Anglican Diocese of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands
The Church of England is one of 46 separate and independent provinces in the worldwide
Anglican Communion. At its recent General Synod (annual general meeting or national
assembly) held in February 2023, it made a decision to have its Liturgical Commission, the body
responsible for overseeing prayers and services, to look into the subject of gender neutrality over
the next five years. (The Liturgical Commission will work along with the Faith and Order
Commission in this study.) The Commission had been considering the subject of gender
neutrality in the language since 2014, in the context of a wider discussion on gender identity,
sexuality, human relationships, and marriage. The Bishops in the Church of England have
authorized certain prayers to accompany this dialogue themed, “Living in love and faith.”.
This basic discussion about gender neutrality has been going on globally for decades in the
religious and secular world. It has yielded such basic changes as referring to firemen as
firefighters, stewardesses as flight attendants, policemen as police officers, clergymen as clergy
persons – to recognize the fact that these officers can be male or female.
The English Church made a decision to continue the discussion. It has not decided to change
immediately (or at all) – the wording of the Lord’s Prayer or any other liturgical language –
contrary to what some press reports suggest.
It is unfortunate that the media have latched onto a few keywords (coming out of a church
gathering), associating gender with God, without reference to the wider dialogue mentioned
above. The ongoing discussion is a discussion but no conclusions have been arrived at.
The Church in the Province of the West Indies of which we are a part is a separate, independent
member of the world Anglican Communion of which the Church of England is only one
member. Decisions made by the Church of England have no bearing on us. We are not
compelled to accept or to agree with any decision made by them.
It is our hope that despite the challenges before us we will be able to maintain unity within the
Worldwide Anglican Communion.
We pray for and we work for this.