Are we all welcome?
The language of worship can heal, liberate and embrace those usually excluded, but still often falls short
When I was training as an Anglican priest I attended a service led by a non-conformist minister – and I was stunned; the hymns, scripture, sermon and prayers were all in language that included me as a woman.
I’d grown up with the Book of Common Prayer, read Pilgrim’s Progress, sung ‘He Who Would Valiant Be’ and ‘When a Knight Won his Spurs’. I’d listened to a vicar preaching that Christianity is like playing cricket (a game I knew nothing about). I’d tried hard to identify with all those ‘male’ models of discipleship and I chaffed against the old assumption that the word ‘man’ embraces ‘woman’ – it just didn’t work for me. I was a seeker waiting at a door that always seemed reluctant to swing open and let me in. So it was electrifying as an ordinand to experience a service entirely inclusive of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, age and other distinctions. I felt totally accepted – yet distressed, too, that I’d had to wait so long for such a revelation.
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