In the midst of the ongoing litigation involving Grace Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, Susan Goff, and others, there’s an important issue that does not always get a lot of attention. That issue is that my original complaint to the Diocese included concerns about potential gender-based harassment in the parish.
What’s shocking is that, despite that, the Rev. Carolyn Parkinson, once a candidate for bishop diocesan and, at the time, intake officer for the diocese, dismissed my concerns out of hand, saying that they didn’t so much as warrant an investigation. Moreover, she did so with Bishop Shannon Johnston’s support. And she and other diocesan officials ignored Bob Malm’s subsequent retaliation and deliberate misuse of memorial donations to the parish. In her exact words, the allegations are “not of weighty and material importance to the ministry of the church.”
That’s pretty shocking, but there’s more.
Later, Caroline lied, saying that the matter of our exclusion from the church directory had been considered in the summer of 2015. That’s an interesting claim, as the matter didn’t even arise until that fall. As I sarcastically noted at the tine, I was not aware that one of the benefits of ordination was the ability to time travel.
Bishop Shannon also lied, claiming in a letter to the parish that the matter had been investigated and resolved long ago. But the matter was not investigated within the meaning of Title IV, which is the process through which it came to the attention of the diocese. It was brushed off and dismissed as not “of weighty and material importance to the ministry of the church.” The diocese took the same line apropos Bob Malm’s perjury.
So, if you are thinking about getting involved in The Episcopal Church, just know that it talks a good game when it comes to #metoo and #churchtoo. But the reality is that allegations of potential gender-based harassment are something the church considers to be unimportant. Same goes for readily verifiable allegations of perjury by Bob Malm.
So much for the Episcopal church’s claim to be loving, liberating, and life-giving.