Showing posts with label Bishop Susan Goff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bishop Susan Goff. Show all posts

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Petition Demanding Independent Investigation of Perjuring Priest Bob Malm Passes 17,000 Signatures

Grace Episcopal Alexandria

As the various court cases against perjuring priest Bob Malm, clergy perjury parish Grace Episcopal Alexandria, and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia lumber through the courts, my petition seeking an independent review of perjuring priest Bob Malm’s actions has now garnered more than 17,000 signatures.

The petition was started after Bishop Susan Goff, the Rev. Melissa Hollerith, and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia said that they will only address clergy perjury if criminal charges are brought. That’s right—it’s the Wild, Wild West in Virginia, where any sort of conduct is okay for Episcopal clergy as long as they don’t get caught. Child molesters, embezzlers, murderers, all are okay as Episcopal clergy under this standard, as long as the police don’t charge you.

Of course, the fact that Susan Goff and the rest of the Mayo House crowd can say this with a straight face speaks volumes about the current state of The Episcopal Church. Famously inclusive, the denomination welcomes you with open arms. You just need to decide if a church where criminal conduct is okay for clergy is really the church for you.

And while you’re at it, think about whether a church that urges others to commit suicide, sues its members, subpoenas the dying, calls its critics “domestic terrorists,” makes false statements of law and fact in its courtroom pleadings, invents nonexistent places and events when it goes to court, and turns a blind eye to harassment, bullying, and misuse of funds is really a good place for you and your family.

It’s not.

And if you are concerned about social justice and making the world a more fair and just place, now is the time to withhold your support from The Episcopal Church. Any church where it’s okay to go after a dying woman, or to urge others to commit suicide, is not worthy of your support.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Litigation Update: General District Motions Court and Other Legal News



Motions court was today for the case involving the diocese, Bishop Goff, and the parish was today. The results were a mixed bag.

On the plus side, we had an extensive discussion about Bob Malm’s perjury, the diocese’s willingness to turn a blind eye to Bob Malm’s perjury and lies, and the fact that Bishop Goff and other church officials now want to argue the “sleeping beauty” defense. The church is all about welcome, inclusion, and the Way of Love—so what’s a little perjury among friends?

On the down side, Judge Haddock clearly did not understand the tort of abuse of process. In Bob Malm’s case, the key element is not Bob’s perjury. Rather, it is his attempt to use the protective order process as a strategic lawsuit against public participation, or SLAPP. That said, because it is not unusual for plaintiffs to have improper or mixed motives when bringing a lawsuit, the tort requires more — it requires a showing of an act not proper in the ordinary course of the proceedings.

In Bob’s case, the improper acts include, most notably, his perjury. In addition, they include his improper withholding of evidence harmful to his case during discovery, his misuse of process in Pennsylvania, and more.

The outcome was that the court sustained the church and diocese’s demurrer, but granted leave to amend my pleadings. That said, I don’t know that it’s worth the time and effort to further pursue things at the general district court.

In terms of next steps, my plan is to appeal to the circuit court, although I may file a motion for reconsideration in the meantime.

On other fronts, I transferred the defamation cases against Lindsey Anders and Leslie Malm to circuit court. Also, I met Bob’s attorney, Wayne Cyron, who seems like a genuinely good guy. I told him I have no objection to a change of venue in the suit against Kelly Gable, but will oppose a change of venue for the cases against Lindsey and Leslie. And I am working to finish up my pleadings for leave to amend to include Bob Malm’s defamation.

For the record, I am far from done. And in just a few weeks we’ll have the hearing in the Pennsylvania case.

Stay tuned! And when you hear Bishop Goff bloviating about the “way of love,” just remember: Perjury is okay.

Just don’t get convicted.


Monday, June 22, 2020

Petition Comments Reflect the Reputational Damage Bob Malm’s Conduct Has Caused to The Episcopal Church

Check out the recent fan mail from my petition. Despite this, Susan Goff refuses to address Bob Malm’s perjury.

Simply put, I believe it is inappropriate for Bob Malm to continue to serve as a priest. He has betrayed the trust that I and others once had in him. His conduct brings The Episcopal Church, the diocese, and Grace Episcopal Church into disrepute.


Sunday, June 21, 2020

As Episcopal Church Continues to Defend Perjuring Priest Bob Malm, Petition Garners More than 15,000 Signatures

Earlier today, my petition demanding that the Episcopal Church tell the truth — which is that Episcopal priest Bob Malm is a perjurer, a liar, and a bully — blasted past 15,000 signatures. Meanwhile, I continue to protest and leaflet, including handing out information at BLM events.

Check it out!


Monday, May 18, 2020

Grace Church and Perjuring Priest Bob Malm: Believe Them. They’ve Shown You Who They Are.


This is a church where it’s okay for the rector to commit perjury, where parishioners bully each other, urge others to commit suicide, flip others off, call bloggers “domestic terrorists,” and try to drag the dying into court. It’s a place where the rector calls his own parishioners “sick,” “twisted,” and “dysfunctional.”

So why are you expecting something different from this sad, dysfunctional, toxic church? Or this sad, dysfunctional, toxic diocese, where the ethical standard is so low that priests are only held accountable if they face criminal charges?

They have already shown you their true colors.

Believe them the first time.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Roslyn Retreat Center Closes for Remainder of 2020

The Roslyn Retreat Center, one of two retreat centers owned and operated by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, today announced that it is furloughing employees and closing for the remainder of 2020. The move is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Per remarks for Bishop Susan “It’s Not Misconduct if there are No Criminal Charges” Goff, the news was first relayed to staff at Shrine Mont, which is still debating how best to respond to the pandemic. Curiously, Shrine Mont is currently saying that it will open for the season in late May — prior to the lifting of the governor’s lockdown, and well before the pandemic is predicted to peak in the state.

In Roslyn’s case, news of the closure is not yet posted on the center’s website. I believe, however, in light of the denomination’s aging demographics and the fact that the CDC has deemed worship services and choir practices to be “super spreader” events, that the decision to close is appropriate.

The financial implications of the closures of diocesan-related organizations will be severe. While these organizations will have relatively limited carrying costs, especially with the furloughs, grounds maintenance and other structural expenses continue, regardless of whether they are open or closed. Moreover, while the diocese historically is relatively secretive about the details of its finances, it appears to derive several hundred thousand dollars a year in income from these facilities. That’s important at a time when the diocesan budget is declining on average more than 2% every year.

My guess is that Shine Mont also will close for the year, as there’s simply no way to safely move large groups through, particularly in light of the number of persons who share rooms, and the common dining facilities. But one way or another, the diocese faces some damned rocky times ahead.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: Online Petition Seeking Investigation of Perjuring Priest Bob Malm Passes 10,000 Supporters

Just moments ago, our online petition demanding that the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia investigate perjuring priest Bob Malm passed 10,000 signatures. The news comes despite a brief lull in signatures earlier this week.

Check it out!

Petition Demanding an Investigation of Perjuring Priest Bob Malm Garners More than 10,000 Signatures!

Friday, April 10, 2020

Change.Org Petition Seen Almost 170,000 Times, Spells Further Bad News for the Parish and Denomination

You really have to hand it to The Episcopal Church. At a time when all indicators suggest the denomination is dying, it clings tenaciously to its perceived prerogatives. That includes its utter commitment to ignoring Bob Malm’s perjury.

As a result, well over a million people have seen social media posts, ads, and more, including my online petition on change.org. Apropos the latter, almost 170,000 people have seen the petition. That’s particularly problematic for the church, because change.org holds enormous traction among young people, particularly those with more liberal/inclusive views. In short, Bob’s conduct is eroding the very future of a church that as it stands, at last count had just 1,676,349 members, making it the fourteenth largest denomination in the US. And except for the PCUSA, it has the fastest rate of decline.

And before some imbecile like Sugarland Chiow comes along carrying on about how I should stop sharing my observations about the church, let me be clear: It is Bob Malm’s misconduct, that of the vestry, and that of the diocese that is causing these problems. In fact, in 2015, the parish, speaking through Jeff Chiow, refused my offer to settle things in exchange for nothing more than Bob Malm’s written commitment to stop his shunning and bullying. 

Having done so, perjuring priest Bob Malm, Sugarland Chiow, the parish and the diocese need to live with the results of their decision. 




Thursday, April 9, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: Announcement that DioVA Is Suspending all Live-streaming from Churches Spells Additional Trouble for Grace


Yesterday, DioVA announced that it is suspending all live-streaming from church buildings and shutting church offices except on the basis of unavoidable need. The move, while morally sound, is likely to spell further trouble for Grace Church and other parishes facing challenges.

My hunch is that the diocese’s willingness to address the matter from an ethical perspective doesn’t reflect any new found organizational integrity. Rather, I believe it’s driven largely by bishop Susan Goff’s recent cancer diagnosis and the advice of her physicians, who would undoubtedly tell her she is in a very high risk category during the pandemic due to age and the immunosuppresssive effects of both cancer and radiation treatment.

Could the diocese finally be placing integrity over organizational survival? Perhaps, but its dismal track record on such things would make this a startling outcome. I mean, the whole unwillingness to even investigate Bob Malm’s perjury suggests a church every bit as corrupt as the Catholic church, and in some ways even more so.

Meanwhile, the diocese is in communication with parishes in transition, to see whether they wish to move forward or not. Those fairly far along likely will finish the process, but Grace and others just starting down that road probably will pull the plug. After all, what is left of the parish after the pandemic, including liturgical practices, may look very different. And the reality is that the aging demographics of The Episcopal Church means that it will be particularly hard hit, both in terms of the death of members and the inability of members, faced with a sharp recession, to maintain support for the parish.

Of course, in all of this, the question arises: If clergy are “working from home,” what exactly do they do? Yes, they can be in touch with parishioners by phone, and they can offer prayers for the dying via Skype. But it all sounds very much like Bob Malm “working from home” when his mother had cancer, Yes, some emails got answered and phone calls made, but my sense is that most of what got accomplished was playing golf—and a lot of it, at that.

So, with no live services, and no streaming services from churches for the foreseeeable future, why is Grace spending more than $220,000 a year on the building?

It’s a tough question to answer. And having no vision for the future does not make things any easier.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

As Petition Passes 7,000 Signatures, Episcopal Diocese of Virgina Still Refuses to Address Bob Malm’s Perjury

You have to hand it to The Episcopal Church. It’s not just set in its ways. It’s bound and determined to ruin itself.

Now, with more than 7,000 signatures, my petition asking Bishop Susan Goff and The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia to conduct a full, fair, open and independent investigation of Bob Malm’s perjury is still being ignored. That’s right—a denomination that experts say is now less than 20 years away from collapse is hellbent on avoiding dealing with a priest who commits perjury and tries to drag the dying into court,

Petition About Perjuring Priest Bob Malm Passes 7000 Signatures


And it’s not just the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and Bishop Susan Goff who are morally bankrupt.

Perjuring priest Bob Malm continues to serve as interim rector of St. Gabriel’s, Marion Massachusetts. There, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he assures parishioners that they are in his “daily prayers.” That’s far from comforting, coming from a perjurer and priest of whom someone close to him as said, “it’s just a job for him.”

Meanwhile, The Episcopal Church’s insurance carrier continues to attempt to defend the actions of the diocese and parish in court, with attorney Diane DiBlasio working on setting a motions court date in June in our case. Proof positive that The Episcopal Church is as stubborn as it is stupid.

And let’s not forget: The Episcopal Church and much of its clergy is morally bankrupt,

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: Court Cases Rescheduled Due to COVID-19 Pandemic, Grace Episcopal May Still be in Court in 2021

COVID-19 Crisis Delays Grace Episcopal Court Cases

With multiple lawsuits now under way against Grace Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, Susan Goff, and members of Bob Malm’s family, there is a monkey wrench thrown into things by virtue of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the case of the suit against Grace Church, Susan Goff, and the diocese, the court has continued the motions hearing until June 19. That date does not work for counsel representing the defendants, so opposing counsel and I are trying to work out a new date so that we might submit a praecipe to the court requesting the change.

In the lawsuit against Leslie Malm for defamation, the initial return date has moved to June 26, although that date also may require adjustment. Meantime, I am in discussions with some of the attorneys who represented the dissident groups in the so-called property recovery litigation about possibly expanding the suit. Needless to say, her potential liability in tort is not confined to defamation.

Experts point out that, at its current rate of decline, The Episcopal Church only has about 17 Easters to go. That said, due to scheduling issues arising from the COVID-19 crisis, it increasingly looks Grace Episcopal and the Diocese will still be in court when the 16th-to-last Easter rolls around. Specifically, in response to the pandemic, the motions court hearing date has been postponed until June 19. Unfortunately, defense counsel has a conflict on that date, so it will probably be the end of June or July before we can resolve the various motions pending before the court,

Similarly, dates remain up in the air for the defamation suit against Lindsey Malm Anders, and I may also expand her case with the assistance of legal counsel.

Lastly, while I cannot share details, Bob Malm certainly remains on my radar, as well as the attorneys representing Mom’s estate. Suffice it to say there will be more news on those issues in the coming weeks.

In all of this, the notable thing is that Bob Malm tried to lie his way into misusing the court system to shut down criticism. In so doing, he went down the proverbial rabbit hole, pulling Jeff Sugarland Chiow, the parish, the diocese, and his family into what can only be described as a hot mess. But then, with Bob Malm having consistently placed his own perceived needs ahead of those of anyone else, the outcome comes as no surprise.

Bob et al would also do well to remember that I long ago structured my persona affairs such that I am judgment proof. All assets are either held in irrevocable trust, owned solely by Mike, or in other forms of ownership exempt from judicial process.

Of course, had Bob and Sugarland Chiow had half the common sense God gave a goat, they would have considered such factors long ago. But Bob’s initial hope was to somehow convince law enforcement that writing about him was a crime, But with no lese majeste statutes on the books to cover Episcopal clergy in the US, and the thorny issue of the First Amendment standing in his way, perjuring priest Bob Malm wound up in over his head in record time.

The result is lasting damage to the parish, as well as awareness by literally hundreds of bloggers and more than a million social media users of the church’s actions, initiated by Bob Malm and enjoying the full support of the church vestry and diocesan bishops. Nor is there any possibility that I will go away quietly any time soon. In short, the diocese and parish, as well as Sugarland Chiow and perjuring priest Bob Malm, placed themselves in a catch-22 situation in which no possible scenario exists in which they win. At this point, the only question is how badly they lose, and whether the parish will survive, which is looking less likely by the day.

Moreover, the diocese’s farcical and ugly claim that its clergy will only be held to account if they face criminal charges reveals how illusory church canons are, for they specifically forbid clergy from engaging in conduct involving “dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation”— no criminal charges required. At the same time, it is clear for all to see that the diocese has no claim to moral authority.

Any denomination in which it is okay for Bob Malm to commit perjury is in sorry shape indeed.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

DioVA Provides Further Evidence It Is Indifferent to Abuse





During the 2015 General Convention (GC) of The Episcopal Church, two measures were passed that addressed abuse in the church. Measure 2015-A073 authorized the updating of Model Policies for the Protection of Children, while Measure 2015-A074 called for the update of the Safe Church Training Materials.

The work was done by a GC-appointed task force spearheaded by the eminently capable The Rev. Canon Robin Hammeal-Urban, and the Rev. Canon Carol Cole Flanagan, as well as several other persons with a passion for ensuring that Episcopal churches are safe places for all persons.

The resulting materials were approved by the most recent General Convention and require that all dioceses adopt standards at least as protective as those approved by General Convention; higher standards may be implemented. Further, the measure makes clear that the standards apply to all church programs and activities.

Yet many dioceses have ignored these requirements. For example, here in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, the policies used do not reflect the current standards. The Episcopal Diocese of Washington (EDOW) does follow the standards, since Canon Flanagan is canonically resident in that diocese.

The status of the new policies in other dioceses are less clear, for many don’t publish their policies on their websites. That’s a mistake, for failing to publish that information makes it difficult at best to ensure compliance. (Speaking of, General Convention ignored efforts to include a question about compliance in the annual report.)

And of course, there is nothing to prevent individual parishes from adopting these policies. Yet those with which which I am familiar have consistently failed to done do.

So my questions are these: What message does General Convention’s failure to include a question about compliance on the annual parochial report send to the church? To victims of #metoo and #churchtoo? How can the church claim to be serious about these issues when it fails to take even the most minimal steps towards ensuring compliance?

For those dioceses and parishes that have ignored the requirements imposed by the new standards: What message does this send to parents in the church? To vulnerable adults? To all who are concerned about bullying and misconduct in the church? How can you claim to be an inclusive church when you ignore safe church efforts?

As a practical matter, entities within the church that fail to adopt these measures could be found liable to failing to adopt these common standards.

Clearly, the Episcopal Church still pays far too little attention to issues of sexual and other misconduct in the church. And Bishop Goff’s claim to be working for an inclusive church are a bunch of poo.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Safe Church and DioVA: One of the Diocese’s Major Governance Failures

One of the many downsides of the years of property recovery litigation here in DioVA is that it diverted massive amounts of time and attention from ordinary governance issues. This power vacuum  extended even to day-to-day accountability among Mayo House staff, and it was exacerbated by +Shannon’s indifference to getting involved in the details and his adversarial management style.

But one of the diocese’s biggest failings, and one still ignored by Susan Goff, was the need to update and expand on existing sexual misconduct prevention policies, to include Safe Church training.

As things stand, diocesan policies cover sexual misconduct involving children and vulnerable adults. But there is no next to no training on boundary issues, bullying, and the many other ways in which church power differentials can prove harmful. This is particularly the case with clergy like Bob Malm, who had virtually no meaningful supervision during his tenure with Grace Church, either from the diocese or the vestry.

This is at variance with the work done by the Rev. Canon Robin Hammeal-Urban, the Rev. Canon Carol Cole Flanagan, and others in drafting the current Safe Church Model Policies, available here in PDF. The new policies establish standards for LGBTQ+ members, define “vulnerable adults,” and more. Additionally, they establish standards for auditing every three years, much as is done in the Catholic Church.

Work in Other Dioceses


Many dioceses, including Connecticut, where Robin Hammeal-Urban serves, have adopted professional guidelines for clergy and policies for the inclusion of registered sex offenders in parish life. Copies of relevant Connecticut documents are available here.

Meanwhile, Bishop Goff has her visioning initiative under way, in which she seeks to map out a vision for the future. But without an effective governance framework in place, any such effort is likely to flounder. And while Goff talks about her vision for an inclusive church, the church is not effectively inclusive if it permits bullying and other non-sexual misconduct.

In my case, look at the Model Policy’s definition of violence:


See the reference to “isolation from others?” That is exactly what Bob Malm did when he instructed parish staff to isolate Mike and me. Oh, and BTW, Mike’s age at the time placed him within the definition of “vulnerable adult.” Yet per the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia’s written statement, Bob’s conduct is not of “weighty and material importance to the ministry of the church.” And Mom, who was dying of COPD, certainly met the definition.

Bullying


The seriousness of this situation is underscored by the Diocese of Connecticut’s Safe Church training materials, here in PDF.

Below is the definition of bullying:



Note the part about lack of empathy; which certainly would describe Bob Malm’s conduct towards my Mom.

Role of Grace Church Parishioners and Diocesan Staff

Now, look at the information from the Diocese of CT on bystanders to bullying. As you can see, those who stand silently by when witnessing bullying are considered validators. 



Given that most people at Grace Church are well aware of Bob Malm’s efforts to bully me and Mike, yet remain silent, they qualify as validators. And diocesan staff occupy roles from that of assistants to validators; none are defenders.

Conclusion

Not only is the Diocese of Virginia woefully behind the times when it comes to ensuring that its churches are welcoming and inclusive, but it is has absolutely no concept that this is the case. Indeed, it is so caught up in its own little world that it recently voted Sven vanBaars as a delegate to General Convention—the very same priest who says in writing that perjury is only a problem form clergy if they face criminal charges.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Bishop Goff and COVID-19: A New Wrinkle in the Pandemic


Bishop Susan Goff’s Brand of Christianity: No thanks, you can keep it.

There’s a new wrinkle in the COVID-19 pandemic and the decision to largely shutter churches in The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia for the new two weeks. That is that Bishop Goff is at high risk for the virus, and soon will be at even greater risk.

This issue, of course, is that Goff’s age places her at higher risk of infection.

Even worse, the news that she soon will begin chemotherapy for breast cancer exacerbates the risk. Chemotherapy is, by definition, immunosuppressive, thus compounding her risk profile.

Still worse, much of what Goff does involves crowds. Whether it’s ecclesiastical visits, meetings, or public events, self-isolation will be difficult.

While worrisome, the news may not be all bad. As Goff learns to adapt to a more limited in-person presence, we may see the diocese finally start to take social media seriously. For far too long, the diocese has maintained next to no online presence. Yes, it has a website and Facebook page, but it never engages with external audiences, and it has been years since Goff used her Twitter account. And forget Instagram or other emerging platforms.

It will be interesting to see what happens.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: Susan Goff Diagnosed With Cancer



The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia yesterday reported that Bishop Susan Goff has been diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. The cancer is not aggressive, and her prognosis reportedly excellent.

Goff will undergo surgery shortly before Easter, and will undergo chemo in the weeks that follow. She reports that her Sunday visitations will continue as planned, but her weekday work may have to be adjusted in light of her treatment.

Goff states that her succession plans remain unchanged, which call for the election of a bishop diocesan in 2022, at which time she will return to the role of bishop suffragen, retiring in 2023.

A blog and special email address have been set up to stay in touch with Bishop Goff, which can be accessed at http://www.thediocese.net/who-we-are/our-bishops/bishop-goff/healing-grace/




Saturday, March 7, 2020

Diocesan Response to Bob Malm’s Perjury, Misconduct Encourages Abuse, Discourages Reporting




Recently, one of the members of the Roman Catholic Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors spoke to media via Skype as she trains church members in Australia to implement more robust measures to protect children from abuse. Her sobering comments hold damning implications for the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, Susan Goff, and the way that diocesan officials respond to allegations of clergy misconduct.

“If we would expect that with all the guidelines we have in place we can prevent abuse 100 percent, we would be na├»ve,” said Dr. Myriam Wijlens of the Netherlands. “We cannot prevent it in the Church in as much as we cannot prevent it in the Scouts or sports. No system will ever be perfect.”

However, she [said], “we can, and I believe we do, learn to be more attentive, listen and see the signals better and thus improve our reaction. This goes for those in leadership as well as parents and other faithful in the church: we are indeed all more attentive. There is also a better culture that encourages victims to speak and report. The preventive measures will hopefully mean that abusers are not moved and that thus repetitive abuse may be prevented.” (Emphasis added.)

That raises the question: Would any person in his or her right mind go to the diocese with concerns about potential clergy misconduct when the diocese allows retaliation, up to and including perjury on Bob Malm’s part? Would you be comfortable sharing your story with a diocese that is prepared to say that perjury by a priest is only actionable if criminal charges are brought? How do you feel about a church that tries to drag the dying into court?

The answer, of course, is that no one is going to stick their neck out when the diocese responds like this.

The answer becomes even more starkly clear when, as in Bob Malm’s case, the diocese turns a blind eye to breach of confidentiality in the complaint process. Complaints are supposed to be confidential, but the diocese knew and turned a blind eye to Bob Malm’s disclosure of my complaint to Jeff Aaron and others. Yes, it eventually took action, but nothing serious. The fact that Bob Malm doesn’t even adhere to canonically mandated confidentiality should serve as a warning sign to anyone dealing with him, or the diocese itself.

This paradigm has profound implications within the larger Title IV process. Given that clergy occupy the position of perceived power in any complaint situation, parents who for example allege sexual abuse of a child face insurmountable challenges if the diocese is willing to allow retaliation, and turn its back on all clergy misconduct that does not involve criminal charges. Their only option is to get out, and hope that police take their complaints seriously.

In short, the situation with Bob Malm calls into question the entire Title IV system and its ability to address clergy misconduct. Additionally, it makes clear that diocesan officials simply cannot be trusted with issues of this sort.

Read more about the Catholic Church and Dr. Wijlins’ interview here.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Grace Church Transition Process at Risk As Church Refuses to Deal With Bob Malm’s Perjury, Misconduct

Comment from Twitter about Bob Malm’s conduct. 
In September 2019, I authored a piece for Episcopal Cafe on the role of interim ministry in congregational health. The piece, developed with the assistance of a former canon to the ordinary and an expert on the interim process, noted that one of the steps in a successful interim ministry per the seminal Alban Institute study is a congregation coming to terms with its past.

In that regard — understanding and coming to terms with its past — Grace Church presently is failing on both scores. As a result, the parish, already in a state of precipitous decline, places itself at existential risk.

Specifically, I am referring to the need to recognize and put into context Bob Malm’s role within the parish. While many of the parishioners who remain regard Bob and his “ministry” with affection, the reality is rather more complex.

For example, Bob’s compensation package, bludgeoned past a reluctant vestry, starved the parish of funds needed to serve the needy, to reach out to the community, and to properly maintain its physical plant.

Similarly, Bob’s aloof but cordial brand of narcissism, combined with his sense of entitlement, his feckless but controlling approach to parish governance, his indifference to the ethical aspects of the church and its members, and his seemingly thin personal faith, all combined to create a parish very much built in Bob’s image. People are friendly and welcoming, but there is little attention to good governance, saving for the future, or living into the baptismal covenant.

Beyond that, much like Bob, the parish devotes much of its time and energy towards meeting its own needs and desires, often emphasizing near-term consumption. Money flows in rivers for flowers at the holidays, to get absolutely blotto at Shrine Mont, and for things like the reception after the Great Vigil. But funds are in short supply to maintain the original elevator, to repave the parking lot, to serve the poor and needy, or to fund the diocese and its outreach into the world.

Most troubling, however, is that the parish, vestry, and diocese have lost any claim to moral legitimacy as they support the pious fraud of Bob Malm’s perjury and other misconduct in his conflict with me,

Unlike Lenin and Stalin, who justified their conduct by arguing that the ends justified the means, Christianity holds to the notion that certain behaviors are always and everywhere wrong. Among them are various actions by the church and Bob Malm, including:
  • Attempting to drag the dying into court absent an absolutely compelling reason to do so.
  • Lying to police, local officials, and church members.
  • Committing perjury.
  • Going after Mike and others not even arguably guilty of any wrongdoing.
  • Urging people to commit suicide.
  • Engaging in smear campaigns involving claims of mental illness and criminal conduct.
Yet Grace Church and its leadership, aided and abetted by Sugarland Chiow and encouraged by Susan Goff and the other knuckleheads at the diocese, steadfastly refuse to acknowledge these sins or their role in them.

Or, when forced to deal with these matters, as in the current litigation, they try to sidestep things by pretending that I made all this up, despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary. Just check out the dozens of Bob’s emails and other church records on this site.

Of course, that’s all part of the Malm paradigm. Deny, avoid, equivocate, attack — just don’t ever take responsibility. Or, if all else fails, make it sound good, pretend like you’re apologizing, then regroup and begin again. In other words, act like a narcissist.

In short, as Grace church moves into its sixth month of interim ministry, there are no signs to suggest that it understands, let alone has come to terms with, its past. Nor does it have any desire to do so. Or as Christine Cheevers put it, “[Bob Malm’s] gone.”

And that is exactly my point. Bob Malm is gone. Now it’s time to deal with his mess,.

Monday, March 2, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: Bishop Susan Goff and Episcopal Church Defend Perjuring Priest Bob Malm in Court




You have to hand it to the Diocese, Bishop Susan Goff and Grace Episcopal. Not only are they morally bankrupt, but they are vigorous in their defense of their right to be morally bankrupt. I mean, where else would you find a church that is litigating to defend a priest who, like Bob Malm, commits perjury, lies repeatedly, tries to subpoena the dying, and more? Even the Catholic Church has moved past the notion that it should defend abusive clergy in court. But in our case, the diocese continues to try to avoid any accountability, as it files a demurrer, claiming inter alia that Bob Malm’s perjury in the previous proceedings and the ethically questionable behavior of counsel Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow, are not sufficient to state a claim of abuse of process.

Of course, in the end there will be accountability. It will come as members increasingly leave the Episcopal Church, as they come to realize that the church has zero claim to moral authority or legitimacy.

My prediction: Given the utter dysfunction in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, we will see the rate of decline accelerate within the diocese over the next few years. And why not? If there’s one thing we learned from 30 years of Bob Malm, there is zero need for the ludicrous clericalism associated with having an overpaid professional Christian serving as a “priest.” Paying some 200k a year, with 6 weeks of paid vacation and $100,000 bonuses is simply insane. And that is particularly the case when less than 3 percent of the church budget goes to serving those in need.

Check out the church’s pleading below.