The Church of England’s first female diocesan bishop has spoken in favour of a shift away from only referring to God as male.
A group within the Church of England is calling for God to be referred to as female following the selection of the first female bishops. The group wants the church to recognise the equal status of women by overhauling official liturgy, which is made up almost exclusively of male language and imagery to describe God.
The Rev Emma Percy, chaplain of Trinity College Oxford and a member of Watch, said she had noticed people had become more open to modern terminology. “In the last two or three years we’ve seen a real resurgence and interest in feminism, and younger people are much more interested in how gender categories shouldn’t be about stereotypes. We need to have a language about God that shows God can be expressed in lots of diverse terms,” she said.Using both male and female language would get rid of the notion that God is some kind of old man in the sky”.
Hilary Cotton, the chair of Watch, said the shift towards gender-equal language was already at an advanced stage in some sections of the church. “The reality is that in many churches up and down the country something more than the almost default male language about God is already being used,” she told the Telegraph. “Quietly clergy are just talking about God as ‘she’ every now and then.”