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 will no doubt extend Bob’s basic membership well beyond his original contract. And Grace Episcopal gets in on the action, for free.

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)!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Ethics Alert! Ethically Challenged Sven vanBaars Seeks to Represent DioVA at General Convention

Clergy sexual assault survivors beware! The Rev. Sven vanBaars, who is one of the diocesan Title IV intake officers and has stated in writing that he will only address illegal conduct by clergy if they face criminal charges, is seeking election as a diocesan delegate to the next general convention. This spells bad news as #churchtoo and #metoo victims seek to make church a safe space for survivors.

For those new to the discussion, Sven issued a dismissal, approved by Bishop Susan Goff and upheld by the Rev. Melissa Hollerith, stating the he could not conclude that Bob Malm committed perjury, as he had not been criminally charged for doing so.

This is problematic for several reasons, including the fact that perjury is a notoriously difficult crime to charge and, much like clergy sexual abuse, local officials typically are reluctant to pursue cases against clergy. Yet Title IV expressly forbids clergy from engaging in “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;” no criminal charges required.

Moreover, Sven himself violated the express provisions of Title IV by copying Bob Malm on his notice. By doing so, he violated the confidentiality provisions enacted at the last General Convention, which expressly forbid identifying the complainant to the respondent. Yet he attempted to silence me by asserting that I am obligated to treat the matter as confidential. This is not the case, for with the exception of one recently enacted provision, Title IV does not apply to laity. And it certainly does not apply to persons who have left the church.

To make matters worse, Sven serves on the diocesan committee on constitution and canons. Given his inability to parse even basic Title IV issues successfully, his violation of Title IV, and his broken pastoral ethics, this is an alarming proposition.

So, if you’ve ever experienced abuse of any sort in a church setting, just know that Sven vanBaars applies a “no criminal charges, no Title IV violation” policy. In other words, even clergy sexual abuse is okay, as long as the police don’t get involved.

Truly alarming stuff.

Copy of Sven’s written Title IV dismissal available at https://www.gracealexwatch.org/2019/09/breaking-sven-vanbaar-former-candidate.html





Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Worthy Read: Chuck DeGroat’s Upcoming Book, “When Narcissism Comes to Church”



Those seeking to understand the hot mess that is Planet Malm Grace Episcopal Church may want to check out Chuck DeGroat’s upcoming book, “When Narcissism Comes to Church.” The book is available for pre-order, with a release date of March 2020.

DeGroat is a well-known seminary instructor, licensed pastoral counselor, consultant, and coach who has done extensive research into the issue, including counseling narcissistic church leaders and churches hurt by their conduct for more than 20 years.

Like others, he understands that having toxic church leaders is devastating to churches. Or, as author Dr. David Orrison describes it:
“Narcissism” has become a way to describe the disordered personality that depersonalizes and uses others in its quest to think of itself as superior. Dr. Orrison sees this as a defining characteristic that can be found in organizations, including churches. Narcissists mold and use organizations to build their personal image, and the organizations carry the message to others.
DeGroat goes further, discussing faulty theologies of sin and forgiveness:
A shallow view of sin leads to a shallow repentance. Shallow repentance looks like admitting the troubling behavior and committing to not doing it again – case closed. And thus, shallow repentance leads to quick restoration. After all, who wouldn’t believe the sincerity of a pastor who preaches so wonderfully and charismatically, and who has influenced so many? Shallow repentance can look like blame dressed in the garments of personal responsibility – “I’m really sorry that hurt you.”
(Astute readers will note the dramatic similarity of the fauxpology above to Bob Malm’s abortive “apology” to Mike, in which he says, “I’m sorry you were upset...but....”)

Apropos forgiveness, DeGroat says:
All of this (above) leads to an expectation that the narcissist and/or abuser will be forgiven (which also means restored). In this, the burden quickly switches from abuser to victim, as anyone impacted is asked to forgive quickly and fully out of a spiritual duty. Anything less than full forgiveness is narrated as angry, petty, grudge-holding, and un-spiritual. Within this is a pitifully vacuous theology of Grace – again, grace as a get-out-of-jail-free card.
In the meantime, you can read DeGroat’s reflection on the destruction wrought by narcissistic church leaders/systems and their lack of spiritual and personal integrity here.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Here’s How Grace Episcopal Talks About Victims of Church Abuse

Before you pledge this fall, consider whether this sort of conduct by Bob Malm and Sugarland Chiow reflects your values, and those of Christianity. (Screen cap from their objection to my withdrawal of my appeal.)

Sorry folks—there’s nothing Christian about this sort of behavior. Nothing.

Maybe you should make copies available in the Malm narthex, just so people know what they are getting into. Literally and figuratively.


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Issues with Diocesan Pledge Underscore Severity of Budget Crisis at Grace Church

Remember when I posted the article about warning signs that a church may be at risk of closure? The article, written by the Rev. Thom Rainer, lists one of the warning signs as resources being focused inward, versus outward.

And so it is with Grace, particularly in the case of the parish’s annual pledge to the diocese. Specifically, for many years, the amount pledged has been less than one-half of the amount proscribed by the Virginia Plan, the diocesan proportional giving plan. That’s right—less than one half.

Under the diocesan guidelines, parish pledges are based on net operating income, otherwise known as normal operating income or (NOI).

So what is NOI? Simply put, it’s all income that is used to pay operating expenses, and it includes items that are funded off-budget, like music programs, the altar guild, and EYC mission trips.

The diocese of Newark provides a good definition:


























In other words, NOI is pretty easy to calculate. If you spend it for day-to-day operations, versus capital improvements, it’s NOI. (It’s also worth noting that the Newark definition includes the church school. Just imagine if Grace School were actually included.)

With that in mind, here’s what the Virginia Plan proscribes for parish giving:































Grace church, however, has consistently pledged at roughly 10% of pledge income. That excludes:

  • Plate and loose giving
  • Reimbursements from the school.
  • Altar guild program operating revenue.
  • Music program operating revenue.
  • Income from the trust used to pay operating expenses.
The result is that when measured as percentage of income Grace Church supports the diocese at a level consistent with a church with revenue of less than $100,000 annual income. When measured by total amount, Grace’s support of the diocese is consistent with that of a parish generating $571,428 in NOI.

For example in 2015, a year in which the church pulled in more than $1,000.000 in revenue, it gave just $85,000, per the annual report.

Income:
























Again, keep in mind that this does not include items that are off-budget, like the music program, the EYC hoagie sale, the altar guild, and other program areas.

That brings us to a recurring issue when examining life at Grace Church: Thanks to years of feckless leadership, the church has been living beyond its means for decades. It can afford to pay its rector $200K a year, offer lavish farewell parties for the head of school, and provide generous purses to Bob Malm and his family. There’s plenty of money for the annual weekend at Shrine Mont, which for many is nothing but a drunken binge. And there are mountains of flowers at Easter and Christmas (yes, although these are restricted solicitations, they are still part of NOI). Nor should we forget Bob’s 2014 bonus of $100,000.

So while Jason Roberson is bloviating about how the parish is “growing and flourishing,” let’s keep in mind that it’s been ignoring its obligation to the diocese for years. That despite the fact that the diocese apparently fully honors its commitment to the national church. 

In other words, most of the church’s funds have been going to meet its own needs and desires, and to subsidize Bob Malm, versus to actually being a church. That is, or should be, a wake-up call to the parish, whoever is foolhardy enough to become interim, and to the diocese. Simply put, it is a matter of survival.

There’s also a catch-22 that confronts the parish: In a church so organizationally narcissistic that it doesn’t see an issue with a priest who commits perjury, or with trying to drag a dying woman into court, do you choose to integrate into the life of the larger diocese? If so, how do you increase your diocesan pledge by roughly $80,000 annually at a time when the parish cannot afford its current cost structure? Yet members are likely to be highly resistant to any arrangement that interferes with the whole living-life-large paradigm under Bob Malm.

In closing, it’s worth noting that I repeatedly cautioned Bob, beginning in 2014, about the looming budget debacle, warning that absent major cutbacks the church was on a trajectory to become insolvent as early as the summer of 2016. In most cases, in true Bob Malm fashion, I didn’t even get the courtesy of a response.

Things are now at a state where the church may need to consider taking on mission status, accepting help from the diocese, and rebuilding from the ground up.

Grace church is in serious trouble.

Jason Roberson Pulls a Bob Malm and Argues Alternative Facts

At a time when Grace church is dealing with record declines in giving and participation, there are multiple ways to deal with the situation. Some ways likely will be successful; others not. But one strategy is guaranteed to fail, and that is to argue “alternative facts,” as Jason Roberson attempts to do in the November edition of the church newsletter, Grace Notes. 

Specifically, it’s neither useful, nor helpful, nor truthful, to claim that the parish is “growing and flourishing.” It is not. Not financially, not numerically, not spiritually.

Indeed, it’s in a state of precipitous decline, brought about by years of Bob Malm’s feckless performance as rector and toxic conduct at various levels within the parish, including:
  • Committing perjury, as Bob has done with the assistance and support of Sugarland Chiow and the vestry.
  • Lying to the parish and others by claiming that Mike and I left on our own, as the vestry did via messaging supplied by Bob Malm and Sugarland Chiow.
  • Trying to drag a dying woman into court.
On top of that, I hate to break it to Jason, but folks are not looking at doubling down on their pledges. Or, as one parishioner said to me, “If the church has enough money to pay [church office staff] to sit on their fat asses and give me attitude, it doesn’t need my money.”

Same for $3,000 farewell parties for heads of school, rectors who make 200K and are at the beach for a month every summer (but to my knowledge never once turned up, for example, at Carpenter’s Shelter), and the church generally living above its means for years. And let’s not forget that 2014 bonus of 100K the church paid to Bob Malm, which was entirely inappropriate. (One knucklehead, Lisa Medley, asked at the relevant vestry meeting if the amount could be increased to $200,000. “Private inurement,” anyone?)

DC is expensive, and many in this area haven’t had a vacation in years. Even fewer spend a month at the beach each summer. Many in the parish already are tapped out, and few want to dig even deeper to help out. 

Nor should the church count on planned giving as a bailout. Even those of us without kids have folks we want to care for when we are gone, and for many that does not include a church that engages in toxic behavior or turns a blind eye to its rector committing perjury in court.

So, for those still reading, I will tell you what really needs to happen.

First, the church needs to become healthy in every way and truly become a center for healing. Healthy relationships with each other, with God, and with the church’s past, parts of which are remarkably ugly and un-Christian, all are part of the deal. And it needs to take a healthy approach to the challenges facing it, which includes not trying to sweep them under the rug or arguing alternative facts. In other words, don’t claim the church is “growing and flourishing.”

Second, the parish needs to become a real center for outreach. The old Episcopal approach of metaphorically putting a bucket by the sea and waiting for the fish to jump in simply is not working. Three percent of budget for outreach is a joke, even with the food pantry and Haiti being off-budget. And while you’re at it, honor your commitment to the diocese. 70K a year doesn’t cut it.

Third, Grace needs to make a commitment to grow. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, most churches grow just about as much as they choose to grow, and this is simply something that has never been a priority for the church. And no, Art on the Avenue and a few extra signs on the lawn are not going to cut it.

Fourth, as a near-term tactical matter, the diocese needs to help by providing guidance in situations such as this. While Jason’s efforts were well-intended, it is exactly this sort of mistake that undercuts confidence in the transition and search process. Nor are existing internal vetting processes adequate—church staff and volunteers are simply too close to the issues to exercise the sort of independent judgment needed to avoid missteps of this sort.

So, I appreciate Jason’s positive spin, but it’s counterproductive to pretend that the church doesn’t have issues, or that it is not in decline. It has many serious challenges, some of which have been festering for decades. The sooner the church decides to look the monster right in the eyes, the sooner it can deal with the monster. But ignoring the monster won’t make it go away.

Ignoring the monster will simply result in the monster of decline consuming the church.

Jason Roberson Argues Alternative Facts





Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Reminder: Grace Episcopal Publicly Discloses Confidential Giving

With pledge season off to a slow start at Grace Episcopal Alexandria, it’s time for an important reminder. Specifically, while the church will tell you that giving is confidential, it is not.

I repeat: Your giving to Grace Episcopal Alexandria is not confidential. In fact, some imbecile may decide to post that information on social media.

Doubt it? Here’s proof in the form of a screen cap from The Wartburg Watch, in which a parishioner, believed to be Lisa Medley, shares the fact that someone in my family wrote a check to the church in the amount of $.02.

For the record, true to form the poster has her facts wrong. Leaving aside other lies in her post, the check for $.02 was neither giving to the church, nor written by me. Yet the fact remains: Individual giving is not supposed to be shared with other parishioners, nor posted to social media. The fact that the idiot behind this post doesn’t recognize this makes clear just how thoroughly toxic the parish is.

Unless you want to risk your personal data being posted to social media, it is best to avoid pledging to Grace Episcopal Alexandria.

Grace Episcopal Publicly Discloses Member Giving
Grace Episcopal Posts Details of Member Giving to Social Media

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Breaking News: DeDe Duncan-Probe Gets It. Let’s Hope Susan Goff Figures It Out



I’ll be covering this from a different angle on Anglican Watch, but there is good, albeit sad, news coming from the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York and its bishop, DeDe Duncan-Probe. Folks here in Northern VA may recall that DeDe was the rector of St. Stephen in the Woods in Fairfax Station.

Per recent news reports and a letter from the diocese, the Rev. Joell Szachara, who had served as rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in New Hartford NY, has been suspended amidst allegations of financial misconduct at her parish.

As part of the move, Szachara resigned from all church-related positions at the bishop’s direction. Meanwhile, a forensic audit is under way at the parish, and the diocese appears to be pursuing a Title IV disciplinary case against Szachara.

What is most notable, however, is DeDe’s willingness to be open and transparent about the issue, to address it promptly and effectively, and to do so while affording care to those affected by the allegations.

This approach contrasts with that of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, which has consistently refused to address concerns about Bob Malm’s conduct, even when confronted with irrefutable evidence that the latter has, inter alia, committed perjury. Indeed, in just a few days the annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia will consider a courtesy resolution extolling Bob Malm’s virtues during 30 years of “ministry” at Grace Church. Hardly reassuring.

Moreover, the diocese knowingly ignored Bob’s efforts to drag a dying woman into court. Well-placed sources also tell me that +Shannon didn’t “want to get involved,” despite knowing that Bob Malm deliberately misused donations to the parish, which is per se illegal. (As a reminder, one cannot use restricted solicitations for any purpose other than that for which they were solicited. To do otherwise is at best breach of contract, and at worst outright fraud.) And the diocese has repeatedly refused to address Bob Malm’s retaliation, his repeated violation of pastoral boundaries, and more.

To make matters worse, the public stance of the diocese has been arrogant silence, combined with +Johnston’s facially false assertions in his letter to the parish, in which he states that these matters were “investigated and resolved long ago,” and where he expresses his support for Bob Malm and Leslie Steffensen and their conduct. And the diocese itself has repeatedly has violated the Title IV disciplinary canons, including refusing to provide the requisite “pastoral response” any time a complaint is made to the intake office and breaching canonically mandated confidentiality.

As a result, things are a hot mess at Grace Church and signs suggest things are going to get worse. Conflict ignored is conflict multiplied, as I reminded Bob Malm many times, and Susan Goff and the diocese have done their utmost to make sure this happens.

As we head into the upcoming annual convention, Bishop Goff would be wise to take a lesson from DeDe and deal directly and openly with the problems at Grace Church. Further efforts to elevate Bob Malm to demigod status while ignoring the underlying conflict serve only to widen and deepen the problem, while making it ever more difficult to resolve. Moreover, as the matter presently is postured, only the utterly foolhardy or clueless would agree to serve as interim, for the situation virtually guarantees failure on all sides.

Simply put, one neither can, nor should, attempt to replicate Bob Malm’s model of friendly but faithless narcissism. Such an approach promotes clericalism, while diminishing the real role of God, faith, and community.

Additionally, while the Title IV training materials talk about the importance of church members knowing whom to talk to, even if something just doesn’t seem right, the diocese’s approach of knowingly permitting retaliation for doing provides a powerful disincentive to whistleblowers. Moreover, it’s fair to say my concerns were well-justified, for as our conflict progressed Bob Malm quickly showed his true colors when he filed a false police report and committed perjury. If nothing else those who genuinely fear for their safety, as he claims is the case, do not drive up to the person they allegedly fear, climb out of their vehicle, and begin yelling and threatening them, as Bob did in May along Russell Road.

In short, DeDe gets it, but Susan Goff and DioVA are both clueless and wedded to an approach to conflict and ecclesiastical discipline that virtually ensures continuing problems. Their only hope is to bring in an expert like the Rev. Robin Hammeal-Urban, who has done extensive work on healing after betrayal, to help them understand and transform conflict and brokenness and move towards wholeness.

And while Christians claim to be a resurrection people, one can only be dubious when, as here, the diocese has been utterly resistant to any form of accountability.

For more on DeDe and the scandal in New York, visit https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2019/11/05/central-new-york-priest-under-investigation-for-alleged-financial-misconduct/.

To check out Robin’s excellent book on the subject of moving towards health and wholeness amidst misconduct, visit https://www.amazon.com/Wholeness-After-Betrayal-Restoring-Misconduct/dp/0819231770/ref=nodl_

P.S. I sent copies of Robin’s book to +Shannon and several other diocesan officials. I leave it to others to speculate as to whether anyone at the diocese ever read it.

Wade Mullen on Abusive Organizations

Wade Mullen, expert on abusive churches, says it well:

Grace Episcopal, the Clergy Perjury Parish


Monday, November 4, 2019

Breaking News: New Site

With traffic to this blog now steady at more than 200 hits a day, and the milestone of 100,000 hits coming up soon, it’s becoming increasingly clear that it’s time to upgrade to a more powerful platform. With that in mind, the relaunched blog is now running alongside this one at www.gracealex.us.

For now, selected content will appear on both blogs. Existing domain names, including www.bobmalm.com, will point to the new platform sometime in the next few weeks.

Grace Episcopal, the Clergy Perjury Parish

Friday, November 1, 2019

More on the Search Process

If you are an interim and considering a call to Grace Church, you already have figured out that you not only have 30 years of Bob Malm’s narcissistic legacy to deal with. You also have a mountain of conflict, an active lawsuit, and profound reputational issues to deal with. And people at Grace church often don’t realize just how spectacularly inappropriate their behavior is; in many cases, such behavior is normative.

That said, I also feel that it’s fair to point out that you soon will have me and other protesters directly outside the church during Sunday and other services. I also am giving serious thought to ending my self-imposed ban on protesting outside weddings and funerals, as well as outside the homes of clergy and staff.

So, this is in no way a threat, but it is only fair to put my cards on the table. And no amount of perjury on the part of the church or fabrications by its attorney will prevent me from exercising my First Amendment rights to speak about my experiences with the parish, with perjuring priest Bob Malm, and with Sugarland Chiow.

The only thing that will stop me and other from calling Grace Episcopal out for being the fake church  that it is is to become a real church — a place where people care for God, for each other, and where they recognize that bullying, clergy perjury, or Sugarland Chiow’s hateful, inflammatory rhetoric are never acceptable. Or threatening me. Or Mike’s job. Or trying to drag a dying woman into court.

And as long as folks refuse to admit that Bob Malm is a perjurer, we have nothing to discuss.




My Comments on Religion News Service

Following is my response to an article on Religion News Service “Christianity as We Know it is Dying.”

The death of organized religion comes as no surprise when, as in my case, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia (including Bishop Susan Goff and Melissa Hollerith, wife of Randy Hollerith, dean of the National Cathedral), can tell me with a straight face that courtroom perjury against me by my former priest, Bob Malm of Grace Episcopal in Alexandria VA, is okay on the grounds that he didn’t face criminal charges for it. (And for the record yes, I know what defamation is. I also know that truth is an absolute defense.)

Finally, after wasting a whole lot of time and effort trying to get the diocese to drain its own swamp, I have filed suit in the Virginia courts for abuse of process and breach of fiduciary duty). Among the respondents are the diocese, Susan Goff, and my former parish. It will be interesting indeed to see how they respond to my request for evidence in support of Bob’s perjury. Of course, if they were Christians, they would come right out and, after conducting their own investigation, admit that there is none. But I do not believe that level of integrity can be found in The Episcopal Church. And even were I to lose based on procedural or other grounds, I am still happy to call a spade a spade.

Meanwhile, members of my former parish engage in smear campaigns against me, fire off the old one-gun-salute to Jesus as they roll past, threaten me, attempt to interfere with my employment, and more. And then they wonder why the parish is imploding.

If you want to learn more about my abuse at the hands of a church that I once loved, my blog is located at http://www.gracealexwatch.org.

In the meantime, I’ll add only that the author is spot on: If the church wants to survive, it needs to start being the church.

Find the original at: http://disq.us/p/25asarz




Updated Information on Lawsuit Against Grace Episcopal, the Clergy Perjury Parish

Updated information confirms service of process on Bishop Susan Goff, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, and Grace Episcopal Alexandria.

It will be interesting to see how the good Christians at Grace Church respond to my request for documentation that mom “time after time” makes appointments with perjuring priest Bob Malm. Will they tell the truth? Will they admit that Malm committed perjury?

Somehow, I don’t see Goff, Sugarland Chiow, or any of that crowd acting in an honorable way.

Grace Episcopal, the clergy perjury parish.






Thursday, October 31, 2019

Halloween Horror: The Zebra, Alexandria’s Good News Newspaper, Reports Local Filmfest Includes Movie With Bob Malm

This one is all trick and no treat. 

The Zebra, Alexandria’s all-good-news media outlet, reports that the 13th annual Alexandria Film Festival includes a movie that includes an appearance by perjuring Episcopal priest Bob Malm, former rector of Grace Episcopal, otherwise known as St. Dysfunction.

The Sydney Pollack film Random Hearts, one of the lowest rated films ever on review site Rotten Tomatoes, includes Dysfunctional Bob as an Episcopal priest.

Given the hot mess that is The Episcopal Church, this fits in so many ways.


See the one-tomato review of the movie at: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/random_hearts

Bob Malm, perjuring priest.

Grace Episcopal, the clergy perjury parish.





Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Coming Soon to a Diocesan Convention Near You!

Despite Dysfunctional Bob’s departure, I continue to stand up to the narcissistic bully that is the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. With that in mind, I’m continuing to protest throughout the Alexandria area, including making the rounds of area Episcopal churches, schools, etc. 


I’m also continuing to leaflet and will be making a special guest appearance outside the diocesan convention in November.

The current court order expires in late January, and the following Sunday I and a small group of fellow protestors will be outside Grace Church, just in time for the parish annual meeting. Included in the crowd will be at least two fellow bloggers, and I believe there will be at least one major media outlet reporter in the mix. Shortly afterwards is the first hearing in the Virginia lawsuit, and I anticipate that I will interplead (add) additional defendants at that time.

So, prospective interims, welcome to Planet Malm! See you at Dysfunction Junction (Bob Malm’s rather Christlike description for my favorite protest corner), and on the sidewalk in front of the church. Even better, part of your new church home is named after perjuring priest Bob Malm: The Malm Narthex, aka Perjury Place.

Fun times on Planet Malm!



Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Great Pumpkin Visits Zabriskie Chapel



True to form, the Great Pumpkin made his annual visit to the Immanuel-on-the-Hill pumpkin patch.

I showed up around 1 PM, replete with signage. To their credit, folks at the church didn’t act like the fake Christians of Grace Church, who like to fire off the ol’ one-gun salute to Jesus when they see me. (Something about “as you have done to the least of these...”)

Sure enough, Immanuel rector Randy Alexander showed up, trying for the usual NOMCL (not on my church lawn) routine. As in yes, we’re the body of Christ, right up until someone suggests that the bishop of Maryland has a drinking problem. Then when she kills someone, it’s a case of, “Um, how did that happen?” Answer: Because as the body of Christ, you turned a blind eye and allowed it to happen. After all, it wasn’t on my church lawn.



Ditto for Bob Malm and his perjury problem. We’re the body of Christ and I’m sorry about his conduct, but could you move down the street so we can sell some pumpkins? I mean, he wasn’t convicted, your mom will be dead soon and we just named part of the church after him, so how bad could it be?

That said, as Randy and I talked, I think he got it. Or at least came close. In fact, he did something I’ve only ever seen happen once before at an Episcopal Church—he asked me if I needed anything. Truly remarkable coming from an Episcopal priest.

Ironically, it’s evangelicals who usually get the notion of radical hospitality. Episcopal churches claim to be welcoming, but they’re usually just indifferent. That’s why I kiddingly call my protests “Operation Leper at the Gate.” (In fairness, there have been some very supportive seminarians as well, including one entirely too handsome and friendly young guy who joined me one Sunday. Dangerous territory for a married guy, and I always refused to date priests anyway, so that led to a hasty exit and solo lunch at the diner.)

Does that mean this conflict is going away any time soon? Of course not. Thus far Susan Goff has not had the integrity to ask for the emails or phone records that would back up or disprove Bob’s claim that mom or someone claiming to be her contacted him repeatedly—a statement that went to the heart of his claim that he had been threatened, was done in writing, and was done with the advice of church legal counsel Jeffery Chiow. These records simply don’t exist, which leads to one inescapable conclusion: Bob Malm is a perjurer, a liar, a bully, and he is aided and abetted at every level of the church. Whether or not he is a friendly guy — which he is — is irrelevant.

Moreover, by refusing to address Bob’s perjury, Goff is every bit as culpable as he is. So is the diocese. So is the Grace Church vestry. And so is the body of Christ. And Jeff Chiow engaged in a number of fabrications, including at one point telling the court that he wasn’t aware that Mom’s dying. That claim directly contradicts his statements that he’s carefully reviewed her site, which makes very clear that she is terminally ill.

That said, we would be in a very different place if the church were to tell the truth. In fact, here’s what church abuse expert Dr. Diane Langberg has to say:



That’s the curious thing about these situations: Opposing sides can get so entrenched that they fail to realize how easily the matter can be resolved.

But as long as the diocese signs off on perjury, bullies a dying woman in violation of the law, backs Bob’s repeated lies to the court through his attorney and more, I am going to continue to push back. And if that causes the collapse of Grace Church, the cancellation of every pumpkin patch in the area or more, I don’t care. (As an aside, several of Bob’s lies were curious, in that they were readily Googleable, meaning he either just didn’t give a damn, or he thought no one would call him out, or he didn’t bother to check. “I didn’t lie your honor. I just didn’t bother to check the things I told the court were facts.”

I’ll start caring when the church treats me like a human being, worthy of dignity and respect. But it’s asking a lot for the church to request that I care about its welfare or that of its programs after calling all me a “domestic terrorist” in its court filings, bullying my mother, forcing my husband out of the church, and more. Or, as Mom’s attorney put it, “This attorney is coming at you with a personal vendetta.”


That said, I enjoyed talking with Randy. Maybe there is hope for TEC after all. I doubt it, but maybe.

I’d point out, too, that if you believe Jesus’ words about “as you have done to the least of these,” then you by definition believe that Bob Malm called Jesus a “domestic terrorist,” “sick,” “twisted,” and “dysfunctional.” And every time members of Grace Church flip me off, they’re doing it to Jesus.

That just underscores the sad state of affairs in The Episcopal Church and confirms for me why I doubt there will be any meaningful TEC left by the time I die.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Second Lawsuit


Steps are now under way to file a second lawsuit against Grace Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, Susan Goff, and several other parties, including multiple church staff, volunteers, and independent contractors. I anticipate the suit will be filed in Pennsylvania and will involve multiple plaintiffs. Several of the defendants will be added once the initial suit is filed.

Not a great time for Planet Malm

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Will Susan Goff Tell The Truth?

Will Susan Goff put her money where her mouth is and admit that Bob Malm committed perjury? Or will she continue to deny the truth and show all the world what is becoming increasingly obvious, which is that The Episcopal Church is morally bankrupt, interested only in its fast dwindling power and prestige? Will she put into practice Jesus’ teaching that, “As you have done to the least of these, so also have you done to me?”

Safe money says she will continue to act as an enabler, endorsing Bob Malm’s perjury by refusing to address it or offer restitution for the harm her actions have caused.

Susan, this is your chance. Lead by example. Demonstrate integrity.



Subpoenas Issued

Earlier today subpoenas went out in my lawsuit against Grace Episcopal Church, Susan Goff, and the diocese. Most likely, Grace will receive its subpoena tomorrow, while Susan Goff’s subpoena may take a day or so. Both are for the production of documents.

Following is the email I sent to the diocese and Grace church’s vestry. In a nutshell, the earlier fraud that the church perpetrated on the court by taking words out of context, by committing perjury (including Bob Malm’s false claim that my mother, or someone claiming to be her, contacted him repeatedly, which he cited as a major part of his claim that Mom’s blog is really mine) will not be tolerated. Same for Jeff Chiow’s inflammatory rhetoric and fabrications, including his falsely telling the court that I had never been licensed to practice law. And no, the whole, “I didn’t bother to research it,” line of argument doesn’t cut it.  Should this happen again, I guarantee major media coverage. 

Moreover, Grace Church will discover the more it lies, the more it trots out the bombastic rhetoric, and the more it tries to play hard ball, the more quickly people turn their backs on the church.

Here is the letter I sent to the diocese and the church, in which I encourage them to act like Christians.

Yes, I know. Shocking proposition.

# # #




Wednesday, October 23, 2019

With Grace Church Headed to Court, will Bob Malm Man Up and Admit His Perjury? Doubtful.

Let’s face it. Bob Malm’s good at going after dying women, bullying persons like Mike recently received into The Episcopal Church, ignoring the canons, and making excuses why, after 25 years of his lazy backside, Grace Church still didn’t have the finance manual required by church canons. That said, he wasn’t so good at explaining the thousands of dollars in loose cash and stale checks found in the church office. Nor is he good at accepting responsibility for his misconduct.

So do you think Bob will be a man and admit to his perjury prior to the January court date? Doubtful in the extreme.

Maybe Bob should call his purported friends at the Alexandria Police Department (APD) and have a conversation about the Ninth Commandment. Just in case Bob’s not familiar, that’s the one that says, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” As in Bob’s courtroom perjury.

Or, since he and Susan Goff appear to be pen pals on the subject, maybe she will be kind enough to have that conversation with the police department.

Doubtful on both counts.




Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Proof of Biased Policing at Alexandria and Lying by SGT. Alvarez

More than a month before Dysfunctional Bob’s farewell, I requested a police detail while out protesting. Such details are routinely provided to protesters.

I was ignored for four weeks, despite:

- Two emails to Sgt. Nick Lions
- Three phone calls to Nick Lions.
- One email to the city manager.
- Two emails to Sgt. Patricio Alvarez.

Meanwhile, contrary to Sgt. Alvarez’s written assertions to other police officials, I had learned from the police department that a detail already had been approved for the church. Tellingly, records of that request were improperly omitted from my subsequent FOIA request.

Finally, I filed a biased policing complaint, alleging that I am entitled to the same police services as any other citizen. At that point, the city backtracked and pulled the church’s detail, saying instead it would generally provide officers in the area during Dysfunctional Bob’s farewell. 

Subsequently, I filed my FOIA request, only to receive written confirmation that SGT Alvarez WAS trying to engage in biased policing. 

In his email below, he cites his concern that providing me a detail would be seen as helping me violate the current protective order. 

That raises the question: SGT Alvarez is a bright guy. I’ve spoken to him directly. So how does having a police presence at a protest have anything to do with Bob Malm’s false claims he’s been threatened? Moreover, for the record, Alvarez’s assertion that the police department had not told me about Grace’s security is a bold-faced lie and an effort to cover his sorry butt. Alvarez himself is the person who told me that, and he did so during a phone conversation on his city-issued phone. And I an happy to supply my phone records to prove it.

It is a sorry state of affairs when a SGT in the police department:

1. Does not understand First Amendment rights and falsely suggests that exercising that right somehow threatens someone
2. Does not understand the need to keep security details confidential.
3. Lies to fellow officers to cover his ass.
4. Apparently serves as part of the department’s internal affairs unit.

Next up: Bob Malm email to Bishop Goff.




Will Sugarland Chiow Lie for Jesus?



With my lawsuit now filed against Grace Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, and Susan Goff, an interesting question arises: Will Sugarland Chiow resume his ethically questionable behavior? Past incidents include:
  • Apparently signing off on the vestry’s talking points, which claimed that Mike and I left the parish on our own, despite the fact Jeff knew otherwise.
  • Making up a fake church shooting in the nonexistent town of Sugarland Texas.
  • Falsely telling the Venango courts he had a valid subpoena, and continuing to do so even after he was shown, in writing, the relevant statutory provisions.
  • Lying to the Alexandria Circuit Court by telling it I had never been licensed as an attorney, nor served as a police officer.
  • Failing to disclose his client Bob Malm’s perjury, including lying by taking words out of context.
  • Claiming he had thoroughly read Mom’s blog, yet telling the motions court that he was unaware that she was dying.
  • Disregarding a court order compelling his client Bob Malm to state how he allegedly had been threatened.
  • Repeated use of improper, inflammatory language, including referring to the case as one of “domestic terrorism.”
  • Abuse of process.
  • Deliberate efforts to use my sexual orientation to try to embarrass and discredit me.
  • Irrelevant references to mass shootings wholly unconnected with the case at hand.
Bob Malm and Jeff Chiow, lying for Jesus


Monday, October 21, 2019

Breaking News: Lawsuit Filed

Earlier today, I filed a lawsuit against Grace Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, and Bishop Susan Goff. All parties have been alerted to the importance of maintaining relevant records. In addition, per the existing court orders, I have reminded the defendants that they may not use any material I send them to contact Bob Malm or his family.

Additional defendants likely will be added in the coming days, and subpoenas will go out shortly as well as other discovery requests, etc. 

The initial hearing date is set for January 30, 2020.








Sunday, October 20, 2019

Another Sign Grace Episcopal is Dying

One sign of a vibrant organization of any sort is that it has news. Lots of it. Things happening, events taking place, opportunities to engage.

Other than Dysfunctional Bob’s departure, Grace Church has no news. None. That suggests Grace is lurching towards existential crisis and possible closure.

Before we go further, let me preempt the words-don’t-mean-what-words-mean crowd at Grace with a definition of “news” from Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary:



The key word here is “recent.”

Now, let’s take a look at the landing page of the church website. On it we see imagery from Easter. Posted sermons were last updated more than a month ago. 

So-called “news” includes:
  • Easter celebrations, dating from April
  • Foyer registration, dating from August
  • Sunday school registration, dating from early September


The rotating images are every bit as bad, including a rather dreary classroom scene from last winter. (I like educational opportunities, but the class looks excruciating.)



Turning to the church’s Twitter feed, things look no better, with where the site was not only abandoned last April, but there’s zero engagement, just announcements that a new sermon has been posted. 


In short,  Grace Episcopal may or may not be dying, but its communications efforts do their best to create the impression that death is imminent.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

New Website Launches to Cover Grace Episcopal Lawsuit

Having sent my demand letter, I have little doubt that the fake Christians of Grace Church and the Diocese will ignore it. So, as I prepare to go to court, I have launched a website to provide information on the lawsuit as it progresses.

Check it out!


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.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Breaking News: Demand Letter Sent to Episcopal Bishop Susan Goff and Church Pension Group

Breaking news: As I prepare to file suit against the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and other parties relevant to Bob Malm’s vendetta against me, I have sent the following demand letter to the diocese and its insurer, in which I ask the diocese to admit that Bob Malm committed perjury. That would, at a minimum, be the Christian thing to do, but I have little doubt that the diocese will continue its abusive conduct.

Stay tuned for further developments.






Grace Episcopal’s Website and Transition Issues



One of the first things that should happen in a successful church transition is to formally let go of the old and open the door to the new. Ensuring that this happens normally is the job of the diocesan transition minister working in conjunction with the vestry. But this doesn’t appear to be happening at Grace, particularly apropos the web site. So here are my suggestions for the website, which should have happened shortly after Bob’s farewell,
  1. Assuming the content was appropriate, Bob Malm’s final sermon should have been posted promptly. I raise the issue of appropriateness because some of Bob’s farewell content, including his top-ten lists, was not appropriate, given his reference to the diocese being a challenge. That said, it it important for the departing priest to leave on good terms, and to express her or his support for the transition. Indeed, it is a final act of ministry to the church and its people, and people need time to process and reflect,
  2. The photos of Bob need to go and should be replaced with photos of the people of the church. We don’t need to see Bob with his back to the congregation at the altar, nor the closeup of Bob’s hideous homegrown hair color and terrible transplant. It’s unflattering, and content on the site needs to look forward, not back to the past,
  3. Given that discussions have been happening behind the scenes for some time between the diocese and the vestry, a printed road map of the transition process should already have been posted. It can and should be confined to a high-level summary, but after 30 years of Dysfunctional Bob, few in the parish even remember what happens when there is a transition. This information provides reassurance, particularly since verbal updates during the adult forum often won’t be fully remembered, or will be misunderstood. And there will be plenty of elderly folks and others who can’t make the forum.
  4. It’s time to reverse course and become transparent. Bob and other church “leaders” decided to pull the vestry’s minutes from the site in order to deny me access to information and in order to avoid raising issues with potential lenders for the HVAC project, many of whom would be alarmed at the precipitous decline in pledging units and Sunday attendance, as well as the extent of conflict in th parish. But as Kemp Williams noted in one of his emails, I continue to have full access to data from the parish, and banks aren’t stupid either. So the only thing that a lack of transparency engenders is anxiety among members and additional questions. In other words, you can’t fix the church’s declining fortunes without discussing the issues, and church members have a right to know about these issues. You can’t expect members to just give blindly. And no interim worth having is going to take the gig without fully understanding the. extent of the mess she inherits. Moreover, lack of transparency is both a sign of poor governance and a red flag to anyone considering joining. Budgets, annual reports, minutes, monthly financials, church policies all need to go up on the site.
  5. The website needs to otherwise be current. Signup for foyers and Easter celebrations don’t cut it, folks. The lack of current content and the delay in posting sermons sends a message of a church in trouble,
  6. Someone with an experienced eye needs to go through and assess imagery on the site. The web is becoming more and more visual, and the volume of image searches continues to skyrocket. So why, for instance, are you posting images of the columbarium at night? Hardly helpful. Think spring, think people, think children, think puppies, think happy times at Shrine Mont. Those are the messages you want to send.
  7. As the church develops the content needed for a successful search, it’s important not to pull the usual Grace trick of trying to sweep issues under the rug. Conduct within the parish has been shocking and appalling over the last few years, replete with Bob Malm’s perjury, the church suing its members, trying to drag a terminally ill woman into court, calling other Christians “domestic terrorists,” and bullying innocent family members out of the Christian faith. While much of the damage that has been done is irreparable, coming to terms with these issues and understanding how they fit in with the baptismal covenant and the obligation to repent of one’s sins is essential if the church is to move forward successfully. Personally, I am not sanguine about the church’s ability in this area, particularly given that the diocese does not recognize the importance of these matters, but it still needs to be said. Moreover, given the very public nature of my dispute with Bob Malm and the public court records he has filed, it is appropriate that these issues be addressed publicly, possibly including on the website.
Grace Church, you surely are a mess.




Wednesday, October 16, 2019

This Fall, Withhold Your Pledge

Until the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and the vestry of Grace Episcopal Alexandria renounce their support for priest Bob Malm’s perjury and his efforts to bully a dying woman, please withhold your pledge.

That’s what Jesus would do.




Monday, October 14, 2019

Word on the Street: Grace is Toxic



I recently had lunch with several clergy friends of mine. It was a good time and I was careful not to bring up the matter of Grace Church, for fear of putting friends in an awkward place. 

That said, it was not long before the topic came up. I played fair and tried to remain non-committal, instead listening carefully, acknowledging what was said, and hoping not to incentivize further conversation on the topic. Yet the topic quickly grew legs and took over most of our time together.

The upshot was that the more experienced and knowledgable the speaker, the less willing they were to even consider an interim call with the parish. “The place needs a whole lot of work,” said one retired priest. “But those of us who know how to do that sort of work have been there, done that, and have the scars to prove it. At this point, I don’t feel like dealing with the legacy of Bob Malm.”

Ouch.

Younger clergy took a more nuanced approach. “I think it could be a good place to cut your teeth,” said one priest, a former mental health professional. “But it could go south quickly and it would take years to recover,” she quickly added. “You’d probably have to transfer to a diocese on the west coast to rebuild your reputation.”

An older priest, one with ties to Grace Church, quickly shot the notion down: “Bob’s never been popular with the Mayo House crowd, and he’s been getting away with murder for years. Your situation was inevitable, in that we all knew sooner or later Bob would go too far and self-destruct. But I’d be crazy to wade into that mess. No thanks! And you’d be crazy too. I’m just surprised it took so long for Bob to get to that point, and that he was so effective in pulling Mayo House in on his side.”

Later, she added, “It’s interesting. The diocese views [Eric] in many ways as public enemy number one, but in many ways you did them a big favor. The challenge is that the diocese now has to sort things out and so far it remains pretty damned clueless. I just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Several thousand calories per person later, as we made our way to the door, one very introspective priest said, “It’s just so sad. Such a beautiful church, friendly people. And so thoroughly messed up. I don’t imagine the coming few years will be pretty.”

I finally responded, “Yes, the building is beautiful. The church, not so much. But yeah, people are friendly. At least, right up until you disagree with them.”

And that in a nutshell is Grace Church.