Episcopalians for Evenhandedness

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Casey encourages you to join her in supporting this important resolution targeted at overcoming one of the least-acknowledged forms of exclusion in the church.   Thanks to Jett McAllister for his inspiration:

The 170th Annual Convention
Diocese of Chicago
November 9-10, 2007

Subject:        Handedness Neutral Language in the Liturgy
Sponsor:        Episcopalians for Evenhandedness


Whereas, the Episcopal Church recognizes and affirms the inherent dignity and worth of all human beings;

Whereas, some biblical scholars believe that a portion of Galatians 3:28 was excised in some manuscripts, and that the original text read:  “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, there is no right handed or left handed”; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus”;

Whereas, while progress has been made in the development of handedness neutral Books of Common Prayer, chalices, patens, thuribles and some vestments, the right hand still enjoys an inappropriate advantage in the design of albs and cassocks and the placement of pulpits;

Whereas, right handed bias is expressed constantly in the language of the liturgy, i.e. “right hand of fellowship,” “seated at the right hand of God” “it is meet and right so to do”;

Resolved, that the 170th Convention of the Diocese of Chicago commends the following resolution to the General Convention Office of The Episcopal Church of the United States for consideration at the 76th General Convention of the Church in 2009:

Resolved, the House of ________ concurring, that this 76th General Convention reaffirm that all baptized persons are full and complete members of the Church of God; and

Be it Further Resolved, that the Episcopal Church embrace the opportunity for pastoral care for people of alternative handedness; and

Be it Further Resolved, that the Episcopal Church affirms the full participation of persons of alternative handedness at all levels of ministry, providing, when necessary, resources and training to offset the historical bias; and

Be it Further Resolved, that this General Convention direct the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to develop alternative forms of prayer, Bible translation and Eucharistic celebration that do not discriminate against baptized persons on the basis of alternative handedness, and that it report its work to the 77th General Convention.


While the use of neutral, inclusive and expansive language in the liturgy has been of great pastoral and spiritual benefit to both women and men in the Church, our liturgy currently privileges right-handed persons.  The notion that the right hand is holy while the left hand is, well, sinister, puts at risk of great spiritual harm those persons of alternative handedness.  That Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, should ascend to and sit at the right hand, rather than the left hand, of God the Father, unnecessarily causes the godhead to lean a little funny and makes God anthropomorphic and physical in an unnecessary way.  We would like to consider that the Creed be changed from “sitteth at right hand of the Father” to “sitteth at whichever hand of the Father He should choose at the time.”  So that a more even-handed liturgy may be used by the Church, we would also like to eliminate the word “sinister” from all authorized texts.