The Methodist Church of Britain made history Wednesday when a newly-published prayer book was unveiled at Wesley’s Chapel in the City of London. The prayer book referred to God as both he and she, mother and father. Although the Church of England has also adopted some inclusive language, no large British church has gone so far as to refer to God as “mother.”
Gender neutral pronouns were used throughout the publication and worshippers were deemed “sisters and brothers.” The book also deleted the word “him” to the congressional response “It is right to give Him thanks and praise.” Jesus Christ was consistently referred to as male.
The 600-page prayer book contains nine Holy Communion services, four baptism services, and a marriage service in which the bride is “presented for marriage” by an individual of her choice instead of “given away” by a father. Other services to be conducted after the death of a child, at Easter, and for the burying of ashes are also included. The Methodist Publishing House reported that, although no church is required to use the new book, more than 160,000 have already been placed.