Inaccurate information has been spread in the Swedish and international media about the inclusive language being used in the new Book of Worship adopted by the Church of Sweden’s General Synod recently. The chair of the divine service committee, Sofia Pedersen Videke, clarifies below.
“Of course, the traditional expressions of Christian faith remain in the new worship book. However, some gender neutral ways of referring to God have been added in some prayers", she says.
1. For the introduction to the divine service – the very first words uttered when the basic structure of the service is followed – we have introduced three options:
a) “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
b) “In the name of God the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
c) “In the name of the Triune God.”
One of these three options is chosen to begin the divine service.
2. In Swedish, for the first and second of these options, an adaptation of the language to our year 2000 Bible translation (Bibel 2000) has been made, which was in fact one of the directives for the development of the new Book of Worship. The grammatical gender used for the noun ‘Spirit’ in both this new translation of the Bible in Swedish, and the new Book of Worship, is thus the common gender in Swedish (called reale or realgenus).
3. The pronoun ‘hen’, which is now the official gender-neutral pronoun in the Swedish language, is not used at all in the Book of Worship.