US: Presbyterians 'Receive' Policy on non-sexist language

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue Jun 20 13:32:48 UTC 2006

>>From the Associated Press
Presbyterians 'Receive' Policy on Worship
By RICHARD N. OSTLING , 06.19.2006, 01:25 PM

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) delegates stopped short Monday of approving
gender-inclusive language for worship of the divine Trinity, along with
the traditional "Father, Son and Holy Spirit." The assembly decided to
merely "receive" a policy paper on the subject rather than approve it.
That means church officials can propose experimental liturgies with
alternative phrasings for the Trinity, but congregations won't be required
to use them.

The assembly narrowly defeated a conservative bid to refer the paper back
for further study. A panel that worked on the issue since 2000 said the
classical language for the Trinity should continue to be used, but that
Presbyterians also should seek "fresh ways to speak of the mystery of the
triune God" to "expand the church's vocabulary of praise and wonder." One
reason is that language limited to the Father and Son "has been used to
support the idea that God is male and that men are superior to women,"
the panel said.

Conservatives objected that the church should stick close to the way God
is named in the Bible and noted that Jesus' most famous prayer was
addressed to "Our Father."

Among the proposed options drawn from biblical material:

_ "Mother, Child and Womb"

_ "Lover, Beloved, Love"

_ "Creator, Savior, Sanctifier"

_ "Rock, Redeemer, Friend"

_ "King of Glory, Prince of Peace, Spirit of Love."

Early in Monday's business session, the Presbyterian assembly sang a
revised version of a familiar doxology, "Praise God from whom all
blessings flow" that avoided male pronouns for God.

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