Language about People

Inclusive Language with Reference to the People of God 

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:28 NRSV

“We believe that the imagery conveyed by language and language itself is important and that they articulate and influence our understandings of what is revealed to us about the nature and activity of God and the dignity of all God’s people as created in the image of God.”
UCC Inclusive Language Covenant

Words That Exclude:

Words That Include:

brothers, brotherhood
(in the faith)

brothers and sisters, friends, kindred, family of faith, neighbors, humankind

man, men, mankind

people, all people, men and women or women and men, humanity, persons, everyone, all of us, we, one

sons (of God)

daughters and sons, children of God, people of God, God’s people, heirs


chairperson, chair, moderator, group leader, presiding officer




ancestors, forebears, forebearers

disabled person

person with a disability, differently abled


clergy, minister


laity, layperson, member of the congregation, congregant


community, communion, friendship, “koinonia”


constructed, not natural, human-made, synthetic

stand as able

if you are able to do so comfortably, please stand

minority people

racial ethnic people, people of color

foreigner, alien

visitor from another country, immigrant

man and wife

husband and wife, woman and man, spouses, partners


realm, reign of God

third world

developing nations, two-thirds world

washed white, white lies

washed clean, lies


discriminated against, excluded

darkness of evil

presence of evil

Inclusive Translations of Scripture

  • The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995
  • Inclusive Language Lectionary, Years A (1983), B (1984), C (1985), New York: National Council of Churches
  • Inclusive Language Psalms, Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 1987
  • The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation, Priests for Equality, 2007