This week I received an email from a pastor who is in leadership in our denomination. She was inviting me to serve on a non-profit board operated by our denomination. In the meeting minutes that covered board nominations, I was listed as “Rev. Cathy Byrd.” It was the first time I’d seen my name preceded by the “Reverend” honorific! It was a startling realization. I had been told when I passed board interviews that I could begin using it, but it wasn’t something that registered with me at the time and it’s not the kind of thing one just appropriates for herself.
It started me thinking about things like a clerical alb for use in traditional services (a kind of robe for deacons), a new nametag for hospital visitation, and the fact that it’s not common practice to use use prefixes in our church, although some do use “Pastor______”, another title that would be novel and unexpected for me.
I suppose time will determine what people choose to call me, if anything, that recognizes my change of status from laity to clergy. In some ways, it’s not a big thing, as what other people call me is not important. On the other hand, it’s a huge change for me, in terms of my view of myself. There is a higher standard to which one is to rise. I pray that I will be worthy of the title, whether people use it or not.