A women’s group within the Church of England is calling to overhaul official liturgy and refer to God as a “she,” in order to fully recognize the equal status of women in the church following the selection of the first female bishops. Reverend Jody Stowell, a member of Women and the Church (Watch), the group that led the campaign for female bishops, argued, “Orthodox theology says all human beings are made in the image of God, that God does not have a gender. He encompasses gender – he is both male and female and beyond male and female. So when we only speak of God in the male form, that’s actually giving us a deficient understanding of who God is.” The Church of England consecrated Reverend Libby Lane as its first female bishop in January and has selected two more female bishops in the past few months. The discussion on using female terminology sprang from a Westminster faith debate on whether the consecration of female bishops would make a difference. Hillary Cotton, the chair of Watch, said that more gender-equal language was already quietly advancing in some sections of the Church. An official spokesman for the Church of England said they were aware and updated regularly on the discussions going on within the women clergy group, but cautioned that “any change in the formal liturgy of the Church of England would require consent, revision and final approval of the General Synod. Even prior to that point there would need to be substantial consultation with the Liturgical Commission.”
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