Showing posts with label Bob Malm perjuring priest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bob Malm perjuring priest. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Reflections as We Enter the Final Days of the 2020 Pledge Season





As we get ready to move into a new year, the Grace Church vestry has the unenviable task of preparing the parish’s 2020 budget. Similarly, members may be contemplating year-end gifts to the church. With those factors in mind, here are my thoughts on those issues.

On the one hand, the parish now is free of the deleterious effect of perjuring priest Bob Malm, at least on a daily basis. Michael Guy appears to be much more grounded in actual faith, and less in outward image.

That said, the church has yet to make peace with its past and Bob’s baleful influence. This is still a spendthrift church—one that pays $100k bonuses to a feckless rector, while cutting employee health benefits. A church that refuses to save for the future. A church that does next to nothing to grow, yet expects membership to miraculously increase. A church that claims to be a center for “outreach and healing,” yet puts very little money toward these goals. A church that tries to drag the dying into court, where members urge people to commit suicide, and where the rector commits perjury with impunity. In fact, the church named part of the building after its former Perjurer in Chief. A church that has to borrow to keep the HVAC on, but draws $3,000 out of savings for a party.

Even better, the church has the chutzpah to claim that it’s been careful with its funds. Leaving aside $100,000 bonuses and the more than $2 million cost to the church of Bob Malm’s personally owned rathole of a house, I guess that’s true. After all, those expenses don’t leave room for much else.

All of that points to a larger issue, which is how much longer will people provide funding for this toxic mess? The fact that Bob Malm can commit perjury with the full support of the vestry, Sugarland Chiow, the staff, and the diocese, then get part of the building named after him for his troubles, demonstrates that this is a church and denomination that is utterly broken and dysfunctional. Yes, the optimists among us think some of these issues will be addressed in another generation, but collapsing attendance, baptisms, and other indices of church health suggest that neither the denomination nor the parish have another generation during which to fiddle with the deck chairs.

If we look at Europe and the role of organized religion there, it seems unlikely that church ever will make a comeback. Once-bitten, twice shy applies, and this is a dog that’s bitten far too often to get any benefit of the doubt.

So, if you are a member of Grace Church, or of the Club Mayo crowd, my message to you is this: It is time for radical change. And if you can’t or won’t make that happen, it’s time to say goodbye. Grace Church, the diocese, and the Episcopal Church simply are no longer relevant.

And as the vestry plans for 2020, I’m here to tell you that more of the same isn’t going to work. No one wants to subsidize the lifestyles of the rich and famous, let alone the perjurious.


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Repost: Wondering Eagle Article

Grace Episcopal Alexandria, the clergy perjury parish


The article in the Wondering Eagle blog covering my situation is particularly well done. In light of the present litigation against the parish, the diocese, and Bishop Goff, it seems appropriate to republish this piece. It also appears on a separate page on this blog.

                                                                       # # #

This is a sad post that I wish I didn’t have to get up. This is actually my first venture into mainstream Protestantism. Most of the time I write about evangelical issues, Acts 29, the Evangelical Free Church of America and other topics such as atheism and doubt. I was approached by Eric Bonetti who told me about his situation with Grace Episcopal Church in Alexandria, Virginia. I became sad to hear about what happened and told Eric that he is free to publish whatever he would like to here at The Wondering Eagle. I write quite a bit about churches in the Washington, D.C. area. So this situation falls into that perspective. This story was first told over at The Wartburg Watch. The original post was taken down, and this post stood in its place. “Good Faith Discussions On Both Side Have Led to a Resolution Between Eric Bonetti and Grace Episcopal Church.”

Eric I am sorry this developed. My hope is that you find peace and closure. Also that your family is spared from harassment. Your story gave me hope that I would find peace one day. My hope is that you will find peace. Perhaps this and other blog posts can help bring the Episcopal Church back to the table. Until that develops this blog is yours to use as you see fit.

Rector Files Possibly False Police Report 


Readers of The Wartburg Watch may remember a story from fall 2016 covering allegations of shunning and other spiritual abuse at Grace Episcopal church in Alexandria Virginia. The article recounted reports that rector Bob Malm had instructed clergy, staff, and lay leaders in the parish to shun a parishioner, Eric Bonetti, and members of his family, after Bonetti complained of bullying and gross mismanagement by the rector. To make matters worse, the Episcopal diocese of Virginia, which was promptly informed of Malm’s misconduct, repeatedly ignored requests to intervene.

This post updates readers on developments since the article ran at The Wartburg Watch, as well as recent disturbing actions on the part of the rector. While I am not particularly familiar with the dynamics of mainline denominations, this situation appears to be a particularly troubling abuse of power, both at the diocesan and parish level. Further, the parish’s response, which seems greatly influenced by the rector and his actions, is disturbing.

Background

To update readers, since the article on The Wartburg Watch, the diocese of Virginia intervened. A series of meetings were held, including one in Fredericksburg involving the Rev. Malm, Eric and others. Details have largely been kept confidential, but it is my understanding that the following key areas of agreement were reached:

  • The Rev. Malm would stop shunning and bullying parishioners.
  • Eric would be welcome in the unlikely event he wanted to attend Grace Church.
  • Eric would shutter his blog recounting his experience of being shunned, with the understanding that other members of his family and friends were also blogging about the matter (in his words, “blogging up a storm”), that they likely would continue to do so despite efforts to reduce tensions, and that all involved needed to be okay with that. In short, the agreement applied only to those persons actually in the room.

Given that Eric’s family was not included in the Fredericksburg meeting, it should come as no surprise that several continued to blog, and are doing so to this day. Some of their comments are angry. Some helpful. Some petty. Some funny. But none appear to be defamatory or threatening. Instead, they appear to reflect the normal range of emotions people experience when their trust is betrayed by clergy.

Recent Events 

Flash forward to September of 2017. At that point, Eric became increasingly aware that tensions remained high, and that family members were increasingly irritated by the situation. Specific concerns included:
  • A written suggestion by a parishioner that Eric “go kill himself.” 
  • A written threat by another church member to interfere with his spouse’s employment. 
  • Other inappropriate communications from members of Grace Church. 
  • A “fauxpology” from a clergyperson who previously worked at Grace Church, that among other things inappropriately revealed certain pastoral confidences. 
In an effort to quell things, Eric wrote to the Rev. Malm and the diocese, suggesting that both sides publicly make peace as a way to show that there were no sides to take in the matter. While diocesan officials encouraged this approach, the Rev. Malm brushed aside the suggestion. Not to be deterred, Eric contacted Episcopal Bishop Susan Goff, who similarly refused her assistance.

In November 2017, Eric was contacted by diocesan staff, seeking his assistance in tamping down online criticism of the church from his family. By that time confronted with his own serious health issues, the challenges of two family members nearing end of life, and a busy time at work, Eric declined to get involved, but emailed a series of observations and suggestions to the diocese that he hoped would at least provide a framework for resolution of the conflict.

That seemed to be the end of things.

Then, on December 21, Eric received a call at a non-public work number from SGT Salas of the Alexandria police department. During the conversation, SGT Salas indicated that the Rev. Malm feared for his safety due to the blogging of Eric’s family members. He also suggested that parishioners and even children in the parish were in fear.

Eric declined to get involved, and the conversation ended with SGT Salas allegedly telling Eric, “Until this matter is resolved, you will immediately be arrested if you enter church property. Subsequently, Eric discovered that SGT Salas had left his jurisdiction, traveled to Fairfax County, ignored no trespassing signs at Eric’s condominium, and entered his locked condo building to leave a note on the door. The seeming message, “We know where you are, and we’re watching you.”

Eric immediately filed an internal affairs complaint with the city of Alexandria, complaining of SGT Salas’ efforts at intimidation; his threat of arrest, which was linked to resolution of the conflict; SGT Salas’ involvement in a civil matter involving internal church matters; and his inaccurate portrayal of family member blogs as potentially involving terroristic threats. He also noted that SGT Salas’ threat specifically violated the agreement reached with Shannon Johnston, the Episcopal bishop of Virginia, regarding being welcome at Grace church; and asked that the department investigate whether the Rev. Malm may have filed a false police report, noting that as recently as September that the rector had said no one had mentioned the dispute to him in several months.

The latter seems a particularly good point. If indeed, as recently as September, no one had brought the matter up, how could the Rev. Malm now claim that people, himself included, fear for their lives? Can someone please point me to language or specific conduct that is threatening? If the argument is merely that Eric’s family members are “blogging up a storm,” there is nothing illegal about that. The First Amendment has no limit on the amount or quantity of free speech.

Concurrently, Eric complained in writing to the diocese, which as of this writing has neither responded, nor seemingly taken any action in this matter. That’s troubling: Why would the diocese not at least offer to provide pastoral care or support? If it is serious about resolving the matter, how does silence meet that goal? It seems to me that the diocese is reverting to its old habits of ignoring things and hoping they will go away.

My take on things 

Let’s assume for a minute that the Rev. Malm’s seeming assertions are correct, which is that Eric is in fact the person doing the blogging. Were that the case, Eric still would be entitled to do so, for there is no quid pro quo when it comes to shunning or other forms of abuse. Clergy who abuse their parishioners simply need to stop, and they need to be held accountable. The persons they abuse owe them nothing, and if blogging helps Eric or his family bounce back from their experiences, then that is exactly what they should do.

Second, recent events underscore the need to take church security seriously. But absent a specific threat such that a reasonable person would fear for their safety, Alexandria City police should not get involved in civil matters involving churches. Moreover, linking the threat of arrest to resolution of this conflict seems a clear effort at intimidation, as does calling Eric at non-public work numbers and showing up inside his locked condo building to leave notes.

Third, there are disturbing suggestions that the Rev. Malm himself is the source of this smear campaign. For example, in confidential correspondence dating from 2016, Malm appears to refer to Eric as “unbalanced.” There’s also evidence to suggest that the rector has shared this view with his family members and others, who appear in public fora to have referred to Eric as “sick.” Yet there is no evidence that the Rev. Malm is a mental health expert, or has consulted with one. (Indeed, it is considered unethical to attempt to diagnose a person without meeting him or her.) Even were that the case, comments such as this reflect badly on the Rev. Malm and the entire parish, and are not the way matters of this sort should be handled. Calling the police on a former parishioner is something that should not be done lightly and, if considered necessary, should have been done with the bishop as a full participant in the conversation. That’s particularly the case, when as here, the bishop was personally involved in negotiating the previous ceasefire.

Fourth, it is noteworthy that never once has the Rev. Malm reached out directly to Eric to share his concerns or work towards reconciliation. That in itself speaks volumes. Indeed, when SGT Salas was asked about this, he claimed that the Rev. Malm “fears for his safety,” yet only a few weeks earlier the bishop was trying to reach Eric by phone? If Salas’ assertion is accurate, wouldn’t the bishop have similar concerns?

Fifth, it does not appear that the parish or the Rev. Malm have ever reached out to Eric’s family or friends to apologize, to make restitution, or to otherwise fix things. Why, then, would anyone be surprised that they are still angry and upset?

Sixth, anyone who’s ever dealt with intra-family dynamics knows that they are messy, complicated things in the best of times. No one can or should blame a man who is dealing with family members at the end of life and his own serious health issues for feeling that he can only do so much.

Bottom line, to outsiders, Grace Episcopal Church looks to be a toxic church, petty, hateful, mean spirited, and lacking in personal and organizational integrity. There is no set of circumstances — ever — that justifies Christians urging others to commit suicide, engaging in shunning, or in filing questionable police reports against former parishioners.

My hope for the sake of all involved is that, even if Eric and his family can’t or don’t want to be part of the conversation, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia will take immediate steps to take the high road, end this controversy, and offer a meaningful pastoral response to all hurt by the Rev. Malm and his actions. Clergy involved in this matter need to be held accountable, and the diocese needs to stop worrying about blogs and start worrying about people. As it stands, Eric and his family have every right to be upset with both the diocese and the parish.

As to the Alexandria police department, my take is that it got pulled in by the fact that Bob Malm is a priest, and failed to do its homework. As a result, the department looks bad and has made a difficult situation worse. A public apology certainly would not be inappropriate at this point, and the department should have clear guidelines in place as to what constitutes a “terroristic threat,” and when it will get involved in civil matters involving churches. Bloggers who criticize abusive churches should not be getting calls from the police, no matter how angry, virulent, or frequent their comments, absent specific threats to safety.

Finally, if it turns out that the Rev. Malm did file a false police report, my view is that he should be held accountable both at law and as an ecclesiastical matter. There is no excuse for using the police department for pursuing personal vendettas.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Worthy Read: When Narcissism Comes to Church

I’ve been reading a lot lately, and there’s a good book that sums up perfectly my experiences with perjuring priest Bob Malm and Grace Episcopal church. Titled, When Narcissism Comes to Church the book is written by David Orrison.

Following is an excerpt from his blog that well describes the organizational narcissism at Grace
Church:
Too many people have found the church, the institutional local church, to be uncaring and so wrapped up in preserving its image that it will support the abuser in hopes that the victim will just go away and be quiet. We saw another example of this in the news this past week. Another church worker abused a young girl, and the church leaders just moved him to another place. Why does this happen? How can this happen in the church?
The answer is this overwhelming concern for image. In their drive to be seen as superior, some churches would rather ignore the victims than deal with the scandal. When hurting people can be ignored for the sake of the superior image, that’s narcissism. 
Christians expect to be able to go to church leadership when they are hurting. When they are pushed away, or sin is covered up, something is very wrong. Narcissism creeps in to depersonalize and victimize.
 Of course, this paradigm is problematic in the near-term for multiple reasons, including:

  • The fact that Bob Malm, who seems to me to have been the narcissist-in-chief for the past 30 years, is now gone.
  • No healthy priest with a good handle on organizational dynamics is likely to want to serve as rector; only another narcissist could or would fit the bill. 
  • Like any narcissist, the organizational narcissist that is Grace Church sees nothing wrong with its current conduct or attitudes, in which people are drawn to Bob Malm, versus God, and any behavior is justified as long as it meets Bob Malm’s perceived needs, and by extension those of the organization.
  • The diocese is every bit as clueless and organizationally narcissistic as are Bob Malm and Grace Church. Thus, with the diocese fully supporting the current situation at Grace Church, there is zero chance of meaningful change.
Thus, Grace needs to transform from a religion club to a church—a sea change that goes to the very heart of its existence. Unless it does so, it will eventually cease to exist, and yet it remains wedded to its current modus operandi.

By the way, there’s a good post on Dave’s blog about branding, differentiation, and religion, located here. If you read the post, keep in the back of your mind Grace’s role as the only full-time Anglo-Catholic parish in Northern VA. Think too, of Bob Malm’s claim that, “I don’t think I’m exaggerating too much, when I suggest that at Grace Church we know, we practice “true religion”. (Sept. 3, 2017 sermon)

This, from a church where the rector commits perjury, deliberately misuses funds, instructs staff to shun members, and tries to drag the dying into court.


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Check it Out: Perjuring Priest Bob Malm Contradicts Himself

Here’s another example of perjuring priest Bob Malm’s questionable veracity. In the screen cap below, Bob Malm says he does not believe I would abide by the terms of any agreement in resolution of our conflict. Yet just five months later, perjuring priest Bob Malm sent me a settlement proposal, which I rejected lock, stock and barrel, despite the fact it offered to drop the protective order. Even more tellingly, after a token nod to staying away from Bob, his proposal proceeded to bloviate on for several pages about not criticizing the parish. Even more laughably, the proposal said that Bob would not publicly condone derogatory comments from the parish or school—given that Bob’s modus operandi is behind-the-scenes manipulation, that is an illusory promise if there ever was one.



And below is the link to the badly drafted settlement proposal prepared by Sugarland Chiow and sent to me on behalf of perjuring priest Bob Malm and Grace Episcopal church.

https://www.gracealexwatch.org/p/bobs-settlement-proposal.html

Bob Malm, perjuring priest

Grace Episcopal, the clergy perjury parish

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

New Website Covers Bob Malm’s Role as Interim, St. Gabriel’s Marion Massachusetts

There’s a new blog in town, and this one covers perjuring priest Bob Malm’s new role as interim rector of St. Gabriel’s, in his hometown of Marion Massachusetts.

Visit the new blog at www.stgabrielsepiscopal.org to learn more.

Bob Malm, perjuring priest


Thursday, November 14, 2019

A Gentle Reminder to the Good Christians of The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

As I get ready to head out for some protesting, yet another gentle reminder to the good Christians of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia: You are being filmed. That’s right, you are being filmed when I protest.

That’s important to remember, as I edit the tape, cut to show your face, vehicle and license plate when appropriate, and then I publish. That’s right—not only are you there, by name, for all the world to see, but your profanity, obscene gestures and more are there. Not good for the parish, not good for you, not good for your career. And yes, it is legal.

Of course, if you are acting like a Christian, that shouldn’t be a problem for you. But given the track record of folks in the parish, that appears quite challenging for you.

Also, keep in mind that members of Grace Church are prohibited from any contact with me under Virginia’s anti-stalking statute. So if you are one of those morons who drives up and offers to fight, etc., you WILL face criminal charges. I guarantee it. 

Doubt it? Try me.




Tuesday, November 5, 2019

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 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.