Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Reverend Minister

I sometimes laugh and sometimes want to cry when people call me 'Reverend'. It is a firmly embedded custom in the community where I work that the minister is addressed as Reverend - usually as a standalone form of address (which I always believed to be grammatically incorrect). I have been told by many that they were brought up to do this and it would be disrespectful to do otherwise.
But it has become quite a telling thing.
There are those who call me Reverend and it is a distancing mechanism. They don't want to engage with me as a person, perhaps they don't even want to engage.
Sadly there are those who call me Reverend with words and behaviour of such insolence that the title is a mockery (not many of them though!)
There are some who have decided, probably because I am a probationer, that they will not call me Reverend, but by my first name (which I prefer, so I rarely notice that there is a hint of lack of respect!)
Then there are those who call me Reverend and make me feel as if it is my name because it is spoken with warmth. And these people will often accidentally call me by my name and not notice at all (but I notice and it makes me happy!) There are lots of these people and they make this journey worth while.
And of course, there are those who are able to break the mould and call me by my first name and still have respect for me (normal human being respect I mean, which is what I look for.)


Anonymous said...

Yes, Reverend, Mrs, Jenny, Ma'am! It is a tough one, and you describe the personalities behind the diffrent greetings very well.
Glad to have you posting regularly.
Enjoy having your girls with you. We have! Charlotte wrote a magnificent Christmas play, and Pippa's singing is always a treat. So PLEASE remember to send them back here!!

Jenny Hillebrand said...

Thanks Ian.

Thomas O. Scarborough said...

What do you call a minister on a motorbike? Rev. (Or perhaps in a Honda)? What do you call a minister who goes on for too long? Neverend.