With news on the street that Anne Turner is slated to be the next rector of Grace, my reaction to the news is mixed.
I like Anne tremendously, and have turned to her for advice, including when problems with perjuring priest Bob Malm first erupted. Her advice was good, which was to, if nothing else, remember that we are a resurrection people.
There’ve been others who have turned to Anne for advice, including amidst the childish uproar in the altar guild when the requirement to wear the 1950’s vintage blue smocks was ended. (Horrors! Change comes to the altar guild, so folks give Deborah Crabtree the cold shoulder for a year. Does it get any more childish? And no, Bob Malm did not have the backbone to do anything about it.)
Indeed, it was only a few weeks ago I had been batting around the idea of talking with Anne about my conflict with perjuring priest Bob Malm, perhaps even with an idea that she could help broker a ceasefire.
Why did I decide against this course of action?
Primarily because Mayo House is adamantly opposed to resolving the conflict. Whether it’s Sven vanBaar’s ludicrous assertion that perjury is only perjury if it involves criminal charges (an inquiry, by the way, he is not entitled to make as an intake officer under church canons), the many times the diocese has refused to mediate our dispute, or the times it has criticized me and my family for the conflict, the diocese is utterly uninterested.
Indeed, to the extent it has any concern at all, it is about the reputational damage to it and the parish from our conflict, resulting in the meltdown we now see at Grace Church. It couldn’t care less about Mike, me, my late mother, or anyone else. It just wants to protect the institution.
Thus, without diocesan support, there’s not much Anne can do other than lend a sympathetic ear. And I have the funny feeling that, to the extent the diocese would get involved, it would be to tell Anne not to do anything.
I also question the church’s ability to engage in truth telling. The latter is essential to healing and moving on, but in my experience very few are willing to speak up about perjuring priest Bob Malm’s lies and spiritual abuse. But by ignoring these issues the harm and the toxic ways of relating to each other within the parish will linger for years, and possibly decades, to come.
Indeed, the situation is replete with moronic individuals like David Crosby, with his ad hominem assertions of mental illness on my part. Yet, while Crosby is willing to make judgments about others that he is not qualified to make, he lacks the courage to call a spade a spade and admit his buddy perjuring priest Bob Malm is a liar, even though Bob has expressly said he did not, in fact, talk with Mom—an assertion central to his claim he had been threatened. And I’ve challenged David before to get a spine and ask Bob for proof my Mom contacted her, but predictably enough he ignored me,
And the same is true for Lisa Medley, Kelly Motormouth Gable, Alison Campbell, Kemp Williams and some of the other bad actors within the parish. Simply put, I see no sign they will ever take responsibility for their actions. They remain fully convinced their behavior is appropriate and they are going to concur with whatever perjuring priest Bob Malm says, no matter how ridiculous or untrue. And any sort of gossip or comment is okay, as long as they don’t think it will see that light of day. Yup, that’s how Malmites roll.
Perhaps with the devastating results of their misconduct now playing out in the form of Grace Church’s imploding fortunes they will reconsider, but I doubt it.
Meanwhile, there is zero possibility that I will agree to resolution of this conflict without truth telling. While there are a number of people at the church who are stupid and mean-spirited enough that they don’t deserve the truth and won’t listen to it anyway, most people at Grace Church deserve and need to know the truth about perjuring priest Bob Malm’s lies and other misconduct, as well as their roles in aiding and abetting that misconduct. As far as I can tell, there is not a soul at Grace Church willing to go there, so I am going to continue to tell the world at large about these issues. And much of the damage caused by Bob’s behavior simply cannot be undone, like the suffering he caused my mother during her final illness.
In short, if Grace won’t tell the truth, I can and will.
To be fair, Anne will be a positive in that, unlike perjuring priest Bob Malm, she does not appear to be a narcissist. Thus, with attention shifting from the rector to God, Grace may finally start to become healthy. But that is a long and difficult slog; this is a church that is so sick that it thinks urging people to go kill themselves is acceptable Christian conduct. Right, Ms. Medley?
Most of all, what the church needs is an outside expert to walk it through the formal process of truth telling, healing and reconciliation. That, I’m afraid, is simply never going to happen, and even with Anne’s arrival, Grace likely is going to continue to lurch towards collapse.
And never forget the comments of one parish employee, herself Episcopal:
”I would never join your church. And it’s because of the way people talk to each other.”