Showing posts with label Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow. Show all posts

Thursday, April 11, 2019 Surges Past 70,000 Hits

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

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

Check it out!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Yet Another of Bob Malm’s Courtroom Lies

Here’s another example of Bob Malm’s many lies.

In this filing with the Alexandria Circuit Court, Bob Malm assures the court that I never practiced law, and never served as a police officer.

Here is a copy of my  Pennsylvania attorney license registration, which shows that I am now happily retired:

And here is a photo of me, taken in 2007, at DC Pride, where I and other sworn officers represented the Arlington Police Department.

Bob Malm, perjuring priest.

Bob Malm, lying trailer park trash.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Grace Governance Gaps: Trouble in the Offing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 21, 2019

See for Yourself: The 2016 Confidential Settlement Proposal that Dysfunctional Bob Malm Rejected

With Grace Episcopal Church set to hold its annual parish meeting Sunday the 27th, here’s a potentially useful inflection point. Specifically, in January 2016, through my attorney, I offered to settle the matter in exchange for nothing more than Bob Malm’s written agreement to act like a priest. That’s right — simply stop disparaging me and stop interfering in my participation in the church. Additionally, I asked that the matter be treated as confidential. All things that should be normative for a priest.

Through Sugarland Chiow, Bob rejected my offer, including my request for confidentiality. (I wasn’t aware clergy could pick and choose. Beware.)

As a result, I launched my social media campaign, which continues to this day, and will do so indefinitely. This has proven effective, although I may soon augment it with additional litigation.

Of course, that also underscores a key point: Even when faced with possible litigation and other actions with the potential to seriously damage Grace Church’s standing in the community, Bob Malm, with the advice of Sugarland Chiow, put his own perceived interests ahead of those of the church. Bob wanted revenge for my asking the diocese to mediate our dispute, and he didn’t care what that meant for Grace Church. And today we see the results, with church revenue and attendance down sharply, and all indications suggesting that things will only get worse over time. In fact, he still doesn’t give a red rat’s rear end about the church; his only interest appears to be shutting down criticism long enough to get the hell out of Dodge with his generous retirement in place.

In that vein, now that people understand what really does on behind the scenes at Grace Church Bob, being the manipulative little weasel he is, is playing his usual games, taking words out of context, lying repeatedly, claiming he’s been threatened, and asking the Alexandria police if there is any way they can take away my First Amendment rights. Having been repeatedly told that there isn’t, Bob’s fallback has been to argue “abuse of First Amendment rights,” in his emails to the diocese. And, of course, his old standby, which is to conduct smear campaigns behind the scenes. 

In all of this, of course, Bob conveniently overlooks the fact that that is the very reason for the First Amendment—to engender accountability, including for dirtbags like Dysfunctional Bob Malm. Meanwhile,  our recent litigation included numerous requests from Sugarland Chiow for confidentiality, including his trash settlement offer with — you guessed it — a confidentiality clause. Sorry, kids, that horse has left the barn.

This also touches on the issue of Bob’s real motivations. In that realm, there’s one thing that is abundantly clear to me , which is that, for Bob, it’s just a job. Nothing in Bob’s actions in any way suggests he’s a priest or Christian in anything but name only.

Check out my letter here in PDF.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Grace Church by the Numbers

With Grace Church’s annual parish meeting now only a few weeks away, it’s worth looking at the effects Bob’s multi-year campaign of bullying and harassment, directed towards me and my family, have had on the parish. The data are not good.

In 2014, the year our conflict began, the church had 525 households and 317 pledging units. Total pledge income was about $850,000; there always is some wiggle room due to the late payment of pledges and pledges not fulfilled. Thus, the average pledge was approximately $2,681.

Since then, the number of pledging units has continued to fall, while the average pledge has trended upward, consistent with other churches in the diocese. In recent years, the average pledge has bumped up to roughly $3,600, while the total number of pledging units continues to fall. 

As things stand, the church hopes to pull in 220 pledging units, although 200 pledging units is a more likely number, and quite possibly not even that many. Thus, pledge income will probably end up between $700,000 and $720,000. But even with the church’s optimistic forecasts, best case is pledge income of $792,000–a far cry from past years. And many of the families that have been stepping up their pledges are clearly tapped out, with limited ability to increase their pledges further.

That doesn’t leave much room. Fixed building costs are going to remain about $150,000 annually, and likely higher as the physical plant continues to age. Additionally, should the church go ahead and hire a full-time assistant rector, it will be difficult to get total compensation costs much below $600,000. Throw in an 8 percent pledge to the diocese and guess what—we’re at roughly $814,000, which with income from the trust, investments, and cost sharing with the school, is pretty much everything. Nothing left to cover the costs of a loan for the HVAC, to save for the future, or to cover unexpected contingencies. 

Of course, part of the problem is the church’s current cost structure. In this day and age, when a church can hire a full-time rector with an Mdiv and a PhD for $100,000 all-in, paying Bob Malm almost $200,000 a year is questionable, at best, particularly given his feckless job performance — not to mention that damage he’s caused to the church and its reputation in the larger faith community through his efforts to suppress criticism.

At the same time, it’s hard to justify three additional full-time positions with full indirects, when in this day and age, so many churches use part-time employees. That’s not to say that current staff don’t do a good job—it’s just that few churches these days have any full-time employees other than the rector, and for many, even the rector is part-time or bi-vocational.

Where things get really ugly, though, is when one looks at the financial implications of the school. Producing little benefit to the church, the 50/50 split on utilities and other currently non-fungible expenses works strongly in the school’s favor. Coupled with years of Chris Byrnes’ empire building and rather lopsided approach to cost-sharing, and even with Patti’s much more collaborative approach, it’s a tough sell for many parishioners.

Freed from the school and Dysfunctional Bob’s current bloated cost structures, here’s what expenses would likely look like:

 1 FT rector, including indirects  $140,000
 1 PT music director, including indirects $45,000
 1 PT parish admin, including indirects $45,000
 1 PT accountant, including indirects $40,000
 1 PT assistant for pastoral care, including indirects $22,000
 1 PT assistant for family ministry, including indirects $22,000
 Facilities, including repairs, insurance, utilities (this is a generous number, too)  $100,000
 Diocesan pledge $55,000
 Outreach (not including diocesan pledge) $60,000
 Administrative costs $30,000
 Long-term savings $40,000
 Miscellany $40,000
 Total $454,000
 Optional: PT sexton with indirects $20,000

As you can see, the current combination of a 1970’s-vintage staffing model and the overhead associated with the school basically doubles the church’s cost structure, at a time when every indication suggests that church revenue will continue to fall in the coming years. 

Several additional factors also suggest that, if Grace is going to survive, a more modern cost structure needs to be envisioned. These factors include:
  • The fact that church membership no longer is normative in American society.
  • The lack of saving from current revenue for the future.
  • The church’s token efforts at growth and increased membership.
  • The discomfort Americans have with clericalism, and the profoundly negative effects clericalism has had on the parish.
  • The cavalier attitude towards church administration under Bob Malm, in which the entire approach for much of his tenure has been laissez-faire. Not good when dealing with other people’s donations.
In addition, the church’s lack of transparency regarding decision making, budgetary issues, and other important matters offers a powerful disincentive to younger members to give at levels consistent with those of previous generations.

In the meantime, the rapidly dwindling number of pledging units have done an admirable job of stepping up to the plate as people leave the church and stop pledging. But this trend should, in itself, cause alarm, for it is part of a very predictable pattern that occurs in dying churches. 

In short, Grace’s current cost structures and its approach to governance simply cannot continue over time.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Bob Malm: My Full Pleading, With Exhibits

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

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

Here’s the entire file, in PDF.

In the meantime, I have some protesting to do.

Bob Malm Ordered to Say Which Blog Posts Were Threatening

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

Well, apparently not.

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

Here’s the relevant court order:

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

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

Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

My Comments On TWW Summarizing the Problems that Churches Cause Themselves When They Go to Court

Following are my comments on the appalling situation at Tenth Presbyterian in Philadelphia, which appears to be pulling a Bob Malm as it tries to sue critics into silence.

The full story and my comments are at:


As a former lawyer, I realize that attorneys often forget that the best solution to such situations is rarely a legal one. Indeed, going to court has no upside for the church, even if it prevails. One has only to look at my very similar case to predict what will transpire:

1) Phil will be seriously ticked off, perhaps so much so that reconciliation is impossible. As a result, the church will cement the current conflict in place.
2) Being unable to speak directly with Phil will prevent any further attempt at resolution.
3) Phil and others will take to cyberspace, resulting in tremendous damage to the church’s reputation.
4) Phil’s protests will move right down the street, and continue unabated, and others will join him, me included.
5) Tenth Presbyterian will gain a reputation as unhealthy, and unable to resolve conflict in a healthy way.
6) As has been the case at my former church, attendance will drop, as well as giving. (Average Sunday attendance at my church is down 17%, and it has lost roughly 1/3 of its pledging units at a time when it faces massive unfunded capital expenses.)
7) Assistant pastors and others will avoid working at a church mired in conflict and whose reputation may reflect badly upon them.
8) As frustration rises, the church will make stupid, unethical decisions, like lying in court about what transpired, and resorting to inflammatory rhetoric. In my case, the church’s attorney foolishly referred to the situation as one of “domestic terrorism.”
9) Denominational officials, who otherwise would serve as serve as a brake on stupid conduct at the church level, will sit on their hands, saying that they can’t get involved in a court case. As a result, the whole situation will be exacerbated and reflect poorly on the denomination.
10) Phil eventually will hire an attorney on a contingency fee basis and pursue claims for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, abuse of process, defamation and invasion of privacy. Discovery will reveal dozens of unsavory comments and emails by church employees and members, all of which will eventually get to cyberspace, and those involved will come out looking ugly, manipulative, and hypocritical.
11) Referring to Phil as mentally ill, the favorite smear tactic of churches called on the carpet, will simply solidify his resolve to stand up for himself, and rightly so.
12) At some point, once they realize they’ve painted themselves in a corner, folks at the church will try to settle, but they’ll take a litigation-based approach, including a confidentiality clause. No one who’s been through what Phil has endured would say yes, and he will reject the offer outright.

So, just ask the the Rev. Bob Malm of Grace Episcopal in Alexandria VA how all this will turn out if you don’t believe me. But if they choose to proceed, the good Christians of Tenth Presbyterian can’t say they weren’t warned. They will end up causing themselves lasting and possibly irreparable reputational harm.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Breaking News: Tenth Presbyterian in Philadelphia Appears to Pull a Bob Malm and Attempt to Silence Criticism in Court

Following is a repost, used per standard reprint permissions from The Wartburg Watch, of a disturbing story in which Phil Snyder, a former deacon of 10th Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia PA, alleges that attorneys from the church have attempted to obtain a court order against him for protesting outside the church. 
Those of you familiar with the tactics of Dysfunctional Bob Malm and Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow have already guessed correctly that the church allegedly is claiming that Phil was “threatening” and “harassing” in the course of his protests. However, I have reviewed various information relating to the case, including Phil’s body cam footage, and am not convinced that Phil has, in fact, engaged in such conduct. Moreover, it appears that Phil did not enter church property during his protests.
The matter goes to trial in the next few weeks and I am tentatively planning to attend the hearing. In either case, I intend to give this matter extensive air cover. And, of course, if there is evidence that supports a different conclusion, I am happy to receive it.
In the meantime, shame on the good Christians at 10th Presbyterian for what appears to be an effort to shut down First Amendment-protected legitimate criticism.
As we enter 2019, 10th Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, finds itself embroiled in a lawsuit. A former deacon of the church, Phil Snyder, accused the church of covering up alleged cases of sexual molestation and/or physical abuse of students in the ministry.
Update 1/1/19   "The young men were students at Philadlephia Biblical University, now Cairn University, where the music minister was an instructor. "
The church's current senior pastor is Liam Goligher who was preceded by Wheaton College President Phil Ryken. Both feature prominently in this former deacon's story.
IMPORTANT: At the end of the post I've embedded Phil Snyder's body cam footage. Snyder returned to the public street outside of the church to hand out a flyer documenting his concerns. He claims that the church attempted to tell law enforcement that he was threatening and harassing people coming in and out of the church. If this footage is not doctored, then it appears that Snyder was respectful and quiet. Frankly, the body cam was a great idea. I think more church members should do the same when dealing with difficult churches!
After the video, I have some short comments about why I decided to write this story. As you read this, ask yourself the question "Why would Snyder lie about this?" It clarified a few things for me.
I have changed a few words in Snyder's account to keep it line with our editorial policy when it comes to legal stuff. For the lawyers-this entire post is alleged.


In 2001, the music minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, was alleged to have engaged in naked spankings/beatings of students.  The senior minister, Phil Ryken, now the president of Wheaton College, failed to call the police and covered the incident up, allowing the music minister to be in a position of power and influence over young men for another thirteen years.
In 2014, the music minister was finally fired.  However, the new senior minister, Liam Goligher, did not inform the congregation of this.  Instead, the congregation was told that the music minister was leaving to pursue new opportunities.  In fact, on his last Sunday, on 02/02/14, there was exceptional music, including the concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, David Kim.  The music minister received a standing ovation.  Also, there was a reception given in honor of the music minister.
On 03/16/14, deacon Phil Snyder (the author of this account) spoke out at a congregational meeting, which forced the elders to hold another congregational meeting on 03/30/14, where the congregation was finally told the real reason the music minister left.
In addition to the naked spanking incidents, there was an alleged rape/false imprisonment which occured at a pastor's house.  The police were not called.  Mr.  Snyder requested to meet with the elders with the victim, witnesses, and someone from the Special Victims Unit, but his request was denied.
On 01/13/13, a woman was allegedly sexually assualted in the catacombs (basement) of the church.  The police were not called and the congregation was not informed of the incident.  The senior minister, Liam Goligher, on 10/10/17, denied he had knowledge of the incident or when it occurred.
Beginning on 01/18/16, Mr. Snyder sent out letters to the congregation detailing these and other incidents.  The elders responded by saying the Mr. Snyder's letters were "horrible slander" and "utterly false".  The elders subsequently retracted these allegedly  false statements.
On 10/23/16, the elders excommunicated Mr. Snyder, filed a no trespassing order against him, and threatened to arrest him within 1,000 feet of the church.  Because of this unlawful, allegedly criminal threat (per 18 USC 241 and 242), to arrest him within 1,000 feet of the church, Mr. Snyder filed a lawsuit against the senior minister, Liam Goligher, and the Clerk of Session, George McFarland.  This lawsuit was filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, case number 170102293.  The trial is scheduled for 02/19.
On 09/10/17, in response to the elders' threat to sue him for libel, and in defiance of their threat to arrest him within 1,000 feet of the church, a violation of his constitutional right to free speech, Mr. Snyder went to Tenth Presbyterian Church and handed out letters from a public sidewalk.  The elders responded by filing an injunction against him to stop him from coming within 1,000 feet of the church or communicating with the congregation.  Unfortunately for them, Mr. Snyder was wearing a body camera which proved that their assertions that he was "harassing, threatening, and disruptive" were slanderous and false, i.e. they committed perjury.
Mr. Snyder is requesting financial assistance to help him defend his right to free speech, in particular in regard to alleged crimes, and to enable him to pursue truth and justice in the face of lies and threats from powerful men who abuse their power in an attempt to intimidate him into not exposing their failure to report alleged crimes and their attempts to cover up alleged crimes, in order to protect their reputation and that of their institution, at the expense of victims.

Here is the body cam footage of his actions outside of 10th Presbyterian Church

So, why did I post this?

  • Having watched a church mishandled a sex abuse situation in a former church, I know how hard it is to do what Snyder is doing. The first thing many churches do, and that appears to be the case with 10th Presbyterian, is to start threatening libel and slander. Been there; been through that. Why would any sane person put themselves through something like this? Most times they do it because child sex abuse is a hill worth dying on.
  • But maybe he's insane? If so, why did such a careful, Biblical, strict Reformed church, presided over by the best the Reformed movement has to offer, allowed him to become a deacon?
  • Are we not to respect the thoughts of a man who was selected by the leaders to be a deacon? Isn't that what The Gospel Coalition keeps telling us? Or do we only respect those who do not ask honest questions?
  • At TWW we would never accuse anyone of slander or libel without proving our point. Why do some pastors and church leaders fling the  *slander* and *libel* word without specifically defining what they mean? Is that Biblical or Gospel or whatever the word they are using today? It makes curious person, such as myself, wonder what they are hiding.
  • Why doesn't the church go through each of Snyder's claims and refute them without emotionalism?  It would sure shut down things fast unless...unless they unable to do so?
  • Oh, you say 10th Presbyterian Church doesn't need to say anything? You mean, in this day and age that churches and child sex abuse have been linked by way too many people for very good reasons? Maybe its time that churches open up their windows and doors and let light their light shine?
In 2019, TWW will continue to ask questions of churches who claim they are against sex abuse but might appear to be acting in a contrary fashion...allegedly, that is.
And here is a wonderful comment from The Wartburg Watch in which a poster comments about churches that seek 1,000-foot exclusion zones. Yes, that would implicate Grace Episcopal aka St. Dysfunction.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow’s Inflammatory Rhetoric Comes Back to Bite Planet Malm

Last Sunday, when I got home from protesting at Dysfunctional Bob’s favorite intersection (which he fondly refers to as “Dysfunction Junction”), I discovered something startling: Hits on my blog had soared to more than 400 an hour during my hours of protest. The secret? I was carrying my sign alerting the public to the bogus claim, originating with Sugarland Chiow and Dysfunctional Bob, that I am a “domestic terrorist.”

Thinking the upsurge in hits might be an anomaly, I checked to see if one of my social media posts had gone viral. While traction there was good, neither did anything exceptional jump out at me.

My next step was to check others days when I used my domestic terrorism signage. Turns out results were consistent; hits surged on those days as well.

So, drivers going by when I’m carrying the domestic terrorism sign don’t give me the thumbs up or other signs of appreciation. But they sure do pay attention.

The lesson? Be careful if you’re using overheated rhetoric in court. The judge likely will, in his or her mind, slap the label “asshole” on you and either ignore your antics, or slap you with sanctions. Meanwhile, members of the public may slap the label “asshole” on you and pay attention to you, but in the worst possible way.

Small wonder Grace Episcopal is imploding.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Looking Ahead to 2019: More Protests and Possible Lawsuits

As we get ready to move into 2019, protests continue over Dysfunctional Bob Malm’s conduct, as well as that of Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow. Look for me and others at:

1) King and Seminary aka Dysfunction Junction aka Malm Square(d)
2) the monument at Braddock and Russell Road
3) the front of MOM’s
4) the intersection of Commonwealth and Mount Vernon avenues.
5) 395 during rush hour

Although we have not yet made a final go/no-go decision, I believe it likely that I and several other plaintiffs will file suit against the church, vestry, Bob Malm and family, and several individual parishioners in Federal district court in late January. Assuming we proceed, a second lawsuit is expected later in the spring.

Stay tuned for details.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Bob Malm’s Claims That Grace is Threatened by Domestic Terrorism: Harmful to Children?

The Washington Post recently ran an article that was syndicated nationwide, “How many American children have hidden from gun violence?” The article examined the prevalence of lockdown drills, used to prepare students and staff for a possible active shooter, and the pyschological effect these drills have on children. The conclusion: Such drills, while perhaps necessary, can be profoundly traumatic to children.

That begs the question: As Grace church, aka St. Dysfunction, transitions to Fortress Grace, replete with “single-button emergency transmitters at the ready” during divine worship, rekeyed locks on exterior doors, additional outdoor floodlights and interior security measures, and new fencing, what is the effect on children, especially at Grace Episcopal School? Given Bob Malm’s efforts to stoke fears and manipulate perceptions, this is a legitimate question. My belief is that Bob Malm has deliberately caused stress and anxiety to staff, students, and parents as part of his efforts to get the upper hand in our dispute. If accurate, that conclusion reinforces the notion that Bob is a priest in name only, and has lost all sense of ethical boundaries.

Lest anyone minimize the potential effect on students at Grace Episcopal School, one need only look to Lisa Medley’s claims, posted on The Wartburg Watch, in which she claimed that parents have requested armed guards at the school. Leaving aside the fact that very few armed guards have training adequate to deal with an active shooter, and the fact that the last thing first responders need when confronted with an active shooter is to deal with multiple armed individuals, Lisa’s claim illustrates the damage caused by Dysfunctional Bob’s manipulative behavior.

Of course, I’m not a psychologist, nor do I have any way to assess the damage that may be caused by Bob’s fictional claims. But my gut instinct tells me that the harm is not inconsequential. If nothing else, Bob’s manipulation and dishonesty, and lack of ethics in this matter, sets a poor example for children who may be inclined to look up to a member of the clergy, no matter how unjustified it may be to regard Dysfunctional Bob in any sort of positive light.

There’s another wrinkle in all of this, which is the lack of common sense evinced by Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow. By virtue of his inflammatory rhetoric, now part of the public record, Jeff improperly sought to influence the judicial process, without any regard for the effect his dialogue would have when it inevitably went public. And even if his efforts to obtain a settlement that included a confidentiality clause had succeeded, this was a half-baked, foolish approach at best, for court pleadings are a matter of public record unless sealed; the latter is quite difficult to obtain. Thus, Sugarland’s references to “online rantings and ravings,” “domestic terrorism,” and more are all now in the public domain. As a result, generations from now people will be able to see these documents, and marvel that a member of the clergy thought that this sort of dialogue was appropriate.

But then, we’re talking about Dysfunctional Bob and a diocese that to this day declines to provide Bob with adult supervision, so no surprises there.

Friday, November 30, 2018

See for Yourself: My Mom, the Terminally Ill “Domestic Terrorist”

Here’s a recent photo of my mom, the woman Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow and Dysfunctional Bob wanted to drag into court. Clearly, the very image of a “domestic terrorist.”

Nice move, gentlemen. Nothing even remotely Christian about either one of you.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Grace Episcopal: Photos of Thanksgivings Past

In yet another sign that St. Dysfunction, aka Grace Episcopal Alexandria, is coming unraveled thanks to Bob Malm’s weird claims of being threatened by “domestic terrorism,” the church has announced that there will be no Thanksgiving meal this year. Dinner at the church, for anyone who wanted to come, was a tradition Mike and I started and for which we paid all basic expenses. Sadly, the tradition survived our departure by only a few years.

Here are some photos.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The “Go Kill Yourself” Crowd at St. Dysfunction Returns to the Fray

Following the recent coverage in The Wartburg Watch of Bob Malm’s vendetta against me, the liars and bullies of Grace Church again have felt the need to enter the fray.

Attached are screen caps of comments from a parishioner at Grace Episcopal in which, like the clueless resident of Sugarland she is, someone (most likely Lisa Medley), tries to defend Bob Malm and Grace Episcopal by:
  1. Lying about my experiences with the church.
  2. Trying to trash Wartburg Watch editor Dee Parsons whom, if one knows Dee at all, one knows she is entirely honest.
  3. Trying the whole delay, deny, deflect routine a la Facebook.
In addition, I’ve attached a screen cap of a post by John Cunningham demonstrating that the poster lies; John also left Grace Church due to bullying, yet the poster claims that no one else has had this experience.

Gotta love a church that tries to lie its way out of accountability, as well as a parishioner who doesn’t even have the integrity to use her own name in her posts.

It’s also noteworthy that, even as St. Dysfunction continues to lurch towards insolvency, idiots like this poster still have learned nothing. They continue to think that if they just do enough to discredit others, or find something to say that’s sufficiently harsh, everything will be good and they can go about their merry ways. But the reality is that it is this very conduct that is causing the church to unravel — and Bob Malm is powerless to fix it, because it is the conduct that he models that empowers people to think that this sort of interaction is acceptable.

It’s BS like this that is the reason that two-thirds of persons under age 30 have nothing to do with organized religion, and one-third actively oppose organized religion. It’s because people recognize that the world would be a better place without this sort of hypocrisy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Full Text of Wartburg Watch Article

Reprinted in full, with permission, is the recent Wartburg Watch post about Bob Malm’s vendetta against me.

“Bravery is the choice to show up and listen to another person, be it a loved one or perceived foe, even when it is uncomfortable, painful, or the last thing you want to do.” ― Alaric Hutchinson
Last year, I wrote a post on the disagreement between Eric Bonetti and Father Bob Malm, his priest at Grace Episcopal Church in Alexandria Virginia. Eric felt bullied in the positions that he served at the church and complained to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia about his situation. But instead of honoring his request to mediate the dispute, the Diocese rejected his request, and knowingly allowed Father Malm to retaliate against Eric by instructing church staff and clergy to exclude him from the church. Subsequently, I accompanied him as he met with members of the church hierarchy who, more than two years after Eric’s initial complaint, offered to mediate. At that time, in the interest of promoting peace, I voluntarily removed my original post.
The meeting between Eric, Father Malm and Bishop Shannon Johnston took place in Fredericksburg Virginia, a quaint historic town about an hour south of Eric. During that meeting, Malm agreed to end his shunning and other retaliation; Eric agreed to shut down his blog, which documented and criticized Father’s Malm’s conduct and that of the diocese.
It’s important to know that this agreement not to blog expressly extended only to Eric, not Eric’s family members. Indeed, all the room expressly agreed that they understood that the agreement could only extend to those who were physically in the room, and that it was likely that Eric’s family and friends would both continue to blog, and to remain critical of Father Malm’s conduct.
Eric has a very ill mother who is receiving palliative care for an end-stage diagnosis. She, along with other family members, were upset with how Eric was treated at his church and continued to blog. They are not subtle in their form of communication. However, Eric has no means of control over them.
Apparently Father Malm didn’t believe that Eric’s mom and cousins were doing the blogging and blamed Eric. As a result, Malm contacted the Alexandria police department, claiming that various words, taken out of context, constituted a threat. In addition, Malm made various claims about Eric, including repeatedly referring to him in writing to church authorities as “dysfunctional,” and “twisted.”
When the police reviewed Malm’s claims, they found that no crime had been committed. Instead, Wilbur Salas, an officer with the department, called Eric at work, claiming that Malm was “concerned” about him, and offering to mediate. Feeling that Father Malm’s real motive was to try to suppress criticism, and that Malm was far from genuinely concerned about his welfare, Eric declined the offer. At this point, thoroughly irritated, Eric resumed blogging, and his blog, located at
Having failed to convince the police, Malm then filed with the Alexandria General District Court for a protective order, claiming that he was “frightened,” and, again, taking various words out of context from the blog maintained by Eric’s family members.
To my surprise, in January 2018 the court granted Malm’s request, despite the fact that:
  • The blogs in question were not well read. I urged the Malms to ignore them.
  • Father Malm and Eric had not spoken in person since May 2017, when they attended Fredericksburg meeting.
  • Their only email contact since that time had been Eric’s request, in December 2017, that Malm have no further contact with him; this was the result of Malm’s police complaint.
  • They had not spoken by phone since 2014.
  • The police had not pursued criminal charges.
There were no other indications of an imminent threat of physical violence. Per the terms of the protective order, Eric cannot have any contact with Father Malm until February 2020, and must remain 1,000 feet from Grace Church, Bob Malm’s home, and Bob Malm and his wife, Leslie.
Eric immediately appealed his case to the Alexandria Circuit Court. During the discovery phase of the litigation, Malm repeatedly used inflammatory language, including referring to the case as one of “domestic terrorism,” claiming that Eric was inspired by a fictional church shooting in the equally fictional town of “Sugarland Texas,” and referring to Eric as a “serial liar.” I believe these statements are inappropriate for a member of the clergy, particularly when Father Malm has never discussed any of these issues directly with Eric, nor shown any bona fide pastoral concern over these matters.
Father Malm also refused to specify which blog posts he considered to be threatening, even after he was ordered by the court to do so.
At the same time, discovery revealed that, the whole time he was claiming that he feared for his life, Malm was minimizing the matter to church officials. For example, in an email dated December 31, 2017, he wrote to Bishop Shannon Johnston, saying, “Than (sic) you Bishop…the hardest part is dealing with my wife and one of my daughters….they give this so much more attention than this deserves….fortunately, all at Grace who know about it, understand Bonetti’s dysfunction.”
On at least one occasion, Father Malm also emailed police officials, asking if there was some way he could force Eric to shut down his blog.
As Father Malm became upset, somehow lots of people at the church became aware of Eric’s blogging. Malm interpreted what was being written as *threatening* to the church, his family and even the preschool. Indeed, some have responded very badly, with one young parishioner urging Eric in writing to commit suicide.
During this time, I was able to speak to Father Malm’s wife, who expressed her concerns to me. I made some points that, had they been considered, this all would have deescalated.
  • The blogs in question were not well read. I urged the Malms to ignore them.
  • I suggested that the Malms not discuss the blogs with members of the church.
  • I believed that the church members were being whipped into a frenzy due to Father Malm’s interpretation and discussion of the writing.
  • I suggested that the Malms and the church turn the other cheek since I believed that Eric was not a threat in any way to them.
As the litigation progressed, Father Malm tried to subpoena Eric’s very ill mother, apparently not believing that she could write a blog.This action was not allowed by the court.
In addition, through his attorney, Malm repeatedly tried to convince the court that Eric’s blogging was a violation of the protective order, arguing that “this is a case of domestic terrorism.” This, despite the fact that the protective order neither mentions blogging, nor can it, as long as the content is not threatening.
At the same time, it seems that Father Malm increasingly recognizes that the ongoing dispute is damaging to Grace Church. This includes:
  •  A 17 percent drop in average Sunday attendance at the church since 2015, when the dispute first arose
  •  Loss of more than 120 pledging units, with an average annual pledge in excess of $3,000.
  • A looming budget deficit.
  • The abrupt resignation, for “personal reasons,” of assistant rector Fanny Belanger at about the same time as the church attempted to subpoena Eric’s terminally ill mother; some believe that her departure, two years before the end of her contract, was connected with this dispute.
  •  Offering in writing to drop the protective order if Eric would stop blogging about the church, which would seem to bolster the conclusion that Malm never really felt threatened, but instead wanted to manipulate the legal system in an effort to suppress criticism.
Eric has notified both Bishop Shannon Johnston and the bishop suffragan, Susan Goff, about what he believes are Father Malm’s multiple courtroom lies, as well as the efforts to drag his mother into court. Neither has responded, nor does it appear that they have exercised any ecclesiastical oversight over Malm’s conduct. 
Eric also has filed attorney disciplinary complaints against church member Jeffery Chiow, who served as Father Malm’s attorney, asserting that Chiow deliberately tried to mislead the court with his claims that Eric violated the existing protective order, that Eric was not admitted to practice law (he was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1989), and that he did not previously serve as a police officer.
In late September, having spent more than $25,000 on the litigation, and having concluded that Father Malm was not approaching the matter with integrity, Eric dropped his appeal, deciding that things had gone way too far. He will live with the protective order. Meanwhile, he continues to blog about his experiences with Grace Church and plans to do so through at least February 2020. He also continues to protest on at least a weekly basis at a major intersection near the church, located near Virginia Theological Seminary, which Father Malm refers to as “dysfunction junction.”
He is interested in pursuing the stories of abuse in the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) and the mainline denominations and may write some posts for TWW under a new page we are creating for these stories.
I have had several good conversations with Father Malm’s wife, Leslie. She asked why he mentioned her adult family in his blog. I explained that he was concerned that they were the ones pursuing his ill mother. Again, I urged them:
  • Stop reading blogs that upset them.
  • Stop telling others about the blogs which only causes people to go looking for the posts.
  • Deescalate and don’t use words like *terrorism*, *liar,* etc.
  •  Stop telling people that Eric is mentally ill.
  • Turn the other cheek.
Hopefully things will simmer down and the church, with help from the diocese, will pursue meaningful reconciliation based on a Christian understanding of the term, including:
  • An apology for its actions.
  • Restitution.
  • Turning away from shunning, bullying, and other abusive forms of interpersonal interaction based on power and control, instead focusing on love, compassion, and genuine concern for others. If it doesn’t seek a new approach to these issues, I fear Grace Episcopal Church will suffer lasting damage that may take years, if not decades, to repair.
In closing, I want our readers to know that I have had some great conversations with Leslie Malm, Father Malm’s wife. She has been open about her feelings on this disagreement, yet was more than willing to listen to me as I tried to explain the intricacies of blogging, etc. I hope one day to take her up on her offer of coffee. In the midst of turmoil, there can still be beauty if we look for it. Leslie was that beauty for me..
I have great hope that this will end in peace. The key is for all to follow the One who turned the other cheek, even when on the Cross and in tremendous pain. “Father, forgive them…”
This is one of my favorite Christmas songs about peace in the midst of pain and hurt. It is my wish for all who have experienced pain. Listen carefully to the second verse.

The Wartburg Watch Again Covers Grace Church and Bob Malm’s Claims of “Domestic Terrorism”

Bob Malm’s antics, including his efforts to drag a dying woman into court, have again garnered coverage in The Wartburg Watch. 

Shunning: Often the Most Obvious Sign of an Abusive Church

There’s a good article on shunning on the Open Mind Foundation’s website. In the article, the author correctly notes that shunning is often the most obvious sign that a church is abusive—which should be food for thought for anyone considering getting involved at St. Dysfunction, aka Grace Episcopal in Alexandria, and rector Bob Malm’s fun and games, which include trying to drag the terminally ill into court.