|PB Michael Curry shows a little love to fellow Yale alum perjuring priest Bob Malm|
As churches nationwide hold virtual services amidst the pandemic, one of the hot topics has been how to keep online meetings safe. Safe from Zoom-bombing, safe from misconduct from within the church.
These discussions illustrate a longstanding problem at Grace Church under the reign of perjuring priest Bob Malm that continues to this day, which is the lack of formal or informal policies regarding how parishioners interact with one another.
Consider, for example, the online Safe Church training offered by VTS, located here. In it, there are a series of valuable recommendations regarding Zoom and other online fora, and how to keep these virtual places safe. Most of the recommendations are common sense, like transparency and having unrelated adults present. Others are specific to virtual settings, like being aware of what is on your screen, and turning off screen sharing for others. Let’s face it — whether it’s confidential documents relating to a clergy transition, emails from unpopular former parishioners, or photos from someone’s college days, there’s plenty out there that isn’t x-rated, yet still not appropriate for widespread dissemination.
Most telling though is Sarah’s comment that all community rules about how we talk and interact with each other apply online. That begs the question: What are those rules at Grace Church?
To start with, there are no written guidelines within the parish. That dearth of written guidance means we are left to look at de facto guidelines in the form of mores and social norms. That’s where things get really ugly — and we can see just how ugly by looking at real-life examples of conversations and behavior that I’ve observed within Grace Church. These include:
- Gossip about one parishioner’s alleged penile implant. Seriously—you can’t make this stuff up.
- Conversation about how one recently married parishioner allegedly is secretly gay or bisexual.
- Aggressive conduct by one single female parishioner, including attempting to push married men up against the wall and kissing them after having too much to drink.
- Rumors and conversations about affairs among married parishioners.
- Discussions about Bob and Leslie Malm’s legendarily noisy verbal altercations (yes, I get that clergy are always the subject of conversation, but do I really need to know about this? Bob can behave badly enough within the church that I don’t particularly want to know the specifics of his conduct at home. But hey, to use his phrase, his is a “close” family.)
- Written statements by Sugarland Chiow in public court documents claiming that I am a “domestic terrorist,” a “serial liar,” that I never was licensed as an attorney, and referencing a fictional church shooting in a non-existent town in Texas.
- The ugly conduct of Alison “Bullying for Jesus” Campbell, Lisa “Princess Porcine” Medley and other purported parish leaders.
- Bullying within the altar guild and choir and among church staff.
- A member of Lisa Medley’s family urging me in writing to commit suicide.