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

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Church Member Urges Me to Commit Suicide

Here’s an important reminder of just how toxic Grace Episcopal has become under Dysfunctional Bob Malm.

In this screen cap,,we see a post, believed to be from a member of Lisa Medley’s family. Lisa is a former senior warden, and has repeatedly lied about my experiences with the church.

Needless to say, anyone who thinks urging another human being to commit suicide is one sad individual indeed. Even more sad is that this individual runs in circles, and attends a church, that thinks this sort of conduct is okay.

Proof that Grace Church under Bob Malm is toxic, and in no way a reflection of actual Christian values.




Thursday, April 11, 2019

BobMalm.com 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!




Bob Malm and Grace Church’s Failed Internal Controls



I’ve previously written about the breakdown in Grace Church’s internal financial controls during Bob Malm’s watch. These breakdowns include:
  • Overpaying one employee for many months, allegedly due to an accounting error.
  • Thousands of dollars of cash and stale checks found in the church office following the resignation of a previous church administrator.
  • Facially inaccurate financial reports.
  • Failure to provide the vestry with school financial reports as required by law and written church policy.
  • Failure to follow written church policy on the issuance of credit cards, with rector Bob Malm allegedly carrying a card in violation of church policy.
  • Failure to follow canonical requirements for a finance manual. (As the longest reigning rector at Grace Church, Bob Malm surely has had ample time to make that happen.)
In recent days, the burgeoning scandal at Harest Bible Chapel involving Rolex watches, cars, and motorcycles underscores the need for effective church governance. Yet, while it is clear that Beth Calaman has done an admirable job in cleaning up the mess that Bob created, it is not clear that the underlying problems with transparency and disclosure have been addressed. It is time that this happen.

These issues are doubly important in light of two factors:
  • The expenditures now under way for the HVAC project.
  • Reduced transparency by the church following Bob’s decision to stop publicly releasing vestry minutes. (BTW, if Bob’s goal was to keep me from seeing those, he failed miserably. I see them on a regular basis.)
Nor should folks be lulled into a false sense of security by stupid, illogical comments like Lisa Medley’s claim that “there is complete financial transparency.” If there were indeed complete transparency, then it logically follows that Lisa and other vestry members knew about the funds that disappeared into the abyss of the church administrator’s office and chose to ignore the problem.

Folks, it’s your money we’re talking about, and faithful stewardship of these resources is a sacred responsibility. Bob’s complete indifference to these issues is grave violation of your trust, and it’s time to demand accountability.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Reminder: No Contact

It should be unnecessary, but as a reminder, I have specifically asked Bob Malm, in writing, to have no contact with me, either directly or through others. Moreover, no member of Grace Church, its vestry, or the diocese should contact me or Mike without my advance permission.

Anyone violating this request will be regarded as violating § 18.2-60.3 of the Virginia Code (Stalking; penalty), which inter alia provides:

“If the person contacts or follows or attempts to contact or follow the person at whom the conduct is directed after being given actual notice that the person does not want to be contacted or followed, such actions shall be prima facie evidence that the person intended to place that other person, or reasonably should have known that the other person was placed, in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to himself or a family or household member.”


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Sources Say....

Recently, I had dinner over at VTS. It was fun—although I joined a friend, it was with the understanding that I was going incognito. So, as I chowed down, I had the chance to ask seminarians and others about life in DioVA.

Never being one to miss an opportunity for some fun, I asked several seminarians about the situation over at Grace Church, aka St. Dysfunction. It’s interesting—between the issues with previous office staff, Fanny Belanger’s abrupt departure, and Bob’s vendetta against me, Mike and Mom—word on the street is that Grace Church is bad news. Or, more specifically, Bob Malm is bad news.

To be sure, Bob was never popular within the inner sanctum, the Holy of Holies at Mayo House. But while Bob and his sycophants (you know who you are) have been vigorous in promoting the whole, “two sides to every story” line, there’s one bit of irrefutable evidence: Bob’s vendetta and related misconduct have been going on for four years. Or, as one former warden put it, “Bob can hold a grudge longer than anyone else I know.”

Then there’s the issue of trying to drag the dying into court. If nothing else, even a cursory review of state law would have told Sugarland Chiow that Mom can’t be dragged into court absent leave of court. Having devoted what he claims is more than $100,000 to the litigation, you’d think Sugarland would have taken the time to do a little research on that topic. I guess that’s part of the whole $49.99 optional annual protection plan.

Of course, that segues neatly into the notion, expressed by multiple third parties, that, “This attorney is coming at you with a personal vendetta.” How a personal vendetta fits in with being a Christian escapes me, but apparently for Dysfunctional Bob, Sugarland Chiow, and the Diocese of Virginia, it does.

The cherry on the top is, of course, Bob’s multiple lies to the court. While he may claim that he was mistaken, nothing in his pleadings suggests to the court that his statements to the court were conjecture or speculation. They are presented as facts, when in fact they were fabrications.

It will be interesting to see who the poor slob is who eventually takes the assistant rector position. All I can to is to quote Judge Smails from Caddy Shack, “Remember, the world needs ditch diggers, too.” Which is not to express disrespect for that person — just to say they’d  have to be pretty damn desperate, or foolish, to land on Planet Malm.







Friday, March 1, 2019

David Crosby Misses Mark With Recent Sermon

David Crosby preached last Sunday, offering a sermon on loving your enemy. Since many denizens of Planet Malm now consider me an enemy, I feel somewhat qualified to comment on the sermon. 

I call BS.

To be sure, it wasn’t a badly written sermon. But it suffered one flaw. A big one. The flaw is that it’s hard to preach on this topic with a straight face when you have Bob Malm as a role model. Or, if you can deliver the sermon with a straight face, then you fall down the rabbit hole of hypocrisy.

I mean, who’s going to take you seriously when you have Dysfunctional Bob repeatedly lying, committing perjury, going after Mike, engaging in smear campaigns, and more? If nothing else, people are going to inevitably conclude that it’s okay just to give lip service to these ideals when they see Dysfunctional Bob in action.

And of course there’s Leslie Malm with her lies, Lindsey Malm with her hateful homophobia, the Medleys with their urging me to commit suicide, and Alison Campbell with her petty bitch games. And there are plenty of others who could join the list.

Of course, you then get Lisa Medley’s comeback, which is to brush these issues off by saying that she’s a sinner. Of course, that’s no excuse; claiming that you’re immune from criticism on the basis that you’re inclined to behave badly is a facially obvious logical fallacy. But then, Lisa was never known for being bright.

At the end of the day, the only way Grace Church ceases to be a toxic church is by making a conscious decision to be healthy—all day, every day. No exceptions, no excuses, no explanations. There’s simply no legitimate role for the bullying, the gossip, the lies and more that go on at Grace.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Breaking News: The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia Again Refuses to Address Bob Malm’s Lies, Perjury and Abuse of Power

Earlier today, I received an email from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. There had been some discussions about resolving problems outside the Title IV disciplinary process, including a recommendation from Bishop Todd Ousley, the intake officer for the national church, that we consider this route. +Todd also noted that the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has repeatedly failed to provide the pastoral response required under the canons. In today’s email, the diocese said it will not address Bob’s perjury outside of Title IV.

Given that the diocese repeatedly has said that it has no issue with Bob Malm’s actions, I intend to not deal any further with the diocese or Bob Malm’s lies. Instead, I will continue to publicly share this information, and let the chips fall where they may.

Small wonder organized religion is dying.

Here is a copy of Canon to the Ordinary Mary Thorpe’s previous letter on this issue.




Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Another Blast from the Past: Parishioner Urges Me to Commit Suicide

Here’s a post from a member of parishioner Lisa Medley’s family. Let’s just say that any family that claims to be “Christian” and thinks that BS like this is okay is one that I certainly hope will consider my name to be mud.

To make the irony even more delicious, this is something that Bob Malm attempted to assert in court somehow proved I had threatened him. If anything, it proves that Grace Church has threatened me.

Needless to say, proof that Grace is a toxic church.






Grace Episcopal Church Mocks Clergy Sex Abuse Survivors

In case it wasn’t already painfully obvious, members of Grace Episcopal Church have again demonstrated just how thoroughly ethically and spiritually bankrupt the church is.

Following are posts, most likely by Dysfunctional Bob Malm’s daughter Lindsey Malm Anders, in response to my recent decision to share the fact that I was sexually abused by an Episcopal priest as a child.

Anyone, or any organization, that thinks it’s okay to ridicule a survivor of clergy sexual abuse is not only morally bereft, but one sick individual. Or to use Bob Malm’s words, “sick and twisted.” 

Of course, with Dysfunctional Bob as a role model, no suprise there.




Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Good Comment About Church Abuse

One theme that underlies every aspect of this conflict is Bob Malm’s efforts at gaslighting. The term gaslighting refers to trying to blame the cite of abuse by claiming that they are the abuser—as in claiming that I am a “domestic terrorist.” Gaslighting is, itself, considered a form of abuse, and it’s something I’ve seen Bob Malm engage in multiple times, including his multiple lies under oath (like claiming that my mother has made multiple appointments to meet him).

It’s interesting, too — Leslie and Lindsey Malm both try this tactic, as do Lisa and Lucy Medley. Further confirmation that Grace Church is toxic.

Here are comments on the topics of gaslighting and abuse posted by the Rev. Andrew Kadel in response to my recent article on Episcopal Cafe. See if it sounds familiar.

Eric, This is excellent in every way.  One thing that tends to muddle discussion and understanding of this, is under the rubric of "believe victims." One element of abuse is gaslighting, and an element of the gaslighting can be that the abuser poses as a victim. In the cold light of day, and when one steps back outside of the situation, it becomes clear that it is absurd, but for those who have an interest in shielding the abuser, it provides a rationale that is difficult to refute in heated situations. It's important to give credence to the stories of the abused which takes attention & compassion. The abusers, their sycophants & allies will always do things to make that difficult to do, including claiming that the victim is the abuser, or that the abuser is the victim.

The work of Wade Mullen, a baptist seminary professor, is very good on this. 
This is his Twitter: Wade Mullen @wad3mullen

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Attending Ash Wednesday Services at Grace Episcopal Church?

If so, be sure to ask Dysfunctional Bob Malm and Sugarland Chiow what Jesus thinks about bullying the dying by trying to drag them into court.

And if you’re not seeing repentance from both, have the courage to admit you’ve been played, that it’s just a job for Dysfunctional Bob, take a pass, and move on. Either find a real church, versus a religious club, or take a pass on organized religion altogether.




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.






Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Gossip at Grace: Another Sign of an Unhealthy Church

Remember when I posted the comment by a parish employee about how Bob Malm, aka Dysfunctional Bob, not only permits inappropriate discourse, but tacitly endorses it, by engaging in a certain amount of it himself? Well, in addition the the spectacularly bad example he and Sugarland Chiow have established in dealing with me, the reality is that, right behind the scenes, there’s lots of ugly discourse at Grace Church. 

To be fair, if you just show up on Sundays and hang out at coffee hour, you may never run into it. But I assure you, it’s alive and well. And its presence serves as a bellwether for the overall health of the parish.

A few good ones that I’ve heard:
  • Comments and speculation about one parishioner having a penile implant. (Seriously.)
  • Rumors about a recently married parishioner actually being gay — which is interesting, because that person is not a particularly good choice when it comes to defamation. I’ll leave it at that.
  • The endless speculation about infidelity and adultery in the parish.
  • Leslie Steffensen’s comments about me and money. Needless to say, I know who the source of those comments is.
  • Kemp Williams’ stupid comments about me.
Then there’s the use of gossip as a weapon, as I observed first-hand with Alison Campbell’s efforts to cause problems for me within the altar guild. And Lisa Medley’s post on The Wartburg Watch about my alleged $.02 donation. Yes, there was such a donation, but no, it was not mine, and it was not to the church. One would hope that Lisa would at least get her details right.

That said, the upshot is that when people use gossip as a weapon, that’s telling, for it’s only an effective weapon if people are receptive to it. And those who engage in it clearly have little concept of the damage they do to the church as a whole.

Sadly, it only takes a few to cause lasting harm to the parish.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Another Sign Dysfunctional Bob Has Stayed too Long

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

More Observations on Integrity and the Church

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

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

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

It won’t.

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

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

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

Tough times ahead for the church.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Grace Episcopal: More on the HVAC Project

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Friday, February 1, 2019

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

Here’s an amusing one. 

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

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

I doubt Bob even saw the irony.

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




Tuesday, January 29, 2019

See for Yourself: Bob Malm Contradicts Himself in Email Exchange With Easter Thompson

Here’s another good one from Bob Malm. On the one hand, Bob went to court, claiming that folks at Grace were “terrorized” by my Mom’s blog, which he claims I wrote. Yet in this email exchange with parishioner Easter Thompson, he claims no one at the church takes me seriously. So which is it?

Of course, Bob made a similar statement in January to the bishop, in which he said that his wife and daughter both take this more seriously than they should.

In the meantime, that begs the question: How did Easter Thompson get it in her head that my assertions are not based on fact/truth? Leaving aside the fact that I don’t recall God assigning Easter the role of “judge of all men,” there is written documention of almost every issue, ranging from Bob’s illegal use of restricted solicitations, to his bullying, to his order to parish staff to shun and exclude us, to his courtroom perjury. Nor do I see Easter making any effort to resolve the conflict, yet she proclaims herself a Christian.

Interesting that Easter is so comfortable passing judgment on others when she has no firsthand knowledge of the matter. It’s perhaps telling too that Bob felt no need to invoke the vestry prior to his decision to shun us. It’s only when he got pushback that he decided to pull in the vestry—a vestry that he has, on more than one occasion, apparently lied to, as evinced by the vestry’s “talking points,” in which he claims that we left on our own. If that’s the case, why then did Bob admit to the contrary during the meeting with the bishop?

No wonder people are abandoning organized religion. And you surely have to wonder what Easter’s objection is to the Anglican Consultative Commission’s work.

In the meantime, Easter, if you’re sick of stuff like my work on the Anglican Consultative Commission’s efforts, don’t friggin’ read it. And if you object to my actions, Easter, how about having the integrity to share your concerns directly with me, versus triangulating with Bob? It’s called having a spine. 

Ditto for Kemp Williams and his comments.