Tag Archives: reverend

What’s in a Name?

One of my predecessors in a certain Charge, preferred to be addressed (on the phone, at least) as “Reverend Sir”.

I always asked folk (including KS members) to call me “Sandy”. As Moderator of Lothian Presbytery, I invited those who wished to speak by their Christian name. There is a time and a place for formality and vice versa. Perhaps we are getting too chummy and familiar in ministry –  should there be a “professional” space between minister and church member?

As a Healthcare Chaplain, I got the word (abbreviation) “Rev” removed from my ID badge and always introduced myself to a patient as “I’m Sandy, the hospital chaplain” but always addressed the patient as “Mr/Mrs/Miss/ Ms” unless they asked me to use their first name.

I once conducted a particular wedding service in an hotel, and before the ceremony began, I was chatting to some of the guests, one of whom asked me what my first name is.

I replied, “Sandy”  (Scots diminutive – and I am a diminutive Scot! – for Alexander, my Christian name; it’s from the “xand” part of the full name)

To which he replied “you don’t have sandy hair – more like mouse coloured; shouldn’t you be called ‘Mickey'”

Nonplussed, I asked him what his name was.  

He answered “Dick”

Reply: “What? even though you don’t have one!”

Silence….. then his friends laughed and he joined in.  Thank the good Lord; he must have been 6′ 3″

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The Meenister’s Log

What do you call me? 

In the Infirmary or other health-care settings here, at visits, I simply introduce myself as “Sandy, the Hospital Chaplain” – and that seems to work OK

Same with doctors (including consultants) and other hospital staff.

But with some others – my occupational health doctor who is a lovely man included, calls me Sandy (which is good) but so far, hasn’t asked me to reciprocate by asking me to use his given name – power thing here?

Will ask him tomorrow – nothing to  lose after all, (“Reverend” is a conferred title; “Doctor” of medicine is an honorary one – unless it’s a Ph.D)

Which brings me to my late (awkward) mother.

In her eighties, she had to visit her GP often.

One time, it was a locum filling in while Dr Fisken was on an exchange in New Zealand.

So this Kiwi doctor says “Come in, Louise, and take a seat”

Mother replies “It’s Mrs Strachan – I don’t think that we’ve been formally introduced”

New Zealand doc: “I see that Murray has written in his notes….. etc”

 “Who is Murray?”

“He’s your doctor”

“I’ve always called him Dr Fisken, as is right and proper – when will he be back here and I’ll see him then”

(Murray became a good friend and I baptised a couple of his children)


Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic