Showing posts with label Grace Episcopal the Clergy Perjury Parish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grace Episcopal the Clergy Perjury Parish. Show all posts

Friday, January 25, 2030

Bob Malm: Club Protest Membership Countdown


By virtue of trying to shutdown criticism by going to court with his facially false claims that he had been threatened, pseudo-priest Bob Malm and Grace Episcopal signed up for the two-year membership at Club Protest. No refunds, late payments result in an extension of membership. And his decision to include Mike in his vendetta, his multiple lies in court, and his efforts to subpoena a dying woman, all mean Bob gets the special VIP add-on package — my online presence will continue ad infinitum. That’s right, Dysfunctional Bob gets the lifetime virtual membership. Hey, Bob always did think he was special. Well, he’s right.

So, this countdown timer doesn’t mark the countdown to an end to open hostilities. But it does mark the payout of Dysfunctional Bob’s basic Club Protest membership.That said, I have always believed in under-promise, over-deliver, so I will no doubt extend Bob’s basic membership well beyond his original contract. And Grace Episcopal gets in on the action, for free.

By the way, if you see that the counter has passed zero and is counting up, that means that perjuring priest Bob Malm and the parish are enjoying their special free bonus time.

Hey, if he behaves, maybe we can even spot Bob some core body fitness tips. Heaven knows he’s been looking rather well-fed in recent years. And it fits — Grace Church aka St. Dysfunction is looking a whole lot leaner and meaner these days.

See you at Dysfunction Junction aka Malm Square(d)!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Run! My Advice to Millennials and Gen Z’ers About The Episcopal Church

Priestly perjury plant, in honor of Bob Malm
Today I wanted to share my thoughts on The Episcopal Church with millenials and gen z-er’s. My advice: Keep doing what you’re doing and steer clear of the church. Or, if you’re not already doing that run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit.

When it comes to young people, studies offer some good news for society: Much like millennials, gen z’ers are compassionate, concerned about others, and inclusive. They’re also unlikely to hold rigid notions of right and wrong when it comes to sexual ethics and other issues.

Ten years ago, I would have said those trends spell good news for The Episcopal Church. Inclusive, free-thinking, concerned about social justice and the environment, the church seemed a good fit for generations to come.

Today, I know better. Time after time, I’ve seen how The Episcopal Church talks a good game, while in reality it remains stuck in a Madmen-era time warp.

For example, one hears recited at worship the Baptismal Covenant, in which Episcopalians promise to “respect the dignity of every human being.” Sounds good on paper, but this is a church that is just starting to address sexual harassment, almost 50 years ago after such conduct became verboten in corporate America.

Similarly, the clericalism of the church, in which clergy are treated as somehow superior to laity, is not just hypocritical. It’s repulsive. The folks in the pews are the ones who support the food pantry, the homeless shelter and more through donations of time and money. These are given after what, for many, is already a 50-60 hour workweek. This contrasts sharply with Bob Malm, with his regular work hours, $200,000 compensation package, $100,000 bonus, month at the beach every summer and time off for marathons and golf.

Nor would this oversized clericalism necessarily be a bad thing if Bob lived an exemplary life. But as I’ve discussed elsewhere, when criticized for his conduct towards parishioners, Bob has no problem yelling, “Why should I give a fuck?” (Yes, there were witnesses.) Bob commits perjury, lies to vestry members and parishioners repeatedly, tries to drag the dying into court, and curses like a sailor at sporting events. (Yup, witnesses to that, too.)

For the record, I don’t have an issue with cursing, but it’s not something I expect regularly from a priest. The rest I don’t expect from anyone, let alone a priest.

Right about now, the Bob Malm fan club, including Bob himself, responds by saying, “Well, he’s human too.” I get that, but most of us don’t try to drag the dying into court. We have an issue with perjury. We have an issue with lying to people we claim to care about. And we have an issue with bullying and harassment, whether in church, school, or the workplace. In other words, Bob’s conduct is far below what we hope for in our friends, let alone our clergy.

Nor do I think most of us have much in common with a overaged frat boy whose life revolves around beer, running, golf and the beach, with bad hair color, alligator skin, nasty teeth and an ugly hair transplant. If nothing else, few get to spend a month at the beach every year. In fact many, myself included, haven’t had a vacation in years.

Nor is the problem confined to Grace Church. In fact, The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has repeatedly said in writing that it doesn’t have an issue with Bob’s conduct. That specifically includes:
  • Bullying.
  • Failing to safeguard church funds (think thousands of dollars of cash previously unaccounted for, as well as numerous spare checks and bank deposits routinely showing up at the bank in amounts different than what is on the deposit ticket.)
  • Possible gender-based harassment.
The icing on the cake is when the diocese said, in writing, that Bob’s perjury only counts if he faces criminal charges. I even emailed Bishop Susan Goff about that, and appealed to Melissa Hollerith. The latter is the priest in charge of the clergy disciplinary committee. This sort of facially broken ethical reference point illustrates all too well how the church’s main priority is protecting the organization, versus doing what’s right. It’s exactly the reason young people already distrust the church, and I can assure them these issues are not getting any better over time.

Indeed, the diocese and parish are still in court, trying to defend Bob Malm’s perjury. So it’s fair to say that the diocese has had numerous opportunities to fix things, but its priority is not, and never has been, acting with integrity.

The diocese also likes to have things both ways. When it comes to clergy discipline, the diocese will point people to church wardens, or local elected leaders, oblivious to the fact that Bob Malm chooses the wardens at Grace Church. “The bishop really doesn’t have that level of authority,” says Todd Ousley, a senior denominational official who handles clergy discipline.

Yet in recent days we have seen Bishop Goff, the leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, shut down almost all church worship meetings through the end of the month due to the coronavirus. So help me understand: How does that work? How can Goff have the power to shutter churches throughout the diocese, but not the ability to address clergy misconduct in local parishes?

Couple that with the church’s priorities and things really get ugly. Grace Episcopal can afford to pay Malm a $100,000 bonus, but it devotes less than 3 percent of its budget to caring for those in need? How does that work? And telling me that the school is part of its ministry is just bogus. So what? Kids learn how to properly wax Mommy and Daddy’s Escalade? Please. 

Then we get to folks at Grace Church urging me to commit suicide, bullying each other and more. Jesus loved everyone, but folks at Grace church flip you off if you criticize the church. Nice.

Or Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow, the church’s attorney, with his inflammatory rhetoric, fake places and fake events. Or naming part of the church building after perjuring priest Bob Malm. All I can say is if any of these issues reflect your idea of Christianity, no thanks. You can keep it.

In short, The Episcopal Church has damned little to do with Jesus, and everything to do with being a little clique of well-heeled members of a religious club. So if you are a young person — or any age, for that matter — do yourself a favor: Look for meaning, ethics, and connection with others elsewhere. You’re going to be sadly disappointed with The Episcopal Church.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Comments from the Rev. Cam Miller Re Grace Church

As I mentioned in a previous post, Cam Miller recently published an excellent piece on church buildings, finances, and the need to hold loosely to the buildings and other artifacts of “Churchianity.” His article appears both on Episcopal Cafe and his personal blog, Subversive Preacher.

My comments in response to his article were nuked on Episcopal Cafe, despite the fact that they are both factual and do not name Grace Church as the subject of my comments. But my comments did appear on Subversive Preacher, where I pointed out that, in essence, Grace Church is throttling itself with its wasteful spending, its focus on maintaining a creaky 1950’s relic of a building, and its rampant clericalism, including its $100,000 bonus in 2014 to Bob Malm.

Below are Cam’s responses, which are spot on. They only point where he gets it wrong is the notion that the diocese would question Bob Malm’s $100,000 bonus. Suffice it to say, unless you are having an affair with a parishioner, Susan Goff and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, like Pontius Pilate, wash their hands of all clergy misconduct, even Bob Malm’s perjury. And Grace’s vestry actively supports such misconduct.

I had to laugh, too: The notion that Grace Church could actually grow from conflict is absurd on its face. The church loves conflict, and is determined to reduce its membership via strategic use of conflict. Just ask Bob Malm, Sugarland Chiow, Jan Spence, Lisa Medley and Alison Campbell. 

Here are his comments:


Sunday, March 8, 2020

Another Yelper Hits the Nail on the Head

Grace Episcopal recently scored another Yelp review, and whoever posted it hits the nail on the head. 

“Empty rhetoric, empty rote, empty pews, empty hands.”

To which I’d add: “Empty ethics.”




Saturday, March 7, 2020

Grace Church “Balances” Budget By Cutting Health Insurance


Can someone please explain to me how folks at Grace Church can claim that they are Christians when they give Bob a $100,000 bonus, but they cut employee health benefits simultaneously to “balance the budget”? Bob already was overpaid compared to comparable rectors by about $60K a year, and even more so in light of his feckless job performance.



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,.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Another Fabrication by Bob Malm, Sugarland Chiow, and the Grace Church Vestry


As I move forward with the court case against Grace Episcopal Church — and likely soon against Bob Malm — it’s important to know that Bob’s talking points, developed with the help of Sugarland Chiow and distributed via Amy Medrick to the vestry and beyond, contain a bold-faced lie. It is a lie in which Bob’s own emails disprove his claim.

Here are his talking points, replete with the usual Bob Malm quotation marks to “beg meaning.” In it, look at the line where he states that the church is aware that I have been protesting ever since Bob and the church filed for a protective order.



Now, look at Bob Malm’s email to my former employer. In it, Bob states that he’s moving forward with a protective order because I have been protesting. In other words, he cites my protests as the reason for seeking a protective order.

Bob then throws in the non sequitor about how some, including his wife, see this “protesting” as “making good on threats.” (quotation marks supplied) Of course, in true Bob Malm fashion, he both fails to mention what threats he believes have occurred, while trying to shove the onus onto his wife, Leslie.

So why the fabrication to the vestry? If Bob is going to go around trashing other people, wouldn’t he or Sugarland Chiow want to make sure that their information is accurate?

Once again, Bob Malm’s own writings prove he is a liar. And that begs the question: Why are people who purport to be Christian still supporting this sort of conduct by a so-called priest?

Ironically, Bob Malm’s conduct in this matter proves that my underlying concerns about him and his behavior were warranted. Any priest who thinks it’s okay to lie under oath, to go after Mike, to try to drag the dying into court, and who sends emails and other messages that talk about someone else in the manner he does is someone who should not be a priest. And Bob’s actions make clear that folks close to him were telling the truth when they said that, for Bob, being a priest is “just a job.”

There’s nothing even remotely Christian about Bob Malm. Indeed, he is the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” about which Jesus warned you.




Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Grace Episcopal Alexandria: Leafletting Starts for Easter

Boycott Grace Episcopal Alexandria, the Clergy Perjury Parish
Boycott Grace Episcopal Alexandria, the Clergy Perjury Parish




















With Lent comes Easter. That means the leafletting begins this weekend in preparation for Easter. 

It’s no secret that a great many so-called Christians turn out only for Christmas and Easter, but that begs the question: Even if you’re nominally observant, do you really want to worship at a church where the rector commits perjury, tries to drag the dying into court, misuses memorial funds, and goes after innocent family members?

The answer, I suspect, is that many consider themselves Christians, but fear getting too caught up in the politics, petty animosities, and childish antics present at far too many churches. With that in mind, it’s only fair for folks to know: Worship at Grace church is beautiful and the building lovely, but it is one ugly, ugly church, where:
  • The rector commits perjury. 
  • The rector conducts smear campaigns
  • The church tries to drag a dying woman into court.
  • Members talk about you, not to you.
  • Members flip you off—how’s that for the baptismal covenant in action?
  • It’s okay to call your former members “domestic terrorists” in an effort to silence criticism.
  • The church has so little respect for women and others affected by domestic violence that it abuses the protective order system to try to shut down critics. And Bob Malm, Kemp Williams, Jean Reed and others toss around references to mental illness with careless abandon.
  • The vestry, staff, members, and current clergy are good with all of this; indeed, they defend it in court and continue to give of their time, talent and treasure to support these forms of misconduct.
In short, Grace Episcopal is morally bankrupt and makes no bones about it.

With all of that in mind, my goal is to leaflet at least 10,000 homes in Alexandria to warn people: Grace Episcopal, the clergy perjury parish, is toxic. 

Avoid it if you value your personal integrity. 


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.


























































































Friday, February 28, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: Petition Seeking Full, Fair, Independent Investigation of Perjuring Priest Bob Malm Passes 5,000 Signatures

My petition seeking a full, fair, independent investigation into perjuring priest Bob Malm’s conduct has zoomed past 5000 signatures. As a result, signatures equal 7.28 percent of the 2018 membership of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, which fell to 68,902 members, down 13 percent over a ten-year period.

Signatures equate to 9.18 percent of the 2018 membership of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, where perjuring priest Bob Malm now serves as interim at St. Gabriel’s, Marion.

Total signatures are more than 5 times the total 2018 membership of Grace Church.

Meanwhile, the diocese, which is unwilling to address Bob Malm’s perjury, says it’s forming a Committee on Reconciliation. But how can the diocese hope to achieve any sort of reconciliation when it is consistently unwilling to speak the truth?

Hypocrisy, thy name is Episcopal.







Friday, February 21, 2020

Bob Malm’s Exact Words of Perjury

For those new to the blog, below are Bob Malm’s exact words of perjury. 





While there are other fabrications in his sworn statement, this is the most noteworthy and material, as he cites his fabrication as the basis for his conclusion that Mom’s blog was/is really mine.

Bob Malm, perjuring priest.

Grace Episcopal, the clergy perjury parish.


Monday, February 17, 2020

Why Grace Church and the Diocese Cannot Win in Court


As Grace’s discernment committee begins the long, arduous road towards finding a successor to Bob Malm, the unpleasant reality of the mess Bob left behind looms. That includes the various lawsuits now under way against the parish, the diocese, and members of Bob’s family, which were precipitated by Bob Malm’s conduct as rector.

It’s also true that neither the parish, nor the diocese, can win in court.

What do I mean by that? Couldn’t they find some way to get the current cases dismissed?

The answer is simple. All litigation involves hazards and risks. So yes, the church and the diocese could conceivably obtain favorable results in court. But that doesn’t mean they actually win.

As with many conflicts, the current conflict is one that involves myriad issues. Many are not amenable to resolution in court. These include:
  • The church’s reputation.
  • Interpersonal dynamics within the parish.
  • The church’s role in the community.
As things stand, the worst thing that could happen to the church would be to prevail in court. Doing so would further reinforce the current conflict, while providing additional grounds for concern among outsiders who are looking at the church.

Moreover, a victory would help those with their heads in the sand assure themselves that, in fact, Bob Malm could not have committed perjury and otherwise been abusive.

I mean, he’s such a good guy. He’s caring. He married us. He baptized my kids. His sermons are great. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded, maybe dangerous, certainly dysfunctional.

These are the logical fallacies and magical thinking that the Kemp Williams, Jean Reeds, Easter Thompsons, Susan Goffs and others in the church and diocese deploy to avoid dealing with the inconvenient truth, which is that Bob Malm is a bully, a liar, a perjurer, and someone who thinks it’s okay to try to drag a dying woman into court. One has only to read Sugarland Chiow’s courtroom rhetoric and fabrications to realize just how toxic this paradigm has become. Or as one Episcopal priest with first-hand knowledge of the issues at Grace says, “They have a lot of work to do.”

Thus, a courtroom victory would allow the blind sycophants in the parish to brush things off, assure themselves that that damned Bonetti is “unhinged,” and return to their toxic ways, oblivious to the damage they cause to a church they claim to love. But if they love Grace church so much, why do they behave in a way that is causing lasting harm to the parish?

Think about it: In all the emails from within the parish, we consistently see Bob Malm trying to stoke fears, while Jean Reed, Kemp Williams and others claim to be able to do what no licensed mental health professional may legally or ethically do, which is to opine on the mental health of someone with whom they have not met to discuss the matter directly. Yet in the midst of this bloviating within the parish, the one thing one never sees is any concern for the person who, in Jean Reed’s words, is “troubled.” Perhaps church members would do well to spend less time gossiping about others, and more time dealing with their own shortcomings. In fact, if they did, they might come to understand why neutral third parties say, “They may seem sane to themselves, but this group of parishioners seems hateful and childish to outsiders looking at their behavior.”

Nor is the diocese any better.

From that corner, we get the laughably appalling notion that clergy misconduct is only actionable if it it illegal. That conclusion enjoys the full support of Bishop Susan Goff, the Rev. Melissa Hollerith (who, amusingly, teaches ethics at St. Albans, and whose husband Randy is dean of the National Cathedral), and undoubtedly that of JP Causey, the diocesan chancellor. The latter is noteworthy, as his capacity for bad legal advice appears to know no bounds. For example, in the Title IV case at St. Thomas’ in McLean, Causey would seem to be the knucklehead who suggested to the Virginia bishops that they ignore the requirement of Title IV to provide a pastoral response to the congregation, but instead to keep the matter at arm’s length for fear of liability. The result was lasting damage and hard feelings within the parish. Nothing like protecting the organization at the expense of the people who make it up, huh?

And the cluelessness continues. The Rev. Sven vanBaars, the dingbat intake officer who thinks that clergy misconduct is only actionable if it results in criminal prosecution, has been elected as a delegate to general convention (GC). I guess that’s good—he can hang with fellow delegate JP Causey at the upcoming GC in Baltimore and commiserate about the protesters outside.

The bottom line is this: Until Grace Episcopal learns to be a church, versus a religious club, and worships God, versus Bob Malm, it will decline.

Yes, Bob’s carefully crafted communications have all the right church-speak and Jesus-babble, developed through observation, mimicry and repetition, but they are empty, hollow. Similarly, the church building is full of bright shiny things, carefully polished, but they mean nothing.

Same for the friendly, welcoming congregation. Yes, people are cordial, but criticize Bob Malm and see just how long that welcome lasts. Just check out the comments from the parishioner urging me to commit suicide if you want proof.

Same for the church’s other promises. For example, giving is supposed to be confidential, but Lisa Medley has no problem posting details of your giving on social media, even though, true to form, she gets the specifics wrong. Would you really want her potentially posting details of your bequest to the church on social media? The Legacy Society (of which I was a member) promises confidentiality, but if the church cannot protect your information while you are alive, why would you think it will do so when you are dead?

Of course, it is true that parishioners have done an admirable job of stepping up giving, even as number of pledging units collapses and attendance drops to record lows.

But the reality is that this is a church that is still trying to defend Bob Malm’s perjury, his efforts to drag a dying woman into court, and his various courtroom fabrications. Indeed, one has only to look at Malm’s emails to diocesan officials, replete with calling me “sick,” “twisted,” and “dysfunctional,” to know just how toxic the parish has become. And in honor of Bob’s efforts, the church has named the “new” narthex after him!

Nor is time on the church’s side. With vast swaths of the church membership well into retirement, the next 10 years will result in major demographic shifts. And yes, bequests to the parish may buy time, but even if parish investments were adequate to fully carry the church’s operations, the church is nothing without people in it. (Covering just current operating and maintenance costs for the building would require an endowment of $3.75 million, for the record.)

Neither is the church’s role in the community likely to pull in members. With well under 3 percent of total revenue going to local outreach and the diocesan pledge seriously underfunded, the place is hardly a center for outreach, and it sure as hell isn’t doing any healing.

Going forward, the church’s only hope is to clean up its act. When people see that Grace Church really is what it claims to be, a center for outreach and healing, then it can begin to rebuild. But as long as it clings to the notion that Bob Malm could not, would not, be a bully and a perjurer, it is in dire trouble. Nor is it going to thrive when people in the church think it’s okay to call others “domestic terrorists;” to urge others to commit suicide; and for Alison Campbell, the altar guild, and the choir to play their childish games.

So yes, the church could win in court. But it can’t and won’t shut down the ability of people to criticize its actions, to discuss the parish in public and in cyberspace, and to warn people about the hypocrisy of life at Grace Episcopal. As the saying goes, the court of public opinion is open 24/7, 365 days a year, and there is irrefutable evidence that Grace is a toxic church where it’s okay for the rector to lie in court, and where this dynamic carries through into the daily life of the church.

And the truth will out, meaning that sooner or later, even the most diehard loyalists will find out that the parish is nothing but a pretty and whimsical illusion. And like the mirage of an oasis in a desert, getting tangled up with Grace Church may be a positive experience, even for a few years. But in the end, the painful reality sets in, which is that the church is anything but a safe refuge from the hot and barren desert.


Monday, January 20, 2020

Perjuring Priest Bob Malm Leaves a Parish Bordering on Bankruptcy

While Bob Malm was careful to ensure that he got every last minute of leave and then some coming to him, he was not do diligent in honoring the responsibilities set out in his letter of agreement and in church canons. Whether it was ignoring church canons that require the vestry to elect its officers, the requirement of a finance manual, or even Bob’s facially self-serving “disclosure” on his way out the door that he did not bother to visit most of the parishioners entrusted to his care, Bob was feckless, to say the least.

One of the results is that, in addition to its toxic internal dynamics, concealed beneath an organizationally narcissistic veneer of friendliness, Grace Church is in perilous financial condition.

Current projections — which could change as the last few pledges trickle in — show the parish with 2020 pledges of $723,506, for net income of $872,000. Even with the reduction in payroll resulting from no longer having to pay Bob Malm’s outrageously generous compensation package, that still leaves Grace with perilously thin income, including:

  1. A likely deficit budget, unless the church tries its usual tricks of irrationally inflating projected revenue or irrationally deflating projected expenses, or reduces staff headcount.
  2. The reality that it claims to be a “center for outreach and healing,” yet dramatically underfunds its commitment to the diocese.
  3. The grim reality of paying $70K a year for HVAC repairs — expenses it has known were coming, and for which it should have saved,
  4. Inadequate HVAC in the nave and undercroft, including excess humidity in the latter.
  5. Elevator 1 long overdue for a major overhaul (knowing the church’s spendthrift propensities, some ding-a-ling likely will push to waste money by replacing the whole thing,)
  6. Failing rake boards, thermopane windows, and a faux slate roof from the 1997 renovations.
  7. A parking lot with paving beyond actuarial end of life.
  8. Energy inefficient lighting throughout the building, including parking lot lights likely to fail within the next few years.
  9. A shortened life expectancy on the condensing boilers due to lack of maintenance.
  10. Failing hot water heaters due to lack of maintenance.
  11. Lack of current ADA features, including compliant internal directional signage and electro-mechanical entrance systems.
  12. Local outreach amounting to just 3 percent of budget.
  13. Ongoing problems with rodents, particularly in classroom and food preparation areas.
  14. An antiquated commercial kitchen.
Moreover, in a classic sign of a dying church, a plummeting number of remaining pledging units is attempting to shore things up by increasing their giving, leaving the church highly vulnerable to even the loss of a few pledging units. As things stand, when adjusted for inflation, Grace Church has lost 1/3 of its income since 2008, even as it paid Bob Malm a $100,000 bonus, no doubt for his exemplary work performance. Meanwhile, more than half its pledging units have fled the church.

And to top it all off, the layers of unresolved conflict in the church now are largely irreparable, with my situation now no longer capable of repair. Having offered the church and diocese multiple opportunities to resolve our differences, that option is now off the table. After all, the very definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result. So I am not wasting any time on the hypocrites of The Episcopal Church. 

Here, in visual format, is where things stand, thanks to 30 years of perjuring priest Bob Malm:


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Check it Out: BlakeWrites Covers My Story

More media coverage of perjuring priest Bob Malm, Grace Episcopal Church, and St. Gabriel’s in Marion Massachusetts today as online publication BlakeWrites covers my story at https://www.blakewrites.com/articles/abuses-of-power-by-clergy

Bob Malm, perjuring priest

Grace Episcopal, the clergy perjury parish


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

News: Looking Beyond Two Years


With the two-year anniversary coming up soon of perjuring priest Bob Malm’s bogus protective order, the question arises: What comes next? The answer is more protests, more lawsuits, and more leafletting. In short, I am far from done, and as long as clergy perjury parish Grace Episcopal and the diocese continue to not only turn a blind eye to Bob’s abusive behavior, but endorse it, I will continue to call them out on it.

Indeed, even as horrific as abuse in the Catholic Church is, it has the common sense to investigate allegations against clergy, and to not name buildings after abusers. But the Episcopal church does not care about abuse as long as it doesn’t result in criminal charges, and even named the Malm Narthex (aka Perjury Place) after Bob Malm, despite being fully aware of the latter’ s abusive conduct.

Remind me again why Bob forced Mike out of the church?

I’ll wait.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Lisa Medley Proves Grace Church is Toxic

One of the ironic things about Grace Episcopal is that, as Lisa Medley and others attempt to demonstrate that the church is not toxic, they engage in the very behavior that makes it toxic.

Below are comments from Lisa Medley aka the Princess Porcine, in which she claims that bullying and shunning have never occurred at Grace Church. Yet she and her buddy Alison Campbell were two of the parishioners to engage in the most egregious misconduct.

Moreover, Bob’s decision, confirmed via his email to me, my confirmation email to Jeff Aaron (who denied us access to the church building), and the email from Jones (in which he confirmed that Bob had been in touch to tell him to remove me from participation in parish activities) all confirm that Bob did direct a campaign of shunning and harassment directed at me and Mike. And just like children who try to say, “I didn’t do it,” despite the fact they clearly broke the window, left a mess, etc., Lisa and her ilk don’t have the maturity to recognize that lying and denying don’t make the underlying issue go away.

Meanwhile, nothing in Lisa’s post, or other communication from the church, suggests any genuine concern for me, Mike, or my mother.  Indeed, I have some great film footage of Lisa and others making obscene gestures at me—a wonderful testimony to the depth of their Christian faith.

And for the record, others have had similar experiences, as evinced by John Cunningham’s confirmation below. Even one Episcopal priest, well familiar with the situation at Grace Church, has said gently, “They have a lot of work to do.”

In her comments at The Wartburg Watch, Lisa Medley, aka the Princess Porcine, shows what she and Grace Church are really about.



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.

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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.

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.