How do I address a chaplain?

Updated April 17, 2017

Chaplains provide pastoral services on behalf of religious and secular organisations. They may also hold other religious titles, military ranks or official positions that need to be considered when addressing them.

Military Chaplain

When addressing a military chaplain verbally, use "Chaplain" before his name regardless of rank or branch of service. Add the rank and branch in a written address, as in "Chaplain John Doe, Major, U.S. Air Force," and begin the letter with "Dear Chaplain Doe."


If the chaplain holds a religious title or doctorate in theology, use that title before his name, as in "Rabbi (or Father/Reverend//Pastor/Doctor) Doe" for a verbal address. In a written address, follow the title and name with "Chaplain" and the name of the organisation, as in "Rev. John Doe, Chaplain, Wesleyan University" and begin the letter with "Dear Rev. (or other religious title) Doe."

Government Chaplain

Address a chaplain for a branch of government verbally as "Chaplain Doe." In written communication, use his name followed by "Chaplain" and the government branch, as in "John Doe, Chaplain of the House of Representatives."

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About the Author

Donna Eigen has written, produced and managed communication programs for global, government, university and nonprofit organizations since 1980. Eigen has taught graduate business communication and is a certified facilitator in work force diversity, leadership, team building and effective presentations. She has a Master of Arts in communication and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.