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Episcopal Church, Toxic Church

One recurring theme on this blog is the ugly nature of conversation at Grace Church. A particularly ugly — and illustrative — such situation involves Jan Spence and her comments about one of the church’s young parishioners.

Specifically, one day Jan recounted to a group of parishioners, myself included, her belief that a particular person is gay and closeted, saying “it’s only a matter of time before he comes out.”

Let’s think about that.

Assuming that person is gay (or bisexual, asexual, non-binary, whatever) — and I don’t know why anyone would care — it’s none of Jan’s business. That’s doubly the case if indeed he is in the closet. And it’s even more problematic to spread that sort of gossip within the parish.

To make matters worse, Jan stood in a position of trust to the young man in question. She worked with him in the Journey to Adulthood program, which means her conduct towards him should be above reproach.

And for the record, I will not disclose who the young person is. I like him. I like his parents. How he handles his sexuality is up to him, no one else. And I will continue to like him without regard for his sexual orientation, whatever that may be.

The fact that Jan Spence apparently doesn’t see any issue with her conduct is appalling and disgraceful. And it’s typical of the ugly behind-the-scenes discourse that goes on within the parish, and illustrates the broken ethics in the church.