In the progressive quest for inclusivity above all else, a church congregation has actually banned the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:5-15) for not being inclusive enough.
But perhaps the banning of the Lord's Prayer should not be a big surprise, because according to the Christian Post, the pastor of West Hill United Church of Toronto, Ontario doesn't believe in God and actually openly identifies herself as an atheist. In fact, a number of the members of the United Church of Canada congregation believe the same.
Not everyone in the congregation is happy with the church's direction, and some want to defrock Rev. Gretta Vosper because she rarely mentions the Bible or God anymore.
No big surprise there.
A spokeswomen for the church, Andrea DiPede, justified Vosper's actions, saying West Hill has "moved away from language that references God in order to create an environment without barriers to participation."
She further explained that the Bible isn't special, saying, "We rarely read the Bible in our services, and when we do, we read it alongside other sources of inspiration. We draw from many sources, including novels, journal articles, blogs, poems, nonfiction books, memoirs, videos and music in our services."
As for what the church does believe in, DiPede explains, "The services are themed around love, justice, compassion care and responsibility, and living in right relationship with ourselves, with others and with the world."
Wait, doesn't the Bible address all of those?
As for the banning of the Lord's Prayer itself, DiPede added, "As we came to recognize that the words of that traditional prayer no longer reflected our values and represented a barrier to participation to people who don't believe in a personified God, we stopped using it."
Not surprisingly, the weekly attendance at that church has plummeted. The United Church of Canada denomination leadership is currently considering whether Vosper's atheism should disqualify her from her pastorate.