The Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., is going gender neutral, according to The Christian Post.
The church passed resolutions last weekend at the Washington National Cathedral that would eliminate gendered references to God whenever possible, and open up gender-specific church activities and facilities to accommodate people who identify with a gender different from their biological one.
What are the resolutions?
Below are some excerpts from the resolutions, which can be read in full here.
Resolved, that the Episcopal Diocese of Washington affirms that all transgender people, and anyone whose gender identity and expression differs from that assigned at birth, are beloved children of God.
Resolved, that the Episcopal Diocese of Washington encourage all parishes to remove all obstacles to full participation in congregational life by making all gender-specific facilities and activities fully accessible, regardless of gender identity and expression.
…as it considers revision of the Book of Common Prayer, to eliminate, when possible, all gendered references to God and to replace them with gender neutral language, and if necessary, to alternate gendered titles when referring to God.
What are the reasons for the changes?
The resolutions were accompanied by explanations that detailed the reasoning for the changes.
For the transgender resolution, the church said, “Fixed boundaries of gender identity are being challenged and churches need to respond. This resolution is a clear response to the systematic oppression and violence that transgender people experience on a daily basis.”
And regarding the gender-neutral language for references to God: “Our current gender roles shape and limit our understanding of God. By expanding our language for God, we will expand our image of God and the nature of God.”
What does it means for church life?
As a result of these resolutions, church members can presumably use the restroom that coincides with their gender identity.
Also, gender-specific activities such as a women’s Bible study could be attended by a man who identifies as a woman, and vice versa.
When a gendered pronoun is required to refer to God, the church recommends alternating he/him and she/her when possible for inclusivity purposes.