GOD should be referred to as
a woman clergy have been told in an official Church of England publication.
Some have reacted angrily to the advice, condemning it as "incipient
feminism"and political correctness.
But the pamphlet's editor says it is just as offensive to some
people to assume that God is exclusively male.
The controversy has arisen over a monthly list issued to all 150
clergy in the diocese of Ripon and Leeds in the north of England.It suggests what
congregations should pray for each week.
For Whit Sunday, May19, the proposal is that they should
"pray that the Holy Spirit will move among us and that we may recognise Her presence
and cooperate with Her work.
"No one is forced to comply with the latest guidance, but many churchmen were
still shocked when the list arrived at vicarages last weekend.
Ian Rutherford, vicar of St John and St Barnabas in Leeds, said: "It's
this feminine agenda, it's everywhere. I personally despair about it."
John Hilton, vicar of St Wilfrid's in Leeds, said: "I won't pray for the Holy
Spirit as "She" in my church."
But Canon David Grice, who edits the list said: "We
often refer to God and the Spirit as 'He' and that is just as objectionable to some
people, because it implies that the God-head is masculine.
"Presumably it is neither."