Addressing Female Episcopalian Priests


I met a woman who told me she was an Episcopalian priest. I didn’t know how to address her, since Father Lastname didn’t seem appropriate.

How do Episcopalians address women priests, and should Catholics do the same?



You can ask her how she prefers to be addressed, and follow her request. The same is correct with male Protestant clergy. It is only a matter of courtesy, not that you accept her religious position.


I believe they usually use Reverend.


I have a Lutheran friend who has a lady priest at her church. I believe everyone refers to her as “pastor.” You sure can’t call them “Father.”


How do you ask someone how they want to be addressed? It seems like it would be rude not to know?


Some Catholic priests are called reverend-- I always thought it was a type of rank like Monseigneur?


Is it common to call Lutheran priests pastor? Do they differentiate between regular priests and pastors as we do?


I don’t have a clue!



(To forum: yes, this is clear.)


“How do you prefer to be addressed?” There are many different styles for Protestant clergy. Pastor, Reverend, Doctor, etc… The very idea of female clergy is very new. You should hardly be embarrassed for not knowing.


The formal title of a priest is Reverend Father. You’d use that when addressing a letter, for example. Monseigneur is more of an honorary title than a rank.


There’s a woman Episcopal priest who is the rector of a church in my area who is addressed as Mother Emily (although officially she’s addressed as Reverend).

It sounds very new age-y to me.


I would probably say something like “I’m Catholic and we don’t have female clergy. How do you like to be addressed?”


Nope, not so much in the Episcopal church. “THE Reverend” is the title on paper. One does not refer to them that way in person.

One can call her “Mother Jane” or just Jane. Or “Mother Smith”. Or Pastor is used more and more. Other titles, such as Doctor or Bishop or Dean work when they are in that job position. I like the English version of “Vicar.” It’s non-gender specific.


Presbyterian women have been ordained since 1956. An Anglican woman was ordained to the priesthood (in Hong Kong) in 1944; the Episcopal church formally ordained women in January 1976. More than half of non-Catholic branches of the Church have women clergy. It has certainly been more than a few generations.


How does Mother Emily sound different than Father Emmet? It’s hardly new age-y.


The ones I know have always gone by Mother First-Name.


Edit the title or it will be nothing but a troll magnet. “Addressing female Episcopal ministers”


Good idea, I edited the title so she gets real advice useful for her…instead of people jumping on the “women priest” bandwagon and hijacking her thread!

To Annie God bless, hope that’s helpful.


As for the OP’s question, I’d ask the priest how she wants to be addressed.

Sorry, I don’t mean to be offensive, but it sounds odd and new age-y to me.

As a cradle Catholic who recently left the Catholic Church and am seeking a new church home, the churches I’m inquiring into include Lutheran and TEC (and ACNA) churches where I’m encountering ordained women. Although I’m not opposed to women priests and ministers in any way, it’s also true that I’m not used to it and not comfortable with it yet. :grinning:

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