- The parish has become dangerously reliant on a handful of major donors, all now retired.
- The average age of parishioners is trending upwards.
- Younger parishioners typically are not giving at the levels of previous generations.
- The physical plant will require major infusions of cash over the next five to ten years in amounts far in excess of the amount that will be required to provide the school with a new HVAC system
Interwoven with budget issues is the matter of Dysfunctional Bob’s compensation. As discussed elsewhere on this blog, Bob is paid at a level consistent with some of the highest ranking bishops in The Episcopal Church, but the parish sees few if any benefits from having such a highly compensated rector. Yes, Bob can be affable when he chooses to be, and he can put on a good show of appearing hyper-confident, but that is about it. And these days, you can get an MDiv with a PhD, and a published one at that, for 100K all in. That’s a great deal less than Bob is paid, so Bob quickly winds up looking like a pretty bad deal for the church.
Into that heady mix you have the unhealthy dynamics within the parish. In the past, those dynamics typically weren’t obvious until folks had been around for a while and served on the vestry or altar guild, and even then the issues might not be obvious. But now, thanks to Bob’s conflict with me, the issues are out there for all the world to see, including the really nasty way parishioners talk about others, and the way Bob Malm talks about parishioners. Just check out the emails on this site, and elsewhere on the web. Nothing even remotely Christian about much of the discourse, and anyone can see firsthand parishioners urging me to commit suicide, others disclosing confidential giving information, still others telling multiple lies about what transpired, as well as the shockingly inappropriate comments of clergy. Even the vestry’s talking points falsely tell parishioners that I left on my own. Having a vestry that tells untruths of that sort is simply appalling.
In short, newly ordained clergy, which is who Bob usually hires as assistants, may well conclude this isn’t the place for them, even if just as a reputational issue. Similarly, parishioners may not feel like investing in the parish when it is the sort of place that tries to drag the dying into court. Behavior of this sort is not just unethical—it reflects badly on the entire parish.
- Bob is a priest who filed a civil case against a parishioner.
- Bob instructed church staff to exclude me and Mike from the church.
- Through his attorney, Bob tried to drag a dying woman into court.
- Acting through his attorney, Bob Malm lied in a written motion to the Alexandria Circuit Court about multiple things, including:
- My allegedly having violated the existing protective order.
- My service as a police officer.
- My prior admission to the Pennsylvania bar.
Either way, Dysfunctional Bob and Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow have created a catch-22 situation for the parish, and one for which there’s no easy out.