Terminology and Nomenclature

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The Reverend (or the Rev.) Lane Hensley is the Rector of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Palm Desert. Father Hensley (or Fr. Hensley) is an Episcopal priest.

  • CORRECT First Reference: The Rev. Lane Hensley
  • INCORRECT First Reference: Pastor Lane Hensley
  • CORRECT Second Reference: Fr. Hensley or Hensley
  • INCORRECT Second Reference: Rev. Hensley, the reverend, Pastor Hensley
  • CORRECT Second Address: Fr. Hensley or Father
  • INCORRECT Second Address: Reverend, Pastor


The Rev. Lane Hensley
Rev. Lane Hensley








St. Margaret’s is a Parish of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego. Members of a Parish are called “parishioners” or simply “members”.

In the Episcopal Church, the word “Parish” (including St. Margaret’s) means a self-governing congregation in good standing with a Diocese, a geographic region under the pastoral leadership of a Bishop. By contrast, a “Mission Congregation” (e.g., St. Hugh of Lincoln Episcopal Church in Idyllwild) refers to a congregation governed, and usually heavily funded, directly by the Diocese or a neighboring Parish.

St. Margaret’s is an Episcopal Church, and our members are Episcopalians. The word “Episcopal” is an adjective, and “Episcopalian” is a noun. The word “Reverend” (usually abbreviated “Rev.”) is an honorific adjective, analogous to referring to a judge as “the Honorable …”, and never a noun.

Episcopal clergy are bishops, priests, or deacons. Father Hensley is a Priest, serving under the authority of the Bishop of San Diego, the Right Rev. James R. Mathes (Bishop Mathes on second reference). A Priest also is a Minister and a Pastor, but in the Episcopal Church, they normally are referred to as Priests, and never as “Reverends” (as a noun). Father Hensley is assisted by another Priest, the Rev. Deborah Seles (Mother Deb on second reference), and a Deacon, the Rev. Cherry Remboldt (Deacon Remboldt on second reference). As the Senior Pastor of the Parish, Father Hensley has the title “Rector”. Mother Deb’s title is “Associate Rector”.

Beyond St. Margaret’s:

In the Episcopal Church, both men and women hold the offices of bishop, priest, and deacon. We normally do not refer to a “woman priest” or “lady bishop” for the same reason one no longer would use qualifiers like “male nurse” or “female doctor”.

Episcopal clergy differ in their opinions about terms of address, and obviously, gender has a bearing. Depending on their gender and personal preference (ours indicated above), Episcopal clergy normally are addressed as “Father,” “Mother,” “Pastor,” or “Mr./Ms./Dr./etc.” In certain cases that do not apply to St. Margaret’s, Episcopal clergy are addressed as “Canon” or by other titles.

Last updated: September 10, 2018 at 19:32 pm