How to Address an Episcopal Priest

Episcopal Priest

How to address an episcopal priest
Official Envelope:
—-—-The Reverend (Full Name)

—-—-The Reverend (Full Name)

—-Letter salutation:
—-—-Dear Reverend Father:
—-—-Dear Father (Surname):
—-—-Dear Mother (Surname):
—-—-Dear Dr. (Surname):


Mother (Name) is Cringeworthy

I am noticing regional differences in how Episcopal clergy in the U.S. is addressed. Bishops are easy, male or female. But what about a woman Episcopal priest?

In our community, ‘Mother (Name)’ appears to be cringeworthy. One is encouraged to use the priest’s first name, adding the honorific ‘Pastor’; for a woman. My observation is based on working with about ten women priests of a certain age over the past twenty years.
—-—-—-– MC

Dear MC,

There are many respectful forms of address. I don’t present mine to be the only correct form.

These forms I suggest (and include in my book) are based on advice the Public Affairs office of the Episcopal Church in New York – and their advice is that most of the women priests in the Episcopal Church go by ‘Mother (Surname)’ in conversation/direct address, unless they are ‘Dr. (Surname)’.

RE: regional differences. There are regional variations. These tend to be casual and informal. I focus on the formal forms – since those tend to be widely accepted and are the best option for all of us ‘outsiders’ to use when addressing officials in a hierarchy of which we are not a part.

Regarding use of Pastor – it is a good honorific to use with just about any member of Protestant clergy if you are unsure of what they personally prefer.  As far as I have observed, none of the protestant denominations object to it.

– Robert Hickey

—-See other Episcopal clergy:
—-—-Bishop, Presiding
—-—-Priest: Mother, Father

Not Finding Your Question Answered?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  After checking the list and reading the posts, if you don’t see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – always changing the names and specifics.

— Robert Hickey

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