with looking into the use of gendered language in its liturgy and general use.
In a statement to the Washington Post, the Church of England explained that while early Christians recognized that “God is neither male nor female,” the ways God is described “has not always been reflected in our worship.”
During the General Synod, the clergy voted on several issues affecting the Church of England, including a proposal to permit the clergy to bless gay marriages while maintaining the church’s official position that marriage is between a man and a woman.
While debating the issue of gay marriage, a vicar asked Bishop Michael Ipgrave, vice-chairman of the Church’s Liturgical Commission, if he could update the synod on the steps being taken “to develop more inclusive language” including providing more options for those using the authorized liturgy to refer to God in a “non-gendered way.”
Ipgrave confirmed that the Church has been discussing the “use of gendered language” in reference to God “for several years.”
Ipgrave said that any recommendations made by the commission “would require a full synodical process for approval,” according to the UK Guardian.
In 2018, the Church of England’s most senior bishop, the archbishop of Canterbury, said descriptions of God should be considered metaphorical since “God is not a male or a female. God is not definable.”
In its statement, the Church of England said there is no timeline for the new commission’s process and any conclusions reached would not lead to an automatic change in policy. The Church said there were no plans to “abolish or substantially review currently authorized liturgies.”
Since the Church of England already gives its clergy some leeway in interpreting and adapting official texts, some have already adopted gender-neutral language.