Photo Credit: Gary Bridgman
AUSTIN, Texas — A committee tasked with hearing desired revisions to the Book of Common Prayer listened to remarks on Wednesday from Episcopalian leaders and others who want to make the historical book’s text more gender-neutral by removing masculine nouns and pronouns for God and mankind. Some Episcopalians disagree, and have presented a resolution asking that no changes be made to the book, but rather that deeper devotion be given to the existing text.
“As long as a masculine God remains at the top of the pyramid, nothing else we do matters. We construct a theological framework in which we talk about gender equality … then we say that which is most holy in the universe is only and exclusively male. That just undoes some of the key theology that says we are equal in God’s sight, we are fully created in God’s image,” Wil Gafney, a Hebrew Bible professor at Brite Divinity School in Texas, who is among those calling for the change, told The Washington Post.
According to the Episcopal News Service, among those who spoke before the “Committee to Receive the Report of Resolution A169” (referring to a 2015 resolution calling for the changes) were two women who identify as men, Ian Stanford of the Diocese of Oregon and the Cameron Partridge of the Diocese of California. They asserted that gendered language is an hindrance to the youth that they seek to bring into the church.
Stanford said that she was worried about how the young people will receive the
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