Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Vienna Presbyterian’s Response to Abuse Markedly Different from that of Susan Goff, DioVA


Some years ago, Vienna Presbyterian faced a scandal involving its youth minister, who allegedly had abused young women in the church. As it struggled to deal with the crisis, the church took an approach profoundly different than that of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and Bishop Susan “Perjury’s Okay” Goff.

Shortly after news of the scandal broke, the church received the following directive from its insurance carrier:
“Do not make any statements, orally, in writing or in any manner, to acknowledge, admit to or apologize for anything that may be evidence of or interpreted as (a suggestion that) the actions of Vienna Presbyterian Church ... caused or contributed to any damages arising from the intentional acts/abuse/misconduct” by the youth director.”
The church declined to follow the attorney’s advice, with its board saying in a letter to the church, “Members of Staff and of Session are profoundly sorry that VPC’s response after the abuse was discovered was not always helpful to those entrusted to our care.”

Similarly, Pastor Peter James said in a sermon, “We won’t hide behind lawyers ... Jesus said the truth will set us free.”

Ironically, Bob Malm, in an email to the church vestry, which included his talking points that falsely stated that Mike and I left the church on our own and that our claims were untrue, cited the same Biblical verse, noting that it is “itched” in the church’s rose window.

Today, of course, Grace Church, Susan Goff, and the Diocese continue to try to defend their conduct in court, including their claim that Bob Malm’s perjury is not actionable as a disciplinary matter unless he faces criminal charges.

And that is exactly why the Episcopal Church is nearing its end—with few exceptions, it has lost all claim to moral legitimacy. Instead, it’s all about power, control, and ownership of assets.





Monday, April 20, 2020

Grace Church Posts Parish Administrator Job Description




Before we go further, let me say this upfront: As someone who is perhaps the most vociferous critic of Grace Episcopal, the clergy perjury parish, particularly during the final years of perjuring priest Bob Malm’s reign, I like much what I see coming out of the parish. That will come as a surprise to many, but fair is fair.

In that vein, the church recently posted the parish administrator job position  and it contains promising signs. Among these is the fact that the job description (JD) emphasizes equally the “soft skills” of integrity, dependability, and interpersonal skills, versus the technical skills required for the position.

Seemingly gone are the days when church staff could, with Bob Malm’s tacit and express support, yell at church members, curse them, lie about them, and more. Of course, none of that behavior should come as a surprise at a church where the diocese, bishops, vestry, and parish membership supported perjuring priest Bob Malm and his toxic behavior.

In recent years, things got a little better, but Amy “Middle Finger” Medrick certainly was no slice of paradise. Whether it was her falsely opining on what constitutes active church membership in contravention of church canons, her involvement in Bob Malm’s bullying, or flipping off protestors, Amy was a prime example of all that is wrong with Grace Church. That said, she did clean up the office and finally put in place a useful church management application. That stands in marked contrast with the Charlie Foxtrot that was the system used by Beth Wiggers and Charlotte Payne Wright. And Amy did manage to avoid some of the extremes of behavior that led to the current meltdown.

It’s also true that the church still has not wrapped its arms around facilities management. In light of Amy’s experience in affordable housing, she certainly was more than capable of doing better in this area. Yet despite the replacement of the HVAC systems, the church is reverting to type when it comes to preventive maintenance, which is to ignore emerging issues in favor of deferred — and inherently more costly — maintenance.

It’s also worth noting that the parish’s decision-making processes likely remain flawed. For example, the decision to run the HVAC system after the rupture of the underground line between the church and Merrow Hall was a debacle — yet one that few if any in the church recognize. Specifically, despite express warnings to the contrary, the church ran the system without flushing the lines, resulting in the accelerated failure of several air handlers and other pieces of equipment. Had the church been more prudent, it probably could have managed a couple more years with the incumbent system. 

That underscores a key point, which is that despite years of warnings, the church still has no replacement reserve study, and thus no meaningful plan to address capital expenditures, or capex. As a result, the church remains awash in an endless sea of reactive responses to its facilities issues. Nor have the half-measure steps taken by the property committee, which include identifying and estimating upcoming expenses, made any difference, for the church saves nothing from its operating budget for future capex. That’s really stupid, as it is virtually a given that the place will be much smaller in 10 years. Yet even as recently as 2014 the church was handing out $100K bonuses to perjuring priest Bob Malm — with the Princess Porcine, aka Lisa Medley, urging the vestry to give Bob $200K! (My guess is that the Princess Porcine doesn’t understand the concept of “private inurement. But then, she’s not the sharpest tool in the shed.)

On a positive note, the JD’s inclusion of social media is promising. Over the years, numerous folks have offered to help the church in this area, including my buddy Dee Parsons, who is known around the world for her work on abusive churches, including coverage of Grace Church and perjuring priest Bob Malm. True to form, Bob Malm ignored Dee’s offer, which is a shame. It’s a shame because folks at Grace don’t realize that announcements online are counterproductive —as in “the most recent sermon is available here.” If that’s your idea of social media, please do all involved a favor and stay off social media. Indeed, to the extent that parishioners like Leslie “Hambeast” Malm and Lisa “Princess Porcine” Medley — and their family members — have tried to wade into that space, the results have been nothing short of disastrous for the church. Yet many in the church have been too clueless to see this.

Ironically, while he is clueless as to social media and technology issues, perjuring priest Bob Malm, with his attention to superficial impressions, most clearly understood the problems the church has faced online. The church’s reputation is profoundly damaged, as is that of the diocese and the Episcopal Church, and that damage is getting worse over time. 

Of course, Bob’s efforts to perjure his way to victory on this front simply made things hundreds of times worse for the church. And the efforts to defend its conduct in court simply tell the world at large that Grace remains mired in its own ethical filth.

At least in the JD folks didn’t pull a Jason Roberson and claim that the place is “growing and flourishing.” It is neither, and to claim otherwise, to put it generously, is misleading. Indeed, at a time when the area population has grown by more than 13 percent over the past ten years Grace is barely managing to hold on. And from 2015 to 2018 alone, the parish lost almost exactly $100,000 of purchasing power. If that is Jason’s idea of growth, I’d like to see what he believes decline looks like.

And turning this situation around is going to require a willingness to take a fresh look at every aspect of the church, including how people interact with each other.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Sugarland Chiow, Perjuring Priest Bob Malm, and Organizational Integrity





One of the interesting things about all churches is that they purport to be purveyors of truth in some form. Yet one only has to look at the personal and organizational narcissism at Grace Church, particularly apropos Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow and perjuring priest Bob Malm, to realize how far from reality that claim is.

In Sugarland’s case, at one point he complained to defense counsel that I was allegedly “impugning [his] integrity. Yet one only has to look at his:
  • Efforts to drag a dying woman into court
  • Far-fetched claims of “domestic terrorism”
  • Ad hominem attacks
  • Inflammatory rhetoric
  • Many fabrications, including a mythical church shooting in the fictional town of “Sugarland” 
  • Multiple misstatements of law and fact to the courts.
To see firsthand that one need not “impugne” Sugarland’s integrity. His actions speak more loudly and clearly than I ever could. Or, to use the legal phrase, “res ipsa loquitor” — “the thing speaks for itself.”

Similarly, Bob Malm was fully involved in all of these actions, and personally signed many. He also repeatedly perjured himself in his written statements made under oath, during discovery, including his claim that his wife Leslie was the only person whom he knew had blogged about the matter, and his famous lie that my mother, or someone claiming to be her, had contacted him repeatedly to set up appointments.

These actions enjoy the full support of Grace’s vestry, its clergy, and the diocese to this day. Indeed, the church continues to try to defend its actions in court.

So, the Episcopal Church is dying, and rightly so. It is dying of its own internal rot and unethical behavior.

Meanwhile, Susan Goff and others revert to the same old Jesus-speak and church babble, assuring clergy that they need to take time for themselves, to care for themselves, and that the bishops will have clergy’s backs if anyone suggests otherwise. This denies the reality that, for many church members, life is hard, with job loss, or long hours for those who retain jobs. Some haven’t had vacations in years, and the long hours they devote to the church are over and above very long days at work.

Similarly, Sugarland would do the church a favor if he were to publicly acknowledge his actions, apologize to the parish, and transfer to another church. That way, the parish could begin the lengthy process of rebuilding following 30 years of perjuring priest Bob Malm and his selfish, childish behavior and all the problems that spun off from that.

In short, the church needs to get over the empty clericalism that empowers the Bob Malm’s of the world, and the unethical sycophants like Sugarland who hang onto them. 

If it does not, the Episcopal church will be gone within the lifetimes of many. And the Susan Goff’s of the world need to recognize that it is not business as usual.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Grace Episcopal Pays Perjuring Priest Bob Malm $100,000 Bonus

Thinking about donating to Grace Episcopal?

If so, keep in mind this is a church that not only approves of clergy perjury and dragging the dying into court, it paid perjuring priest Bob Malm a $100,000 bonus in 2014.

When was the last time YOU got a $100,000 bonus? 

Keep in mind that this equals roughly 10% of annual revenue, and went to a priest who got 1 out of every 5 dollars given to the church.

Do yourself a favor and keep your money. Or use it for something ethically relevant, like helping the homeless or educating others. Don’t give to support the clergy perjury parish.




Thursday, April 16, 2020

More Evidence of the Hypocrisy of Perjuring Priest Bob Malm

One of perjuring priest Bob Malm’s least attractive qualities is his tendency to tell people what he thinks they want to hear, even when it’s not true. And this appears to be starting anew at St. Gabriel’s in Marion, Mass., where perjuring priest Bob Malm serves as interim rector.

In a local news story covering the effect of COVID-19 churches in his area, perjuring priest Bob Malm says:


That is inconsistent with his behavior as rector of Grace Church, where Bob didn’t even bother to meet regularly with church wardens. Even when, as in my case, they had his back while he was out on disability. Yet Bob never failed to get in his month at the beach, his junkets “out of town,” his week off for the Boston Marathon, and more. Indeed, Bob traveled to Massachusetts twice, and to Georgia once, while still collecting disability in 2014. Too sick to come to work, but not too sick to travel more than 3,528 miles by car and to spend six weeks at the beach.

Nor did Bob make any greater effort during his final year as rector. Indeed, like many narcissists, Bob tried to manage perceptions on the way out the door by volunteering just how feckless he had been, saying:


And given that Grace church, like most churches, pretty much recycles the same vestry members over time, this is a stunning admission.

But then, given that hanging with perjuring priest Bob Malm is not exactly a slice of paradise, perhaps the folks at St. Gabriel’s should count themselves lucky.


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: Class Action Lawsuit Against Liberty University Spells Bad News For Grace School

Adam Levitt, attorney suing Liberty University
Grace Episcopal School, which Lisa “Princess Porcine” Medley refers to as “our day school” to the great angst of school staff, faces potential bad news. Specifically, an unnamed plaintiff has filed a class-action lawsuit in Lynchburg federal court against Liberty University, alleging that it has improperly retained tuition after cancelling classes and ostensibly moving them online.

Much like Liberty University, Grace School has said it will retain tuition, despite the fact that it has slapped together “distance learning” in response to COVID-19 related social distancing.

The problem, of course, is that online learning is a poor substitute for the experience that Grace School offers. Many parents pay upwards of $20,000 a year for the small class sizes, warm environment and personal attention that the school provides. A hastily thrown together online experience is a mediocre substitute, and one that in fairness warrants a large refund. That is particularly the case when, as here, some economists say we are moving into a full-blown depression.

Some major colleges and universities, including Harvard, promptly offered prorated refunds in response to the pandemic. Others, including several large state schools, are facing class action lawsuits for their failure to do so.

In the Liberty Uvinersity case, the plaintiffs note that Liberty’s failure to refund tuition and attempt to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic are particularly inappropriate in light of the school’s professed values. And such is the case with Grace Episcopal School, where Patti Culbreth now wants parents in some cases to pay more than 20K a year for the privilege of implementing the school’s distance learning plans.

In its defense, Liberty University asserts that its actions were mandated by government, and thus the plaintiffs have no case. But the school has violated the both the letter and the spirit of the state social distancing regulations, including trying to charge reporters on campus covering the issue with trespassing. Moreover, it is unlikely that the state intended to unjustly enrich organizations such as Liberty.

Those attending schools that refuse to refund tuition can reach Adam Levitt, counsel for the plaintiffs, via email at alevitt@dicellolevitt.com. Levitts’s phone number is (312) 214-7900, and his offices are located at Ten North Dearborn Street, Eleventh Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60602.

I would add that the school’s proximity to the Pentagon and DC, and the experiences of 9/11, should have led it to develop distance learning contingency plans long ago. The need for a plan B is, in the overall scheme of things, neither unexpected nor surprising.

Here’s How Grace Church Uses Its Pledge Income

One day in 2013, as I was doing repair work in the undercroft, I noticed that the window sills in the vesting rooms were dirty. Not just a little dirty—disgustingly, filthy dirty. As in not cleaned for several years. Layers of dead flies, dust, and pieces of cut grass that had been blown through the increasingly decrepit windows by the lawn mowers, together with water stains and more.

I took the following photo and sent it to Bob Malm by email, asking who was responsible for cleaning the vesting rooms. (Given that the parish has a paid sexton, one would think he would do it. But then, having caught him sleeping in the building on one occasion, and having been unable to locate him in the building on other occasions when he was supposedly working, that may be an unwarranted assumption.)

Predictably, Bob didn’t bother to respond.

So I asked parish administrator Charlotte Payne Wright who is responsible for cleaning the vesting rooms. Her telling response, “I’m not sure anyone is.”

The upshot is no one knew or cared. And yet Bob Malm subsequently claimed in writing that “no one at Grace is shirking their responsibilities,” despite the fact that it clearly had been at least four and a half years since anyone had bothered to clean the vesting rooms, as evinced by the date of the bulletin from the Great Vigil of Easter.

That begs the question: What does this utter indifference to the care of the physical plant suggest to members? To visitors? What does it say about the role of the building in divine worship? About stewardship of the money and resources entrusted to the church?

And what does Bob Malm’s non-response and claims that he actually was doing his job say about him? About the vestry? Does this sort of conduct warrant a $200,000 annual compensation package and a 2014 annual bonus of $100,000?

Nor is this the only example of ignoring basic standards of cleanliness and maintenance. Indeed, such examples are myriad. And in another instance, when I brought up similar issues, Bob’s response was, “I have neither the time nor the interest.”

Given Bob’s annual month at the beach, his week for the Boston Marathon, and his many trips “out of town,” I have no doubt perjuring priest Bob Malm was telling the truth when he said he didn’t have the time, and he clearly had zero interest.

This sort of feckless leadership and the fact that it was acceptable for so many years at Grace Church surely is worth keeping in mind if you are considering getting involved in the church, or making a pledge to the church.

Caveat emptor!

Filth in the vesting rooms, left untouched for 4.5 years.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Happy Easter from Grace Episcopal!

God’s Grace for All!

Here at Grace Episcopal, just like Bob Malm, you can lie to parishioners, bully the dying, misuse memorial funds, lie to your vestry, gossip about others, and more. And you can celebrate it all by getting blind drunk at Shrine Mont! 

Happy Easter.


Looking at this Conflict, by the Numbers



As of this writing, our online petition has 7,723 signers. Here are some data to put that number in perspective:
  • Based on the most recent data available, signatures equal 36.67% of the diocese of Virginia’s average Sunday attendance.
  • Using the same statistics, which are provided by the national church, signatures equal 11.21% of total diocesan membership.
Similarly, this blog has been seen 150,780 times as of today. That’s 118.83 percent of total diocesan membership.

Social media hits, at well over 2 million, exceed total membership in the Episcopal Church by at least 9 percent.

Of course, egged on by perjuring priest Bob Malm and his narrative, folks at Grace Church ranging from Teresa Preston, to Kemp Williams, to Eric Waskowiscz, to the Princess Porcine Lisa Medley, to Amy “Middle Finger” Medrick do everything from suggest that I’m mentally ill, to making obscene gestures.

But no one has yet to show me a single shred of evidence to support Bob Malm’s perjurious claim that Mom, or someone claiming to be her, contacted him repeatedly and no-showed. Nor has anyone at Grace Church explained how their conduct comports with their professed beliefs, including the part in the baptismal covenant that talks about “respecting the dignity of every human being.”

So Malm can gas on all he wants about how Jesus came to show us a new way to love, but as Jesus himself said, “By their fruits you shall know them.”

My view is that if this is their faith in action, folks in The Episcopal Church can keep it. No thanks.

In the meantime, people need to know this is how Grace Church, perjuring priest Bob Malm, and The Episcopal Church roll.

Caveat emptor!

The Decline of The Episcopal Church

Friday, April 10, 2020

Change.Org Petition Seen Almost 170,000 Times, Spells Further Bad News for the Parish and Denomination

You really have to hand it to The Episcopal Church. At a time when all indicators suggest the denomination is dying, it clings tenaciously to its perceived prerogatives. That includes its utter commitment to ignoring Bob Malm’s perjury.

As a result, well over a million people have seen social media posts, ads, and more, including my online petition on change.org. Apropos the latter, almost 170,000 people have seen the petition. That’s particularly problematic for the church, because change.org holds enormous traction among young people, particularly those with more liberal/inclusive views. In short, Bob’s conduct is eroding the very future of a church that as it stands, at last count had just 1,676,349 members, making it the fourteenth largest denomination in the US. And except for the PCUSA, it has the fastest rate of decline.

And before some imbecile like Sugarland Chiow comes along carrying on about how I should stop sharing my observations about the church, let me be clear: It is Bob Malm’s misconduct, that of the vestry, and that of the diocese that is causing these problems. In fact, in 2015, the parish, speaking through Jeff Chiow, refused my offer to settle things in exchange for nothing more than Bob Malm’s written commitment to stop his shunning and bullying. 

Having done so, perjuring priest Bob Malm, Sugarland Chiow, the parish and the diocese need to live with the results of their decision. 




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.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Grace Episcopal Alexandria: Evil in Action


Hannah Arendt, writing on the war crimes trial of Adolph Eichmann, remarked on the “banality of evil.” But what did she mean by that, and what does it have to do with Grace Episcopal?

In her research, Arendt found that Eichmann was unremarkable in every way. Noting that he was a rather anodyne bureaucrat, she found him “neither brutal nor sadistic,” but rather “terrifyingly normal.” In short, he was shallow and clueless.

Similarly, John Stuart Mill said, “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”

Such is the case for Grace Episcopal Alexandria. There, a beautiful building and lovely liturgy take the place of true faith. People are friendly, but for years have either ignored, or quietly lamented without getting involved, perjuring priest Bob Malm’s feckless performance as rector. Whether it is the more than $1 million that the parish squandered on his personal residence, his $100,000 bonus at a time when the church was not saving for the future, Bob’s refusal to address HR issues, hoarding, bullying, and other problems in the parish, or even his indifference to forming relationships with parish leaders, all make for a toxic church.

Similarly, bullies in the parish have been ignored for years, particularly in the church office, the choir, and the altar guild. I get that the altar guild doesn’t like change, but that doesn’t excuse bad behavior.

Worst of all is Bob Malm’s bullying, lying, his willingness to drag a dying woman into court, and his perjury. Yet these behaviors enjoy the full support of the diocese, the vestry, and the church as a whole. Nor was Bob “shooting from the hip,” with his perjury, for he did so in writing, under oath, while advised by church legal counsel, in front of notary and parishioner Jane Rosman. And let’s not forget his perjurious claim that his wife Leslie was the only person in his family who had blogged about our conflict, for he knew full well his daughter Lindsey had done so.

So, if you believe that bullying, lying, and committing perjury are wrong, yet you are paying a pledge, donating money, or otherwise supporting Grace Church and not doing anything about these issues, you are part of the problem. 

Indeed, evil is banal. 

Friday, April 3, 2020

Breaking News: Grace Episcopal Alexandria Again Sued

Grace Episcopal Church Claims its Threatened by Domestic Terrorism
Grace Church’s Filing Calling Mom a “Domestic Terrorist”


It’s been a long time coming, but earlier today Mom’s estate filed suit against Grace Church, the diocese, and several named individuals. Due to the state of emergency in Pennsylvania and the closure of the relevant courts, it may be several more days before things are official. But barring the unforeseen, I expect that everything will be complete by May 10.

One of the interesting things in all of this will be seeing how the church explains its claims that Mom defamed it, and why it tried to drag a dying woman into court in violation of state law. Needless to say, I have alerted the news media, and I expect that we’ll see a great deal of additional publicity emerge. 

It should also be interesting to hear explanations from the church as to how Mom’s collective pseudonym, “The Killer B’s,” which she borrowed from Pittsburgh sports teams and her favorite classic rock band, is an act of “domestic terrorism” as claimed by the church in the Pennsylvania courts. In fact, in talking with the clerk of courts in the relevant jurisdiction, it is fair to say that she howled with laughter. 

Hearing folks explain how Mom or someone claiming to be her allegedly repeatedly set up appointments with Bob Malm, only to no-show, should also prove interesting. I fully intend to make the transcripts available to the media.

So, the Episcopal Church has now been sued by a dead woman. Nice.


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

As Petition Passes 7,000 Signatures, Episcopal Diocese of Virgina Still Refuses to Address Bob Malm’s Perjury

You have to hand it to The Episcopal Church. It’s not just set in its ways. It’s bound and determined to ruin itself.

Now, with more than 7,000 signatures, my petition asking Bishop Susan Goff and The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia to conduct a full, fair, open and independent investigation of Bob Malm’s perjury is still being ignored. That’s right—a denomination that experts say is now less than 20 years away from collapse is hellbent on avoiding dealing with a priest who commits perjury and tries to drag the dying into court,

Petition About Perjuring Priest Bob Malm Passes 7000 Signatures


And it’s not just the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and Bishop Susan Goff who are morally bankrupt.

Perjuring priest Bob Malm continues to serve as interim rector of St. Gabriel’s, Marion Massachusetts. There, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he assures parishioners that they are in his “daily prayers.” That’s far from comforting, coming from a perjurer and priest of whom someone close to him as said, “it’s just a job for him.”

Meanwhile, The Episcopal Church’s insurance carrier continues to attempt to defend the actions of the diocese and parish in court, with attorney Diane DiBlasio working on setting a motions court date in June in our case. Proof positive that The Episcopal Church is as stubborn as it is stupid.

And let’s not forget: The Episcopal Church and much of its clergy is morally bankrupt,

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: Court Cases Rescheduled Due to COVID-19 Pandemic, Grace Episcopal May Still be in Court in 2021

COVID-19 Crisis Delays Grace Episcopal Court Cases

With multiple lawsuits now under way against Grace Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, Susan Goff, and members of Bob Malm’s family, there is a monkey wrench thrown into things by virtue of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the case of the suit against Grace Church, Susan Goff, and the diocese, the court has continued the motions hearing until June 19. That date does not work for counsel representing the defendants, so opposing counsel and I are trying to work out a new date so that we might submit a praecipe to the court requesting the change.

In the lawsuit against Leslie Malm for defamation, the initial return date has moved to June 26, although that date also may require adjustment. Meantime, I am in discussions with some of the attorneys who represented the dissident groups in the so-called property recovery litigation about possibly expanding the suit. Needless to say, her potential liability in tort is not confined to defamation.

Experts point out that, at its current rate of decline, The Episcopal Church only has about 17 Easters to go. That said, due to scheduling issues arising from the COVID-19 crisis, it increasingly looks Grace Episcopal and the Diocese will still be in court when the 16th-to-last Easter rolls around. Specifically, in response to the pandemic, the motions court hearing date has been postponed until June 19. Unfortunately, defense counsel has a conflict on that date, so it will probably be the end of June or July before we can resolve the various motions pending before the court,

Similarly, dates remain up in the air for the defamation suit against Lindsey Malm Anders, and I may also expand her case with the assistance of legal counsel.

Lastly, while I cannot share details, Bob Malm certainly remains on my radar, as well as the attorneys representing Mom’s estate. Suffice it to say there will be more news on those issues in the coming weeks.

In all of this, the notable thing is that Bob Malm tried to lie his way into misusing the court system to shut down criticism. In so doing, he went down the proverbial rabbit hole, pulling Jeff Sugarland Chiow, the parish, the diocese, and his family into what can only be described as a hot mess. But then, with Bob Malm having consistently placed his own perceived needs ahead of those of anyone else, the outcome comes as no surprise.

Bob et al would also do well to remember that I long ago structured my persona affairs such that I am judgment proof. All assets are either held in irrevocable trust, owned solely by Mike, or in other forms of ownership exempt from judicial process.

Of course, had Bob and Sugarland Chiow had half the common sense God gave a goat, they would have considered such factors long ago. But Bob’s initial hope was to somehow convince law enforcement that writing about him was a crime, But with no lese majeste statutes on the books to cover Episcopal clergy in the US, and the thorny issue of the First Amendment standing in his way, perjuring priest Bob Malm wound up in over his head in record time.

The result is lasting damage to the parish, as well as awareness by literally hundreds of bloggers and more than a million social media users of the church’s actions, initiated by Bob Malm and enjoying the full support of the church vestry and diocesan bishops. Nor is there any possibility that I will go away quietly any time soon. In short, the diocese and parish, as well as Sugarland Chiow and perjuring priest Bob Malm, placed themselves in a catch-22 situation in which no possible scenario exists in which they win. At this point, the only question is how badly they lose, and whether the parish will survive, which is looking less likely by the day.

Moreover, the diocese’s farcical and ugly claim that its clergy will only be held to account if they face criminal charges reveals how illusory church canons are, for they specifically forbid clergy from engaging in conduct involving “dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation”— no criminal charges required. At the same time, it is clear for all to see that the diocese has no claim to moral authority.

Any denomination in which it is okay for Bob Malm to commit perjury is in sorry shape indeed.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Bob Malm: Atrocious Behavior, But Suited for Ministry at St. Gabriel’s

Leaving aside for one moment perjuring priest Bob Malm’s bad habit of not being able to keep his hands away from his face amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, there is the issue of his past conduct. For example, when he tried dragging my mother, dying of COPD into court, here is what one Twitizen said:


Yet perjuring priest and snake Bob Malm is considered a suitable interim for St. Gabriel’s. 

That should tell you all you need to know about St. Gabriel’s, the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, and The Episcopal Church.

Caveat emptor.

Grace Episcopal Alexandria: Then and Now


Good job folks.

As for perjuring priest Bob Malm, as a priest and a person, he’s a total loser.




Sunday, March 29, 2020

Matthew Dumont-Machowski: Another Hypocrite from Grace Episcopal

Matt Dumont-Machowski


There’s something about Grace Episcopal that breeds hypocrites. Maybe it’s lead in the water pipes. Maybe it’s, as one priest has put it, “an evil spirit.” Or more likely it’s 30 years of perjuring priest Bob Malm.

Check out the amusing screen cap of Matthew Dumont-Machowski’s Twitter page that follows:

Matthew Dumont-Machowski

If nothing else, if Matt is serious about ministry, why wouldn’t he want to increase engagement versus decrease it? Is his faith really that thin?

Meanwhile, if you go to Matt’s website, he bloviates on about refugees, human rights, etc. All worthy endeavors and appropriate for public scrutiny, but meanwhile Matt would do better to look right underneath his nose at Bob Malm’s perjury, his efforts to drag a dying woman into court, his deliberate misuse of church memorial donations, his lies to parishioners, and his feckless approach to being rector. Or, while we’re on the topic of human rights, maybe Matt would be so kind at to share his views on the ethics of a $100,000 bonus for Bob Malm, while cutting health care benefits to parish employees. Or perhaps he can tell me how parishioners urging me to commit suicide comports with his notion of Christianity.

Or let’s cut to the quick and just ask Matt to proffer one iota of support for Bob Malm’s sworn testimony, signed in front of notary and parishioner Jane Rosman, that my mother or someone purporting to be her contacted Bob repeatedly to set up appointments. Should be an easy request—as clergy, isn’t Matt supposed to be resisting injustice and oppression? Or are those just pretty but meaningless words?

As I have said of Bob Malm, “Jesus welcomes outcasts. Bob Malm creates outcasts.”

The good news is that, given its current trajectory, the Episcopal Church only has about 27 more Easters to go. Frankly, being rid of the self-righteous hypocrisy of Matt and so many other Episcopal clergy won’t come a day too soon.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Farewell, Amy “Middle Finger” Medrick

Amy Medrick Alexandria

The recent news that parish administrator Amy Medrick is leaving Grace Church is sad, for in many ways she typified the dysfunction in the church.

From her emailed comments that she was not comfortable with Mike Smith having her personal email address (horrors!), to her on-the-fly and inaccurate expositions of canon law (for example, her statement that it had been many months since Mike and I had been active members of the parish, despite the contrary provisions of the national church), to her flipping me the middle finger while I was out protesting the church’s efforts to drag my dying mother into court, Amy personified the problems in the church. Paranoia, arrogance, marginal competence, lack of compassion and thoroughly un-Christian behavior all rolled into one to form a profoundly ugly package. Even her experience with property management and development made little difference—as I posted earlier, even a casual glance at the church reveals multiple facially obvious problems that are being ignored.

To be fair, Amy did finally get rid of the utterly dysfunctional deployment of ACS, the church management software package previously used. While ACS is best in the business, it is pricey, long-in-the-tooth, and the initial deployment and subsequent maintenance at Grace was a total Charlie Foxtrot. In short, exactly what you would expect under perjuring priest Bob Malm’s reign of dysfunction. Indeed, discussions about how to fix that sordid mess were under way in 2011, yet it was not until shortly before perjuring priest Bob Malm’s departure in 2019 that the new Breeze software was deployed — a telling indicator of just how inept things were under Bob Malm.

Fair winds and following seas, Amy. And even when you’re gone, don’t hesitate to flip me off in public. Nothing like truth in advertising when it comes to The Episcopal Church.


Planning to Enroll Your Child at Grace School Next Year? If So, You are Stupid


As I reported in an earlier post, experts state that COVID-19 can survive on the soles of shoes for five days. Experts express particular concern for children, who are by nature inclined to handle shoes, and to play while on the floor.

With this in mind, and in light of the numerous food-insecure and homeless people who access the main entrance to the building — the same one used by the school — parents must ask if Grace provides an appropriately clean environment.

Additionally, the increased presence of tuberculosis and other readily transmissible airborne diseases by cohorts of limited economic means places Grace Episcopal School children at risk.

Moreover, I have issues with Patti Culbreth’s personal and professional integrity. Specifically, her blind willingness to jump on board the Bob Malm/Sugarland Chiow perjury bandwagon absent any firsthand contact with me, as evinced by internal church memorandum obtained during discovery, suggests Patti is not one to make independent moral decisions. In a world disrupted by vicious tribalism and a blind willingness to follow so-called leaders, the last thing students need is a head of school who lacks critical thinking skills.

Simply put, Grace Episcopal School is not a good environment for students in various ways.

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.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

See What A Priest and Attorney Says About Perjuring Priest Bob Malm and Susan Don’t-Get-Arrested Goff

I recently have been in extended discussions with a priest and attorney about the state of affairs at Grace Episcopal, the clergy perjury parish, and the wreck that is the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia under Susan Goff. While I cannot share specifics, one exchange is worth reporting, and reinforces that the Episcopal Church is morally bankrupt.

Read the attached from bottom to top. The photo I included, of Mom in advanced congestive heart failure — at a time when Sugarland Chiow and Bob Malm falsely told the Virginia courts that Mom was up and about and doing fine. Recall that this was in conjunction with their effort to drag Mom into court—an effort that the Pennsylvania courts immediately quashed as illegal, since Sugarland had not, as required by law, obtained advance leave of court.

Sugarland Chiow and perjuring priest Bob Malm — true examples of Jesus’ message of love and compassion. Fully supported by Susan “Don’t Get Arrested” Goff.










Monday, March 23, 2020

A Shout Out to the Bullies of Grace Episcopal Alexandria and their Validators



Social scientists have long recognized that witnesses to bullying occupy four roles. These roles are not mutually exclusive, and a bystander may occupy more than one role, or switch among them. Regrettably, three of the four roles involve unethical conduct, and members of Grace Episcopal Church almost without exception occupy the categories that are unethical.

The categories are:
  • Assistants join the bullying, often taking directions from the bullies
  • Reinforcers encourage the bullies by cheering, laughing, or otherwise actively supporting them
  • Validators know about the bullying but do nothing, giving "silent approval"
  • Defenders intervene and support the victims
(Quoted from the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut Safe Church Training Materials, found here).

In my experience, the vast majority of Grace Church parishioners and clergy are validators, who offer time, talent, and treasure to the church and ignore bullying, as well as Bob Malm’s readily verifiable perjury.

Bishop Susan Goff, Bishop Shannon Johnston, the Rev. Caroline Parkinson, and the Rev. Sven vanBaars, however, are reinforcers, aiding and encouraging Bob Malm and Sugarland Chiow. Indeed, Johnston sent out a letter supporting Bob, even falsely claiming that the matter had been “investigated and resolved long ago.” Nothing like having a liar for a bishop.

And several parishioners are themselves bullies, including Alison Campbell, Jan Spence, Lucy Medley and Lisa Medley. While all four may justify their conduct by claiming they were sticking up for Kelly Gable, last I heard God wasn’t hiring in that department. Not to mention 1) Kelly and I had resolved our differences before they jumped in, 2) Thanks to their childish antics, the church’s reputation is irreparably damaged.

Meanwhile, my question to Michael Guy, Jason Robertson, members of the search committee and vestry, and the parish at large is this:

Which category of bystander are you? If you continue to give money and say nothing, at a minimum you are a validator. And Jesus had very little use for persons in positions of authority who ignored injustice and oppression, especially when done in the name of religion.


As I told Susan Goff and other diocesan officials in writing, those of you who turn a blind eye to Bob Malm’s perjury and other misconduct are modern-day Scribes and Pharisees. You profess your faith noisily in public, but in reality you are the whitewashed tombs of whom Jesus spoke—pretty on the outside, reeking of corruption and filth on the inside. You are hypocrites. Same for Sally Schneider and her moronic condemnations of me, delivered in her saccharine voice. And same for Christine Cheevers, with her stupid assertion that Bob Malm is gone, and somehow I should just be okay with his bullying, perjury and more as a result. Not to mention that Cheevers’ efforts to shout me down show she is a bully and an asshole, and you can quote me on that.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Perjuring Priest Bob Malm Shows Why Social Distance Doesn’t Work at Church

These photos were taken shortly before perjuring priest Bob Malm handled several small children in preparation for baptism—no hand sanitizer in sight! And moments later, he conducts Holy Eucharist.

So much for avoiding touching your face.




Thursday, March 19, 2020

DioVA Provides Further Evidence It Is Indifferent to Abuse





During the 2015 General Convention (GC) of The Episcopal Church, two measures were passed that addressed abuse in the church. Measure 2015-A073 authorized the updating of Model Policies for the Protection of Children, while Measure 2015-A074 called for the update of the Safe Church Training Materials.

The work was done by a GC-appointed task force spearheaded by the eminently capable The Rev. Canon Robin Hammeal-Urban, and the Rev. Canon Carol Cole Flanagan, as well as several other persons with a passion for ensuring that Episcopal churches are safe places for all persons.

The resulting materials were approved by the most recent General Convention and require that all dioceses adopt standards at least as protective as those approved by General Convention; higher standards may be implemented. Further, the measure makes clear that the standards apply to all church programs and activities.

Yet many dioceses have ignored these requirements. For example, here in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, the policies used do not reflect the current standards. The Episcopal Diocese of Washington (EDOW) does follow the standards, since Canon Flanagan is canonically resident in that diocese.

The status of the new policies in other dioceses are less clear, for many don’t publish their policies on their websites. That’s a mistake, for failing to publish that information makes it difficult at best to ensure compliance. (Speaking of, General Convention ignored efforts to include a question about compliance in the annual report.)

And of course, there is nothing to prevent individual parishes from adopting these policies. Yet those with which which I am familiar have consistently failed to done do.

So my questions are these: What message does General Convention’s failure to include a question about compliance on the annual parochial report send to the church? To victims of #metoo and #churchtoo? How can the church claim to be serious about these issues when it fails to take even the most minimal steps towards ensuring compliance?

For those dioceses and parishes that have ignored the requirements imposed by the new standards: What message does this send to parents in the church? To vulnerable adults? To all who are concerned about bullying and misconduct in the church? How can you claim to be an inclusive church when you ignore safe church efforts?

As a practical matter, entities within the church that fail to adopt these measures could be found liable to failing to adopt these common standards.

Clearly, the Episcopal Church still pays far too little attention to issues of sexual and other misconduct in the church. And Bishop Goff’s claim to be working for an inclusive church are a bunch of poo.

COVD-19 Hastens the End for Dying Grace Episcopal Church

While few at Grace Church, aka St. Dysfunction, are sufficiently forward-looking to recognize it, there are more COVD-19 problems in store for the parish.

Consider the theory that the pandemic will die down as the summer months approach due to increasing humidity. While there’s ample reason to be skeptical, if it’s true, the news carries with it some delayed bad news, which is that Shrine Mont likely will be closed. That’s because if the increased humidity of summer discourages the virus, the decreased humidity of fall and increased dust and pollen occurring at the time of Shrine Mont will surely bring a resurgence. Same for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Epiphany and Easter. In short, until a vaccine is developed, this is the new normal.

So, what’s left of Grace Church and its deplorable ethics should probably be realistic and recognize that the earlier predictions that The Episcopal Church will have no Sunday worshipers in 30 years no longer holds true at Grace Church. My prediction is that it’s got 5-10 years max. And given the hypocrisy and misconduct I have seen in the parish, the day Grace closes won’t be a day too soon.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Perjuring Priest Bob Malm Finally Gets Some Adult Supervision


Perjuring Priest Bob Malm Finally Does the Right Thing and Pulls the Plug on in-Person Worship at St. Gabriel’s


Over time, there is one thing that is consistent about perjuring priest Bob Malm: He is never a leader when it comes to moral and ethical issues. Whether it’s turning a blind eye to bullying by church staff who report to him, or misconduct by parish “leaders” that he has appointed, or his own lies, misuse of funds, and other misconduct, Bob is at best amoral.

And so it is with his new gig at St. Gabriel’s, Marion. While the government is urging people to avoid unnecessary interaction, and self-quarantine for those age 65 and over, Bob Malm until now has simply ignored these suggestions. Yes, last Sunday he avoided physical contact with parishioners, but  the few attendees at services were overwhelmingly high risk.

To make matters worse, many were in close proximity to each other, thus putting themselves one cough or sneeze away from exposure and possible death. Moreover, viral exposure is an exponential thing, with one infected person potentially exposing dozens if not hundreds of others. Thus, even if you don’t care what happens to your parishioners, you risk causing harm to the larger community. This in turn deprives the church of any claim to moral legitimacy.

Fortunately, it appears that the bishop offered some adult supervision and asked the parish to stop in-person services. This is the only ethically appropriate outcome, and needs to continue for at least another month.

All I can say is it is about damned time.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Safe Church and DioVA: One of the Diocese’s Major Governance Failures

One of the many downsides of the years of property recovery litigation here in DioVA is that it diverted massive amounts of time and attention from ordinary governance issues. This power vacuum  extended even to day-to-day accountability among Mayo House staff, and it was exacerbated by +Shannon’s indifference to getting involved in the details and his adversarial management style.

But one of the diocese’s biggest failings, and one still ignored by Susan Goff, was the need to update and expand on existing sexual misconduct prevention policies, to include Safe Church training.

As things stand, diocesan policies cover sexual misconduct involving children and vulnerable adults. But there is no next to no training on boundary issues, bullying, and the many other ways in which church power differentials can prove harmful. This is particularly the case with clergy like Bob Malm, who had virtually no meaningful supervision during his tenure with Grace Church, either from the diocese or the vestry.

This is at variance with the work done by the Rev. Canon Robin Hammeal-Urban, the Rev. Canon Carol Cole Flanagan, and others in drafting the current Safe Church Model Policies, available here in PDF. The new policies establish standards for LGBTQ+ members, define “vulnerable adults,” and more. Additionally, they establish standards for auditing every three years, much as is done in the Catholic Church.

Work in Other Dioceses


Many dioceses, including Connecticut, where Robin Hammeal-Urban serves, have adopted professional guidelines for clergy and policies for the inclusion of registered sex offenders in parish life. Copies of relevant Connecticut documents are available here.

Meanwhile, Bishop Goff has her visioning initiative under way, in which she seeks to map out a vision for the future. But without an effective governance framework in place, any such effort is likely to flounder. And while Goff talks about her vision for an inclusive church, the church is not effectively inclusive if it permits bullying and other non-sexual misconduct.

In my case, look at the Model Policy’s definition of violence:


See the reference to “isolation from others?” That is exactly what Bob Malm did when he instructed parish staff to isolate Mike and me. Oh, and BTW, Mike’s age at the time placed him within the definition of “vulnerable adult.” Yet per the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia’s written statement, Bob’s conduct is not of “weighty and material importance to the ministry of the church.” And Mom, who was dying of COPD, certainly met the definition.

Bullying


The seriousness of this situation is underscored by the Diocese of Connecticut’s Safe Church training materials, here in PDF.

Below is the definition of bullying:



Note the part about lack of empathy; which certainly would describe Bob Malm’s conduct towards my Mom.

Role of Grace Church Parishioners and Diocesan Staff

Now, look at the information from the Diocese of CT on bystanders to bullying. As you can see, those who stand silently by when witnessing bullying are considered validators. 



Given that most people at Grace Church are well aware of Bob Malm’s efforts to bully me and Mike, yet remain silent, they qualify as validators. And diocesan staff occupy roles from that of assistants to validators; none are defenders.

Conclusion

Not only is the Diocese of Virginia woefully behind the times when it comes to ensuring that its churches are welcoming and inclusive, but it is has absolutely no concept that this is the case. Indeed, it is so caught up in its own little world that it recently voted Sven vanBaars as a delegate to General Convention—the very same priest who says in writing that perjury is only a problem form clergy if they face criminal charges.

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.


Friday, March 13, 2020

True to Form, St. Dysfunction Screws Up Its Response to COVID-19

It should come as no surprise, but true to form, Grace Episcopal has bollixed its response to Bishop Goff’s announcement regarding the suspension of church services.

Specifically, in its announcement, the church states that all Sunday worship services at all parishes in the diocese are suspended. As other churches in the area were quick to point out, that is absolutely and categorically untrue.

Here is the church’s announcement:


What the diocese HAS said is that all gatherings for public worship are suspended. That is a huge difference. Indeed, Bishop Goff is quick to point out that God will be worshipped and praised, and is encouraging parishes to offer online services. That is in keeping with what I and other have been pointing our for many years, which is that churches that wish to engage with young people must find young people where they are. That means offering interactive alternatives. Not half-baked alternatives, but joyful, engaging interaction in cyberspace.

This is confirmed in Bishop Goff’s statement, reflected below.




So rather than the usual chaos and misinformation, I believe parish leaders should get their backsides in gear, recognize that there are ways to hold services without physically meeting, borrow a tripod stand and an iPod, and get busy going about the business of the church.

For the record, church services are NOT cancelled across the diocese. Only parishes that cannot get their act together to stream a service will not be worshipping this Sunday. And given the times in which we live, churches and other organizations that survive will be those that move swiftly and respond to the changing times. 

So far, Grace Church does not appear to be one of the churches that will survive.

PS Given the demographics of the church, it is stupid to continue with small group meetings. Feel free to quote me. And if you really want to worship God, service at the food pantry or homeless shelter is a good way to start.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Bishop Goff and COVID-19: A New Wrinkle in the Pandemic


Bishop Susan Goff’s Brand of Christianity: No thanks, you can keep it.

There’s a new wrinkle in the COVID-19 pandemic and the decision to largely shutter churches in The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia for the new two weeks. That is that Bishop Goff is at high risk for the virus, and soon will be at even greater risk.

This issue, of course, is that Goff’s age places her at higher risk of infection.

Even worse, the news that she soon will begin chemotherapy for breast cancer exacerbates the risk. Chemotherapy is, by definition, immunosuppressive, thus compounding her risk profile.

Still worse, much of what Goff does involves crowds. Whether it’s ecclesiastical visits, meetings, or public events, self-isolation will be difficult.

While worrisome, the news may not be all bad. As Goff learns to adapt to a more limited in-person presence, we may see the diocese finally start to take social media seriously. For far too long, the diocese has maintained next to no online presence. Yes, it has a website and Facebook page, but it never engages with external audiences, and it has been years since Goff used her Twitter account. And forget Instagram or other emerging platforms.

It will be interesting to see what happens.

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.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

What Would Have Happened if Perjuring Priest Bob Malm and Sugarland Chiow Had Gotten Me to Sign an NDA?

With Grace’s transition from 30 years of perjuring priest Bob Malm now entering its sixth month, it seems that very little progress has been made. Yes, a well-qualified group has been chosen for the search committee. Yes, the search committee is going through all the right steps. But they are not meeting the congregation’s needs.

Specifically, one of the requirements of a successful transition is coming to terms with the church’s past. By definition, that would include Bob Malm’s perjury, his lies to the congregation, his efforts to drag a dying woman into court, and more. Yet the parish’s response is typical: It’s trying to defend the case in court, which only erodes confidence in the church, further alienates members and former members, and diverts much-needed funds from — you guessed it — healing and outreach.



Part and parcel of this is Sugarland Chiow’s spectacularly stupid role in this debacle, as well as that of the ever clueless Diocese of Virginia. This included efforts by Sugarland to get me to sign a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA, in exchange for dropping Bob’s fraudulent protective order obtained via perjury and false statements. The fact that Sugarland even tried to go this route reveals he has scant understanding of Christianity, conflict transformation, or even the simple matter of that makes me tick.

So what would have happened had I signed that NDA?

The answer is the church would have wound up with its problems shoved under the rug and papered over with Sugarland Chiow’s badly written pablum about moving forward in peace and love. The problem, of course, is that nothing about Sugarland’s conduct, Bob Malm’s conduct, the vestry’s conduct, or that of various key church members in any way involves love. Nor does it involve Christian conduct.

As Robin Hammeal-Urban, expert on church misconduct, writes, disclosure of misconduct is essential if we are to be in right relationship with ourselves, each other, and God. Folks like Kemp Williams may decry the harm that comes from disclosure, but concealing misconduct only makes things worse. Indeed, churches that do so may suffer harm decades letter.

Consider the example from Robin’s book below, involving an assistant rector and a non-disclosure agreement:



And below are more excerpts from Robin’s book, covering the importance of disclosure.











And no discussion of the effects of hiding misconduct would be complete without noting that doing so prevents a congregation from understanding, recognizing healthy systems of checks and balances and boundaries.



My observation is that, like all narcissists, Bob Malm established no boundaries for his own conduct. Lying to his vestry, to his congregation, to his bishops, and even to the police and courts, all were okay. Yet the boundary he sought to establish for parishioners was no criticism of his conduct, ever. Indeed, he told me more than once that he would not address my concerns about his behavior. The diocese was even worse, showing zero understanding of its own role in the debacle. And to this day, the diocese and the parish vestry continue to try to defend their conduct in court — which, if they succeed, will only impose another impediment to the church becoming healthy and taking ownership of its issues.

Truly, Grace Church and its leadership appear determined to wreck the future of the parish. As things stand, they are doing an excellent job of doing exactly that.