The Church of Sweden has said it will now begin using more gender-neutral language when referring to ‘god’ or ‘lord’.
It will encourage members of the church to use the general term ‘God’ instead of ‘he’ or ‘the Lord’.
The Swedish National Evangelical Lutheran Church announced the move in conjunction with other updates of a 31-year-old handbook, which outlines how services should be conducted in terms of language, hymns and other aspects.
Lena Sjostrand, chaplain of Lund Cathedral told PBS NewsHour: ‘We have a consciousness about gender questions, which is stronger in our time than it has been before.
‘Of course, this has had an impact on theology and on church life and pastoral reflection.’
She added: ‘I don’t think that God is a big mother or a father sitting up in the sky. I don’t think that makes sense. ‘God is something much bigger than this.’
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
In order to be gender neutral several key expressions will be changed.
For example, “in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” will be changed to “In God the Trinity’s name”.
Priests will not be forced to embrace the changes, the church however strongly encourages them to do so.
The change will take effect on 20 May on the Christian holiday of Pentecost.