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We pray to God, who we call “Lord” and we call Jesus our “Lord and Saviour.” But in the Bible, I notice that sometimes lord is spelled “Lord” other times, it is written this way: “LORD.” Why? What is the difference? Also, I would like to know why translations of the
Bible and Christian books don’t capitalize “He” and “Him” when they refer to God and Jesus anymore.
I have heard my minister and others talking about conversion therapy and they said that the PCC does not support it. What is it and what does the PCC say about it?
 Answered by the Rev Ian Ross-McDonald, General Secretary, Life and Mission Agency
You are an observant reader if you noticed the difference between Lord and Lord while read- ing the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Various conventions are used in different translations of the Bible into English, and many transla- tions do have the feature you noticed. Com- monly, the custom of using the word Lord (and sometimes God) in versions such as the New Revised Standard, is a signal to the reader that the name of God (YHWH) is written in the origi- nal text.
But traditionally, it was felt that God’s name is too sacred to pronounce, so the word “Lord” (written in capital letters) is substituted for God’s name. When we see the word “Lord” (refer- ring to God) in the Old Testament, it is usually
a translation of a word/title for God in Hebrew that refers to God’s power, authority and lord- ship, rather than signifying that God’s name is in the text. These distinctions, of course, do not occur in the New Testament, which was written in Greek not Hebrew.
The custom of capitalizing “he” and “him” in the Bible to refer to Jesus or God is far less common than we think and a more recent cus- tom than we expect. Capitalizing pronouns that refer to God and Jesus isn’t found in the original languages of the ancient texts. The King James Version of the Bible does not capitalize the pro- nouns used for God, because it was published before the innovation of capitalizing pronouns became fashionable. Generally, most Christian writing and translations of the Bible have re- verted to the older tradition and don’t capitalize pronouns that refer to God and Jesus.
Answered by Carragh Erhardt,
Program Coordinator, Sexuality and Inclusion
The term “conversion therapy” describes a broad set of practices that encompasses any form of efforts, explicit or implicit, which pres- sure someone to deny, suppress, or change their sexual orientation to heterosexual and/or change their gender identity or expression to align with the sex they were assigned at birth. This involves organized, sustained efforts and can include prayer or religious rites, behaviour modification and various individual or group counselling techniques. These practices are based on the view that diverse sexual orienta- tions, gender identities or gender expressions are wrong, abnormal, undesirable or illnesses that can be cured. Scientific research does not support the efficacy of conversion therapy and has demonstrated that it can result in negative outcomes, including distress, anxiety, depres- sion and difficulty sustaining relationships.
You may have heard of conversion therapy described in other terms, such as ex-gay ther- apy, reparative therapy or reorientation therapy. Experts are advocating that these practices be referred to as “conversion practices” or “sexual orientation and gender identity and expression change efforts” (SOGIECE), because the term “conversion therapy” gives the false impression that it is a valid or effective form of therapy.
In 2019, the General Assembly reaffirmed a 2003 statement that homosexual orientation is not a sin and that studies have not revealed any scriptural, scientific or pastoral basis or justification for programs to change a person’s sexual orientation. The Presbyterian Church in Canada acknowledges that any form of con- version or reparative therapy is not a helpful or appropriate pastoral response to those who identify as LGBTQI2+.
Over the past few years, various jurisdictions in Canada have adopted legislation to ban con-
version therapy because of its harmful effects. As of January 7, 2022, it is illegal in Canada to: a) cause another person to undergo con-
version therapy;
b) do anything for the purpose of remov-
ing a child from Canada with the inten- tion that the child undergo conversion therapy outside Canada;
c) promote or adver tise conversion therapy; and
d) receive a financial or other material ben- efit from the provision of conversion therapy.
While conversion practices are illegal in Canada, there is much work still to be done to address the homophobia and transphobia used to justify attempts to change the sexual orien- tation, gender identity and gender expression of LGBTQI2+ people. The church as a whole is called to repent of its role in this harm. When appropriate, churches should be involved in supporting survivors of conversion practices. Ministers and elders may want to take a course or engage in study groups to learn about trau- ma-informed ways of offering pastoral care to LGBTQI2+ people and their families.
There is also funding available through the national office to provide financial assistance for counselling or psychotherapy to help sup- port healing for people who have been harmed by homophobia and transphobia in the church. To learn more, or to request funding, contact Carragh Erhardt at or 1-800-619-7301 ext. 278.
Additional Resources:
Community-Based Research Centre:
Search: Conversion therapy and SOGIECE Canadian Psychological Association: Search: Policy Statement on Conversion/
Reparative Therapy for Sexual Orientation No Conversion Canada:
I want to begin conversations with my congregation about LGBTQI2+ inclusion. Where can I find information about what the PCC has said about gender and sexuality?
 Answered by Carragh Erhardt,
Program Coordinator, Sexuality and Inclusion
The Social Action Hub ( action) contains a page on Gender, Sexuality and Inclusion that summarizes principles and ac- tions that the General Assembly has endorsed, dating back to 1969. See justice/social-action/gender-sexuality-inclusion.
To learn more about specific reports to General
Assembly, visit sexuality-inclusion-repor ts-and-decisions, which is an archive of reports and pastoral letters related to sexuality and gender identity. As you engage in these conversations with your congregation, it may be helpful to review for other resources about pastoral care and steps that ministries can take to welcome and include LGBTQI2+ people and their families.

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