ETIQUETTE AND COURTESY by Bishop Dr. J. Akin Atere




There are two major operating words in the topic. They are ETIQUETTE AND COURTESY.

ETIQUETTE: Comes from the French word “estique” meaning “to attach or stick.” The noun “etiquette” describes the requirements of behaviours according to the conventions of a particular society or constituted groups. It includes the proper conduct that is established by community, groups at various occasions every day of life.

It includes showing respect for others, being honest and trustworthy, putting others at ease, showing kindness and courtesy to others. Following the Golden rules (treat other as you wish to be treated), obeying the commandment and the biblical rules and regulations, respect for elders and constituted authority. Knowing fully well that all of your actions affect others.

One other definition, see etiquette as a “ticket” or “label attached to something for identification”. It refers to a written protocol describing orders of precedence and behaviour demanded of those who appeared in court. What should be the proper behaviour. Human being is a social animal, it is important for him to behave in a proper and appropriate way.

Other Synonyms for Etiquette are – Decorum, propriety which suggests dignity and a sense of what is becoming or appropriate for a person of good breeding. It also implies established conventions of moral and good tastes. Generally, Etiquette will go along with dignity, code of conduct, protocol, form, civility, deportment, decency, politeness, rules, formalities and suavity.


  1. Social Etiquette: – It’s important for an individual as it teaches him how to behave in the society.
  2. Toilet Etiquette: Refer to set of rules which an individual needs to follow while using public restrooms or office toilet. (Make sure you leave the restroom clean and tidy for the other person).
  3. Corporate Etiquette: Refers to how an individual should behave while he is at work. Each one needs to maintain the decorum of the organization. Don’t loiter around unnecessarily or peep into others cubicles.
  4. Wedding Etiquette: Behave sensibly at wedding especially at the table.
  5. Meeting Etiquette: Refer to styles one need to adopt when he is attending any meeting, seminar, lectures, etc. In terms of listening with attention. Don’t enter into such meeting without a notepad, pen, etc. Don’t be late to such occasion.
  6. Church Etiquette: You are required to arrive early, set your worship materials, and be in tune with the mode of worship. Don’t steal, set right distracted materials, and be in tune with the mode of worship. Don’t steal, distracted, sing while others are singing, pay attention to sermon readings, hymns, etc.
  7. Telephone Etiquette: It is essential to learn how one should interact with the other persons over the phone, how you should speak (examples)
  8. Eating Etiquette: Follow certain decorum while eating in the public. Don’t make noise while eating. Know how to handle cutlery etc.
  9. Business Etiquette: Don’t cheat customers, don’t be unethical.

Etiquette makes you a cultured individual who will leave his/her marks wherever he/she goes.

Etiquette teaches you the way to talk, walk and most importantly behave in the society.

Etiquette is essential for an everlasting first impression. The way you interact with your supervisors, parents, fellow workers, friends, speaks a lot about your personality and upbringing.

Etiquette enables you to earn respect or disrespect, appreciation or insult in the society. No one would feel like talking to a person who does not know how to talk or behave well. A proud person mostly lack etiquette.

Etiquette inculcates a feeling of trust and loyalty in the individuals. One becomes more responsible and mature.

Etiquette helps individuals to value relationships.

Etiquette sometimes helps to provide personal security and attract favour.

It protect other people’s feelings, it enhances good communication by breaking down barriers and not erecting them.

It enhances one’s status among others, if in the office you will be considered honourable by your etiquette.


Courtesy and Etiquette seems to be in the same family, expressing almost same meaning, but there are noticeable difference.

Courtesy simply put is a “polite behavior”. It could be referred to as “respect”, thoughtfulness, kindness, good manner”. To be courteous is to show thoughtful consideration to others.

We may look at the bible for clearer explanation. In 1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.”

Similar instruction is also found in Titus 3:2To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.” The society today largely emphasize on “me”, “myself” and “I”. In Yoruba land, we have a culture of respect for elder but such is gradually eroding. Lev. 19:32 “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.”

The Bible teaches what our attitudes should be to anyone in authority Romans 13:1 “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” To the handicaps Lev. 19:14 “Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.”

Courtesy beginning at home (parents set examples for the children) – Good manner in the way we speak and behave.

Courtesy or good manner is to consider others more worthy than ourselves Phili. 2:3 “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”


The Anglican Church is a body guided by both the bible and constitution which regulates its functions and operations. Therefore, every segments of the church is to be guided by code of conducts.

Chapter 1:4 of the constitution 2002 as amended put Ministry orders. That the church of Nigeria shall have three orders of the Ministry, namely

  • Bishop who shall have special responsibility and authority for the preservation of the truth of the doctrine of the Church for the purity of its life and the worthiness of its worship;
  • The priests who in co-operation with and under the guidance of the Bishops have a special responsibility for preaching the word of God and administering the Holy Sacraments and generally for the cure of souls;
  • The Deacons, who have a special responsibility for the care of the poor and distressed, for the instruction of the young and the ignorant and for giving assistance to the priests in Divine Service.


In other to concretize the above relationship between the clergy and the bishop. In the wisdom of the Church oath of relationship is designed for the maintenance of order, this is taking at ordination service which read thus: I (name mention) do swear by Almighty God that I will pay true and Canonical obedience to the bishop of the  Diocese of Awori and his successors in all things lawful and honest.


And I hereby undertake to accept and immediately submit to any sentence depriving me of any or all the rights and emoluments appertaining to the office of ………………………… which may at any time be passed upon me after due examination by the Bishop acting under the constitution of The Diocese of Awori.

I agree to exercise the said office of a ………………………………… so long as may be required of me by the Bishop of the Diocese of Awori and his successors. So help me God. Amen.


I, (name mentioned) do solemnly declare that I have accepted and will continue to submit to Jesus Christ as my Saviour and Lord.

I affirm my commitment to faith in God, obedience to His Law, and belief in the inspiration and spiritual authority of the Holy Bible as rule over my life in all things spiritual and practical.

I also affirm that my personal and material life shall be governed by God’s moral laws, truth and holiness.

I commit myself, to evangelism and mission and shall not do anything that will compromise the uniqueness of Christ as the only Saviour of mankind nor bring the sacredness of the name of the Lord and His Church into disrepute. I shall, God helping me defend the faith once and for all delivered unto the saints.’

If I go back on these oaths, I put myself under the wrath of God. In the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


We, Johnson Akinwamide Atere by Divine Permission, Bishop of AWORI to our well-beloved in Christ The Reverend. (name mention)

Clerk, Greeting: We do by these presents give and grant unto you, in whose fidelity, morals, learning, sound doctrine, and diligence, we do fully confide, our License and Authority to perform the office of  (Deacon/Priest) within our Diocese and Jurisdiction, in preaching the Word of God, in reading the Common Prayers and performing all other Ecclesiastical Duties belonging to the said Office according to the Form prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer and the canons and Constitutions in that Behalf lawfully established and promulgated, and not otherwise, or in any other manner (you having first before ……….. made and subscribed such  Declaration and such taken Oaths as are by law or custom in such case required) AND WE DO by these presents authorize you to receive and enjoy all and singular Stipends, Profits and advantages whatsoever belonging to the said Office.

In Witness whereof we have caused our Episcopal Seal to be hereunto set and affixed this ……………. Day of …………….

In the Year of our Lord Two Thousand and …………… in the ………….. Year of our Consecration.

All the above are the doctrinal foundation of the etiquette and courtesy we are discussing. It then means that Anglican Church has a code of conduct guiding the ministry and lives of the clergy and all the officers of the church.

In other to be able to fulfill all the above, a clergy man or any pastor of the Anglican Church must take note of the following:

  • Godliness/Righteousness with Contentment: 1 Timothy 6:5-6, 11, Phil 4:11-12. The Bible never says it is a sin to be rich; there are examples of God blessing. His servants Gen.39:2; 1 Sam. 18:14. The warning is in Prov. 23:4; Matt.6:19-21. Some lost etiquette while pursuing means of paying their insatiable bills.
  • Obedience: The oath of submission and canonical obedience to God and to the bishop has biblical evidence/mandate. Jesus say to his disciples in Matt.16:24 “… whoever wants to be my disciples must (deny) themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”1:19 “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.” – John 14:31; 1 John 3:24, Jer.7:23

Obedience to the authority:  Rom.13:1-7, Paul to Timothy what to do for them. 1 Tim.2:1-3; 1 Peter 3:13-14; Heb.13:17; Titus 3:1

  • Humility/Meekness:2:3-11; Luke 14:11; Prov.22:4, Rom.12:3. The younger priest to their superior 1 Peter 5:5 to the masters Jer.9:23
  • Faithfulness/Honesty/Loyalty: Col 3:9; Eph.4:25; Jam.1:26; Prov.10:9; Ps.119:30, Prov.11:3; 12:22; 21:3; 28:18; 1 John 3:18; Phil.4:8-9, Psalm 78:8.
  • Loyalty:6:24; 1 pet.3:10-12; 1 Sam.24:6-10 (No quote), Joshua 1:16-18 Prov. 21:21, Rom.8:35-39 (Not quote) prov. 18:24; Prov. 17:17
  • Knowledge: 2 Tim.2:15; 2 Tim.3:16; 2 Pet.1:20; Heb.4:12; Isa.55:11, John 6:63; Ps.119:50; Matt.4:4; John 17:17; Prov. 24:5; 18:15, Isa 11:2
  • Hard Work:3:23-24; Phil.2:14-15; Gal.6:9; Prov.21:25; 14:23, 2 Tim.2:6
  • Respect:2:3; Matt.7:12; Titus 2:7; Rom.13:2; 1 Thess.5:12-13; Luke 14:10; Eph. 5:21


  • Watch your relationship with women/girls in your Church.
  • Be careful not to collude with anyone to defraud the church or any group.
  • Be accountable for whatever you do, make sure they are documented.
  • Don’t cause fear in the church by making yourself a source of anxiety.
  • Whatever belongs to the church of Nigeria, Diocese of Awori, Archdeaconry takes priority over your church programmes.
  • It is compulsory you must obey and carry out order from the bishop because the constitution also makes provision for discipline.
  • As much as possible, you must be responsible to your home, people expect you to serve as example.
  • It is also necessary to watch your tongue, don’t say what you are not sure of.
  • Social media is good but, you must show some level of etiquette in the usage. Don’t sacrifice your calling for the social media.
  • The use of tongue is very important in discussing courtesy, the language and command of such language – prov. 13:3; Eph 4:29; prov. 10:20; 1 Peter 3:9; prov. 16:24; matt. 12:36; Col.3:8; James 1:26, Prov.29:20, col.4, Ps.19:2.


Every System, order, liturgy, tradition in Anglican Church is usually marked with instructions, ways and rubrics. Movement at various places, dressing for types of services, gesculation as at when necessary, posture at various times. Manners at meetings, worship, with spouse and children, at the Altar table. All these are provided for if only we shall keep them. You will be an ideal pastor that your bishop and people will love.

Thanks and God bless.

Your friend and bishop,


Rt. Revd. Dr. J. Akin Atere

Bishop, Diocese of Awori