A claim that the Church of England is introducing gender neutral pronouns for God is spreading on social media.
“Welby's Church of England to introduce 'gender neutral' pronouns about God. Male pronouns 'He' and 'Him' when referring to God in some prayers will be removed and 'our Father' from the start of the Lord's Prayer,” one person making the claim on Facebook said (here ).
Reuters reported on Feb. 8 that the Church of England planned to look into the use of gender neutral terms to refer to God in prayers, but that there were no plans to abolish current forms of service (here ).
In an email to Reuters Fact Check on Feb. 13, a Church of England spokesperson said again that there are “absolutely no plans to abolish or substantially revise currently authorized liturgies” and that any such changes could not be made without “extensive legislation”.
The spokesperson said the confusion arose from a priest asking a question at a meeting of the General Synod, the Church’s governing body, about developing more inclusive language in authorised forms of worship and seeking options for those who wish to speak of God in a “non-gendered way”.
“A question was asked at Synod about alternative language not abolishing existing language,” the spokesperson said. “So it would simply be wrong to say that the Church of England is considering stopping using any particular terms for God.”
They added: “This is nothing new. Christians have recognised since ancient times that God is neither male nor female.
“There has been interest in exploring the use of language for a number of years and the Liturgical Commission – the body which prepares forms of service for the Church of England – has been regularly considering these questions since 2014 and that continues.”
The full exchange from the General Synod meeting can be viewed (bit.ly/3lTXG1m ).
Missing context. There has been interest in exploring the use of language for several years, but there are no plans to abolish or substantially revise currently authorised liturgies, a Church of England spokesperson confirmed.
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