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

Monday, December 9, 2019

Just Like the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and Bob Malm, Church Ignored Warning Signs in Brian Boucher Case



Before we go further, let me say up front: To my knowledge, Bob Malm is not accused of any form of sexual impropriety.

That said, the case of convicted Canadian pedophile priest Brian Boucher sounds alarmingly similar to my experiences with Bob Malm and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, both in terms of Boucher’s manipulative, possibly sociopathic, behavior and the diocese’s efforts to avoid dealing with the real issues. Indeed, in Boucher’s case, the diocese appears to have taken the matter more seriously than has the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, for the former at least spent time and effort addressing the more obvious signs that Boucher was maladjusted.

In reviewing the Boucher media coverage, the first thing one notices is Boucher’s attention to his physical appearance. Even when headed to jail, Boucher consistently looks put together and carefully pressed. This is very similar to Bob Malm, who often appears inordinately consumed with keeping his SUV clean and polished, his tan, his hair color, and even his efforts to conceal his hair loss via transplants.

Then one transitions to Boucher’s conduct, in which, much like Bob Malm, he attempts to manipulate the world around him to suit his needs. Those of importance to him get attention and flattery, while those unimportant to him get ignored. Similarly, those who expressed concern about Boucher’s conduct found themselves denied access to the church and rectory buildings. Indeed, Boucher attempted to fire one parish employee who spoke out, and multiple families left Boucher’s parish, rather than comply with his manipulative behavior. Such conduct is strikingly similar to that of Bob Malm, even down to trying to deny access to the church building to critics.

Similarly, critics feared Boucher’s temper, which sounds suspiciously like the classic narcissistic rage. Boucher’s attempts at domination and control, much like Malm’s behavior, also seem to witnesses to be antithetical to his alleged calling as a priest.

Then we read about Boucher’s divisive conduct, in which he surrounds himself with a circle of loyalists who protect him and alert him to criticism from within the parish. Again, very similar to Bob Malm.

Turning to the diocese, we see that time and again officials turned a blind eye to the myriad warning signs of trouble. Yes, the church may have spent considerable time and trouble to deal with Boucher’s controlling behavior, but it never was willing to delve further into the issues, including assessing root causes behind the behavior. Indeed, even prior to ordination, those who feared Boucher was unsuited to the priesthood were ignored and brushed off.

This sounds very much like Bob Malm, where some parishioners, even as early as his calling to the church in Portsmouth NH, appear to have recognized that something was not right. For example, when Bob was in New Hampshire, one parishioner allegedly ran for vestry solely in order to see what Bob was “going to do to my church.”  While seemingly innocuous and easily dismissed, that sort of gut reaction to Bob should have been a warning sign.

Similarly, the ongoing flight of pledging units and the departure of numerous former leaders from Grace Church should be more than a warning sign to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia; it should be the equivalent of Cheyenne Mountain’s air raid siren blaring in the night. People don’t pack up and leave a church in which they’re invested for trivial reasons. Instead, when they leave in droves, it’s because something is seriously wrong.

Will the church vestry and the diocese ever comprehend the real issues here? I doubt it. Between thirty years of Bob’s manipulative behavior, the organizational narcissism in the parish, and the inconvenience that would come with addressing Bob Malm’s misconduct, there is little reason for optimism.

For more on Boucher and the church’s attempt to avoid dealing with the real issues, visit the CBC’s investigative report at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/brian-boucher-history-investigation-1.5383177.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

If Grace is Such a Slice of Paradise, Why is it Shedding Members? Further Reflections on the Church’s Organizational Narcissism

One of the noteworthy things about my conflict with Bob Malm and Grace Episcopal Church has been the extent of organizational narcissism in the church. This has been typified by the reactions of parishioners, who remain clueless about how their behavior appears to outsiders, while continuing to think that somehow it benefits the parish.

For example, consider the conduct of Sally Schneider, who rolled up to me one day and said, in her typically saccharine way, “Shame on you, Eric Bonetti,” repeating this several times. Sally has zero first-hand knowledge of the conflict, yet thinks she can wade in and pass judgment. Yet I’d be prepared to bet that she would not regard Bob Malm’s perjury as kosher, nor his attempt to drag a dying woman into court.

Similarly, Lisa Medley, who doesn’t even have the backbone to post comments under her own name, preferring instead handles like, “Long-time parishioner,” still can’t figure out why third parties look at her ad hominem attacks on me and respond with comments like, “This group of parishioners is circling the wagons and while they seem sane to themselves, they seem immature and hateful to outsiders who are looking at their behavior.”



The same holds true for Alison Campbell, who tells people that she is “just the messenger,” even as she uses the altar guild and others to try to cause trouble within the parish. She may think that somehow she’s benefitting the parish, Kelly Gable, or others, but the reality is she’s simply showing herself to be childish and hateful, while underscoring that Grace is toxic. 

Then we come to the Kemp Williams and Jean Reeds of the place, who are happy to gossip within the church about others and their perceptions of them, yet see no need to discuss those issues directly with the persons involved. Just spend a few minutes searching this blog and you will find examples of their truly ugly comments.

Also among the better examples of toxic behavior at Grace Church are the comments from a twenty-something in the parish, who urged me to commit suicide in the post below.





And of course, we cannot forget Sugarland Chiow, with his multiple false statements of law and fact to the courts, his inflammatory rhetoric, and his various courtroom fabrications, including that I never practiced law. Jeff claims that the church is threatened by “domestic terrorism,” yet brings his wife and children there on a regular basis. 

Nor can we forget Big Bad Bob, with his lying under oath (aka perjury), his lies to parishioners, and his false police reports. Truly, the ugly stuff rolls downhill.

Even more problematic is the fact that this sort of behavior is, for many, acceptable within the church. This underscores the organizational narcissism that exists at every level in the church. Yes, attendance and giving are at record lows in the parish, and yes, one-third of pledging units have stopped pledging in recent years. And many have left the parish altogether, preferring somewhere where the Ten Commandments aren’t just a bit of arcane trivia. But the fact remains that many continue to provide financial and other support for this toxic mess. Nor have any of the people identified above ever taken responsibility for their own conduct.

Thus far, parish leaders also have ignored the many things that could be done to address these issues. For example, the vestry could adopt a statement of normative behaviors, making clear the type of conduct that rightly should be present in any church. It could specifically address bullying. It could bring in outside experts in addressing conflict. Yet none of these things have happened, nor have they been discussed in any meaningful way.

Will Michael Guy and the vestry be up to the task? Can they drain the swamp that is Grace Episcopal? 

I doubt it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A Shout Out To St. Gabriel’s, Marion Massachusetts



If you are a member or friend of St. Gabriel’s parish in Massachusetts and you are reading this, good for you. While I can’t guarantee that you’ll agree with the opinions in this post, my hope is that they will be helpful to you.

If you’ve come across this blog, you may be wondering where to start, and what this blog means.

Before we go further, let’s acknowledge something: Bob Malm can turn on the charm when he chooses to. He is intelligent, he can be engaging, he is articulate. He’s adept at telling people what they want to hear. Indeed, has has said that he would have chosen to be a politician if he had not become a priest, and he has many of the attributes needed to be successful as a politician.

At the same time, I believe you have a problem on your hands, one that places your church at risk. Far too often, churchgoers conflate friendly with faithful, but the two are not coterminous. Indeed, they may be opposites, and therein lies the danger.

Right behind Bob’s engaging demeanor exists a very different reality, which is that Bob is a priest in name only. In the past, he has lied under oath, attempted to drag my mother, dying of COPD, into court, lied to parishioners and his vestry, and more, all in the name of trying to shut down public criticism of his misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance during his time as rector of Grace Episcopal Church, his last job. 

Apropos his lies to his parish, he falsely stated that I left the church on my own. That is a lie, as evinced by the email, which you can find on this site, in which he directed my husband Mike and me to find a new church. You also will find a copy of my confirmatory email to Mike Jones, a fellow parishioner, in which Mike confirmed that Bob had contacted him to direct him to exclude me from the life of the parish. And Bob acknowledged during a meeting with bishop Shannon Johnston in Fredericksburg Virginia that this was a lie saying, “I don’t know what planet you live on, but when someone does something to me, I do something to them.” Also present in the room was Canon Pat Wingo.

Bob was also largely indifferent to the wellbeing of Grace Church. During his time as rector, the church office and business records were a shambles. Cash went AWOL without explanation, with thousands of dollars in loose cash and stale checks found in the parish administrator’s office after she left; she was a hoarder, and her space could best be described as a death trap. Additionally, church staff bullied parishioners, including me, Deborah Crabtree, and others, while Bob consistently turned a blind eye. Nor was Bob compliant with church canons—during my years at the church, the parish did not have a church finance manual as required by canon, despite Bob having been rector for more than 25 years. And yet Bob claims no one shirked their responsibility. 

Behind the scenes, Bob also causes unhealthy church dynamics, referring to parishioners as “assholes,” and “spies,” and other disparaging comments. In short, Bob models a lack of respect for the baptismal covenant that has caused more than one person to say, “I would never belong to your church, and it’s because of the way people talk to each other.”

Apropos these comments, Bob tells people that I am mentally ill, that I threatened him, and a whole bunch of other hogwash, all of which is part of a larger smear campaign on his part. Yet there is ample documentation of his misconduct on this site.

Most telling is the fact that during the last 5 years of Bob Malm’s tenure at Grace Church, the parish shed one-third of its pledging units, going from 317 units in 2014 to 208 last year.

Bob can lie and try to diminish criticism all he wants, but if Grace was such a slice of paradise under Bob Malm, why are people leaving?

I’d also note that, to my knowledge, Bob has no formal interim training. That is troubling, because a good transition minister has some very specific tasks ahead of her or him. I do not believe Bob is capable of achieving these goals.

Please do yourself a favor: Do your utmost not to let Bob Malm trash your parish. He’ll smile, give you hugs, and tell you that your church is a holy place, but behind the scenes he may well cause profound damage to your parish.


Monday, December 2, 2019

See for Yourself: Perjuring Priest Bob Malm’s Original Request for a Protective Order Shows the Real Grace Church

This one is great. In it, we see Bob’s facially inadequate claims of threats,  which have, thus far, enjoyed Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow’s professional support. In addition, more of Bobs intimations of mental illness (including multiple personalities, a disorder closely associated with severe abuse), as well as his facially irrelevant letter from the bishop and his references to blogging. Note too that Bob lies in his chronology about the meeting in Fredericksburg; at no time was there any discussion about “following the bishop’s guidance.” To the contrary, Bob agreed to stop his bullying. It’s also noteworthy that Bob lied in front of the bishop, falsely stating, “Having resigned from the vestry, you were no longer eligible to serve as a trustee.” To which I replied, “Why then, are none of your current trustees vestry members?” Bob had no response to that.

Check it out.

Meanwhile, as interim pastor Michael Guy talks about preaching the Gospel, this is how Grace Church preaches the gospel in real life. As in, “by their fruits you shall know them.”

Pastor Guy, welcome to Grace Episcopal, the clergy perjury parish.


















Saturday, November 30, 2019

Reflections on Friendly Versus Faithful


One of the things I learned from my experiences with perjuring priest Bob Malm and toxic Grace Episcopal church is that many people conflate friendly with faithful. As in, “Bob’s a good guy,” or “you’ll be welcomed with open arms.” Yes, Bob Malm is an ostensibly friendly guy. Yes, Grace Episcopal is a seemingly friendly church. But right behind both exist layers of toxic behavior that are contrary to the real meaning of Christianity.

It’s interesting: From friendly, people attribute ethical qualities. As one chucklehead at Christ Church said, “Why would you say that about a good man like Bob Malm?” referring to my assertion that Bob Malm committed perjury. Yet it doesn’t take much interaction at all to discover that Bob is a man who lies under oath, tries to drag the dying into court, deliberately misuses funds, directs church staff to exclude others, and goes after innocent family members in pursuit of his vendettas. In short, he is the antithesis of what one should expect of a priest.

My advice to anyone sizing up a new church or a new clergyperson: Take your time. Watch their actions. Ignore the flattery, smiles, hugs, and other window dressing.

I’d also point out that Bob’s comments about others are inappropriate for clergy, or anyone for that matter. Referring to Jan Spence as an “asshole,” or Lisa Doelp as “like a little spy,” is wrong. Nor do I believe his comments about Lisa. Nor do these sorts of comments build up others.

Similarly, folks can talk all they want about what a friendly church Grace is. but that doesn’t justify things like the bullying, gossip, and other inappropriate conduct that come from office staff, the choir, and the altar guild. Nor is there ever any excuse for urging people to commit suicide, Alison Campbell’s fun and games, or Lisa Medley’s toxic behavior. The fact that Bob Malm turns a blind eye to this sort of conduct and allows folks like this to serve in leadership positions reveals just how thoroughly broken Grace Church is. Grace, like many spiritually abusive churches, is like a yew, with pretty red berries. Yes, they are beautiful on the surface, but if you partake of them, you will find that they are toxic.

These issues extend to the diocese itself, where there is zero concept of accountability and no clergy discipline, unless the alleged misconduct involves sex. It is sad that The Episcopal Church is locked into a Madmen-era notion of misconduct in which only sex counts.

Lastly, to young people who turn their back on organized religion due to issues like this, I say this: You are spot on. Any church or denomination in which this sort of thing is okay is not one you should support. You won’t find Jesus or God in the midst of these modern-day Scribes and Pharisees.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Grace Episcopal, the Clergy Perjury Parish



Response: Why Does the Diocese Defend Bob Malm and His Perjury?

The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia: Mad Men Revisited

Someone recently asked me why the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia continues to defend Bob Malm, his perjury, and Grace Episcopal’s attempts to game the legal system. Of course, only the diocese knows for sure, but I believe I know why.

In large measure, it’s the same paradigm, I believe, as led diocesan officials to support Bishop Bruno, despite clear evidence he’d behaved badly on multiple occasions. Specifically, trust in people known to the diocese, combined with arrogance, complacency, and a psychological paradigm in which questioning one’s preconceived notions intertwines with fear of questioning one’s faith. On top of that, there’s evidence to suggest that diocesan chancellor, JP Causey, gives folks bad legal advice, in which he urges diocesan officials to take a hands-off approach in order to minimize potential liability, despite canonical requirements to the contrary and larger ethical issues. And there’s the gut instinct to protect the institution at all costs, even when doing so actually results in lasting damage.

Of course, it is this same confluence of factors that leads churches to ignore sexual abuse. The Catholic church has been handling issues this way for decades, with predictably disastrous results. And the church adheres to a Madmen-era definition of abuse: Unless it involves children or sex, it doesn’t count.

At the same time, the one thing that can be said for the vestry at Grace church and the diocese is that Christianity has nothing to do with their conduct. Even a rudimentary review of the evidence would make clear that Bob Malm misused the legal system, lied to the courts, and committed perjury during discovery. But the diocese doesn’t want to go there, as doing so would uncover these inconvenient truths. And parishioners continue with their laughable, “Bob Malm wouldn’t do that,” routine.

In short, no matter how things play out in court, it’s important to realize that this situation illustrates a larger truth, which is that there is simply nothing Christian about the diocese of Virginia or its officials. Yes, there are churches in the diocese that do hold to a real faith, but they face profound challenges when they send money to an utterly broken and corrupt diocese.

So, if you are looking for real Christian faith, my advice is to look elsewhere. Otherwise, you may wind up wasting a lot of time, money and energy on an utterly illusory situation.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Bob Malm, Conflicts of Interest, and Private Inurement



As I have mentioned before on this blog, I have numerous concerns about governance at Grace Episcopal. Among these are allegations of conflicts of interest on Bob Malm’s part, the possibility of private inurement, and lack of adequate internal checks and balances to prevent these issues.

One of the allegations is that Bob Malm improperly influenced Grace Episcopal School to offer classes to older children. This, it is alleged, he did so that his son James could attend school at Grace, before heading off to St. Rita’s, then Woodberry Forest. While love for one’s children is normal, the end result may be inappropriate if church resources were redirected to meet Bob’s needs, without any assessment of the viability of serving older children. Nor have I seen evidence that the vestry was involved in this decision; if it was, it appears likely that its only role was as a rubber stamp.

Similarly, the 2014 bonus the church paid to Bob Malm, which was 10% of gross annual income, may have been private inurement within the meaning of the Internal Revenue Code. Thus, this gift may place at jeopardy the church’s tax exempt status. But even if it doesn’t, the optics of this decision are terrible, coming at a time when the church faced massive expenditures over the next few years. Even worse, we are not talking about a rector whose compensation package was in any way subpar—rather, we are talking about a rector who received one out of every five dollars given to the church. And this gift was made at the same time the church announced it was cutting health benefits to employees in order to balance the budget.

What is troubling, though, is that neither the vestry nor the diocese appear willing to examine these issues. Still more disconcerting is that the church’s loan to Bob Malm was carried off the books for almost a decade, with many vestry members, myself included, not even aware of it. It’s also worth noting that Bob’s bonus was more than 3 times the church’s annual on-budget expenditures to assist those in need.

Taken as a whole, these issues are profoundly unsettling.

See for Yourself: Bob Malm Claims the Right to Use the Court System to “Discipline” Former Church Members

Need further evidence that Bob is trying to game the court system? In this email to Wartburg Watch editor Dee Parsons, Bob claims the right to use the court system as a “disciplinary measure” against me, a former member. Hmmm, what next? The auto-de-fe? I know—it’s the Episcosition, Judge Robert Hiller Malm presiding. Heretics, report to courtroom 3. Infidels, courtroom 2. Those who criticize the Grand Inquisitor, report directly to the dungeons.

If Jesus is “truth,” (gotta love how Bob uses quotation marks to beg meaning. Must be a Tabor thing.) I wonder what Jesus thinks about fabrications in court pleadings. Something about false witness....

I’m wondering, too: “Commonwealth Court” and its “Magistrate.” Never heard of such a thing. Is that located in Jeff Chiow’s imaginary, “Sugarland Texas”?











See for Yourself: Bob Malm Refers to Me as a “Sad Individual, Starving for Attention” in an Email to the St. Dysfunction Vestry

Here we have another email in which Bob Malm tries to discredit me by referring to me as a “sad individual, starved for attention.” That’s a curious claim, since I state in writing in December 2017 that I wanted no further contact from Bob Malm.

As always, we see a total lack of appropriate pastoral presence on Bob Malm’s part, as well as the usual organizational narcissism of St. Dysfunction. And the “constant support” of the diocese—yet another reason to throw in the towel when it comes to the Diocese of Virginia.

Of course, there’s also no sign that Amy Medrick, or any vestry members, told Bob that this sort of discourse about Christians entrusted to Bob’s pastoral care is inappropriate. And while it would be inappropriate at almost any other church, this sort of thing is acceptable at Grace church.

Prospective interims, beware! This is the stained glass cesspool that is Grace Episcopal church.

#fakechristians





Thursday, November 21, 2019

See for Yourself: Twitizen Refers to Bob Malm as “Bat Guano Crazy”

This was her comment after reading Bob Malm’ email to Dee Parsons claiming the right to use the court system to impose “discipline” (his word choice), on me, a former member of his parish.




Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Monday, November 18, 2019

Bob Malm’s Statement Against Interest Underscores His Questionable Veracity

Here is a good reminder of Bob Malm’s manipulative, dishonest conduct.

At a time when Bob was claiming he needed a protective order to deal with threats from me — threats that he refused to specify, even when ordered by the court to do so — Bob was making statements against interest, including this email to the Episcopal bishop of Virginia, in which he says that his wife and one of his daughters “give this [conflict] so much more attention than it deserves.”

Later, more evidence of questionable veracity on Bob Malm’s part.




Saturday, November 16, 2019

This Christmas, Remember the Meaning of Christmas

This Christmas, remember the true meaning of the holiday: Compassion, kindness, love.

Boycott Grace Episcopal, the clergy perjury parish, where clergy lie under oath with impunity and it’s okay to drag the dying into court.



Reflections on the Diocesan Annual Convention, Inclusion, and Integrity




With the 225th diocesan annual convention winding down later today, it’s fitting to reflect on lessons learned from protesting outside the meeting and related questions.

What is most notable about the convention is that, with all those dog collars roaming around, not one person asked me about my protests. Not one. Yes, there were a ton of hits on the blog, and a few people took my photo, but nothing beyond that.

The lack of communication is telling. As a modern-day metaphoric leper at the gate, my situation underscores one of the great myths about the church, which is that it is inclusive. It is not. Most often, it’s just indifferent. That’s sad, because it directly contradicts Jesus’ message about “as you have done to the least of these, so also have you done unto me.”

If nothing else, when I have seen demonstrators, persons with car problems or other issues outside my church, I’ve always made it a point to welcome them in. Many say no, fearing that the invite is a recruitment effort. But quite a few also have found that, even if the church doesn’t meet a need for a spiritual home, it’s at least a safe place to shelter from the vicissitudes of life.

My inclination would also be to learn more and see if there is anything I could do to help. If nothing else, I’d be concerned about the church’s reputation, and eager to do what I can to at least soften the conflict.

(It’s also amusing to see Episcopalians pretending they don’t see you. It’s like a Monty Python movie:

“It’s a bloody protester.”

“No, you daft bastard, it’s bloody terrorist. Why, he’s even carrying a sign.”

“Blimey, and I thought he was a protestor!”

“Well, I can’t see him. Can you?”)

That also points to underlying integrity issues with the church. How can the church be healthy and whole when it ignores problems literally at its doorstep? Hardly loving, liberating or life-giving.

That also raises the more tactical question: Will the diocese and its attorneys have the integrity to admit that Bob Malm committed perjury? Or will they try to defend conduct that is utterly indefensible?

If past results are any indication of future performance, they will do their utmost to avoid addressing the elephant in the room.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Breaking News: Grace Episcopal aka the Clergy Perjury Parish, Susan Goff, and DioVA Finally Respond

Breaking news: I have just received notice that DioVA, Susan Goff, and Grace Episcopal, the clergy perjury parish, are represented by counsel. Predictably enough, counsel for the defendants is objecting to the subpoenas previously issued by the court.

In the meantime, I have suggested to counsel that we stipulate that there is no evidence to support Bob Malm’s assertion, made under oath, in writing, while advised by church legal counsel. In other words, that Bob Malm committed perjury.

We’ll see what happens.




Thursday, November 14, 2019

Grace Episcopal Alexandria: “Growing and Flourishing”? Not so Much, Jason

If losing 1/3 of your pledging units is Jason Roberson’s definition of “growing and flourishing,” I’d hate like hell to see his definition of “declining!”

Time to tell the truth, Jason. People deserve to hear the truth.

Grace Episcopal, the clergy perjury parish






Monday, November 11, 2019

Here’s How Grace Episcopal Talks About Victims of Church Abuse

Before you pledge this fall, consider whether this sort of conduct by Bob Malm and Sugarland Chiow reflects your values, and those of Christianity. (Screen cap from their objection to my withdrawal of my appeal.)

Sorry folks—there’s nothing Christian about this sort of behavior. Nothing.

Maybe the church should make copies available in the Malm narthex, just so people know what they are getting into. Literally and figuratively.


Monday, November 4, 2019

Breaking News: New Site

With traffic to this blog now steady at more than 200 hits a day, and the milestone of 100,000 hits coming up soon, it’s becoming increasingly clear that it’s time to upgrade to a more powerful platform. With that in mind, the relaunched blog is now running alongside this one at www.gracealex.us.

For now, selected content will appear on both blogs. Existing domain names, including www.bobmalm.com, will point to the new platform sometime in the next few weeks.

Grace Episcopal, the Clergy Perjury Parish

Sunday, November 3, 2019