From the Telegraph:
The new form of worship, which removes words such as "Lord, he, his, him" and "mankind" from services, has been written by the church in an attempt to acknowledge that God is "beyond human gender".
Episcopalian bishops have approved the introduction of more "inclusive" language, which deliberately removes references suggesting that God is of male gender.
Traditionalists have criticised the changes on the grounds that they smack of political correctness and because they believe they are not consistent with the teachings of the Bible. The alterations have been made to provide an alternative to the established 1982 Liturgy, which, like the Bible, refers to God as a man.
"The changing of God language is a little tricky," admitted Rev Darren McFarland, convener of the church's liturgy committee.
"It is then that opinion is much more divided. We have really tried not to mess around with the descriptions of God in the biblical text. But what we want to see is generous language when it comes to gender. God is above and beyond human gender.
"We are not saying God is not masculine. God is also feminine. The problem is trying to use human language to describe the indescribable.
"The bishops have permitted these changes, people do not have to use this form. But we are trying to honour the breadth of descriptions of God in a way that's helpful to the church and its membership."
In truth, I have never been as bothered by non-inclusive language in worship services, in the Bible, or in prayers as some of my fellow Christians, both female and male. (I know "Horrors!", but that's my story.) In my mind, I rather easily make the leap to inclusive language, but I understand those who have problems with the constant references to a masculine and masculine-only God.
In my own writing, I've mostly moved away from references to God as "he" or "him". Even before the days of PC, I thought of the Holy Spirit as more feminine than masculine, with the "Wisdom of Solomon" and Lady Sophia in mind. Correcting the worship service to gender-inclusive makes for awkward phrasing at times, but, on the whole, I think the change is good. Of course, certain of my fellow Christians see the change to gender-inclusive language as earth-shaking.
I wonder.... I hope the change is not the aftershock from the travels of the Mad Three to Scotland. As my correspondent who sent me the link said, "Grandmere, you take one trip to Scotland and controversy ensues." With due respect, Ann, I won't bear the entire responsibility on my shoulders. After all, we were three.
Thanks to Ann V. for the link.