Friday, September 25, 2009

On Titles

At the beginning of the week, I was away at a clergy support/network/education program for those of us who are newly serving in this diocese. A delight, primarily because of my wonderful female clergy friends there. We had a fascinating conversation about how people in our parishes address us.

Some go by "Mother (first name)". Since my real-life first name is Mary, whenever I'm addressed as Mother Mary, all I can think of is the Beatles.


Some go by "Pastor (first name)".

Some go by "Reverend (first name)". Yes, I know that that is an improper use of a modifier.

I really prefer just using my first name. After all, it was good enough for the apostles, right? But parents of young 'uns like to have something more formal to denote respect, and there are times when identifying oneself with an honorific is helpful. "Hello, this is Pastor Mibi/Reverend Do-good/Mother Mibi. My parishioner John Doe is on your unit, and I'm wondering if he's feeling well enough for a visit right now."


So what do you do?

6 comments:

Rev Dr Mom said...

Argh.

I'd prefer just my name, but if you want a title, it ought to be Mother. But there is HUGE resistance to that at the two churches where I've been, even in people who use Father easily.

What was MOST annoying when I was an assistant was when someone referred to the rector as Father Name, but I was just Name. Nope, not okay.

Pastor doesn't sit well on my Episcopalian ears, nor does Reverend.

I always use my full title The Rev. Dr. Name Name on written correspondence; just seems like I should.

Kathryn said...

I've been Kathryn all along, though as one at the catholic end of the C of E spectrum I've been offered "Mother" as an option...Had resisted it to the hilt, til spending time with a friend who is always "Mother" to the congregation...It sounded so natural and comfortable there, I'm reconsidering.

mibi52 said...

..and the problem is complicated if I take the nonparochial call, which is a social service agency with an Episcopal label, populated by a client base that is largely AME or Pentecostal, with a largely unchurched staff, located in the Biretta Belt. Clients would likely call me Pastor, staff would call me Mibi, parishioners at any church I affiliated with would call me Mother Mibi...

You can call me Al...

MadPriest said...

Oh, let it be, Mibi!

mibi52 said...

MP, my love, you have now roundly planted that earworm in my feeble brain...damn....

MadPriest said...

Sorry, Mibi. As usual, you speak words of wisdom.