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NCC group to meet in
The National Council of Churches
symposium, “Language Matters,” will discuss how to talk about God and faith
in ways that respect the sensibilities of people from a variety of
Christian traditions and viewpoints.
The conversation will focus on the language, images,
and symbols used in worship and everyday life to talk about faith and God.
by the NCC’s Justice for Women Working Group, this conversation is a first
step in a larger project designed to create resources for congregations and
groups to assist their own conversations.
The term “expansive language” has been used in some
circles to describe respectful language that honors all of God’s people and
is more than just “gender inclusive”.
As communions seek to become genuinely inclusive as
well as multiracial communities of faith, planners say, the conversation
about the use of language in churches becomes more critical, and more
women in the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of
Christ) held a joint event, we prepared guidelines around expansive language
which asked preachers, speakers and workshop leaders to bring consciousness
to the language they were using out of the traditions from which they came,”
said the Rev. Loey Powell,
executive for Administration and Women’s Justice in the UCC.
Sensitivity to gender inclusive language, particularly
religious language and metaphor, emerged in the 1970’s with the advent of
feminist theology and feminist biblical exegesis and hermeneutics.
Many denominations began
the process of developing gender inclusive worship materials, protocols for
publications, and even biblical translations that offered metaphors and
names for God and humanity that reflected this inclusiveness.
In 1988 the General Convention of
the Episcopal Church first approved Supplemental Liturgical Texts, now known
as Enriching Our Worship, as an alternate to the Book of Common Prayer for
Part of the impetus to have a meeting on language is
the impression of some observers that the use of gender inclusive language
throughout our NCC member communions has declined.
insights have emerged within our churches about language that reinforces
harmful stereotypes around the realities of race, disabilities, sexual
orientation and gender, planners say.
The August gathering will explore
dimensions of language, images, and symbols for God through multiple
approaches that reflect the diversity of the group.
The 30 participants, both lay and ordained, come from
a wide diversity of NCC member communions and religious traditions.
For Additional Information Contact
Rev. Ann Tiemeyer
Program Director Women’s Ministries
Council of Churches,
Meagan Manas, MDiv
Council of Churches,
Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for ecumenical cooperation among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 36 member faith groups -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.
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