Showing posts with label St. Dysfunction Episcopal Church. Show all posts
Showing posts with label St. Dysfunction Episcopal Church. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Best Description Yet for Grace Episcopal, aka St. Dysfunction



One of the recurring themes on this blog, predictably enough, is the extent of spiritual and practical dysfunction at Grace Episcopal Church. Ironically, one of the best descriptions of this situation comes from Jesus, who referred to the Scribes and Pharisees as “whitewashed tombs,” beautiful on the outside, yet reeking and full of filth on the inside.

And so it is, both with the church itself and Bob Malm. 

Apropos Grace Church, the building is lovely, and people are friendly. Walking in on a Sunday, visitors are warmly welcomed. The sunlight plays through the gorgeous stained glass windows, and the wonderful smell of incense permeates the entire building.

Similarly, Bob is very focused on physical appearance, and thus presents well as a priest. He’s friendly, engaging, seemingly self confident (if somewhat too loud), and charismatic. He also knows all the requisite Jesus-babble, delivering well-crafted, if pointedly short, sermons in which all the key phrases are there, “the shadow of the cross,” “the way of love,” “called to follow Jesus.” And he’s careful to use the present tense and to use us and we.

But scratch the surface and one quickly sees a far different reality. The altar guild has no qualms about ganging up on anyone who it thinks has infringed on its God-given prerogatives. Like all churches, people in the pews gossip, although at Grace they seem to have even fewer off-limits topics, with conversation ranging from Bob’s insanely generous compensation package (no, he is not one of the highest paid priests in the country, although he is wildly overpaid given the size of the parish, his work ethic, and other benchmarks), to one parishioner’s supposed penile implant, to speculation about the sexual orientation of one recently married parishioner.

Then we get to the behavior of members, including one parishioner who actively pursues married men within the church, to drug use at Shrine Mont, to the ugly way parishioners talk to each other. The latter, of course, is typified by the messsage from a now college-aged parishioner, in which she urged me to commit suicide, while saying that my “name is mud in Alexandria.” (Given her reference point, I should hope so!)

Nor are these issues confined to members. For many years, office staff yelled and bullied people, there was a hoarder in the church office, and donations routinely went missing. One of the parish registers has been lost, and record keeping was a shambles. But Bob Malm refused to address any of these issues, despite the fact that they are explicitly within his job description. Of course, the latter was never an impediment, with Bob Malm once telling me apropos facilities issues, “I have neither the time nor the interest.” Must be nice to pick and choose.

All of this is best summed up when I criticized Bob Malm over his indifference to the fact that parishioners were leaving the church due to issues they had with him. His response? “Why should I give a fuck? People leave all the time.”

So much for Bob’s Jesus-babble about being called to love God and each other. But, to use another of Bob’s rather worn phrases, “It was a God-incidence.” How so? It revealed the reality behind the pretty whitewashed exterior of Planet Malm. (And before you ask, yes, there were multiple witnesses.)

When you visit Planet Malm, by all means enjoy the beautiful building, the friendly welcome, and the engaging sermons. But before you take the plunge, just know that right beneath the surface are layers of toxic filth. This is a church where the priest commits perjury; where the attorney for the parish, “Sugarland” Chiow, makes false statements of law and fact in court; where the church sues its own parishioners, subpoenas the dying, and deliberately misuses funds. 

In short, Grace Episcopal church is a whitewashed tomb, beautiful on the outside, and seemingly filled with glittering brass, flowers, candles and friendly people on the inside. But at its heart, Grace Church reeks of corruption, hypocrisy, decay and filth.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

New Signage Comes to NVA!

Next week, we’ll be rolling out new signage in NVA, including car window ads. Just in time for Dysfunctional Bob’s farewell tour, and to welcome an interim.

Check it out.




Friday, July 12, 2019

See for Yourself: Bob Malm Contradicts Himself in Email Exchange With Easter Thompson

Here’s another good one from Bob Malm. On the one hand, Bob went to court, claiming that folks at Grace were “terrorized” by my Mom’s blog, which he claims I wrote. Yet in this email exchange with parishioner Easter Thompson, he claims no one at the church takes me seriously. So which is it?

Of course, Bob made a similar statement in January to the bishop, in which he said that his wife and daughter both take this more seriously than they should.

In the meantime, that begs the question: How did Easter Thompson get it in her head that my assertions are not based on fact/truth? Leaving aside the fact that I don’t recall God assigning Easter the role of “judge of all men,” there is written documention of almost every issue, ranging from Bob’s illegal use of restricted solicitations, to his bullying, to his order to parish staff to shun and exclude us, to his courtroom perjury. Nor do I see Easter making any effort to resolve the conflict, yet she proclaims herself a Christian.

Interesting that Easter is so comfortable passing judgment on others when she has no firsthand knowledge of the matter. It’s perhaps telling too that Bob felt no need to invoke the vestry prior to his decision to shun us. It’s only when he got pushback that he decided to pull in the vestry—a vestry that he has, on more than one occasion, apparently lied to, as evinced by the vestry’s “talking points,” in which he claims that we left on our own. If that’s the case, why then did Bob admit to the contrary during the meeting with the bishop?

No wonder people are abandoning organized religion. And you surely have to wonder what Easter’s objection is to the Anglican Consultative Commission’s work.

In the meantime, Easter, if you’re sick of stuff like my work on the Anglican Consultative Commission’s efforts, don’t friggin’ read it. And if you object to my actions, Easter, how about having the integrity to share your concerns directly with me, versus triangulating with Bob? It’s called having a spine. 

Ditto for Kemp Williams and his comments.






As One in Five Millennials Leave Church Due to Abuse, Where Does that Leave Planet Malm?



Saturday, May 4, 2019

Church Member Urges Me to Commit Suicide

Here’s an important reminder of just how toxic Grace Episcopal has become under Dysfunctional Bob Malm.

In this screen cap,,we see a post, believed to be from a member of Lisa Medley’s family. Lisa is a former senior warden, and has repeatedly lied about my experiences with the church.

Needless to say, anyone who thinks urging another human being to commit suicide is one sad individual indeed. Even more sad is that this individual runs in circles, and attends a church, that thinks this sort of conduct is okay.

Proof that Grace Church under Bob Malm is toxic, and in no way a reflection of actual Christian values.




Church Member Urges Me to Commit Suicide

Here’s an important reminder of just how toxic Grace Episcopal has become under Dysfunctional Bob Malm.

In this screen cap,,we see a post, believed to be from a member of Lisa Medley’s family. Lisa is a former senior warden, and has repeatedly lied about my experiences with the church.

Needless to say, anyone who thinks urging another human being to commit suicide is one sad individual indeed. Even more sad is that this individual runs in circles, and attends a church, that thinks this sort of conduct is okay.

Proof that Grace Church under Bob Malm is toxic, and in no way a reflection of actual Christian values.




Thursday, April 11, 2019

BobMalm.com Surges Past 70,000 Hits

Exciting news! In the little over 16 months that this blog has been open, as of the wee hours this morning, it has garnered more than 70,000 hits. Traffic remains strong, with daily traffic continuing to climb.

As I’ve mentioned before, this blog is the smallest part of my efforts. For example, even small social media posts garner 6,000 or more hits. Big ones, like the tweet announcing the Wartburg Watch article, have been seen more than 100,000 times. Paid advertising also remains strong, and we will surge ads during Holy Week. Leafletting also continues apace, and we will have leafletted at least another 500 homes before Easter.

Check it out!




Bob Malm and Grace Church’s Failed Internal Controls



I’ve previously written about the breakdown in Grace Church’s internal financial controls during Bob Malm’s watch. These breakdowns include:
  • Overpaying one employee for many months, allegedly due to an accounting error.
  • Thousands of dollars of cash and stale checks found in the church office following the resignation of a previous church administrator.
  • Facially inaccurate financial reports.
  • Failure to provide the vestry with school financial reports as required by law and written church policy.
  • Failure to follow written church policy on the issuance of credit cards, with rector Bob Malm allegedly carrying a card in violation of church policy.
  • Failure to follow canonical requirements for a finance manual. (As the longest reigning rector at Grace Church, Bob Malm surely has had ample time to make that happen.)
In recent days, the burgeoning scandal at Harest Bible Chapel involving Rolex watches, cars, and motorcycles underscores the need for effective church governance. Yet, while it is clear that Beth Calaman has done an admirable job in cleaning up the mess that Bob created, it is not clear that the underlying problems with transparency and disclosure have been addressed. It is time that this happen.

These issues are doubly important in light of two factors:
  • The expenditures now under way for the HVAC project.
  • Reduced transparency by the church following Bob’s decision to stop publicly releasing vestry minutes. (BTW, if Bob’s goal was to keep me from seeing those, he failed miserably. I see them on a regular basis.)
Nor should folks be lulled into a false sense of security by stupid, illogical comments like Lisa Medley’s claim that “there is complete financial transparency.” If there were indeed complete transparency, then it logically follows that Lisa and other vestry members knew about the funds that disappeared into the abyss of the church administrator’s office and chose to ignore the problem.

Folks, it’s your money we’re talking about, and faithful stewardship of these resources is a sacred responsibility. Bob’s complete indifference to these issues is grave violation of your trust, and it’s time to demand accountability.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Reminder: No Contact

It should be unnecessary, but as a reminder, I have specifically asked Bob Malm, in writing, to have no contact with me, either directly or through others. Moreover, no member of Grace Church, its vestry, or the diocese should contact me or Mike without my advance permission.

Anyone violating this request will be regarded as violating § 18.2-60.3 of the Virginia Code (Stalking; penalty), which inter alia provides:

“If the person contacts or follows or attempts to contact or follow the person at whom the conduct is directed after being given actual notice that the person does not want to be contacted or followed, such actions shall be prima facie evidence that the person intended to place that other person, or reasonably should have known that the other person was placed, in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to himself or a family or household member.”


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Sources Say....

Recently, I had dinner over at VTS. It was fun—although I joined a friend, it was with the understanding that I was going incognito. So, as I chowed down, I had the chance to ask seminarians and others about life in DioVA.

Never being one to miss an opportunity for some fun, I asked several seminarians about the situation over at Grace Church, aka St. Dysfunction. It’s interesting—between the issues with previous office staff, Fanny Belanger’s abrupt departure, and Bob’s vendetta against me, Mike and Mom—word on the street is that Grace Church is bad news. Or, more specifically, Bob Malm is bad news.

To be sure, Bob was never popular within the inner sanctum, the Holy of Holies at Mayo House. But while Bob and his sycophants (you know who you are) have been vigorous in promoting the whole, “two sides to every story” line, there’s one bit of irrefutable evidence: Bob’s vendetta and related misconduct have been going on for four years. Or, as one former warden put it, “Bob can hold a grudge longer than anyone else I know.”

Then there’s the issue of trying to drag the dying into court. If nothing else, even a cursory review of state law would have told Sugarland Chiow that Mom can’t be dragged into court absent leave of court. Having devoted what he claims is more than $100,000 to the litigation, you’d think Sugarland would have taken the time to do a little research on that topic. I guess that’s part of the whole $49.99 optional annual protection plan.

Of course, that segues neatly into the notion, expressed by multiple third parties, that, “This attorney is coming at you with a personal vendetta.” How a personal vendetta fits in with being a Christian escapes me, but apparently for Dysfunctional Bob, Sugarland Chiow, and the Diocese of Virginia, it does.

The cherry on the top is, of course, Bob’s multiple lies to the court. While he may claim that he was mistaken, nothing in his pleadings suggests to the court that his statements to the court were conjecture or speculation. They are presented as facts, when in fact they were fabrications.

It will be interesting to see who the poor slob is who eventually takes the assistant rector position. All I can to is to quote Judge Smails from Caddy Shack, “Remember, the world needs ditch diggers, too.” Which is not to express disrespect for that person — just to say they’d  have to be pretty damn desperate, or foolish, to land on Planet Malm.







Friday, March 1, 2019

David Crosby Misses Mark With Recent Sermon

David Crosby preached last Sunday, offering a sermon on loving your enemy. Since many denizens of Planet Malm now consider me an enemy, I feel somewhat qualified to comment on the sermon. 

I call BS.

To be sure, it wasn’t a badly written sermon. But it suffered one flaw. A big one. The flaw is that it’s hard to preach on this topic with a straight face when you have Bob Malm as a role model. Or, if you can deliver the sermon with a straight face, then you fall down the rabbit hole of hypocrisy.

I mean, who’s going to take you seriously when you have Dysfunctional Bob repeatedly lying, committing perjury, going after Mike, engaging in smear campaigns, and more? If nothing else, people are going to inevitably conclude that it’s okay just to give lip service to these ideals when they see Dysfunctional Bob in action.

And of course there’s Leslie Malm with her lies, Lindsey Malm with her hateful homophobia, the Medleys with their urging me to commit suicide, and Alison Campbell with her petty bitch games. And there are plenty of others who could join the list.

Of course, you then get Lisa Medley’s comeback, which is to brush these issues off by saying that she’s a sinner. Of course, that’s no excuse; claiming that you’re immune from criticism on the basis that you’re inclined to behave badly is a facially obvious logical fallacy. But then, Lisa was never known for being bright.

At the end of the day, the only way Grace Church ceases to be a toxic church is by making a conscious decision to be healthy—all day, every day. No exceptions, no excuses, no explanations. There’s simply no legitimate role for the bullying, the gossip, the lies and more that go on at Grace.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Breaking News: The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia Again Refuses to Address Bob Malm’s Lies, Perjury and Abuse of Power

Earlier today, I received an email from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. There had been some discussions about resolving problems outside the Title IV disciplinary process, including a recommendation from Bishop Todd Ousley, the intake officer for the national church, that we consider this route. +Todd also noted that the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has repeatedly failed to provide the pastoral response required under the canons. In today’s email, the diocese said it will not address Bob’s perjury outside of Title IV.

Given that the diocese repeatedly has said that it has no issue with Bob Malm’s actions, I intend to not deal any further with the diocese or Bob Malm’s lies. Instead, I will continue to publicly share this information, and let the chips fall where they may.

Small wonder organized religion is dying.

Here is a copy of Canon to the Ordinary Mary Thorpe’s previous letter on this issue.




Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Another Blast from the Past: Parishioner Urges Me to Commit Suicide

Here’s a post from a member of parishioner Lisa Medley’s family. Let’s just say that any family that claims to be “Christian” and thinks that BS like this is okay is one that I certainly hope will consider my name to be mud.

To make the irony even more delicious, this is something that Bob Malm attempted to assert in court somehow proved I had threatened him. If anything, it proves that Grace Church has threatened me.

Needless to say, proof that Grace is a toxic church.






Grace Episcopal Church Mocks Clergy Sex Abuse Survivors

In case it wasn’t already painfully obvious, members of Grace Episcopal Church have again demonstrated just how thoroughly ethically and spiritually bankrupt the church is.

Following are posts, most likely by Dysfunctional Bob Malm’s daughter Lindsey Malm Anders, in response to my recent decision to share the fact that I was sexually abused by an Episcopal priest as a child.

Anyone, or any organization, that thinks it’s okay to ridicule a survivor of clergy sexual abuse is not only morally bereft, but one sick individual. Or to use Bob Malm’s words, “sick and twisted.” 

Of course, with Dysfunctional Bob as a role model, no suprise there.




Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Good Comment About Church Abuse

One theme that underlies every aspect of this conflict is Bob Malm’s efforts at gaslighting. The term gaslighting refers to trying to blame the cite of abuse by claiming that they are the abuser—as in claiming that I am a “domestic terrorist.” Gaslighting is, itself, considered a form of abuse, and it’s something I’ve seen Bob Malm engage in multiple times, including his multiple lies under oath (like claiming that my mother has made multiple appointments to meet him).

It’s interesting, too — Leslie and Lindsey Malm both try this tactic, as do Lisa and Lucy Medley. Further confirmation that Grace Church is toxic.

Here are comments on the topics of gaslighting and abuse posted by the Rev. Andrew Kadel in response to my recent article on Episcopal Cafe. See if it sounds familiar.

Eric, This is excellent in every way.  One thing that tends to muddle discussion and understanding of this, is under the rubric of "believe victims." One element of abuse is gaslighting, and an element of the gaslighting can be that the abuser poses as a victim. In the cold light of day, and when one steps back outside of the situation, it becomes clear that it is absurd, but for those who have an interest in shielding the abuser, it provides a rationale that is difficult to refute in heated situations. It's important to give credence to the stories of the abused which takes attention & compassion. The abusers, their sycophants & allies will always do things to make that difficult to do, including claiming that the victim is the abuser, or that the abuser is the victim.

The work of Wade Mullen, a baptist seminary professor, is very good on this. 
This is his Twitter: Wade Mullen @wad3mullen

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Attending Ash Wednesday Services at Grace Episcopal Church?

If so, be sure to ask Dysfunctional Bob Malm and Sugarland Chiow what Jesus thinks about bullying the dying by trying to drag them into court.

And if you’re not seeing repentance from both, have the courage to admit you’ve been played, that it’s just a job for Dysfunctional Bob, take a pass, and move on. Either find a real church, versus a religious club, or take a pass on organized religion altogether.




Saturday, February 16, 2019

Grace Governance Gaps: Trouble in the Offing

In previous posts, I reported on the various governance gaps at Grace Church. With the church presently working towards replacing its HVAC systems, and to obtain funding for this project, I believe it’s timely to revisit these issues. Most importantly, I want to flag for readers a big issue, which is that there’s a huge governance gap in the breakdown in communication between the school board and the vestry.

To begin, serving on the vestry creates a fiduciary legal obligation on the part of vestry members. This means putting aside one’s own interests and acting according to the highest legal and ethical standards in the interests of the beneficiary. In this case, the beneficiary is the parish itself.

This obligation, which includes the obligations of due diligence and reasonable inquiry, is reflected (albeit poorly) in written parish policy, which requires that the executive committee see school board minutes and the school’s financial reports. This in itself does not go far enough, for the school is part and parcel of the parish, and has no existence independent of the church. Thus, the fiduciary obligation of vestry members extends to all vestry members, not just those on the executive committee.

That said, the practice in recent years has been to ignore those requirements, with only Dysfunctional Bob Malm seeing these school documents. That’s hardly reassuring, as Dysfunctional Bob allowed church financials to become a hot mess over a period of years, as acknowledged in the vestry’s own minutes more than a year after Charlotte Payne Wright’s departure as parish administrator. Nor was he alert to potential problems; director of music Richard Newman was overpaid for many months before the matter was discovered by then-director-of-parish-operations Jeff “Airhead” Aaron. As a result, Richard was forced to repay the sum, despite the fact that he was hardly overpaid at the time. Moreover, the news may have had a deleterious effect on the relationship between Dysfunctional Bob and Jeff, as shortly after Jeff broke the news things appear to have gone south for Jeff, and a few months later he transitioned to a new job.

Of course, Dysfunctional Bob is quick to say, “Well, I see them.” But that’s exactly the point: Leaving Dysfunctional Bob in charge of money or financial reporting is worse than no supervision at all, for it gives the illusion of security, despite the evidence that Bob is feckless at best when it comes to these issues.

To make matters worse, when I brought the matter up, the vestry subsequently decided it didn’t need to see these documents, as it might make the school board feel that it’s not trusted. Big mistake. One cannot readily delegate away one’s fiduciary obligation as a vestry member, and saying, “Well, I trusted Bob and the school board,” isn’t going to cut it. Too bad Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow didn’t wade in on this issue — it would have been a far better use of his time versus subsequently trying to drag dying people into court. And yes, I am referring to my mother.

So what exactly is the risk? My take on it is that school internal controls are good—certainly vastly better than the almost non-existent controls at the church. Instead, issues are more likely to come up in the context of errors, omissions, and misunderstandings. For example, I have heard school board members glibly say of the parish budget, “We won’t have a deficit if we move money over from reserves.” Well, yes, you will still have a deficit. Money from reserves is not income, and you will still have a deficit, no matter how you choose to cover the bills.

So what could happen? I’d say the biggest risk is that the school incurs liability that could attach to the church. For instance, an incident of child sexual abuse would, even if covered by insurance, prove devastating for both church and school. And heaven knows, there are gaps a mile wide in both the church’s and the school’s prevention efforts. So while Dysfunctional Bob stirs the pot with fears of an active shooter (a phrase that he likely didn’t even know in 2014), the far greater threat is internal misconduct.

Similarly, a bad investment decision by the school could result in liability for the church. To use a real-life example from another non-profit with which I am familiar, suppose the school took out a loan containing a derivative. These are surprisingly common, and if the school’s loan contained an interest rate swap, versus a cap or collar, it could soon be on the hook for millions of dollars in payments. As I said, this happened to one prominent northern Virginia non-profit, with devastating results, and all because the executive director did not have adequate board supervision.

Needless to say, these risks are exacerbated by the church’s present precarious financial position. As I have said many times, cash reserves are far too thin for comfort and structural costs far too high, including the fact that 1 out of every 5 dollars the church pulls in goes into Bob Malm’s pockets. What’s really telling, too, is that the church has lost more than a third of its pledging units at a time when the Northern Virginia population is growing. Thus, the church is in a period of precipitous decline, despite the fact that the community around it is burgeoning.

As I have said before, Grace’s woes are compounded by the fact that Dysfunctional Bob must, under church canons, retire within the next few years. Such events are inevitably problematic, but all the more so when, as here, 1) Bob has stayed for more than 30 years and 2) Bob has created a narcissistic paradigm that focuses people’s attention on him and the church, versus on God. Pull Dysfunctional Bob out of the toxic crock of goo and there will be a hot mess on the diocese’s hands in record time.

To make matters still worse, the parish has very few real leaders. Real leaders tend to leave once they understand the problems at Planet Malm, replaced by sycophants, enablers and admirers who allow Bob to pretty much do as he pleases — a paradigm that Dysfunctional Bob both encourages and exploits. Thus, with Bob gone, there will be no meaningful plan B. And the true leaders in the parish simply don’t have the sway to influence the Planet Malm drone population.

So, a shout-out to candidates for assistant rector and potential lenders everywhere: Look before you leap. Things are gonna get ugly on Planet Malm in the next few years. Guaranteed.






Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Gossip at Grace: Another Sign of an Unhealthy Church

Remember when I posted the comment by a parish employee about how Bob Malm, aka Dysfunctional Bob, not only permits inappropriate discourse, but tacitly endorses it, by engaging in a certain amount of it himself? Well, in addition the the spectacularly bad example he and Sugarland Chiow have established in dealing with me, the reality is that, right behind the scenes, there’s lots of ugly discourse at Grace Church. 

To be fair, if you just show up on Sundays and hang out at coffee hour, you may never run into it. But I assure you, it’s alive and well. And its presence serves as a bellwether for the overall health of the parish.

A few good ones that I’ve heard:
  • Comments and speculation about one parishioner having a penile implant. (Seriously.)
  • Rumors about a recently married parishioner actually being gay — which is interesting, because that person is not a particularly good choice when it comes to defamation. I’ll leave it at that.
  • The endless speculation about infidelity and adultery in the parish.
  • Leslie Steffensen’s comments about me and money. Needless to say, I know who the source of those comments is.
  • Kemp Williams’ stupid comments about me.
Then there’s the use of gossip as a weapon, as I observed first-hand with Alison Campbell’s efforts to cause problems for me within the altar guild. And Lisa Medley’s post on The Wartburg Watch about my alleged $.02 donation. Yes, there was such a donation, but no, it was not mine, and it was not to the church. One would hope that Lisa would at least get her details right.

That said, the upshot is that when people use gossip as a weapon, that’s telling, for it’s only an effective weapon if people are receptive to it. And those who engage in it clearly have little concept of the damage they do to the church as a whole.

Sadly, it only takes a few to cause lasting harm to the parish.