The Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., formally resolved Saturday to eliminate all gendered references to God, and open their gender-specific activities and public facilities based on gender identity.
The Washington-based Institute on Religion and Democracy reported on its blog Monday that the Diocese of Washington for the Episcopal Church passed three resolutions over the weekend at a gathering at Washington National Cathedral. Delegates to the 123rd Diocesan Convention moved within one hour to adopt proposals titled “On Becoming a Sanctuary Diocese: Offering Sacred Welcome to Immigrants,” “On Inclusion of Transgender People,” and “On the Gendered Language for God.”
The resolution about language for God emphasized replacing gendered references to God with gender neutral language and pronouns wherever possible.
The measure was subsequently amended to say “… if revision of the Book of Common Prayer [a liturgical prayer book used by Anglicans worldwide] is authorized, to utilize expansive language for God from the rich sources of feminine, masculine, and non-binary imagery for God found in Scripture and tradition and, when possible, to avoid the use of gendered pronouns for God.”
Read on for more.
Meantime, this is interesting and may help explain the move, regarding the parish of one of the sponsors of this resolution:
According to statistics made available by the Episcopal Church, St. Thomas has declined precipitously in the past five years, shrinking from a weekly attendance of 150 down to 75 (-50%). St. Margaret’s has similarly declined from approximately 240 attendees in 2006 down to 130 (-46%).
In the past decade, weekly attendance in the Diocese of Washington has declined 17 percent. Meanwhile, baptisms have dropped 35 percent and weddings have declined 39 percent. In April, the diocesan clergy conference will hear from an organization assisting churches “to move from a place of plateau or decline to sustained congregational health.”