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Could a female God catch on in Canada?

06/05/2015 04:35 EDT | Updated 06/05/2016 05:59 EDT
Following the selection of the first female bishops in the Church of England, there is a growing movement to have God referred to as a woman.

The words 'she' and 'mother' have reportedly been showing up regularly in church services in the U.K. — so CBC Radio One's Daybreak South decided to get a Canadian perspective.

John Privett, Archbishop for the Anglican diocese of Kootenay, B.C. says God should not be engendered, but because of centuries of patriarchy, has largely taken on a male identity.

"God is not gendered, but as it gets expressed in worship, the language that is used begins to shape people's consciousness," he said. 

"All religious language, in the end, is metaphorical. And so we take language that we know and extend it to that which we are encountering for the first time."

Tradition vs. inclusivity?

While clergy in the U.K. have begun actively using feminine language in alluding to God, Privett says the Anglican Church has supplementary services that are inclusive in terms of language.

The result among congregations has been mixed. 

"Some congregations embrace (inclusive language) quite well, other congregations prefer the more traditional language, so at the local level, you'll see various expressions," he said.

The Anglican Church of Canada first allowed women to be priests in 1976. The church's first female bishop, Rev. Victoria Matthews in the diocese of Toronto, was ordained in 1994.

To hear the full interview with Archbishop John Privett, listen to the audio labelled: Can God be referred to as a woman?

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