The problem with a gender-neutral God

The Church of England will soon launch a commission on the question of gendered language in relation to God. Is this big news? It depends what the commission proposes. Even if it proposes big changes, the synod would have to vote them through. And a two-thirds majority, voting in favour of removing the word ‘father’ from the Lord’s Prayer, seems unlikely. But that’s what some reports are suggesting, whether through clumsiness or a mischievous glee at the prospect of further Anglican division. According to the Guardian, ‘The Church of England is considering whether to stop referring to God as “he”, after priests asked to be allowed to use gender-neutral terms instead…It

Justin Welby is missing a trick on climate change

Justin Welby urges us, echoing Deuteronomy, to ‘choose life’, so that our children may live. It is an apt use of scripture, in the face of the climate emergency. But his performance on Radio 4 this morning was far from impressive. The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke of the need for ‘meaningful sacrifices’, but when asked which ones he was making he sounded a bit muddled, as if he was not ready for such an obvious question. His first answer was ‘recycling and all that’, a locution with an air of irritation, like a man too often nagged to take the bins out.  Can’t Lambeth Palace afford daily sausages? Asked about

How the Church of England can bounce back from its Covid crisis

The bishop of Manchester has warned that many Church of England churches are unlikely to survive the pandemic. The normal trickle of church closures (around 25 per year) is set to become a steady stream in the next few years. ‘I suspect the pace (of closures) will increase as a result of Covid’, the Right Rev David Walker has said. It will be a sad loss to the nation’s social fabric if hundreds of churches become flats, or offices, or are demolished. But there is another possibility. The pandemic has highlighted our need to invest in local communities, and this is an opportunity to do so. The government should give every church that cannot afford to