Showing posts with label Episcopal diocese of Virginia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Episcopal diocese of Virginia. Show all posts

Monday, April 8, 2019

See for Yourself: Despite Scandal, the Catholic Church is More Ethical than The Episcopal Church

As those familiar with my conflict with Bob Malm already know, in July 2015 the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia dismissed my Title IV complaint against Bob Malm. What does that mean in real-life? It means that my allegations, which included potential workplace harassment and clear retaliation by Bob for complaining, are not, per the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, even arguably violations of church canons. Indeed, even with the recent change to Title IV, which specifically forbids retaliation, the diocese does not view Bob’s conduct as being within the aegis of conduct unbecoming clergy, and thus actionable.

Before going further, you should note that the this decision was communicated in writing by the Rev. Carolyn Parkinson, then the diocesan intake officer.

That’s also really troubling.

Not only is retaliation illegal at publicly traded companies, but Bob’s conduct would expressly violate Catholic written “safe environment” policy, which requires inter alia that:
  • Clergy refrain from creating or permitting an environment in which harassment of any sort is allowed.
  • Clergy treat all persons with dignity and respect, and avoid intimidation, including verbal and written.
  • Clergy provide an environment marked by fairness and justice.
  • All involved take allegations of harassment seriously.
Guess that would preclude stating that harassment is not a violation of church canons, yelling at volunteers in front of others, permitting staff to do so, lying about parishioners, committing perjury, calling your parishioners “domestic terrorists,” or trying to drag the dying into court.

It is a sorry state of affairs when the Catholic Church takes the moral high ground versus the supposedly inclusive Episcopal Church.

The following screen caps are from Catholic Safe Environment policies:

Monday, April 1, 2019

Greetings from Mayo House

Monday greetings from Mayo House, the somewhat ratty headquarters of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. Located in an antebellum mansion in Richmond marked by peeling paint, broken fencing and a disgracefully unkempt yard, Mayo House has long struck me as emblematic of the decline of The Episcopal Church: Big, outdated, inefficient, bloated, crumbling and uncomfortable, yet an asset that a dying church tenaciously clings to as a vestigial reminder of a privileged past. And much like Catholic dioceses, spectacularly inefficient and willing to trade its integrity for its survival.

Anyway, nothing like a glorious spring day to remind the diocese and the good Christians of Grace Church that I am not going away any time soon.

Bob Malm perjuring priest

Friday, March 8, 2019

Episcopal Diocese of Virginia Still Refuses to Even Investigate Allegations of Priest Bob Malm’s Perjury

As many of you know, in January 2018, Episcopal priest Bob Malm, my former rector, went to court, falsely claiming I had threatened him. Many, myself included, were suprised when the court ruled in his favor, despite a total lack of evidence that I, or anyone else, had threatened Bob.

I appealed, and Bob lied throughout much of the appeal process, including under oath. Thus, I believe Bob committed perjury.

Among his lies:
  • That my mother, terminally ill, had made various appointments with him and no-showed.
  • That only his wife had blogged about our conflict; the Alexandria police department directly contradicted this statement, indicating that his daughter, Lindsey Malm Anders, was actually the primary blogger.
  • That I was never licensed to practice law (retired PA attorney ID 55971).
  • That I had never served as a police officer. (Inter alia, former Arlington County volunteer officer).
  • That I had violated the existing protective order.
Note that the statements, made in court filings, about my having allegedly not been an attorney and having allegedly not served as a police officer were not proferred to the court as opinions, or as the unproven results of legal research. Instead, they were proffered as facts.

Both at the time of these incidents and subsequently, I informed the Episcopal diocese of Virginia about Malm’s perjury. I even directly emailed both Bishop Shannon and Bishop Susan Goff. Neither responded, nor have they taken any action to investigate my claims.

Malm still serves as rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Alexandria. Bishop Goff still is the ecclesiastical authority for the Diocese of Virginia.

At a time when the Catholic Church finally is disclosing abuse after years of concealment and coverup, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia is making every effort to conceal, cover-up, and avoid dealing with Bob Malm’s abusive, illegal, and unethical actions.

This Lent, know this: There is nothing Christian about the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. Its only goal is to avoid accountability.

#bobmalm #fakechristians #perjury @thediocese @graceepisalexva 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Out of Town and #Metoo

Well, it’s another road trip for the long weekend, off to sign some paperwork. More to come on that.

Meanwhile, lots of interesting conversations with the Diocese of Virginia, including one in which the church basically told me that it has no problem with clergy retaliating against someone if they complain to the diocese.

It’s conversations like that that show just how clueless The Episcopal Church really is. It carries on about #metoo and its desire to be a safe church for all persons, while at the same time adhering to a standard that hasn’t been seen in publicly traded companies in many years.

Of course, that raises the question: If The Episcopal Church is 20+ years behind the times, is there a future for it?

I doubt it. Any organization, church or otherwise, with such a low ethical bar isn’t worth the time of day.

On an unrelated note, earlier this morning the blog broke 60,000 hits. That’s chump change compared to social media results so far, but still a cool milestone. 

100,000 hits, here we come!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

A Working Covenant: Bishops’ Promise Proves Hollow

Last summer, the bishops of The Episcopal Church, having heard the #churchtoo testimony, entered into a covenant to work for justice and inclusion for all. A copy of the covenant follows.

So is this covenant consistent with my experience with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia? Answer: It isn’t.

Engaging in retaliation for asking the diocese to mediate a dispute with clergy? One that involves workplace harassment? Clergy committing perjury in court? Illegally misusing funds? And telling me that the matter isn’t of “of weighty and material importance to the ministry of the church?” If that’s the case, what on earth qualifies? Rape, mayhem and murder? 

Let me just say this: Thus far, The Episcopal Church has shown that it is utterly broken and hypocritical at every level. And that includes both Bishop Susan and Bishop Shannon. Their only interest to date has been in protecting the reputation of the church.

Here is the text of the covenant that Bishop Goff presumably voted to approve, emphases added:

A Working Covenant for the Practice of Equity and Justice for All in The Episcopal Church

Giving thanks to God and listening deeply to the recent outcry expressing pain and brokenness in our church, we recognize the urgent need for change. The church as both community of faith and workplace is not immune to abuse, harassment and exploitation of people of varying gender, racial and cultural identities. As pastoral and prophetic leaders of the church, we bear the responsibility to continue the healing and transformational work that has yet to be fully realized. Together, we commit ourselves in our local contexts to strive daily, transforming the culture of our church into a more just, safe, caring and prophetic place for all. We are grateful for the substantial and insightful memorial offered at General Convention, 2018 by Gathering the Next Generation, 2016. We seek to shift our institutional life from one which benefits a few at the expense of others, and more determinedly live our baptismal vows following the way of Jesus.

Leading with greater awareness of God’s dream, deeper courage and integrity, we plan to engage our diocesan cultures and structures in the following ways:

Recognize and respect the official as well as unofficial power given to us by our office, exercising it with humble care and in loving service with all God’s people;

Participate in regular self-examination and seek amendment of life in our personal and systemic use of authorized, relational and positional power;

Increase our awareness of, listen to, and take to heart the stories that reflect the biases deeply embedded in our structure;

Create a culture of empowerment, giving space for leadership based on equity, not tokenism;

Make room for varying cultural and gender-based leadership practices, nurturing an ethos of cooperation and collaboration, exploring and supporting a broad range of leadership models;

Eliminate pay and benefit inequities among all persons;

Create and enforce equitable parental leave policies;

Utilize formational opportunities for congregational search committees to examine bias and make responsible choices regarding their selection and call of clergy into ministry with them.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Plunging Stock Market May Exacerbate Grace Church’s Financial Woes

With recent stock market activity showing some striking similarities to the market crash of 1987, and the double whammy of a possible partial shut-down of the federal government, Grace Episcopal Church may well enter 2019 in dire financial condition.

As I stated in previous posts, when factoring in depreciation and amortization, Grace has been running an annual deficit for many, many years. That trend, together with several related factors, has spelled a perfect storm in the making for quite some time. These factors include:
  1. An aging parish population.
  2. A costly physical plant.
  3. A wildly overpaid rector who often appears to place his own perceived self-interest ahead of the church.
  4. Decades of slipshod governance.
  5. Facially faulty financial reports.
  6. A rubber-stamp vestry largely controlled by Bob Malm.
  7. A refusal to save for the future.
  8. A culture that of denial and avoidance that has allowed the church to avoid dealing with these pressing issues for much of Bob’s tenure as rector.
  9. American culture, in which church membership is no longer normative, and where young people increasingly oppose organized religion.
  10. The hypocrisy of church hierarchies, including that of the Roman Church, and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.
Now, with the stock market appearing poised to tank, the church faces several challenges:
  1. Year-end gifts of appreciated stock likely will be reduced.
  2. Parishioners on fixed incomes will find it difficult to maintain current pledging levels.
  3. Families directly or indirectly dependent on the federal government will face financial constraints.
  4. Investments, including the Grace Trust, which is heavily invested in the stock market, will lose value, thus reducing church revenue.
  5. Banks that might otherwise be willing to lend to the church will seek to reduce risk in the event of another major recession.
All this, of course, ties into the loss of public confidence caused by Dysfunctional Bob and Sugarland Chiow’s rather disastrous foray into court, continued misconduct and conflict within the parish, the departure of Fanny Belanger, the fact that Dysfunctional Bob will retire in the not distant future, and Bob Malm’s smear campaign against members of his own parish.

Grace church surely is poised for big problems over the next few years.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Breaking News: Additional Lawsuit Possible Against Grace Episcopal, Diocese, Malm Family, Vestry Members

Shortly after Christmas, I will be out of town for several days to meet with attorneys and other potential plaintiffs to a multi-party lawsuit against Grace Episcopal Church, Dysfunctional Bob and his family, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, vestry members (both as officers of the organization and in their individual capacities) and several specific members of the parish. Should a decision be made to proceed, I anticipate we will be filing in federal district court towards the end of January.

Fun times on Planet Malm.

Monday, November 5, 2018

DioVA Plans Listening Sessions, I Call Bullcrud

When I was a kid, a family member commonly  used the phrase “a day late and a dollar short.” This words come to mind as Bishop Susan Goff now takes on the ecclesiastical authority for the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and announces that she will begin a series of “listening sessions” across the diocese. All of which is a nice way of saying that the listening sessions are a bunch of hogwash. A complete waste of time for all involved.

Why do I say that? Because +Susan, and the rest of the Mayo House crowd, has been well aware of Bob Malm’s antics over the past three years and have consistently refused to do anything about them. That begs the question: Why even have a bishop if they can’t so much as ensure that church is a safe place?

Indeed, +Susan is well aware of Bob’s perjury; his efforts to drag my mother, dying of COPD, into court; and more. In fact, she refused to get involved when I asked her to help mediate rising tensions with Bob Malm, even though Pay Wingo had suggested I reach out to her if help was needed in this area.

In short, why bother with listening sessions if the diocese won’t even address clergy misconduct?  What an absolute waste of time! If the diocese wants to mend its ways, why not start with the issues it already knows?

Bishop Goff, please don’t offer false hope. DioVA is utterly indifferent to the welfare of its members, and you can quote me on that. Moreover, you and the rest of the Mayo House fat cats have demonstrated this repeatedly, so let’s not waste time on such silliness.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

More Signs of Trouble from DioVA

As some of you know, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia recently announced that there will not be a vote on a Bishop Provisional at this weekend’s general convention. The news was released immediately following Sunday’s farewell reception for bishop Shannon, held at the Virginia Theological Seminary. 

Taken in light of recent events within the diocese, the announcement adds to the growing evidence that the diocese has serious governance issues. These include:
  1. The abrupt resignation this summer of Pat Wingo, who served as the bishop’s assistant, or canon to the ordinary.
  2. The collapse, not long after, of the search for a bishop adjutant, followed by the resignation of Bishop Shannon.
  3. Evidence of multiple bad decisions in the area of clergy discipline, including the diocese’s repeated failure to exercise appropriate supervision over Bob Malm, resulting in profound damage to the reputation of the church due to Bob’s claims of being threatened by terrorists, his decision to take a former parishioner to court, and his decision to try to drag an elderly dying woman into court.
  4. Multiple Title IV Disciplinary cases pending against Bishop Shannon, including one in which it is alleged that he acted to cover up repeated instances of sexual harassment by clergy under his supervision. (The office of the presiding bishop has refused on multiple occasions to update complainants on the status of their cases, raising the possibility of additional attempts at cover-up.)
  5. Signs of major conflict between the executive committee and the trustees of the funds. Not uncommon following litigation, such kerfuffles invariably end badly, and must be addressed immediately if they are to avoid snowballing.
  6. A bishop who, like many clergy, is conflict avoidant and tends to tell people what they want to hear. I have experienced this firsthand.
Of course, the handling of the search for a bishop provisional also is telling. The standing committee has been working on the matter since August 3, 2018, and no doubt knew it had a hot potato on its hands. Moreover, it was likely obvious from the get-go that the pool of applicants would be very limited, given that this is intended to be a three-year gig, the candidate must have previously served as a bishop, and must be under age 69 in order to comply with the canonically mandated retirement age of 72. All of this, at a time when a large number of bishop positions are open. Thus, it surely made sense to have both a Plan B and a Plan C in place, such that the diocese would not again have egg on its face if the search process ran into problems. Yet, here we sit, with the diocese now thoroughly covered in egg.

So, the more things change the more they stay the same. The diocese remains a hot mess, governance is in a shambles, and it’s the Wild, Wild West when it comes to clergy discipline within the diocese. And now, matters are compounded by a power vacuum at the top, for if there’s anything worse than an incompetent bishop, it’s governance via committee.

But the most telling sign of serious trouble in the diocese comes via the wry observation of a friend of mine, a Episcopal priest for more than 50 years. Many years ago, he said, “As a priest, you know you’re in trouble when the bishop starts saying nice things about you in public.” And so it is with Bishop Shannon, on whom the presiding bishop heaped fulsome praise following the announcement of his retirement.

Things surely are a hot mess in The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Next Week: Protests at Mayo House

I’m not sure yet what day it will be, but next week I hope to get in an afternoon of protests outside of Episcopal Diocese of Virginia headquarters at Mayo House in Richmond. Sunshine, fresh air, mild temps—what could be better?

Details as soon as possible.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

See for Yourself: I Confront the Episcopal Bishops of Virginia over Bob Malm’s Lies to the Circuit Court, Inappropriate Comments

Earlier today, I contacted Bishop Shannon Johnston; Bishop Susan Goff;  and the national intake officer for Title IV, Bishop Todd Ousley via email to alert all involved of Bob Malm’s lies set forth in his most recent court filing. In the filing, sent to the Alexandria Circuit Court, Bob told three lies:
  1. That I have violated the existing protective order.
  2. That I was never a police officer.
  3. That I was never admitted to practice law.
As documented in my previous post, all three are flagrantly false.

Copied on the email were my two attorneys, as well as my friend Dee Parsons, publisher of The Wartburg Watch. The latter will be running an update in the coming weeks about Bob’s behavior since December 2017, including his filing of a bogus request for a protective order against me.

Will Bishop Shannon do anything about Bob Malm’s lies? Doubtful, given that he himself has falsely claimed that these matters were “investigated and resolved long ago.” But the reality is that Title IV intake officers do not have investigatory powers, and are not trained as investigators. Their only investigatory powers extend to making a preliminary inquiry in order to “understand the matter complained of.” If a matter requires investigation, it is sent out for investigation, which never happened. Instead, the matter was brushed off, dismissed out of hand, and without the pastoral response (which is not the same as pastoral care) required under Title IV.

Additionally, when Bishop Shannon and I met with Bob Malm in person, we all agreed that our ceasefire only extended to those parties in the room. In short, it did not include Mike, Mom, or anyone else. Thus, one cannot say that a conflict has been resolved when only two of the principals were involved.

Moreover, when the diocese was previously notified of Bob’s various falsehoods, including perjury, it stated in writing that these matters were not “of weighty and material importance to the ministry of the church.” 

As a result, I have concluded that both the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church overall are morally bankrupt. If bullying, harassment, shunning, lying and perjury aren’t actionable, what the hell is? Indeed, at this point, Bishop Shannon has stated in writing that he supports Bob Malm, so it logically follows that he supports these behaviors. Nor has Bishop Shannon retracted his written statement. 

Moreover, given the recent allegations that have emerged that Bishop Shannon covered up the sexual harassment of a female church worker by a priest under his supervision, sexual harassment appears to be acceptable as well.

In short, The Episcopal Church is every bit as broken as the Catholic Church, and Bishop Shannon appears to be every bit as corrupt as any of the Catholic Bishops; his only interest is in protecting the church’s reputation, and he doesn’t get a red rat’s rear end about who gets hurt in the process.

The Episcopal Church has no relation whatsoever to the teachings of Jesus.


Saturday, August 25, 2018

See for Yourself: Bishop Shannon Letter With Multiple Falsehoods

Here is a copy of the letter that Bishop Shannon Johnston sent to Grace Church some time ago. It’s notable for several reasons:
  1. At the top-most level, the bishop expresses suppport for clergy who have engaged in shunning and retaliation; the latter is now specifically grounds for clergy discipline under church canons. You’d think a bishop of all people would hold to a higher standard, but you’d be wrong. No wonder things are a hot mess at Mayo House and Bishop Shannon is headed for the hills.
  2. The letter falsely claims that these matters were investigated and resolved long ago. That’s facially untrue. The intake officer has no investigatory authority, but may make such inquiry as is needed in order to “understand the matter complained of.” (That is the exact wording.) Having dismissed my complaint outright, having failed to provide the pastoral response required under the canons, and having allowed Bob Malm to disclose the matter to Jeff Chiow, Jeff Aaron, and others in violation of the canons, the matter also was not resolved. Not from the perspective of canon law. Not from a practical perspective.
  3. Given that Bob out-and-out lied at one point during our meeting with the Bishop, I’d hardly say he’s to be commended. His exact falsehood: “Having resigned from the vestry, you were no longer eligible to serve as a trustee.” Too bad none of the trustees have been vestry members (nor should they be, as a practical matter).
  4. In my one-on-one discussions with Bishop Shannon, he acknowledged that the matter was not appropriately handled. Yet here, he claims that it was and everything is copacetic. So which is it? Sorry, you can’t have it both ways.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

See for Yourself: Documentation that Bishop Shannon Johnston Violated Church Disciplinary Canons

Here is another interesting point of reference. Under Title IV, the Episcopal disciplinary canons, the reference panel, which is responsible for referring a case for resolution, has four options for dealing with a complaint. These options include:
  1. No further action except for the pastoral response mandated by Canon IV.8 at the time of intake.
  2. Conciliation pursuant to Canon IV.10.
  3. Investigation pursuant to Canon IV.11.
  4. Referral to the bishop for possible agreement on terms of discipline pursuant to Canon IV.9.
Instead, the diocese attempted, with Bishop Shannon’s full knowledge, to dismiss my complaint at the reference panel stage, thus violating its own canons, or laws.

Moreover, it:
  • Breached confidentiality by improperly combining, and disclosing, the existence of an independent complaint, filed by my mother.
  • Failed to provide the pastoral response mandate by Canon IV.8.
  • Inserted snotty, rude, dismissive language, accusing others of behaving badly, despite the fact that Title IV only covers clergy. (The latter changes on January 1, 2019)
  • Ignored written documentation that misuse of donations was illegal.
  • Improperly contacted respondents during the intake phase of the case.
  • Makes an interesting assumption, which is that anyone would want to have anything to do with The Episcopal Church after this experience.
Here’s the diocese’s notice:

Additionally, when I pointed out the diocese’s violation of church canons, it ignored me.

Here is my email:

Decide for yourself whether you believe Bishop Shannon Johnston responds appropriately to victims of clergy abuse, and see you think of his pastoral ethics.

My take: It is, shall we say, duplicitous and disingenuous to violate church canons, then accuse others of behaving badly. And you have to love a church that argues that the canons mean that it has an ownership interest in all parish property within the diocese, and yet it is free to disregard the very same canons any time it feels like doing so.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Social Media Update: Busy, Busy, Busy!

As I mentioned, this blog is only one part of my effort to share with the public details on what they may experience should they make the decision to become involved with St. Dysfunction Grace Episcopal Church, Bob Malm’s “ministry,” and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

With that in mind, here are some details about just one aspect of my recent social media activity, which is my interaction with the Twitosphere. (Bob Malm probably would say that’s a great term, but I digress, LOL 😂)

Specifically, in the last 28 days, information on my experiences has been seen almost 200,000 times, and my pickup rate is growing steadily as I diversify content and connect with other survivors of abusive situations in church.

Check it out!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Truly Asinine Comments From David Crosby

Earlier today, I received a comment from David Crosby, an Episcopal priest in the area, in response to my comments about the diocese’s decision to terminate its search for a bishop suffragen. Inter alia, David trots out the old line about there being two sides to every story.

That approach conveniently overlooks several key points:
  • Shunning, which is regarded by experts as psychological torture, is never acceptable, any more than would be sexual assault. Clergy like David who don’t get that simply demonstrate how clueless they are. See, i.e.,
  • I still have heard no valid reason for Bob’s decision to include Mike in his vendetta. Having joined The Episcopal Church 16 months earlier, Mike now has renounced Christianity as a result of Bob’s conduct. And I’m supposed to smile and be nice? No thanks.
  • Bob’s ongoing intimations about mental illness, etc., are highly inappropriate for a member of the clergy. Similarly, his repeated falsehoods about what has transpired are inappropriate under any circumstances.
  • I love how we get the whole notion of clergy as peers when it comes to clergy misconduct, as in the whole “two sides to every story,” argument. But when Bob feels like ignoring the provisions of his letter of agreement, then he is special and treated as above criticism. You can’t have it both ways. Clergy are either held to a higher standard (which is what church canons claim), or not.
  • While we’re on the topic of two sides to every story, almost 100 percent of my interaction with Bob Malm has been in writing, and that is not by happenstance. Thus, there are not two sides to this tale. There are the facts as documented in writing.
  • People like David can keep their prayers. I have no desire for prayers from any organization that thinks shunning is acceptable, or from members of such an organization.
  • I’m sure people in #metoo situations similarly greatly appreciate being told that they are hateful and being prayed for. Hashtag clueless.
Below is a screen cap of my response, leaving out only my parting comments, which mirror what is posted above.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

See for Yourself: More Insinuations by Bob Malm About My Mental Health

Bob Malm’s comments in his previous court filing questioning my mental health are not the only such inappropriate comments he has made. In fact, I have received numerous messages that he has sent to various third parties, including an employer, in which he makes these tortious comments. Persons copied on these messages include the Episcopal bishop of Virginia, Shannon Johnston, and other diocesan officials.

Below is an excerpt from message I received this past winter from a friend, who received it directly from Bob.

Again, is this pastoral? Is this the sort of behavior you expect from clergy? Is this the way Jesus would act?

I will post additional documentation on this topic over time. Meanwhile, I have this to say: What is unhealthy is that any member of the clergy would think that this is ethical or acceptable conduct.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Good Article On Clergy Discipline

In The Episcopal Church, the clergy disciplinary canons are referred to as Title IV. Applying only to clergy and not laity, these provisions may not be reviewed in civil courts.

Some years ago, the church transitioned to a clergy disciplinary model that is restorative in nature, versus based on retribution or punishment. Specifically, the process focuses on healing and repair, both for the clergyperson and for those affected by his or her betrayal of trust.

Unfortunately, the Diocese of Virginia has shown that it is neither familiar with Title IV, nor committed to its goals. As a result, we see lasting harm to all parties involved, much of which will be difficult, if not impossible, to repair.

In the article, I find the discussion about clergy placing their own needs ahead of those they serve. While I want to be clear that there is no suggestion that Bob Malm has engaged in sexual impropriety (as was alleged with the rector who is the subject of the article), Bob’s continued focus on his own perceived needs, and his desire to “discipline” those he apparently sees as wayward former parishioners, betrays the trust of his parish, his family, and others.