The Cathedral Clergy and Terminology
The Episcopal Church has somewhat complex terminology for its clergy. It has inherited and maintained the Catholic three-fold order of bishop, priest, and deacon. Historically, Jesus left authority to his Apostles, who in turn passed it on at their death to the first generation of bishops. Early in the life of the growing Church, the Apostles needed practical help in serving their communities. They instituted the order of deacon to be a ministry of service. As the Church grew it faced a bishop shortage and so the bishops began to delegate their leadership authority to a new order of presbyter, or priest.
Trinity Cathedral is the church where the Bishop of Arizona has his chair (cathedra). The senior priest is called the Dean – originally meaning a leader of ten. Other priests on staff are known as Canons because they are appointed for the good order of the wider church of the diocese, a geographic area covered by a single bishop. The bishop exercises the ministry of authority and pastoral oversight. Priests exercise the ministry of sacramental and pastoral leadership, preaching and teaching. Deacons assist the bishop through their ministry of service and prophetic witness bridging between Church and World.
In written correspondence the bishop is referred to as the Right Reverend —, the Dean as the Very Reverend —, priests and deacons as the Reverend —, except for the Archdeacon who is the Venerable —. In spoken address use Bishop, or Deacon before the personal name. When addressing a woman priest use Canon and personal name if appropriate, or Priest and personal name. When speaking to a male priest use Canon or Father and personal name.