Inclusive language liturgy

I’m not sure how our Liturgy Committee works. Sometimes when new liturgies are created we discuss it at Area Councils and Synods and argue back and forth for years over the placement of a comma. At other times it seems as if there is no discussions at all – like the reprinting of Daily Prayer and the Scottish Liturgy 1982 with Propers and RCL.  And now we have an inclusive language 1982 liturgy. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. Some churches have just gone ahead and done it themselves unofficially. But those of us who like to obey the rules 😉 have been agog with anticipation. There has been no discussion at Synod about this and we are told it is an interim measure as the Liturgy Committee have been instructed to prepare a new Eucharistic Liturgy. I’m not exactly sure what that means but in the meantime we are permitted to make seven changes. They are not online yet so here they are if you are interested.

Page 2 at 5, & page 5 at 15 (Confession)

Current:  God is love and we are his children… We love because he loved us first.

Change: God is love and we are God’s children… We love because God loved us first.

Current: heal and strengthen us by his Spirit

Change:  heal and strengthen us by the Holy Spirit

Page 3 at 11 (Gloria)

Current:  and peace to his people on earth

Change: and peace to God’s people on earth

Page 4 at 13 (Creed)

Current: for us men and for our salvation

Change: for us and for our salvation

Page 6 at 18 (Opening Eucharistic Prayer)

Current:  it is right to give him thanks and praise

Change: it is right to give God thanks and praise

Page 16, 2nd para, 4th line (Eucharistic Prayer IV)

Current:  He renewed the promise of his presence

Change:  Your son, Jesus Christ, renewed the promise of his presence

Page 21 at 23 (Thanksgiving and Sending out)

Current:  Give thanks to the Lord for he is gracious. And his mercy endures for ever.

Change:  Give thanks to our gracious God, whose mercy endures for ever.

Page 21 at 24a (Prayer (a))

Current:  which is your will for all mankind

Change: which is your will for all the world

And that’s it. God is still Father by name so I’m more than a little disappointed. Perhaps that’s still to come…

What do you think?

14 thoughts on “Inclusive language liturgy

  1. Hallelujah!

    That sounds like much more than just inclusive language to me – at least, insofar as I understand inclusive to mean “ignoring difference between sexes and genders” which is ultimately a mundane, here specifically human, phenomenon. This goes beyond, into realms of theology, whereby God is not addressed as “he”. And quite right that is, too: it’s not about the “Father”- and “he”-rut exhibiting patriarchalism (ie of concern to feminists), it’s about it being a philosophical rut to get out of and think about a fuller approach to God instead. That deserves significant adoption.

    And a new liturgy on the cards as well? Meaning a whole new year/date as its name? *Can* it be more gloriously poetic than 1982 is already? Is this where I prepare to drool?

  2. Ruth – A lot of those changes seem very familiar. Not sure where I have seen them – possibly at Provost Kelvin’s establishment – but maybe at one of the other churches I have been known to frequent.

  3. I’m glad to see that some changes are being officially made, though Holy Trinity Melrose is one of those churches which changed some of that unofficially a couple of years ago.

    Is the Spirit still ‘he’ at the epiclesis? We sometimes have a feminine Spirit at the epiclesis, and sometimes our rector simply says, ‘overshadowed by that life-giving power’. The response to both has been very positive – people say the change makes them pay attention and really think about what it is we are saying and doing.

  4. Well, as you know, I’m into 1929, so it comes nowhere me! The only way to improve 1982 is to start again, and sounds like that might be happening.

  5. Pingback: Inclusive Language | What's in Kelvin's Head

  6. I agree that it’s good to see these changes given official approval, although I’m also disappointed that there doesn’t seem to be a move (yet – I live in hope) to naming God in other ways than ‘Father’ and ‘Lord’.

    Tim, I’m interested in your comment. I had always thought inclusion meant recognising differences and making space for them. And to me that seems like a theological, as well as a social, issue. Which of course also opens up the question of the difference (if there is one) between the theological and the social. How are the two related?

    I wonder what others think? There’s lots of discussion about inclusion these days, which is great, but it might open up some really interesting dialogue to talk about what different people think inclusion means.

    Although there’s lots I appreciate about the 1982 liturgy, I would love to see a few more ‘S’s make their way into it.

  7. Pausingplace: it seems to me that ugleyvicar, and particularly his commentators, should beware bibliolatry.

    At the ‘pisky church I occasionally attend, there is a move afoot to upgrade from 1970(ish) to 1982(ish), where 1982 actually includes these modifications already. I’m deeply impressed; nobody in the congregation seems to have either noticed[0] this tweak, or worried enough to discuss it with me, at least.

    [0] this includes those arrogant sods who persist in using some version of the liturgy to be found only in their heads, such as “*I* believe” in the Creed, despite what’s written, etc.

  8. Pausingplace, it wasn’t Ugleyvicar’s views but an article he pinched from John Richardson. And what do I think of it? I don’t agree.

    Tim, Amen.

  9. [*FX* polite cough]

    John Richardson writes the Ugley Vicar blog, Ruth.

    Would it be possible, please, for you to explain why you disagree with his view that unilaterally changing how we describe God amounts to idolatry (if I’ve understood his arguments correctly)?

  10. Graham: if you’ve understood the argument correctly, then simply because God is transcendent.
    Those who do *not* change their language send a message that they have already got it right, that they completely understand God (“because everything you need is in the bible”), that *their* God is the one true such, etc. Maybe not explicitly – but it’s going down that avenue to some degree. And that’s where it becomes just one more partisan god amongst many that have gone before and will inevitably be out-evolved by another party later. Alternatively, if one admits a changing language, then that more humbly admits that human understanding changes (as does / in relation to the culture/society of the time, thereby staying relevant) while God remains transcendent – always that little bit beyond, whichever way God is approached.

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