Showing posts with label pandemic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pandemic. Show all posts

Monday, August 31, 2020

Susan Goff Continues Church Closures, While Refusing to Enforce Church Canons

Reports from Mayo House indicate that an increasing number of Episcopalians are leaving the diocese for other denominations, and leaving the Christian faith altogether, over the continuing closure of churches in the diocese. Despite this, bishop Goff holds firm in her refusal to open the churches of the diocese. That in turn begs the question: Why is Goff so principled when it comes to health issues, yet so unprincipled when it comes to protecting and covering up Bob Malm’s perjury and other misconduct?

For the record, I support the decision to keep churches closed. The diocese, like all other members of the so-called “seven sisters” of the mainstream denominations, has a disproportionate number of older members when compared to the population at large. Thus, churches are particularly at risk for severe presentations of COVID-19. This is compounded by the fact that churches are considered super-spreaders due to the singing, physical contact, poor air circulation, and shared communion vessels. But the result is costly to the church, with more and more clergy reporting criticism  from church members about the fact that holy communion has not been available since March.

Needless to say, I adamantly oppose Susan Goff’s coverup of Bob Malm’s perjury, Malm’s efforts to drag a dying woman into court, his multiple lies, his deliberate misuse of memorial funds, and more. In that situation, the church intake officer has said that the diocese “can’t get involved” in civil litigation. That’s interesting, because by Goff’s own admission, her decision to close the churches is at best a stretch of her canonical authority. Yet despite the express canonical proscription of conduct involving deceit and misrepresentation, set forth in Title IV, Goff remains unwilling to enforce canon law.

I suspect the key to sorting out this situation exists in the fact that Goff herself is at high risk during the pandemic due to age and chemotherapy. Indeed, one suspects that if her personal wellbeing were not implicated, Goff likely would prove far less principled. 

Her role as an enabler also comes into play, for in recent clergy conference calls, Goff urges clergy to take vacation and Sabbath, saying that God rejoices in our relaxation.

I hate to break it Goff, but the average clergy person in the diocese is hardly in need of rest and relaxation. While many essential workers put on the PPE every day and trudge off to work, where they face an increasing number of hostile and aggressive individuals, your average priest in the diocese is “working” from home. Yes, they may call to check in on parishioners, and they may send and receive more email than usual, but the reality is that the endless parish meetings are now largely cancelled or virtual. Hospital visits are constrained, funerals are largely on hold, and weddings are at best abbreviated. In short, clergy are pretty much in a holding pattern, with many of their normal duties impossible for the time being. They are not being overworked. Yet they will in many cases be the last person left standing as church budgets continue their precipitous decline, thanks to the church’s runaway clericalism.

The result is a diocese that increasingly appears to be a narcissistic organization. Dedicated to its own comfort and convenience, the diocese loudly proclaims its commitment to the gospels, all while avoiding any sort of accountability. And its perception of itself is as a leader in racial reconciliation and healing, all while promoting civil discourse and a more just society. Yet in the same breath, the diocese expressly supports clergy perjury and other outrageous behavior of the worst sort.  Simply put, Goff and her minions see themselves in a light utterly inconsistent with reality, even as the diocese increasingly lurches towards collapse.

Truly, a sad end for The Episcopal Church.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Perjuring Priest Bob Malm Repeatedly Violates Massachusetts State Health Laws During Pandemic

Somehow, I have the funny feeling that perjuring priest Bob Malm has been at it again. Specifically, I am told that St. Gabriel’s, the church where Bob serves as interim, decided at the 11th hour not to transition to Phase 2 of the diocesan reopening plan.

Here’s what the church’s website says:

Note the whole bit about “information we didn’t have” and about informing the media “as you think best.” Hmmm. Sounds to me like what really happened is that the diocese said no to the reopening plan, possibly because it was non-compliant with state and diocesan policy.

And while there may or may not be more to this story, one thing is clear, which is that perjuring priest Bob Malm routinely violates the law when leading services. Specifically, he doesn’t wear a face covering. But even more disturbing is the utter lack of leadership perjuring priest Bob Malm evinces as interim rector when he refuses to take basic measures to protect his own health, and that of others.

Let’s start by taking a look at the health and safety guidelines issued by the diocese for Phase 1, which were promulgated May 18 and formed the foundation for moving to Phase 2. Of relevance is the highlighted section, which allows only a cantor or soloist, provided he or she is at least 20 feet from others and in a well-ventilated area.

While one can debate whether the nave at St. Gabriel’s is well-ventilated, there’s no doubt that the parish is not compliant on other fronts.

Below is a screen cap from the May 26 service. Yup, that’s a choir, and while there’s more attention to safety than the early days of the pandemic—including the wearing of face coverings — the service features a small choir, less than 20 feet distancing (but not standing right next to each other, as was the case at first), and myriad other issues.

Eventually on June 14, we see the move to a soloist, but even then the distance is well inside of 20 feet.

Now let’s shift to a related issue, which is the Massachusetts Department of Health requirements during Phase 1, with reference to the highlighted area. You’ll see that it requires all staff and clergy to wear a face mask or covering while participating in worship. That’s right, all. No exceptions because clergy feel warm, think they sound funny when talking, think it looks goofy, believe they’re special, or any other reasons.

The face mask requirement loosens a little bit for clergy in Phase 2, but only while actively leading the service.

Meanwhile, as a workplace safety matter, Massachusetts requires all employers eligible to open in Phases 1, 2, and 3 to require face masks of all employees. Here’s the screen cap, with the face mask requirement located on the upper right.

Additionally, Plymouth County, in which St Gabriel’s is located, requires face coverings in all “essential” businesses. While the measure does not specifically reference churches, it is broadly worded and has an “included but not limited to,” clause. Moreover, businesses are required to implement signage at their entrances, per below:

Now, let’s take a look at perjuring priest Bob Malm’s response to these requirements. Or, to phrase it in another way, how Bob is leading by example. Or not.

Following is a screen cap from the last service at which perjuring priest Bob Malm officiated at St. Gabriel’s:

Perjuring priest Bob Malm just can’t keep
his hands away from his face
Yup, no face covering, and perjuring priest Bob Malm is contaminating furniture, AV equipment, albs, stoles, lecterns, prayer books, altar linens and more by wiping his snotty nose, then handling other items without washing his hands or using sanitizer.

That begs the question: While perjuring priest Bob Malm may choose to be indifferent to his own welfare, or that of his wife and family, how can he stand in front of St. Gabriel’s, whether in person or via Vimeo, and display such a profound lack of concern for the welfare of others? Even as he babbles on about love? How does this exemplify leadership? Nor are these minor issues; they involve the potential for tremendous human suffering and loss. And if perjuring priest Bob Malm doesn’t follow the law, why should anyone else? (Not that I am encouraging anyone to disobey the law.)

Consider: Even Donald Trump, long the purveyor of conspiracy theories and weird claims that COVID-19 would go away on its own, has started wearing a face covering. True, it’s not out of concern for others, but rather because he fears losing the election. Even so, the point is valid: What does it say about Bob Malm when he doesn’t use a face covering, but Donald Trump does? Is Bob Malm really that special?

For the record, even when social distancing is possible — and many infectious disease experts believe 6 feet is not adequate — wearing a face mask reduces the both the risk of direct transmission as well as transmission via fomites, or inanimate surfaces that become contaminated. And keep in mind that singing, even with one person, is considered a high risk event.

On the other hand, keeping your snotty handkerchief in your back pocket, dabbing at your face, and touching other surfaces afterwards without using hand sanitizer or washing is a recipe for disaster. And given that perjuring priest Bob Malm is 68, he is high risk, as is his wife Leslie. And it’s especially troubling when in close proximity to the altar and other high-touch surfaces. (It’s worth noting that the state recommends that lecterns and other high-risk surfaces be protected with plexiglass shields, plastic, or other barriers.)

Bottom line, if your rector won’t comply with state law amidst the pandemic, or the commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself, or even just show enough respect for you to cover his face, you need to find a new rector. Pronto. And while you’re at it, you probably should ask some tough questions about the church and the diocese. It’s called lack of adult supervision.

COVID-19 is deadly serious. Don’t play games with your safety and that of others. And don’t tolerate anyone who does, especially when, as here, you are paying him and trusting him with both your spiritual and physical wellbeing.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Episcopal Cafe Confirms the Risks of Communal Singing During Pandemic

I’ve posted several times about the fact that perjuring priest Bob Malm continues his feckless indifference to the welfare of his parish due to his continued use of a choir during Sunday services, including the lack of social distancing evinced in St. Gabriel’s Vimeo feed.

Today, the risk has been confirmed by Episcopal Cafe.

In a piece written by John Chilton, the blog confirms that singing in a communal setting is a highly risky activity.

So the question becomes, “Will perjuring priest Bob Malm take things seriously and act to protect his parishioners?”

If history is any indicator — or Bob’s repeated instances of dabbing at his runny nose with a handkerchief while celebrating Mass provide a hint — the answer is hell no.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: Announcement that DioVA Is Suspending all Live-streaming from Churches Spells Additional Trouble for Grace

Yesterday, DioVA announced that it is suspending all live-streaming from church buildings and shutting church offices except on the basis of unavoidable need. The move, while morally sound, is likely to spell further trouble for Grace Church and other parishes facing challenges.

My hunch is that the diocese’s willingness to address the matter from an ethical perspective doesn’t reflect any new found organizational integrity. Rather, I believe it’s driven largely by bishop Susan Goff’s recent cancer diagnosis and the advice of her physicians, who would undoubtedly tell her she is in a very high risk category during the pandemic due to age and the immunosuppresssive effects of both cancer and radiation treatment.

Could the diocese finally be placing integrity over organizational survival? Perhaps, but its dismal track record on such things would make this a startling outcome. I mean, the whole unwillingness to even investigate Bob Malm’s perjury suggests a church every bit as corrupt as the Catholic church, and in some ways even more so.

Meanwhile, the diocese is in communication with parishes in transition, to see whether they wish to move forward or not. Those fairly far along likely will finish the process, but Grace and others just starting down that road probably will pull the plug. After all, what is left of the parish after the pandemic, including liturgical practices, may look very different. And the reality is that the aging demographics of The Episcopal Church means that it will be particularly hard hit, both in terms of the death of members and the inability of members, faced with a sharp recession, to maintain support for the parish.

Of course, in all of this, the question arises: If clergy are “working from home,” what exactly do they do? Yes, they can be in touch with parishioners by phone, and they can offer prayers for the dying via Skype. But it all sounds very much like Bob Malm “working from home” when his mother had cancer, Yes, some emails got answered and phone calls made, but my sense is that most of what got accomplished was playing golf—and a lot of it, at that.

So, with no live services, and no streaming services from churches for the foreseeeable future, why is Grace spending more than $220,000 a year on the building?

It’s a tough question to answer. And having no vision for the future does not make things any easier.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Perjuring Priest Bob Malm Remains Oblivious to COVID-18, Places Congregation at Risk

And the damned pig doesn’t even wash his hands after taking communion and before offering it to the congregation.

Don’t be surprised when members of St. Gabriel’s contract COVID-19.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Grace Episcopal Alexandria Food Pantry Places Parishioners and Students at Heightened Risk of COVID-19

Grace Episcopal Food Pantry Creates Elevated Risk of COVID-19 Exposure to School Students and Others

Let me say upfront: I fully support efforts to alleviate poverty and food insecurity. But the presence of the food pantry at Grace Church creates serious ongoing issues of potential exposure to COVID-19 for students at the church school, as well as parishioners and staff.

The problem is that the food insecure and marginally housed or homeless persons typically lack access to medical care and testing. Further, they often are unable to maintain social distancing, and will lack access to COVID-19 testing for the forseeable future.

"This virus is quite transmissible through relatively casual contact, making this pathogen very hard to contain," says James Lloyd-Smith, co-author a UCLA study on the topic. Moreover, the virus can travel on shoes for at least five days, according to another study. This results in widespread transmission, including to areas that would otherwise seem unlikely to experience exposure.

While children may be less affected by COVID-19 than those in older cohorts, those with asthma and other preexisting conditions are at elevated risk. Further, children at Grace School may unwittingly bring the virus home and expose parents, grandparents and others in vulnerable cohorts.

The New England Journal of Medicine also reports that the virus can live for at least three days on door handles, light switches and other high-use hard surfaces. Ibid.

Thus, with the Grace Church food pantry remaining open during this period of social distancing, floors and hard surfaces in and around the Commons — which includes the entrance to the school —have the potential to spread the virus through all parts of the building, particularly via foot traffic. Given the high percentage of persons age 65 and above in the parish, this creates enormous risk when in-person worship resumes at the church.

For these reasons, all persons at high risk of infection should avoid entering the building until such time as a vaccine and wide-spread testing are available. Additionally, those at risk should pay close attention to efforts to develop some form of treatment for the disease; as things stand, all medical professionals can do is provide mechanical ventilation and other supportive measures until the disease has run its course. And the elderly should carefully contemplate the words of American Health Care Association Mark Parkinson, who said, “The grim reality is that, for the elderly, COVID-19 is an almost perfect killing machine.”

Meanwhile, parents are well-advised to avoid re-enrolling their children at Grace Episcopal School.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Perjuring Priest Bob Malm Holds Services as Usual Despite Pandemic

As medical experts and government officials worldwide urge greater social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, perjuring priest Bob Malm continues true to form, holding services at St. Gabriel’s Marion anyway. The move comes despite the fact that Malm and many in his parish are at high risk due to age and other factors.

To be clear, the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts has taken a largely hands-off approach to the issue, placing responsibility in the hands of local churches. But as I have discussed elsewhere, that decision is problematic, for it sidesteps one of the very reasons to have a bishop, which is to make choices in the best interest of the church as a whole. This is particularly the case when, as here, there will be strong feelings with parishes on all sides of specific issues. In short, there are times when it is best for bishops to take local clergy out of the line of fire.

Complicating the situation at St. Gabriel’s is Bob Malm’s tendency to view himself as invincible. Malm himself noted this trait following his accident in which he broke his neck, but I have seen no evidence to suggest that this aspect of his personality, often seen in those with narcissistic personality disorder, has diminished over time.

There are larger issues at play. As a priest, Bob’s first priority should be the wellbeing of his parish. In that respect, his decision to hold services as usual was a profound moral failure. While attendance at St. Gabriel’s was sparse, many attendees were 65+ and thus at elevated risk of death due to COVID-19.

Nor were adequate safeguards implemented. While changes were made to the service to prevent physical contact and shared communion, many in the congregation, altar party and choir were in close physical proximity to others.

With the primary route of transmission the distribution of bodily fluids via coughing and sneezing, many in the congregation were one good sneeze away from potential exposure. Thus, the situation mirrors that of Christ Church Georgetown, where the rector was careful to use hand sanitizer and to otherwise take steps to protect parishioners. Yet despite these precautions, more than 550 people are now in quarantine.

The breadth of the Christ Church quarantine underscores another ethical aspect of Malm’s conduct, which is that it implicates others beyond those sitting in the pews. Specifically, if exposure occurs, each person who returns home potentially spreads the virus to dozens of others in supermarkets, movie theaters, restaurants and more. Nor does Bob’s conduct inspire ethical conduct; folks likely will conclude that if it’s safe to go to church, it is safe to go out to dinner, the movies, etc.

In the midst of the pandemic, all involved need to put aside perceived self-interest and act for the greater good. That means doing everything possible to limit interaction with others, to reduce risk, and to protect against this most serious threat. The risk is particularly high in Massachusetts, which has a large number of cases. Moreover, many are carrying the virus but are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, and thus are unknowingly spreading the disease.

If clergy like Bob Malm aren’t prepared to lead the way, why should we think that others will do what is necessary to protect our communities? And what excuse will Malm and others give if members of the congregation do get sick and die from exposure at the church?

Yet another sad example of Bob Malm’s lack of moral leadership.