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

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Another Sign Dysfunctional Bob Has Stayed too Long

Some time ago, I touched on Joe McKeever’s excellent article, “Ten Signs the Pastor or Employee has Been There too Long.” While written from an SBC perspective, its key points hold true, regardless of denomination. And the tenth point, which I didn’t previously discuss, is particularly true in Dysfunctional Bob’s case. That point is that it’s time for the rector to go when he or she is willing to destroy the church in order to protect themselves. (Those interested may find the full article here.)

In Dysfunctional Bob’s case, his efforts to get at me, by his own admission in his written settlement proposal, have damaged the church. At this point in time, it’s hard to gauge how lasting the harm will be, but given the demographics of the parish, Bob’s lack of initiative, and the extent conflict lurking right below the surface in the church, it’s difficult to see things getting better for the church any time soon. Indeed, within the next 20 years the vast majority of the current congregation will be dead and gone. And long before that point numbers will soon drop to where the overhead associated with the  building will be more than the parish can sustain.

That begs the issue: Why, after almost 4 years, is Bob still pursuing his vendetta? Why has he included Mike in his vendetta? And my mother, now very close to the end of life?

The answer, I believe, is that Bob is a priest in name only. Jesus modeled health, wholeness, reconciliation, and welcoming the oppressed. Bob models none of these things, but rather their opposites.

Nor will Bob’s departure readily repair things. Over the years, Bob has taught parishioners a model of conduct that includes threatening and bullying others, urging people to commit suicide, and in the case of Kirk Steffensen and members of Dysfunctional Bob’s family, threatening people’s jobs. One has only to look at the smug, self-satisfied emails of parishioners like Kemp Williams and Easter Thompson to see how thin faith really is at Grace Church. Nor do these or myriad other examples indicate that parishioners actually have enough introspection to recognize their facially shallow faith. That said, I’ll drop a hint: If you haven’t taken steps to resolve this conflict, you should be asking yourself some tough questions. Second hint: If you’re okay with Bob giving Mike the heave-ho, then you’ve really got issues. Third hint: Trying to drag the dying into court. 

Of course, it’s a pretty sad state of affairs when Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow, hardly a model of ethical conduct with his inflammatory pleadings and false statements of fact to the Virginia courts, occupies the high moral ground apropos Bob by virtue of having made a settlement offer on his client’s behalf. That said, Sugarland’s offer was a legal maneuver; there was no aspect of the Christian faith set forth within.

These issues will create a problematic future for the parish. Young people today have scant use for organized faith under the best of circumstances, and the ugly rhetoric involving “domestic terrorism” coming out of the parish, the pursuit of a dying woman, and Bob’s bullying evince a faith for which most young people have little use. Indeed, the decline in pledging units and Sunday attendance at Grace Church suggests that many already at Grace have little use for Bob’s religious world views, which can best be summarized as the conflation of “friendly,” with “faithful.”

Nor should one discount the disappearance of many past stalwarts of the church. Quite a few, indeed many friends, have left the church, often on relatively bad terms. Yes, the front door is wide open and you’ll be welcomed with open arms, but the back door is open far wider, and folks are just as happy to point you in that direction if it suits them—another sign of organizational narcissism.

Going forward, Grace Church would be wise to place a clause in its letter of agreement requiring 1) an annual review of the rector 2) an annual mutual ministry review 3) a requirement that the rector adhere to all canonical and local community policies and regulations and 4) face an annual secret ballot, by the vestry, on whether to continue the contract after 10 years. This should include a provision that if such a vote is not held, then the contract terminates automatically.

Term limits are good, and that’s true for both priests and presidents.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

More Observations on Integrity and the Church

Over the past week, I’ve been working on a number of matters related to this conflict. One of the themes that keeps popping up as I review material, correspondence and other related documentation is the extent to which the church still doesn’t get it. Specifically, Bob Malm, Jeff Chiow and the rest of the St. Dysfunction crowd continue to view the issue through the lens of power and control.

In other words, if Bob had his druthers, he’d be able to push people out of the church any time he wanted to, lie whenever he wanted to, go on vacation any time he wanted to, and have no one say a thing. Unless the response was, “Thank you Sir, may I have another?”

In fact, Bob, Leslie Malm and others are still trying to find ways to shut down criticism. They still seem to think that if they just find the right strategy, or tell the right lie, somehow the criticism will stop. 

It won’t.

It’s interesting too. Not only do Bob and his family not appear to realize when they are lying, but when they are asked about it, they either try denying everything, or they don’t answer. For example, Dysfunctional Bob claims he didn’t lie during the meeting with +Shannon, despite the fact he did so in front of witnesses.

Similarly, when Lying Leslie Malm was asked about her false claim that I admitted that Mom’s blog is really mine, she simply didn’t respond.

In short, St. Dysfunction is a seriously toxic church, and things are going to get worse as it becomes obvious to more and more people that this is the case.

Tough times ahead for the church.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Grace Episcopal: More on the HVAC Project

One of the earliest lessons I learned was the benefit of saving. By digently putting money aside, I was able to comfortably retire more than a decade before most people, with more than enough to meet any conceivable future financial need. How did I do it? By minimizing expenses, living beneath my means, avoiding luxuries like vacations and fancy clothes, by doing without, and by working two jobs for most of my career. Yes, it was tough, especially those first few years post-law school, but very much worth it.

Today, Grace Episcopal confronts a different reality, which is that for years it has refused to save. As a result, the church plans to borrow $540,000 to pay for its half of the replacement cost of the HVAC systems in the building. The other $135,000 will come from reserves. 

The first issue, of course, is that most of the money goes to subsidize the school, which far and away uses the lion’s share of the building. At a time when the church is rapidly shedding pledging units, and the average age of church members is much older that of the surrounding population, taking on this expense is foolish, and doubly so when most of the money is borrowed.

The second issue, previously discussed on this blog, is that this day has been coming since 1994. Did the church make any meaningful effort to save? No, it didn’t, and indeed in 2014 gave Bob Malm $100,000 of church resources as a bonus, as a reward for staying too long.

Third, the church remains perilously short of reserves, even without this expenditure. To be safe, it should have 3-6 months operating expenses in reserves, or roughly $500,000. This leaves the church perilously short of cash in the event of a major expense or decline in giving. And as discussed previously, restricted funds don’t count, as repurposing them without donor permission is illegal.

Fourth, this expense is being treated from a purely reactive, tactical perspective. There is easily an additional $500K in work that needs to be done, ranging from replacing the parking lot, to replacing the new narthex roof, to dealing with rotting wood trim and the need to refurbish both elevators. (Replacing the original elevator would, however, be stupid. A metal box is a metal box.  No need to buy it twice.) To date, the church has no meaningful game plan to address these issues, and lacks the financial means to address anything beyond minor needs.

Fifth, there is the issue of this being an old building. Old buildings, regardless of architectural style or age, share one thing in common: They throw you curve balls. As a result, costs inevitably go up, and it is a safe bet that the church will discover surprises along the way. (Just wait until folks discover the leak inside one of the exterior walls of Merrow Hall. It’s plumbing-related, has been there for years, is slowly causing extensive damage, and is going to be a bear to fix. $100 says there’s not a person in the parish who knows what I am talking about.)

Sixth, assuming a five-year amortization, the church will be paying on the loan when Dysfunctional Bob retires, which he must do by age 72 by canon. Retirements can throw a monkey wrench into even the healthiest churches, and Grace is far from healthy. Just ask Holy Comforter in Vienna what happened to the numbers when Rick Lord retired. (He at least had the common sense to know when it was time to go.) Thus, I can safely say there are shoals in the waters ahead, and a real risk that the church will be unable to repay the loan.

Seventh, the observant will notice that costs already have escalated. Not that long ago, vestry members were predicting that the total project cost would come down once the project was bid out, the cost of which was then forecast at $1.2 million. Today, that forecast is $1.35 million, and knowing the extent to which existing systems are cobbled together, and the vagaries of the building, it’s a safe bet things won’t come in under budget. And this isn’t like the 1994 building project—you can’t downgrade the ceiling panels or go for cheaper light fixtures to reduce costs. Nor is it wise to cheap out on hardware—less expensive compressors, for example, typically operate less efficiently, meaning that what you save upfront, you lose over time as the utility bills come in.

Eighth, if this is anything like the 1994 project, folks will conclude nothing more needs to be done for the next 10 years, and preventive maintenance will be ignored. That both increases total costs, and leads to debacles like the mold problems in the parish office record closet, which were ignored for many years and was a hell of a mess to resolve. Ditto for the HVAC-related mold in the vesting rooms, the bird filth in the attic over the sacristy, and more.

Ninth, Bob Malm, true to form, will try to wash his hands of these issues, but he appoints the executive committee, and nowhere do we see the sort of full-court press that occurred when Bob wanted the church to buy him a house. In short, Bob talks out both sides of his mouth on these issues, but it is the church that pays the price.

In short, it’s time for Grace Church to quit following the Bob Malm live-life-large model, and start taking a prudent approach to it’s long-term financial health. Yes, the trust fund is a start, but there is much, much more to it than that.

It’s time for Grace to get its financial and governance acts together.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Bob Malm Attends PB Sermon “Love is the Only Way”

Here’s an amusing one. 

Dysfunctional Bob recently was sighted over at Episcopal High School, where he listened to a sermon by the presiding bishop, Michael Curry, “Love is the Only Way.” 

Trying to drag the dying into court? Calling your former members “domestic terrorists?” Lying in court? Perjury?

I doubt Bob even saw the irony.

Bob and the PB were a year apart in divinity school.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Coming Soon: Body Cam Footage

Late next week, I plan to release a very special treat for readers: Body cam footage. That’s right—your chance to see the good christians of Grace Church yelling the f bomb, flipping me the finger, and more. And yes, I include names and license plate photos. And yes, it is legal to film in a public arena, before you ask. Speaking of, I have a couple of juicy audio recordings of key people dropping the f bomb, lying and more. (Virginia is a one-party consent jurisdiction, before folks go running to Sugarland. And yes, I or another relevant party consented in all cases.)

Nor is Grace Episcopal School (GES) excluded. In fact, some of my best footage comes from GES parents. Release of this will be delayed for a few weeks while I work on my unofficial “Begin With Grace” video. Depending on how busy the next few months are, I may also do a “God’s Grace for All,” video about the church. But all this depends on several variables beyond my control.

So, not only will those be posted in a special gallery, but they’ll be out on social media, for all the world to see. Folks from Bill Eckel to Amy Medrick, and several more.

Fun times on Planet Malm!

Ministry? Or Business?

Very true. Grace Episcopal is a business, not a church, and a badly run business at that.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Look What Just Went Into the Trash

I was doing some purging the other day at one of our digs, looking to lighten the load of detritus that we all carry through life, when I came across a particularly good candidate for the dumpster.

Check it out: Grace Church in the snow. The photo used to hang in our entrance hall. And to think I wasted money getting it framed—sheesh.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Bob Malm and Church Discourse

As the final days of the 2019 pledge season wind down and the Grace Church vestry determines next year’s budget, it’s important to reflect on the values that Bob Malm brings to the church. Specifically, the lessons he teaches people about “respecting the dignity of every human being.” Or not.

Readers may recall the comments of one long-time parish employee, who noted the unhealthy way that people at Grace church talk to each other, and about each other, and Bob’s role in this paradigm.

Consider, for example, Alison Campbell’s fun and games with the altar guild during the time Bob Malm was out on disability, which involved stirring up the altar guild to try to cause problems for me, all while claiming that she was “just the messenger.” Leaving aside the disingenuous aspects of her actions, Alison undoubtedly felt justified due to my conflict with Kelly Gable. But in this, she overlooked both the fact that Kelly and I had resolved our differences, and the fact that it was not her place to get involved. Moreover, she ignored that fact that she never really understood that conflict in the first place, the spiritual aspects of her conduct, and the fact that her conduct has been profoundly damaging to the church.

And so it is with others, including Lisa Medley and her childish antics.

At the same time, Bob Malm has played a major role in these problems. For example, he saw no irony in saying to me, “There are people who have it in for you,” apropos issues with the altar guild. Of course, that aligns with Bob’s notion that people should solve their own differences—an odd idea when it comes to harassment, bullying, and other abusive conduct.

Of course, Bob also likes to stir the pot, and by doing so sets a bad example. For instance, I have personally heard him refer to Jan Spence as an “asshole.” Lisa Doelp he has referred to as, “like a little spy, always trying to find out stuff.” And the list goes on, including Peter and Cheryl Barnes and others, often postured as Bob taking you into his confidence. And folks, if you think you’re not included, I suggest you look up the word “delusional.”

It’s interesting too. Bob says that people should solve their own problems one-on-one, yet look at the many emails he has sent to diocesan officials, including Pat Wingo and Bishop Shannon; as well as to the Alexandria police department; and to Patti Culbreth, the head of school. And let’s not forget his messages to my friend Dee Parsons, and his use of Sugarland Chiow in court. All of these are replete with manipulative language, as well as references to me as “sick,” “twisted,” and “dysfunctional.” But the one person Bob has never contacted directly in an effort to resolve this conflict is me. Nor has he ever contacted my Mom. Nor has he contacted Mike, except as part of our now-abandoned agreement to end our conflict.

Healer, heal thyself.

Bob no doubt will read this and start his usual fun and games with Sugarland Chiow about defamation. But these issues are well documented, and parishioners can name many more incidents in which Bob has behaved badly. This includes his statement, allegedly made to Phil Smith and others as well as to me, about the former office staff, in which he said multiple times, “Don’t worry about it. They’ll be retiring this year.” Needless to say., many years came and passed, with no retirements. Where but a church can an employee like Bob lie to board members about important HR issues and keep his job? That’s right—nowhere.

By now, you’ve probably concluded that I believe Bob Malm to be toxic. If so, you’re correct. 

The larger question, though, is how much longer the church is going to pony up roughly $200K a year for this sort of conduct. 

If it doesn’t take action, I believe there will soon come a time where they will no longer be a Grace Episcopal Church, as it will have disappeared while wallowing in its own hypocritical filth. 

“Thy own words shall impeach thee.” Sound familiar?

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Bob Malm: My Full Pleading, With Exhibits

Later today, I’ll post additional highlighted excerpts. But for now, here’s my entire pleading, filed last summer at the end of my litigation with Dysfunctional Bob. In it, we see:
  • Dysfunctional Bob ordered by the court to specify which blog posts he claims to be threatening. Should have been a simple matter, right? Note that Bob never did comply with the court’s order.
  • Dysfunctional Bob and Sugarland Chiow get called out for lying to the court about my having been licensed as an attorney, and having served as a police officer. The great irony is these lies are contained right after a phrase in which Dysfunctional Bob and Sugarland Chiow refer to me as a “serial liar.” 
  • Sugarland Chiow’s typical, unprofessional inflammatory rhetoric, which was in part the reason that an independent attorney said of Sugarland, “This attorney is coming at you with a personal vendetta.”
  • Sugarland’s billing records, which reflect:
    • Bob Malm’s efforts to come after Mike Smith and get a protective order against him.
    • Sugarland’s repeated efforts to find a cause of action for defamation and defamation per se, despite the fact that Dysfunctional Bob is a limited purpose public figure under the law. (Meaning it’s quite hard to defame him, even if I wanted to. I mean, why bother? The truth is plenty ugly as is.)
    • Sugarland’s efforts to obtain a criminal referral.
Folks, if this is how your almost $200,000 a year in compensation for Dysfunctional Bob gets spent, you have an issue. And you still have to deal with the fact he’s going around telling people that Grace is threatened by “domestic terrorism.” That must do wonders for attendance. Not to mention it’s probably no super helpful when applying for an HVAC loan.

As the old saying goes, “If only Bob Malm had half the common sense God gave a goat.”

Here’s the entire file, in PDF.

In the meantime, I have some protesting to do.

Bob Malm Ordered to Say Which Blog Posts Were Threatening

As readers know, Grace Episcopal rector Dysfunctional Bob Malm has been going around claiming that he and the church are victims of “domestic terrorism” (his words, not mine). So it should be a pretty simple matter for him to point to specifics, right?

Well, apparently not.

After months of discovery during last summer’s legal battle, Bob still refused to come right out and answer this pretty basic question. This led to the court ordering him to do so—an order with which he never complied. Does that tell you anything?

Here’s the relevant court order:

In my next several posts, I’ll publish evidence of Dysfunctional Bob’s efforts to go after Mike Smith, Dysfunctional Bob’s multiple lies to the court, and his efforts to obtain a criminal referral in conjunction with his lies and misrepresentations. And I’ll publish Jeff Chiow’s billing records, so you too can see what legal services you get at Rogers, Joseph O’Donnell for what is allegedly more than $100,000.

As an added bonus, you’ll get to see firsthand Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow’s inflammatory rhetoric and facially un-Christian conduct. And you’ll get to see firsthand the involvement of the church’s executive committee in these lies and misrepresentations.

Stay tuned!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Will Grace Episcopal Close? It’s Looking More and More Likely

Estimates suggest that 60 percent of church buildings constructed after WWII will close in the next decade. Currently, 100-200 churches close every week, with most of those closing focused primarily on the needs of their members, versus reaching out into the community. Indeed, less than 20 percent of Americans attend church regularly—yet Bob Malm’s response when members leave is, “Why should I give a fuck?” (Yes, his exact words. There were witnesses.)

Will Grace be a church that closes?

Events of the past few years, the church’s refusal to confront the economic and other realities facing it, and the conduct of both clergy and some members suggest Grace will be among those closing.

As one long-time parish employee once said to me (herself an Episcopalian);

“I would never belong to your church, and it’s because of the way people talk to each other, and it goes right to the top. And I’ll tell you right now, Bob will never say anything about it. And because he engages in a certain amount of it himself, he shows it’s okay”

At the time, I foolishly took Bob’s side. I have since admitted to that person that she was right; I was wrong.

Abandoned Episcopal Church

One thing is clear to me: If Grace is going to survive, drastic changes need to happen. Otherwise, it does not have long to go. Simply doing the same thing, day in, day out, year in, year out will result in more of the same—a rapidly declining church. No surprise there.

Some good articles on church closings:

(Check out my naive comments at the end!)

Sunday, January 6, 2019

60,000 Hits, Here We Come!

Although my blog is the smallest part of my social media efforts, I’m pleased to report that the blog is getting ready to reach the 60,000 hit mark. That’s small potatoes compared to my Twitter and Instagram presence; Twitter alone has has scored more than 1 million hits.

The part that Bob Malm and Grace Episcopal Church doesn’t get, though, is that few people my age and older are on Twitter. Instead, it’s 20- and 30-somethings, many of whom are very resistant to organized faith to begin with. Indeed, one Pew survey revealed that 1/3 of 20-somethings are indifferent to organized religion, while another 1/3 actively oppose it. Thus, given that the church has almost no meaningful presence on Twitter, and none at all on Instagram, it’s a safe bet that going forward local young people are going to steer clear of the parish. This is exacerbated by the fact that the church has very few twenty-something members outside those who have grown up in the church. Nor is Bob’s conduct likely to help matters much—this demographic reports that one of their big turn-offs is hypocrisy. 

That’s right. Bullying, shunning, and lying, both by Bob and by members of the parish, is a major non-starter for young people. Take note, Bob Malm, Jeff Chiow, Alison Campbell, Lisa Medley, and Jan Spence. You’re killing a church you claim to love.

Or, put in other words, unless things change drastically, it’s a safe bet that Grace Church will be shuttered within 20 years, and probably much, much sooner. Dysfunctional Bob and those who follow his example surely have done a number on the parish.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Before You Pledge, Know This: 1 out of Every 5 Dollars Goes to Bob Malm

As you consider pledging in 2019, it may be helpful to look at Bob Malm’s compensation in light of the church’s overall financial condition. Here is a quick summary of Bob Malm — by the numbers.
  • Compensation as part of total parish annual budget
    • Total church annual budget: ~ $1 million
    • Total Bob Malm compensation, including indirects: ~ $200,000
    • Percentage of church revenue devoted to Bob Malm compensation: ~20%, or 
1 out of every 5 dollars goes to Bob Malm!
  • Highest paid bishop on presiding bishop’s staff annual income, including housing, per DFMS annual financial report:
    • $166,519
    • Bob Malm annual compensation: Higher!

  • Annual compensation versus local average
    • Alexandria mean annual family income per CityData: $89,200
    • Bob Malm annual income: Almost twice this number
  • Annual leave
    • Average annual leave for employees with 20+ years’ experience, nationally: 20 days (16 days actually used)
    • Average annual leave for Bob Malm: 35+ days (all used) (does not include sabbatical)
  • Average annual bonus
    • Average annual bonus per Monster: $1,797
    • Bob Malm average annual bonus, based on $100,000 bonus paid in 2014: $3,333
  • Average Alexandria home value:
    • $476,900 per US Census Bureau
    • Bob Malm home value: $734,263 per Zillow (note that this number is probably high due to deferred maintenance on Bob’s home, lack of improvements)
Keep in mind, too, that Bob’s almost $200K in annual income is not the same as your $200K, or my $200k. 

Why is that? 

It’s because federal tax law treats Bob’s housing allowance AND his mortgage as both deductible. When this double dip is factored in, Bob’s putative compensation is well north of $200K.

So, before you give sacrificially, consider this: 1 out of every 5 dollars you give does NOTHING to fund the church, but instead subsidizes Bob Malm. And even as the church’s financial position continues to deteriorate, Bob gets paid no matter what. Ministries may lose funding, but by gummy, the gravy train and the good life continue for Bob Malm, even though church governance has been a train wreck for much of his time with the church.

Caveat emptor.

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Rev. David Crosby Books Passage on the SS Sycophant

The Rev. David Crosby, aka Fr. Clueless
The Rev. David Crosby, aka Fr. Clueless
The Rev. David Crosby, a former member of St. Dysfunction and author of the infamous “Bobby Malm, You’re Amazing!” blog post has signed up for first-class cabins on the SS Sycophant. In his new role, David will serve as interim assistant to Dysfunctional Bob Malm.

Loyal readers may recall that David is the clueless individual who told me that there are “two sides to every story, and this is no different” apropos my conflict with Dysfunctional Bob. That, of course, sidesteps a number of specific issues involving Dysfunctional Bob’s conduct, including:
  1. Breaching confidentiality in a Title IV case, resulting in a (limited) response from the Virginia bishops.
  2. Including Mike in his vendetta.
  3. Repeatedly and verifiably lying in court.
  4. Retaliating for filing a Title IV complaint by instructing church staff to exclude Mike and me from all aspects of parish life—an action he later confirmed, in front of the Bishop of Virginia and the Canon to the Ordinary, was done as an act of retaliation.
  5. Attempting to drag a dying woman into court in violation of the law.
  6. Pastorally inappropriate references to me as mentally ill, dysfunctional, “sick and twisted,” and in one e-mail to the vestry, “a sad individual, starved for attention.” (The latter sounds suspiciously like Bob’s need for adulation. Projection anyone?)
  7. His facially dishonest effort to get a protective order by taking words out of context, etc.
So no, David, there are not two sides to every story, and under the canons, you are not privy to the details of Title IV matters, so you either have no idea what you are talking about, or Bob has improperly discussed the matter with you in violation of the canons. (If the latter has occurred, your obligation under Canon IV.1 (f) is to report the violation to an intake officer.) And just in case no one else has clued you in, retaliating against someone for complaining about possible gender-based workplace harassment and questionable financial practices is wrong, both in church and in the private sector. It is illegal in the latter. It is always and everywhere unethical for Bob to drag innocent family members into his vendetta, just as would be the case were Bob to engage in child abuse. No exceptions, no excuses, no explanations. And David, if you think Jesus would try to drag a dying woman into court, you are an asshat of the first order, and you should have done all involved a favor and saved your money, versus going to seminary.

There are some behaviors that are flat-out wrong, particularly by clergy, who allegedly are held to a higher standard. Period.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Bob Malm: Signs he’s Stayed Far too Long

One of the things Dysfunctional Bob Malm is proud of is his reign as the longest-serving rector of Grace Church, aka St. Dysfunction. Yes, he pretends that one day he looked up and realized he’d grabbed the gold ring, but trust me, he knew all along. And in Bob’s case, staying 30 years, which will soon have happened, isn’t something to be proud of —indeed, it’s been tremendously damaging to the church.

So why did Bob stay so long? Clearly, he didn’t plan to do so. Not only did he initially structure the deal on his personal residence for 5 years, but after the vestry foolishly extended the loan it made to him to purchase the place, Bob signaled in writing that he hoped to move on. That didn’t happen, most likely because Dysfunctional Bob couldn’t find another church willing to pay him at a level at his current outrageous level—a level that equals or surpasses many Episcopal bishops.

Moreover, on many fronts Bob hasn’t exactly been successful as rector. While St. Dysfunction is large enough that some might term it a cardinal church, it’s been slowly declining for many years, losing buying power and active members. Bob’s response? Having folks leaflet homes at Potomac Yards one time and show up at Art on the Avenue a few times. Big deal.

Compare this with St. Mary’s Arlington. While I have issues with Andrew Merrow, who is thoroughly checked out on multiple fronts and can be an arrogant little twit in private, one has to give him credit: Parish revenues have grown 50 percent over the past 10 years.

Compare this with Grace Church’s stats under Dysfunctional Bob:

Keep in mind, too, that a flat budget over ten years is, in reality, a 16 percent decrease in purchasing power.

Nor is Bob playing it smart. Having lost 2 full-time priests since 2014, with no sign that this is going to change any time soon, Dysfunctional Bob is shutting down the church for the week after Christmas; there will be no weekday Masses until the new year. Not exactly a good way to appeal to the small but loyal group that attends these services, and many of whom date from the days when attending church was normative. But then, having worked so damned hard on Christmas Eve, Bob needs time to regroup. After all, it’s a long time until his month off in the summer.

Nor does Bob have the integrity and self-awareness needed to leave before he has stayed too long. This contrasts unfavorably with Rick Lord, former rector of Holy Comforter in Vienna, who was very upfront about the fact that it was time for him to go, even though he was on top of his game. (Bob hasn’t been on top of his game for many years.)

There are many additional signs that Bob has stayed too long. These include resistance to change (Bob’s middle name—right beside Dysfunction), a negative reaction to feedback, a feeling of ownership, a belief that the rules don’t apply to him, and the notion that he’s irreplaceable.

To more fully explore these ideas, check out the excellent article, “10 Signs the Pastor or Church Employee Has Been There Too Long,” written by Joe McKeever and available here. Although written from an SBC perspective, the article’s key truths are valid across denominations, and make clear that Dysfunctional Bob is the poster person for clergy who have stayed far too long.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

New York State Senator Urges Opponent to Commit Suicide. Members of Grace Episcopal Would Approve

A state senator recently told an opponent, “Kill Yourself,’ via a tweet, but later deleted the tweet and apologized. That’s a step up from Grace Episcopal, where a college-aged member of the parish urged me to “go kill [myself],” but has never retracted her post. Moreover, the latter enjoys the tacit endorsement of the Virginia Episcopal bishops, as +Shannon has said, in writing, that he supports Bob Malm and Leslie Steffensen, and that “these matters were investigated and resolved long ago.”

So glad that these matters have been addressed to Bishop Shannon’s satisfaction.

In the meantime, if this is Bob Malm’s idea of “God’s Kingdom,” or +Shannon’s idea, they can keep it. No thanks.

Check it out.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Bob Malm and Possible Self-Dealing

One of the biggest concerns I have about governance at Grace Episcopal are the multiple instances of what may be self-dealing on Bob Malm’s part. Such conduct, if it has occurred, is unethical, possibly illegal, and may jeopardize the church’s tax exempt status.

So what is self-dealing? Simply put, it is the legal notion that fiduciaries must act in the best interests of the nonprofit, versus in their own self-interest. For example, a fiduciary who uses her role in an organization to hire a family member has engaged in self-dealing. Similarly, when a nonprofit acts to benefit a specific individual versus the organization’s intended beneficiaries, illegal self-dealing may have occurred.

Such conflicts can be indirect. For instance, a non-profit responsible for beautifying a downtown area has acted improperly if it landscapes an area that primarily benefits a single large donor to the nonprofit.

That raises the question: Who should worry about self-dealing? The answer is complex, but the IRS and other taxing authorities typically look to board members, officers, and highest-paid organizational employees. Since Bob Malm is a member of the vestry, and far and away the church’s highest paid employee, it seems clear he is within the purview of persons who could engage in self-dealing.

Now, let’s look at some specific transactions and decisions that could involve self-dealing:
  • The decision, which parishioners allege Bob made, to have Grace School serve grades K-5 in order to accommodate his desire to have his son James close to home. While I understand the desire to have one’s children nearby, if this allegation is true it would be highly improper, and a case of clear self-dealing. (Note that this is not a slap at James, whom I like and respect.)
  • The decision to tear down the rectory and pay for a private residence to Bob. In this instance, the fact that Bob allegedly remained in the room while the vestry considered the matter may have been improper influence that made the decision a case of self-dealing on Bob’s part.
  • The decision to offer Bob a $100K bonus. While he was not in the room when the executive committee/vestry considered the mater, Bob’s appointment of the executive committee usurps the arms-length negotiation that would otherwise occur if the church adhered to deonominational canons.
  • Allegations that Bob has repeatedly taken leave in excess of that permitted under his letter of agreement, and without vestry approval. If those allegations are true, some organizations would treat the unauthorized leave as theft of wages.
  • The employment of Bob’s daughter Lindsey in the church office.
Of course, one must remember that neither the IRS, nor a court of competent jurisdiction, has determined that Bob Malm has engaged in self-dealing. But there are enough instances that involve questionable fact patterns to raise serious concerns about the potential use of parish resources for Bob Malm’s personal benefit.

My advice to anyone considering membership in the parish, or considcring giving money to the church: Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions about these and other governance issues. Bob’s job is to serve you, not the other way around.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Parish Pedophile Free to Roam Grace Episcopal Church and School

One of the interesting things about Dysfunctional Bob and his vendetta against me and my family is that he hasn’t taken a similar approach with other parishioners. This includes the parishioner who allegedly has boundary issues with children, and whom I believe is a pedophile, as well as the married couple who allegedly had an open and notorious affair with other parishioners.

In the case of the parish pedophile, I will omit details of his alleged actions. That said, Bob Malm has been aware of these allegations for many years. His response? Being pointedly rude to that person. Yup. No requirement that this person be accompanied at all times when on church property. No requirement that this person not be alone with children. No notice to parents that this person may be a risk to their children. No notice to school staff. No calls from the Alexandria police department barring the pedophile from the property. No protective order.

Ditto for the allegedly adulterous couple. While no one would assert that they are dangerous to children, neither would anyone say that they are positive role models. Yet Bob took a complete pass.

Even worse, the church’s door code entrance system, and the pedophile’s ready access to master keys for interior doors, means he has 24/7 access to the church property, including rooms occupied by Grace Episcopal School. This in turn may afford the pedophile with  the opportunity to be alone with children in the building. In short, neither Bob Malm nor the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has learned anything from the Catholic abuse scandals.

It’s a sad state of affairs —and a sign that Bob Malm is utterly clueless—when Bob is willing to drag a dying woman into court, and to lie in court, yet largely ignores an individual who appears to be a threat to children.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

See for Yourself: Grace Parishioners Continue Their Efforts to Destroy Their Church

It is comments like this that underscore my point: Grace Episcopal Church is a toxic church.

And if you send your child to Grace Episcopal School, keep in mind that this is the caliber of conversation that goes on behind the scenes.

Lastly, if you are contemplating pledging for 2019, this is the sort of discourse you are supporting.

Friday, December 7, 2018

See for Yourself: Grace Episcopal Parishioner Mocks Dying Woman, Drags Family Members Into Dispute, Makes Accusations of Domestic Violence

Need further proof that Grace Episcopal Church and Bob Malm are toxic? Here’s a screen cap of comments believed to come from a member of Bob Malm’s family. I’d add that mom’s “shiner” is a growth on her right eye.

Grace Episcopal and Bob Malm are so ethically skewed they think it’s okay to mock the dying.