Episcopal Church Writing Style Guide


Avoid unnecessary capitals; there is an institutional tendency to overuse capitals to indicate prominence or significance.

Standard publication guidance for what and when to capitalize:

  • Compositions: Capitalize the principal words in the names of books, lectures, movies, operas, plays, podcasts, podcast episodes, poems, songs, speeches, radio and television programs, videos, and works of art. See also titles: compositions
  • Proper names and nouns: John the Baptist; the Republican Party; but lowercase the common noun in plural uses: the Democratic and Republican partiesLake Erie, but lakes Erie and Superior.  Exception: Plurals of formal titles before full names are capitalized: Presidents Gerald R. Ford and Barack Obama.
  • Sentences: Capitalize the first word in a statement that stands as a sentence, including after a colon. She noted the following: All revisions made to the report would need to be reviewed by the chair.  
  • Sequential designations: Page 1, Page 30b. Season 1, Season 2. This is the second episode of Season 5 of the podcast. General Convention approved Resolution A012.

Guidance for when to capitalize and lowercase certain terms:

  • Academic terms: Lowercase names of subjects and majors. She has a degree in political science.
  • Department names: Capitalize full, official names of departments and offices; lowercase other uses. Office of Public Affairs; public affairs office; public affairs. Department of Evangelism; evangelism office; evangelism department staff.
  • Headlines: Capitalization is not required in a headline except for the first word, proper nouns, and the first word after a colon. See also headlines
  • Organizational terms: Lowercase widely used generic organizational terms, such as board of directors, church, committee, staff, task force, unless part of a formal name. See also boardchurchcommitteestanding committee. Capitalize internal organizational terms when they have names that are not widely used: the House of Bishops, the House of Deputies, the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches, Mission Beyond The Episcopal Church, Mission Within The Episcopal Church.
  • Titles: Capitalize formal titles when used immediately before a name. Lowercase titles when they are not used with a name and in constructions that set them apart from a name with commas. The presiding bishop gave a blessing. Jane Doe, the canon to the ordinary, signed the letter. The interview with Bishop Jane Doe will air on TV tonight. The presiding bishop, Michael Curry, will speak today. Lowercase titles that are primarily occupational descriptions, even directly before a name: astronaut Sally Ride, poet Maya Angelou. Worship will be led by singer Jane Doe.

Guidance for religious references:

  • Capitalize God, Allah, the Father, the Son, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Redeemer, the Holy Spirit. Use lowercase pronouns when referring to the deity.
  • Capitalize Scripture(s) in reference to writings in the Bible. See also BibleGospelsScripture(s)
  • Capitalize major events in the life of Jesus Christ: the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the Ascension. But use lowercase when the words are used with his name: The ascension of Jesus into heaven took place 40 days after his resurrection from the dead.
  • Capitalize proper names for rites that commemorate the Last Supper or signify a belief in Christ’s presence: the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, Holy Eucharist. Use lowercase for the names of other sacraments. See also sacraments 
  • Capitalize the names of holy days and feast days. Ash Wednesday, All Feasts of Apostles.
  • Capitalize Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Eastertide, and Pentecost. Note lowercase in Epiphany season, season after Pentecost, ordinary time
  • Capitalize Apostles’ Creed. Lowercase “the creed” in short form on subsequent reference.
  • Capitalize “Apostle” when used before a name (Apostle Paul) or in the term “the Twelve Apostles.” Lowercase in other references: Peter was an apostle of Jesus. 
  • Lowercase heaven, hell, devil, angel, cherub, a priest.  
  • Some flexibility in capitalization is given in religious writing when talking about concepts such as Beloved CommunityKingdom of God, and Jesus being “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Please do not go overboard with this; this editorial license should be used with great moderation and restraint.