The Church of England said Wednesday that it would reconsider the traditional use of masculine pronouns to describe God, floating gender-neutral alternatives to "He" and "Our Father."
Two days after gathering in London for the latest General Synod, the church revealed that it plans to launch a commission this spring tasked with investigating the use of gendered language in prayers, baptisms, and general usage.
"Christians have recognised since ancient times that God is neither male nor female," the Church of England told The Washington Post. "Yet the variety of ways of addressing and describing God found in scripture has not always been reflected in our worship."
Bishop Michael Ipgrave of Lichfield, who serves as vice-chairman of the new commission, confirmed at the meeting that clergy had been exploring the "use of gendered language in relation to God for several years."
"After some dialogue between the two commissions in this area, a new joint project on gendered language will begin this spring," Bishop Ipgrave stated, according to The Guardian.
"In common with other potential changes to authorised liturgical provision, changing the wording and number of authorised forms of absolution would require a full synodical process for approval," he added.
The move is part of a leftward shift in the Anglican Communion's founding church since 1985, when it first permitted the ordination of female deacons. In the decades since, the church has expanded the ordination of women to include priests and bishops.
Church officials have also floated the recognition of same-sex marriages and LGBTQ+ clergy over the last seven years, with bishops deciding last month to authorize "prayers of thanksgiving, dedication and for God's blessing for same-sex couples."
In response to liberal trends, conservative Anglican bishops organized the Global Anglican Future Conference in 2008, eventually leading to the creation of the inter-denominational Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.
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