Words Matter: Gender-Sensitive Language for Creator and Creation

Led By: The Rev’ds Lyn G Brakeman and Richard J. Simeone
Suggested Donation: $360

Tuesday, November 12 – Friday, November 15, 2019

When the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church met this summer, 2018, it will considered revisions of the Book of Common Prayer. They were authorized to utilize “expansive language for God from the rich sources of feminine, masculine, and non-binary imagery for God found in Scripture and tradition and, when possible … avoid the use of gendered pronouns for God.”

What about God? Does God have gender? If humankind is made male and female in God’s image, as the Creation narrative in Genesis indicates, then what does that mean— really? Jesus was indeed a remarkably divine man of Nazareth. Does that mean that the Risen Christ also must carry the masculine gender? If so, how can we seek and serve Christ in all persons—in all flesh?

And what when a child asks you in all trust: Is God a man? What do you say? Well, sort of? Not exactly? Or safer: Ask the priest?

How will we respond to these changes? Will we relegate this to mere politics, blame feminists and others, choose the safety of our comfort zones? Or will we embrace language as a theological matter—the words we use in our liturgies to praise God and invite others to join us in apprehending the ineffable Mystery we call God? We need a liturgical language that is just and loving to both humanity and divinity.


The Rev’ds Lyn G Brakeman and Richard J. Simeone, priests of the diocese of Massachusetts, offer retreats and workshops on the impact of theological language. In retirement they serve as Priest Associates at St. John’s Charlestown, Massachusetts and as Coordinators of the Education for Ministry (EfM) program in the diocese of Massachusetts. Dick is an Associate of the Order of the Holy Cross and Lyn is an Associate of the Religious Sisters of Mercy. Lyn is the author of two books, a blog, and a memoir God is Not a Boy’s name. Becoming Woman. Becoming Priest, 2016, Wipf and Stock. Dick has a practice in Spiritual Direction. Both are experienced retreat leaders.