English majors - a ? on salutations


Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
14 Years
Nov 9, 2007
SW Arkansas
When sending an email to a priest, specifically a episcopalian priest, how would I word my salutation? Say his name is the Right Reverend Jim Smith....

Somehow my usual Howdy! just seems wrong, on so very many levels.
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You crack me up!

Try something slightly more 'normal' (
) like Dear Reverend.
I'm not Episcopalian, but I dug this up for your reading pleasure. It is sure not clear to me. If you are not Episcopalian, you are not expected to know so you can get away with being a bit wrong as long as you are respectful about it. If you really have to get it exactly right and an Episcopalian does not come on here to tell you differently, I'd call the local Episcopalian church and ask. Otherwise I'd pretty much agree with Camelot Farms, and use Dear Reverend or maybe Dear Reverend Smith, depending on how personal you want to be. I think the "Right" in Right Reverend means he is a bishop. If you are pretty sure that his title is Right Reverend, I'd go with Dear Right Reverend Smith. It's formal yet personal. Besides, how many people get offended if you offer them a promotion?

I highlighted in "Father" below why I would stay away from the term Father.

Episcopal Things: A guide for non-Episcopalians to many of the terms and phrases in use around Sewanee

Bishops, Letters to--envelope and inside address; salutation: The Rt. Rev. John F. Marks, D.D., Bishop of Kansas, 413 Purchase Street, Kansas City, KA 12123; Dear Bishop Marks: Or, The Rt. Rev. Joseph H. Curtis, Suffragan Bishop of Maine, ...; Dear Bishop Curtis: Or, The Rt. Rev. William E. Devon, D.D., Bishop Co-adjutor of Kansas...; Dear Bishop Devon:

Father--a familiar or direct way of referring to some ordained clergy: the Reverend John F. Marks, but--in personal conversation or in the salutation of a letter--Father Marks, Dear Father Marks. Typically used of all Roman Catholic clergy and of some Episcopal clergy. Be careful in using or not using this term: some clergy do not like it; others are offended if it is not used. Usually the people who prefer the term assume that you know they prefer it. There is no easy way to tell what the clergy preference is except by paying attention to letters, conversations, etc.

Mr./Mrs./Ms.--used in referring to clergy when the full name is not used: The Reverend John F. Marks, but: The Reverend Mr. Marks; the Very Reverend Guy F. Lytle, but: the Very Reverend Mr. Lytle.

Priest--a special term for the minister of a Roman Catholic or Episcopal or Orthodox church; originally the term mean someone who performed a sacrifice; later the term referred to those who said Mass; now often synonymous with minister although the older terminology is still familiar in some churches.

Reverend Doctor--and ordained person [hence Reverend] who also holds some degree at the doctorate level [hence Doctor]--a way of referring to a priest who was also a professor or to a priest who held an honorary doctorate; a bishop who held a doctorate would be referred to as the Right Reverend Doctor.

Reverend Father--an affectionate, devotional or pietistic way of referring to a priest who accepted the term Father.

Reverend Mr./Mrs./Ms.--see Mr./Mrs./Ms.

Very Reverend, The--a form of address for clergy who hold the office of dean in a church or school: the dean of a cathedral would be referred to as "The Very Reverend John H. Martin, Dean of Trinity Cathedral". See also Dean.
You crack me up Ridge!

I think I'll go with Camelot's suggestion.
BTW, I mentioned something about the episcopal church to my dad. His response? "Episcopalian? That's the next best thing to a catholic!!"
So maybe you can see how I started life with a handicap in this area?

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