DioCal House Style Guide

Below are the style guidelines for diocesan communications. In general, follow guidelines found in the Associated Press Stylebook.


  • Use lowercase wherever possible
  • the bishop (but Bishop Marc)
  • the cathedral
  • the church (the Church is okay for the global church)
  • the diocese (but the Diocese of California)
  • the rector or vicar
  • the vestry
  • Do not capitalize pronouns referring to God (e.g., not He or Him). Avoid using gendered pronouns for God.
  • Capitalize titles when the precede a name (e.g., President Barack Obama)
  • Lowercase titles when they are offset by a comma (e.g., the Rev. John Smith, rector of St. Paul’s)


  • Spell out state names
  • The Bishop’s Ranch
  • Bible
  • Baptismal Covenant
  • email
  • online


  • Use colons before subtitles in headlines
  • Where quotes are appropriate in headlines, use single quotes
  • Use em-dashes rather than hyphens in sentences (— em-dash in Windows: ctrl+alt+numeric hyphen; in OS X: option+shift+hyphen)
  • Include spaces around em-dashes
  • Use a serial (Oxford) comma (e.g., apples, pears, and oranges)
  • Use italics for book titles; all other composition titles (movies, lecture series, etc.) use quotes
  • Remove double spaces at the ends of sentences (Search for double spaces and replace with single spaces; repeat until none found)

Time and Date Elements

  • Use a.m. and p.m.
  • Omit :00 (e.g., 6 p.m.; not 6:00 p.m.)
  • Use “to” for a time range rather than a hyphen (e.g., 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)
  • Add the day of the week before the date (e.g., Tuesday, May 1)

Congregation Names

  • For reference to churches, always include the city on first mention (e.g., Grace Cathedral, San Francisco; second reference Grace Cathedral)
  • Do not use “Episcopal” or “Church” in the title unless it is part of the name of the church. (e.g., St. Luke’s; not St. Luke’s Episcopal Church)

Clergy Reference

  • For reference to clergy, always use “the Rev.” followed by the person’s name (e.g., the Rev. Joe Smith)
  • Capitalize “The Rev.” if it is at the beginning of a sentence
  • Do not include academic titles, but if necessary you can add Ph.D. after the clergy person’s name (e.g., the Rev. Joe Smith, Ph.D.)
  • Do not refer to clergy as Father, Mother, Reverend, or Rev’d
  • On second reference use last name only (Smith; not Rev. Smith)
  • In quotations, it is okay to use the reference used by the speaker. Columnists may refer to people however they like (e.g., She said “Bishop Marc…” vs. She said Andrus “…”)

Observe the following:

  • the Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus or the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus (second reference Andrus)
  • the Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young, dean of Grace Cathedral
  • the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry (second reference is Curry)
  • the Ven. Margaret Dyer-Chamberlain, archdeacon