Magazine article The Christian Century

PCUSA Polls Members on Conceptions of God

Magazine article The Christian Century

PCUSA Polls Members on Conceptions of God

Article excerpt

Members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are far more likely to refer to God as "Father" than "Mother," a church poll has found. Despite an increasing presence of inclusive language about God in Presbyterian congregations, the poll found that 89 percent of pastors, 84 percent of specialized clergy and 94 percent of elders and members say they are "extremely likely" or "somewhat likely" to imagine God as "Father." The results came from a recent Presbyterian Panel poll conducted by the denomination's Research Services Office.

The poll found that smaller percentages of respondents in the various categories were "extremely likely" or "somewhat likely" to say they imagined God as "Mother": 46 percent of specialized clergy, 38 percent of pastors, 16 percent of elders and 13 percent of members. The respondents were not asked to choose between "Father" and "Mother." Specialized clergy are ordained clergy who are not serving as pastors.

One in nine clergy and about half of both elders and members agreed that "God is best understood in masculine terms. …

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