John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to email@example.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
First off: Episcopal (adj.); Episcopalian (n.). It’s an Episcopal church, an Episcopal priest, and an Episcopal brouhaha, not an Episcopalian church, priest, or brouhaha.
A priest or deacon is written about with the title the Rev.: the Rev. Martha Macgill. Not just Rev., because Reverend is traditionally understood as an adjective, not a noun. That is why you will never write about a member of the clergy as a reverend. **
But wait; there’s more.
A canon, a member of the clergy assigned to diocesan administrative responsibilities is the Rev. Canon: the Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool.
An archdeacon is the Venerable: the Venerable Kerry Smith.
The dean of a cathedral is the Very Rev.: the Very Rev. Hal T. Ley Hayek.
A bishop — look at me while I’m talking to you — is the Right Rev. or the Rt. Rev.: the Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton. (Episcopal bishops are much given to tripartite names.) Bishop is an acceptable substitute for the Rt. Rev.
The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, its primate, is the Most Rev.: the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori.
Collectively, Episcopal congregations are members of a diocese, of which the bishop is the chief pastor and administrative officer. The adjectival form is diocesan.
The central church in a diocese is a cathedral, from the Latin cathedra, or chair, the place which holds the bishop’s chair of authority.
An Episcopal congregation, unless it is part of a cathedral, is called a parish.
In a parish that is self-supporting, its pastor is called a rector. In a parish that is supported by its diocese, the pastor is called a vicar.
The lay leadership of an Episcopal parish is its elected vestry, of whom the chief lay administrators are the wardens, senior and junior. (A cathedral has a chapter rather than a vestry.)
The Episcopal Church of the United States (ECUSA, if you go in for abbreviations) is a member of the Anglican Communion, a loose confederation of national churches whose titular head the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Rowan Williams. (The Archbishop of Canterbury holds both ecclesiastical and noble titles.)
The Anglican Church dates from a dispute between King Henry VIII of Britain and the See (diocese) of Rome in the 16th century. Though there is a history of antagonism between Anglicans and Roman Catholics, most modern Anglicans are not hostile to the pope and his followers for their having broken away from the Church of England.
*We’re talking about the Episcopal Church of the United States, the dominant denomination, not the schismatic denominations that have split off every time the national church has revised the Prayer Book or the congregations and dioceses that have recently affiliated with Anglicans outside the United States. There’s a limit to how much of this that non-Anglicans, or, for that matter, Anglicans, can take.
The titles and terms in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches are similar, but with significant variations which you must learn separately.
**Regrettably, this distinction has blurred seriously even among the churchy.