It’s payday: Tenth Pres reaps the wages of sin as it lurches towards collapse

Tenth Presbyterian Philadelphia

In the wake of Tenth Presbyterian’s (PCA) ongoing abuse, cover-up, corruption, spiritual abuse, and illegal conduct, including perjury, the church is lurching toward collapse.

Per public financial statements, the Philadelphia-based church has projected annual revenue of a little over $3.8 million.

As of March 20, just 12 weeks into the year, the Tenth should have brought in slightly more than $800,000 in giving. However, as of that date, actual giving was $494,440, reflecting a deficit of $305,307.

Thus, Tenth faces a potential annual deficit north of $1.2 million, meaning that layoffs and other cuts are almost certainly coming.

Tenth Presbyterian lurches towards collapse

Moreover, even a cursory headcount reveals that Tenth is more pew than people these days. That, despite a recent effort by Tenth’s former senior pastor Phil Ryken, now president of Wheaton College, to run the Jolly Roger up the mast by preaching at the church.

No surprise

The news that Tenth Pres is emptying out comes as no suprise.

For years, the church has been in a state of ethical meltdown, replete with multiple instances of alleged sexual misconduct.

Additionally, Session, which the none-too-credible George McFarland heads up, got a slap on the wrist from the rubber-stamp Philadelphia Presbytery for lying to the congregation. And even as damning as this is, Anglican Watch knows of myriad additional situations in which Session has lied to members.

That lying reached a new low several years ago when McFarland and the church committed perjury in court against whistleblower Phil Snyder. The latter had vigorously objected to sexual misconduct, cover-up, and even sadistic sexual misconduct by church employees.

But rather than welcome the truth (not to mention proclaiming His name), the church denied everything, barred Snyder from the property, and falsely claimed that Snyder had threatened parishioners.

While the church prevailed in court, the reasons for its Phyrric victory are simple:

  • The church was willing to lie at multiple levels.
  • Tenth had more money and lawyers.

The result was substantial legal bills for Snyder, his divorce, and profound emotional trauma.

From there, multiple persons came forward with allegations of sexual abuse and cover-up, resulting in an investigation by outside experts at GRACE. This firm works to prevent and investigate abuse in churches.

Initially, the church’s engagement with GRACE was supported by former senior minister Liam Goligher, who appears to have believed he could massage and manipulate the scope of GRACE’s engagement to shift focus away from himself and other abusers on staff.

While the final GRACE report reflects Goligher’s antics, as well as those of his sock puppet George McFarland, the church was unable to deep-six the document.

The efforts to sandbag the GRACE report are telling.

Not only does the move run afoul of traditional Presbyterian polity, which promotes openness and transparency, but it begs the question: Who is going to take Session or the report seriously under these circumstances?

“We’re Session, and you need to trust us,” isn’t going to cut it. That’s particularly the case when, as here, McFarland and Session have repeatedly lied to church members, the courts, and the public.

Hmm. Something about the Father of Lies.

Flash forward, and Anglican Watch discovered the criminal records of Susan Elzey and Liam Goligher, who were caught by local officials having sex in a public park in Lancaster, PA.

Initially, Goligher and Elzey tried to lie their way out of things, with Goligher claiming the two were hanging out, having a picnic, having a pastoral conversation, and more. Similar fabrications came from Elzey.

All of that is a load of bull. Goliger and Elzey were caught red-handed, and they know it. Nor was this a casual fling.

We also note that someone, likely Susan Elzey, contacted us from Haddonfield, NJ, trying to blame everything on Phil Snyder. While we have no idea how some lunatic thinks Phil is somehow responsible for Elzey’s adultery, that claim is a microcosm of life at Tenth.

Subsequently, Anglican Watch learned that earlier proposals to implement the most rudimentary of sexual misconduct prevention safeguards, background checks for all key personnel, were rejected by Session several years earlier.

We wonder why.

Toxic Presbytery

This meltdown at Tenth correlates with a long history of corruption at the PCA Philadelphia Presbytery.

In addition to numerous complaints of sexual and spiritual abuse, including at Tenth, Proclamation, and the Korean Presbyterian Church, the Presbytery took action several years ago to shut down critics who were designating funds to specific ministries in order to object to conduct within the denomination. As a result, all donations now go to the General Ministry Fund of each church.

Meanwhile, the Presbytery has long served as the fat and happy lapdog of Tenth and Bryn Mawr-based Proclamation, acting as a rubber stamp and purveyor of plausible deniability for corruption a these churches.


Today, things are no better at Tenth.

Corrupt George McFarland, purveyor of cheap grace in the form of doing whatever he wants — including committing perjury — then apologizing (or not) and going right back to his misconduct, remains ruling elder at Planet Tenth. Moreover, his lies, manipulation, and efforts at control are damaging the church and the Body of Christ at every turn.

Adulterous liar Susan Elzey appears to have flown the coop.

Liam Goligher’s house in New Jersey is up for sale, even as he appears to manipulate Planet Tenth via his weird and toxic relationship with George McFarland.

Meanwhile, the poisonous miasma that percolates throughout the denomination in the Philadelphia area is bubbling to the surface at Proclamation, which is doing its level best not to proclaim the truth of the abuse and cover-up that is going on at the church.

As a result, Proclamation senior minister Ben Falconer is taking two steps back and returning to his former gig in Michigan. That speaks volumes, and what it says about the sordid mess in the church is not good.

The icing on the cake is that many who remain at Tenth now know that Goligher, Elzey, McFarland, and many others have been and are living a lie. Indeed, our investigation reveals that rumors of Goligher’s affair with Elzey have been afoot for years. Moreover, given the length of the affair and Goligher’s visibility, it’s unlikely that others within Tenth didn’t know of it long ago.

Even worse, several of the abusers identified in the GRACE report remain in “ministry” at Tenth. There has been zero accountability, and the fact that Session is still playing games with the report and Goligher makes clear that Session doesn’t want accountability.

Thus, the church is in a situation where it’s living a lie, but those involved treat the church’s corruption as justified by the ends.

Or, to use the phrase of one spectacularly corrupt Episcopal priest: “We’re all good people, doing God’s work” — even as he invites torture profiteers to serve in leadership positions in his church.


What will it take to clean up the cesspool that is PCA in the Philadelphia region?

The answer starts with the resignation of George McFarland, Session, all Tenth employees, and the Philadelphia Presbytery. The entire sordid lot is a brood of vipers and whitewashed tombs. In fact, things are so bad they don’t even bother to keep up with the whitewash.

From there, there needs to be a top-to-bottom commitment to integrity and true faith. Thus, instead of doing evil and calling it good, the church needs to actually “exalt His name and proclaim His word.”

Part of that sea change will require repentance, restitution, and amendment of life. Those to whom the church must repent include all victims of sexual, spiritual, and legal abuse, including Phil Snyder. This isn’t something where the church can shrug and say, “But that happened so long ago,” and pull a Pontius Pilate. We won’t stand for it, and neither will anyone else who has a conscience.

And let’s be clear: Even now, Goligher is trying to lie his way out of things. Indeed, his last message to the church denied everything, even as it attempted to blur things with his claim of taking responsibility for the appearance of impropriety.

In other words, Goligher is a liar, perjurer, bully, and adulterer, and he should be excommunicated and barred from all PCA property.

Indeed, Goligher pulled a similar stunt with Phil Snyder in retaliation for the latter’s blowing the whistle on corruption within the parish. So, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and it’s entirely fair to impose the same penalties and then some on Goligher, Elzey, and others who have knowingly damaged the church and its mission.

What’s the alternative?

The answer is that there is no alternative. Either PCA cleanses the Temple and ends the spectacular corruption within the denomination, or it will close. No one is going to give money or otherwise support this awful, corrupt, dishonest, abusive, and hypocritical group of false prophets and angels of darkness masquerading as angels of light.

Feel free to quote us.


  1. I’m confused over how the Philadelphia Presbytery can resign. The presbytery is made up of all the ruling and teaching elders of the PCA churches in that geographical region. Are you saying that all elders in that presbytery need to resign from their respective churches?

    Another question is where is the denomination in all of this? Where are all the complaints that should have already been filed to the Standing Judicial Commission (SJC)? Presbyterians, by nature of their polity, do not have the SBC excuse that all churches are independent and not accountable to the greater denomination.

    I predict that the PCA (as a denomination) will find a technical BCO (Book of Church Order) loophole to keep their distance and not get involved.

    1. Hi Tom. Yes, we are saying that if they can’t act with integrity, the local PCA elders need to resign. Every. Last. One.

      Will it happen? Not likely.

      But those who ignore these issues are complicit, and sooner or later, judgment will come, whether in the form of empty churches or the wrath of the Almighty. Or both.

      As things stand, the Presbytery is pulling the safety in numbers routine. Doesn’t work for the Roman Catholic church, and it is not going to work for PCA either.

      We agree on PCA and its efforts to make a bad situation worse by ignoring it.

      So far, the denomination has a dismal track record, and it’s only getting worse. Thus, it’s a given that folks there will find some obscure provision of the BCO, treat it as akin to Scripture, and take a pass.

      Apropos the SJC, the Presbytery is playing games. It says it’s “investigating,” even as it tries to buy time, fuzz the issues, and hope that onlookers will go away. Meanwhile, the Presbytery is neither trained to investigate corruption nor competent to address it.

      As things stand, PCA is just like the Episcopal Church — morally broken, with zero sign that it can or will change.

      1. Thank you for your very thoughtful response. I agree with everything you wrote. The insightful observations you shared, as well as many other reasons, fueled my decision to no longer be ordained in the PCA.

  2. Proclamation Presbyterian Church is not in the same presbytery as Tenth Presbyterian. It is in Presbyterian West.

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