Showing posts with label Bob Malm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bob Malm. Show all posts

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Bob Malm: Club Protest Membership Countdown


By virtue of trying to shutdown criticism by going to court with his facially false claims that he had been threatened, pseudo-priest Bob Malm and Grace Episcopal signed up for the two-year membership at Club Protest. No refunds, late payments result in an extension of membership. And his decision to include Mike in his vendetta, his multiple lies in court, and his efforts to subpoena a dying woman, all mean Bob gets the special VIP add-on package — my online presence will continue ad infinitum. That’s right, Dysfunctional Bob gets the lifetime virtual membership. Hey, Bob always did think he was special. Well, he’s right.

So, this countdown timer doesn’t mark the countdown to an end to open hostilities. But it does mark the payout of Dysfunctional Bob’s basic Club Protest membership.That said, I have always believed in under-promise, over-deliver, so I also will no doubt extend Bob’s basic membership well beyond his original contract.

Hey, if he behaves, maybe we can even spot Bob some core body fitness tips. Heaven knows he’s been looking rather well-fed in recent years. And it fits — Grace Church aka St. Dysfunction is looking a whole lot leaner and meaner these days.

See you at Dysfunction Junction aka Malm Square(d)!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Coming Soon: More Grace Church Correspondence

Fun times ahead for Grace Church! I have obtained a trove of emails and phone records pertaining to the church. While I am still wading through my find, I believe some are profoundly damning.

My plan is to begin publishing Monday, with continuing releases throughout the pledge season. Additionally, several will prove helpful in my upcoming litigation against the parish, diocese and others.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Bob Malm’s Top-Ten Lists: A Seriously Bad Idea



One of Dysfunctional Bob’s final acts as rector was publishing a series of top-ten lists in the church newsletter, Grace Notes. While most of the content is unremarkable at best, there is one aspect that is really troubling.

Before we go to the heart of the matter, let me say this: Someone should have edited these lists. Between irregular punctuation and Bob’s famous Decorative Caps for Important Words That Are Not Proper Nouns, there are issues that don’t reflect well.

More importantly, Bob should not be listing the diocese as one of the top ten challenges ahead for the church. I say that as someone who is unimpressed with the diocese and its leadership. But at the time the article was published, Bob’s role should have been to be supportive of the parish, the diocese, and the people involved. As things stand, the addition of this challenge is far from helpful.

As an aside, the irony is that the diocese may well prove to be a pain in the church’s backside, but not for the reasons Bob may imagine. Left to wade through the dysfunctional, clueless mess that Bob leaves behind, no doubt the diocese will have to tread carefully. Even so, there is little doubt that some parishioners will be offended, for one cannot buy into Planet Malm, only later to discover the illusory nature of one’s investment, without at least some angst.

Still worse, the reality is that many who are offended by Bob Malm’s narcissistic behavior already have pulled the plug on Grace. Yes, some will come back, but those who remain are by and large those who have either turned a blind eye to the toxic nature of the church, or who just don’t get it. Either way, many are in for a rude shock when they realize the depth and breadth of problems at the church.

I surely do not envy whoever is unfortunate enough to become interim.

Look Before You Leap: 12 Questions Prospective Interims Should Ask



If you’re a prospective interim rector at Grace Church and reading this, good for you. 

I mean it—the fact that you’re doing your homework is a good sign. 

A key observation from my years at Grace Church is that, like many toxic organizations, words don’t mean what you think they do. For example, you and I may think that “pastoral care” has one meaning, but look behind the curtain and it has come to mean something very different at Grace Church. That’s not surprising, as problematic clergy typically shift the narrative over time.

So, since my conflict with Bob Malm and the parish in many ways both illustrates and underscores the problems at the church, here are some questions you might ask of diocesan officials and vestry members before you take the plunge. And while the answers to some are damning indeed, and you may thus be tempted to discount the answers, I encourage you to really dig in and understand this information. My belief is that, if you do, you will have a fighting chance of fixing the mess that is Grace Church.

Here we go:
  1. Did Bob Malm or the vestry ever discuss these issues one-on-one with Eric and his family? If so, what happened?
  2. In the church’s legal pleadings, Bob Malm and the church assert that Eric is mentally ill. How did they reach this conclusion? Did they ever discuss it with Eric? If they believed that Eric was mentally ill, did they ever attempt to arrange care for Eric?
  3. In the court documents that Malm filed, one of the reasons he cited under oath for his belief that her blog is really Eric’s work is that Eric’s mother, Sigrid Yahner, or someone claiming to be her, repeatedly made appointments with Malm and no-showed. Eric claims this is a lie/perjury. Can I see records that show this really happened?
  4. The diocese stated that it would not investigate Eric’s claim that Malm committed perjury unless the latter faced criminal charges. Is that normal policy for allegations of misconduct involving potentially criminal behavior? If not, why did the diocese take this approach?
  5. Early in the conflict, Eric asked the diocese to mediate the conflict. The diocese dismissed this request outright. Why?
  6. Eric claims that Bob Malm instructed church staff to exclude him and his husband from the parish and has an email that appears to show that this is the case. Yet the vestry’s talking points say Eric left on his own. Which is true and how do we know?
  7. Some of Jeffery Chiow’s language in his court documents is over the top, like referring to the conflict as a case of “domestic terrorism,” calling Eric a “serial liar,” and more. Why did the church take this approach? Do you think it was helpful? Similarly, Malm refers to Eric in email to the diocese as “sick,” “twisted,” and “dysfunctional.” Did anyone at the diocese ever object to this? If not, why not?
  8. Vestry minutes show that the vestry knew and approved of Bob’s efforts to take Eric to court. What was the vestry’s role in this matter? How did it effect oversight?
  9. At one point, Eric alleged that the church had illegally misused memorial donations, yet the diocese refused to get involved. Is this normal practice when allegations of misuse of funds come to the attention of the diocese?
  10. The diocese states in writing that these matters were investigated and resolved long ago and that the diocese fully supports Bob Malm. Who was the investigator? Is that person professionally trained as an investigator? Were the allegations of misuse of funds ever addressed by an auditor or law enforcement? Why does the diocese say the matter was resolved when the conflict clearly continues?
  11. In light of the tremendous damage this conflict has caused the parish and the larger church, is it still the diocese’s position that it fully supports Bob Malm? Has bishop Goff ever sat down with Eric to try to understand this conflict?
  12. From your perspective, can this conflict be resolved? What would it take to do so? Are there lessons learned from this conflict? How do you see this conflict affecting the parish a year from now? Ten years from now?

Monday, October 7, 2019

Great Description of Grace Church, Dysfunctional Bob and Sugarland Chiow at Work

Following is an excellent post by Wade Mullen, an expert on abusive clergy and seminary instructor. 

Spot on, and exactly the tactics that Dysfunctional Bob and Sugarland Chiow use. Grace church members love these tactics as well as they conveniently ignore Bob’s perjury, while urging me to “move on.” Or they flip me off, willfully blind to their role in the church’s misconduct, ranging from turning a blind eye to tacit approval.

Grace church, toxic church. Grace church, the clergy perjury parish.




Sunday, October 6, 2019

Heaven Help Us: More on Interims and Organizational Narcissism




In earlier posts, I discussed organizational narcissism and the challenges it poses for an interim and Grace church. This article more fully explores these concepts, with an emphasis on the difficulties organizations face when they seek to change.

So what is organizational narcissism? (Note that we are here referring to the high self-esteem variant. There are others.)

A concept in organizational psychology, the term describes an organization that is unable to behave ethically because it lacks a moral identity. While such organizations may not be intentionally unethical, they become self-obsessed and use a sense of entitlement, denial, and rationalizations to justify anything they do. Source: Duchon, D. & Drake, B. J Bus Ethics (2009) 85: 301. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-008-9771-7. As a result, the organization is blind to its flaws and weaknesses.

While academic research into organizational narcissism in churches is limited, experts are in agreement on two key points:
  1. Such organizations find it profoundly hard to change.
  2. While narcissistic organizations may adopt ethics and other policies, such efforts will have little effect.
Industrial psychologists also note that such organizations often are headed by a narcissist, in many instances adopting their persona. And all organizations, just like humans, have personalities, learned behaviors, and ways to respond to stress, problems, and challenges. In short, organizations have personalities, and can choose to act in an ethical manner, or not.

And so it is with Grace. Bob Malm and the church both, in my opinion, lack moral identities. Both use a sense of entitlement, denial and rationalizations to justify anything they do. Both have behaved in ways that to outsiders are shocking and unethical, including:
  • Committing perjury
  • Making false police reports
  • Proferring false statements of fact and law in court
  • Trying to subpoena a dying woman in violation of state law
  • Referring to those entrusted to their pastoral care as “domestic terrorists,” “sick,” “twisted,” and “sad individual[s], starving for attention.” (Projection, anyone?)
  • Lying to members
Indeed, one of the reasons that Grace church has gotten away with these behaviors to the extent it has is that these behaviors are so over the top; few readily believe that a church would engage in such conduct, particularly in a hierarchical organization like The Episcopal Church.

Similarly, just like an individual narcissist, Grace church demonstrates little introspection, either on an individual or collective level. For example, parishioners fail to see the laughable irony when they leave Mass on Sunday, having just made their confession, and flip off protesters. Nor has there been any organizational demand for accountability by Dysfunctional Bob or Sugarland Chiow. Indeed, the parish saw the former off with a celebration of his 30 years of “ministry.” Yes, there were many good aspects of Bob’s tenure, but any situation in which it’s okay to commit perjury and bully the dying is hardly cause for celebration, even when taken as a whole.

So where does that leave things? Like the alcoholic who tells herself that, “I can stop any time,” Grace church is in denial. Beautiful liturgy and cordial relations with fellow parishioners mask the underlying reality, which is that the parish is a hot mess. And just as narcissists create a false image for themselves that they present to others, so too does Grace Church create a beautiful illusion of a friendly, welcoming place.

Moreover, just as telling an alcoholic that she has a problem rarely goes well, so too will the interim who steps into the breach discover that efforts to fix problems at Grace are unwelcome. First will come the inevitable comparisons to Bob, then the fun and games with the altar guild and choir, eventually leading to the new person being declared the source of all the church’s woes. “Things were fine when Bob was here, so it’s obviously the interim’s fault,” will be the refrain, conveniently forgetting that things were far from fine.

Even worse, the one person who potentially could help the parish move through these issues has checked out. Much like the bishop had to write a letter  to ask parishioners not to visit Bob Malm during his recovery unless specifically asked to do so, Susan Goff may be the one person who could step in, speak at a parish meeting, ask people to tone it down, to be open to new approaches, and to fix long-standing problems. But with +Shannon having weighed in to express his full support of Dysfunctional Bob, doing so involves an implicit repudiation Goff’s none-too-successful predecessor. Nor is the diocese great at issues of this sort: Even on how way out the door, +Shannon proclaimed that everything was going well at the diocese, despite the fact it clearly was not.

Additionally, +Goff refuses to respond to emails about Bob’s misconduct and reneged on Pat Wingo’s offer to be a resource following our meeting in Fredericksburg, Thus, she has scant credibility and zero first-hand knowledge of my issues, or the larger issues in the parish, which center on power, abuse, respect, the baptismal covenant, and the notion of being the Body of Christ. And after providing the diocese with multiple opportunities to help work towards reconciliation, I want nothing to do with those knuckleheads. Indeed, the diocese appears best suited to meaningless liturgies and laments over slavery and racial injustice, and reflections on reproductive rights. Real social justice has proven repeatedly to “not be of weighty and material importance to the ministry of the church.” Plus, with membership in The Episcopal Church plummeting, these days the church is too small for anyone to care what it thinks anyway.

My advice to interims: Think twice. Even a highly skilled and very determined expert in interim ministry faces a daunting task, plenty of stress and anxiety, and potentially lasting damage to her or his personal and professional reputation.

Happy Sunday!

Well, another Sunday morning on Russell Road as I protest 1,030 feet from Grace Episcopal.

Not long ago, Dysfunctional Bob rolled past. True to form, he drove on the wrong side of the road, although this time he didn’t stop to threaten me. 

Sadly enough, only one Grace parishioner contributed to my Begin With Grace video. Gotta love those one-gun salutes to Jesus!

Meanwhile, given this Sunday’s forum, which is an update on the search for an interim, I offer this small contribution to the conversation: A screen cap in which Mom’s attorney expressed his opinion that Dysfunctional Bob, Sugarland Chiow and Grace Church are “coming at you with a personal vendetta.”

Grace claims to be a “center for healing.” So physician, heal thyself.

And prospective interims, beware. This is the mess that BM leaves behind.






Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Follow-Up Email to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

Following the childish antics of Grace parishioners while I protested outside Dysfunctional Bob’s farewell, I sent the following email to bishop Susan Goff and several diocesan officials.

* * * *

As you may be aware, I continue to protest Bob Malm’s perjury and Grace Episcopal’s organizational misconduct, while being careful to remain beyond 1,000 feet from the church and the Malm residence. Most recently, I protested outside Bob’s farewell, held this past Sunday at the church; my protests will continue indefinitely.

With that in mind, please make sure that clergy and parishioners at Grace understand that I am exercising my rights under Virginia’s anti-stalking statute, found at https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title18.2/chapter4/section18.2-60.3/, Specifically, I do not wish to be contacted or threatened by any member of the parish, including clergy, parishioners, and staff, and am prepared to file criminal charges against any person who ignores this request, including Bob Malm and members of his family.

Note that the Rev. David Crosby continues to feel the need to contact me. Given Bob’s courtroom claim that I am a “domestic terrorist,” one would assume that Crosby would maintain a distance adequate to ensure his personal safety.

Similarly, the six members of the parish who rolled past last Sunday while making obscene gestures do themselves, the parish, and the diocese no favors. Indeed, the video footage of these persons that I captured and uploaded to the web has generated considerable discussion of organizational health, both at the church and within the diocese, and none of it has been positive.

On a similar note, the elderly parishioner who rolled up and offered to fight me, only to drive off when I pointed out that I had arranged a police detail, who was watching from a short distance away, should not threaten me again. Should he do so, I will immediately take legal action.

Lastly, I offer the observation that the online comments from Bob’s family, friends, and parishioners are causing lasting damage to the church’s reputation. These include various ad hominem attacks, including that I:
  • Am mentally ill, a notion that Bob assiduously promoted among parishioners and diocesan staff.
  • Have AIDS.
  • Physically abuse my husband Mike, who was received into the Episcopal Church in 2014, married me there, and was forced out of the church by Malm in 2015.
  • Am sexually attracted to Bob.
  • Left the parish on my own, a claim that Bob and the vestry falsely made to church members in their 2017 written talking points.
  • Engaged in criminal conduct while on the church’s vestry.
Leaving aside the mockery these actions make of the baptismal covenant, several of these comments are defamatory, and I am prepared to pursue all appropriate legal remedies against the relevant parties, including the diocese.

I therefore ask that you ensure that all involved understand that I wish no further contact with the parish or those associated with it.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter.

Eric Bonetti

Things I Think, by the Rev. Michael Newnham

The other day, I was thinking about the organizational narcissism of Grace Church under Dysfunctional Bob. Specifically, the church imposes no accountability on Dysfunctional Bob when he doesn’t do his job, commits perjury, or tries to drag a dying woman into court. It does nothing to address the matter when Dysfunctional Bob, Sugarland Chiow, and the vestry lie to church members, telling them that Mike and I left on our own. And yet members of the parish feel that somehow I have an obligation not to share my experiences or, as one parishioner put it, I “ just need to get a job.”

At about the same time, I came across the following post by the Rev. Richard Newnham, an Anglican priest and noted publisher. (I use Anglican in the sense of belonging to one of the ACNA churches. Thus, while I don’t agree with his overall worldview, I had a very pleasant albeit brief exchange with him via email when I asked for reprint permission.)

The post does an excellent job of correlating abuse of power in churches and the resulting decline in organized religion.

Check it out.

1. I talk a lot about how the “business model” has usurped the “family model” of church governance…the “congregation” has replaced “employees” and they have as much say about how the church is run as the average corporate employee has…none…

2. This is always highlighted when there is some sort of issue or scandal…information and influence (as well as decisions) are cloistered only among the chosen few and control of information is a paramount concern…

3. Controlling information is a primary concern because it serves the ultimate concern…preserving the leadership…

4. It has always struck me as strange that in the place where the importance of truth is held as sacred, that some truths are considered too true for the congregation to know…

5. In business and in church the primary benefits accrue to the “owners” and the employees and congregations are simply means to those ends…

6. I’ve never run a story where I didn’t have to use confidential sources because telling the truth was such a risk to the one speaking truth…some truths are too true for management…

7. I’ve lost count of how many people I’m friends with who can’t take the risk of anyone finding out they’re friends with me…in the church…

8. The “successful” modern pastor is one who can create the illusion of a family that may save him when the business has a scandal…it’s still just an illusion…

9. Pastors who fall betray God and their congregations…the congregations usually then betray each other by standing with the one who has fallen or abused instead of with those abused…

10. I’m guessing that those who have left the church over the abuse of power or people comprise one of the biggest and fastest growing “denominations” in the country…

Find the original post here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Potential Interims, Check it Out: More Ugly Comments from the Grace Episcopal Crowd

You really have to hand it to the crowd at Grace Episcopal: Even as the church implodes, they keep up the same ugly rhetoric that got them in trouble in the first place. Meanwhile, our good buddy Lisa G., aka Lisa Gardner, just can’t get it through her head that, even if everything she says were true, this isn’t the way to handle it. But hey, she’s a Christian.

She’s also profoundly stupid. If you’re going to post defamatory content, don’t proffer details that would identify yourself.

Nor does Lisa recognize that her argument is a tu quoque logical fallacy. No matter how you parse it, Bob Malm is a perjurer. Lisa can toss out every ad hominem attack out there, but Bob Malm is still a perjurer.

Wonder how long before Grace drops to 150 pledging units.

Prospective interims, beware. This sort of discourse is part and parcel of life at Grace Church following 30 years of Dysfunctional Bob.


Friday, September 27, 2019

Tonight’s Gala Reception for Bob Malm Underscores Why Many at Grace Church Deserve Bob Malm






Tonight’s gala reception for Bob Malm underscores why many at Grace Episcopal deserve exactly what they get. Meaning that they deserve Bob Malm, and all the baggage that comes with him, including his perjury, his multiple abuses of power, his bullying, his manipulation, and his feckless attitude towards being rector, despite being paid more than many senior denominational officials.






Christians are called towards peace, reconciliation, health, and healing. What they are not called to is turning a blind eye to misconduct. In the case of Dysfunctional Bob, examples of his misconduct are myriad, ranging from his indifference to the well-being of church employees to his inappropriate comments about those entrusted to his pastoral care.






Yet there will be plenty of people who will turn out tonight to swill wine, socialize, and to get all teary-eyed that Dysfunctional Bob will soon be packing it in, headed towards full-time life on the beach and golf course, replete with a defined benefit plan, paid for by the church, that far exceeds the retirement benefits most of us will receive.






Of course, by turning out, folks lend credibility to Bob and his conduct. At the same time, these same people make no effort to take seriously or address the trauma that Bob has caused people, including Mike and my mother, thus making them modern-day versions of the Scribes and Pharisees who looked the other way when confronted with someone who was suffering.






Ironically, karma has a way of fixing these things. Those who blindly support Bob, who think it’s okay to bully others, who behave badly towards other church members, will tend to attract equally toxic persons to their orbits. And by doing so, they will accelerate Grace Episcopal’s internal problems, while interjecting still more challenges into their own lives.






So, for those turning out to “celebrate” Bob Malm’s 30 years of misfeasance and nonfeasance, I say go for it. Birds of a feather....

Thursday, September 26, 2019

How Does This Square With Forcing Mike Out of The Church?

In his most recent sermon posted to the church website, perjuring priest Bob Malm bloviates on about caring for those who feel cast out. So how does that square with Bob Malm forcing Mike out out of the church?

Here is the relevant part of Bob’s sermon:

And here is Bob’s email, in which, in true passive-aggressive Bob Malm fashion, Bob announces that Mike needs to find a new church:


And here is a photo of Mike being received into the church 16 months earlier, along with our friends Tony and Diane. All three have left the church, along with me and the rest of my family.


So, I have this to say about Bob Malm’s sermon: Total BS. Absolute hypocrisy.

Upcoming Protests and Leafletting



Despite Dysfunctional Bob’s departure from Grace Church this Sunday, I will continue to protest and leaflet. Plans are to leaflet a stretch of King Street, as well as to protest at several of my favorite locations.

See you there!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Susie Saffelle’s Google Review of Grace Episcopal: My Response

Recently, Susie Saffelle, an active member of Grace Episcopal Church, updated her review of the church to say how positive her experience was with Bob Malm’s 30 years as rector. While I like and respect Susie, her comments are misplaced and immoral.



My response:

Susie conflates two words, friendly and faithful.

Bob Malm often can be, and is, friendly and engaging. He is good at playing the role of priest. He knows how to look like a priest. He often acts like a priest. To the average person in the pew, he is a solid priest.

But scratch the surface and you discover a very different reality. Like all narcissists, Bob’s charm, his seeming kindness, and his other positive attributes are all just an act. The real Bob, lurking right beneath the surface:
  • Lies under oath, otherwise known as commits perjury.
  • Tries to drag the dying into court.
  • Bullies my husband out of the church, received into it just 16 months earlier.
  • Ignores utter chaos, including hoarding and bullying, in the church office for more than a decade.
  • Shows little use for the food pantry, the homeless shelter, or other service to those in need.
  • Bullies the vestry into an outrageously generous compensation that exceeds that of even senior bishops in the denomination.
  • Manipulates parishioners.
  • Engages in smear campaigns.
  • Refers to those entrusted to his pastoral care as “sick,” “twisted,” and dysfunctional.”
  • Calls Jan Spence an “asshole.”
  • Refers to Lisa Doelp as, “like a little spy.”
  • Violates confidentiality repeatedly.
  • Conducts a multi-year vendetta against me and my family, disregarding the effect his actions have on the church he purports to serve.
Jesus’ comments are spot on:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

Nor can one ignore Bob’s actions. Jesus overturned tables in the temple when confronted with hypocrisy, and loudly criticized the Scribes and Pharisees. People like Susie, however, turn a blind eye, and thus are complicit in Bob’s misconduct. And those who provide financial support to the parish are endorsing Bob’s actions. Nor is there anything “sacred” about a parish that condones such actions.

Here is what abuse expert Dr. Diane Langberg says:


And below is an example of the results of Bob Malm’s thirty years of “ministry,” posted by a now college-aged member of the parish:


Nor am I the only one to have these experiences.



In closing, note Susie’s use of the phrase, “At the helm,” which reflects the rampant clericalism of the parish. Bob should not be regarded as being “at the helm.” As a priest, Bob is there to serve the parish community, not the other way around. It is time for members of the church to take responsibility for the bull crud that goes on in the parish and address these matters, versus turning a blind eye on the basis that they are the rector’s responsibility, then invoking the notion that “we all have our faults.”

Grace church is a toxic church, and it is toxic because people allow it to be toxic. That is the bottom line.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Party With Perjuring Priest Bob Malm!

Join perjuring priest Bob Malm Friday, September 27 at Grace Episcopal for an adults-only reception, celebrating 30 years of Bob’s so-called ministry—spreading the Good News of Jesus, one beach at a time.




DioSVA Norms: Anything But Normative At Grace Episcopal

One of the troubling things about Grace Church aka St. Dysfunction under Bob Malm is the way in which people talk to and about each other. With that in mind, check out the norms of the Diocese of Southern Virginia, which I adapted and used with permission while heading up the non-profit. 

Of particular interest is the request that people bring up issues only with those able to do something about it. Contrast that with parishioners who, encouraged by Bob Malm, speculate on my mental health and motives, while never once raising the issue with me. Kemp Williams, Jean Reed: Here’s looking at you.