The Church of Sweden wants its clergy to use gender-neutral language when referring to God, refraining from using terms such as “Lord” and “he” in favour of the less specific “God.” .
The move is one of several taken by the national Evangelical Lutheran church in updating a 31-year-old handbook setting out how services should be conducted in terms of language, liturgy, hymns and other aspects.
The decision was taken on Thursday at the end of an eight-day meeting of the church’s 251-member decision-making body, and takes effect on 20 May on the Christian holiday of Pentecost. .
Archbishop Antje Jackelén told Sweden’s TT news agency that a more inclusive language had been discussed as early as the 1986 conference. “Theologically, for instance, we know that God is beyond our gender determinations, God is not human,” she said.