STOCKHOLM – The Church of Sweden is urging its clergy to use gender-neutral language when referring to the supreme deity, refraining from using terms like "Lord" and "He" in favor 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, and other aspects.
The decision was taken Thursday at the end of an eight-day meeting of the church's 251-member decision-making body in Uppsala, north of Stockholm, and takes effect May 20 on the Christian holiday of Pentecost.
The church has 6.1 million members in a country of 10 million. It is headed by a woman, Archbishop Antje Jackelen.